36 (Redbacks) – 87 (Goannas)
Q1 – 0.2 – 6.1
Q2 – 2.4 – 10.2
Q3 – 4.5 – 12.4
Q4 – 5.6 – 13.9
by Ronnie Mitchell
In heavy rain the Goannas played the first game of the year against Nagoya who were playing their first game as part of the Japan AFL Top League. The Goannas travelled with a strong playing squad of 18 players and 1 Appsy. The Redbacks were missing some of their star players including captain/coach Dan Jenkins who umpired the game. The game was played in excellent spirit with no major injuries on a wet and cold day in Nagoya.
The Goannas started very well with quick goals to Sullivan, Ritchie and Mitchell in the opening 5 minutes. Ritchie was a stand out in his first game racking up 3 first qtr goals. McGrath and Rowe played strongly out of the center and the Goannas defended well, through Ogilvy, Cumming and Utting to keep the Redbacks goal-less at Qtr time. A cracking first qtr by the red and white and Coach Sullivan was very pleased as he addressed his troops as the qtr time break.
The 2ndQtr was similar to the first with quick Goannas goals and excellent accuracy in difficult wet conditions. The Goannas swung some changes with new boys Atkins and Woods doing well with the opportunities that came their way. Ryan in the ruck did well and carried the ball well and used his raking left boot to good effect. Hill did well playing out of a forward pocket with some nippy handballs.
The Redbacks though lead well by Dowey in the center and Ghirardello in the ruck carried the ball forward to effect getting 2 goals to end out the Qtr with the Goannas going into the long break with a strong half time lead.
The 3rd qtr was very even with 2 goals a piece as both teams began tiring in the wet and slippery conditions. The local Japanese lad for the Redbacks, Usui, played a good qtr. Courage from both teams was excellent with players continuously throwing their bodies into contests with McGrath leading for the Goannas. Hennessey showed some intensity on the ball with clever handballs and Edmonds dished out some bone crunching tackles and showed some brilliant dash off a wing in one of the games highlights. The Goannas Sullivan finished off an excellent game up forward with a nice snap on the boundary and Wilson played an excellent game off half back constantly mopping up loose ball and hitting targets with precision. The Redbacks Duggan and James battled hard and used their bodies to good effect with some strong tackles and clearances. Abraham of the Redbacks kicked a nice goal to close out the qtr after a strong lead. New boy Russel for the Goannas helped with solid work around congested ball and the Goannas voice was the key to their strong performance.
The last Qtr again was very even with the Redbacks Dillon and Baker playing well to finish off the game. Ghirardello in the ruck was outstanding along with Manson playing well up forward. The Goannas missed a few set shots as the legs became tired but new boys Ryan and Cunningham continued to impress. The work ethic by the Goannas and great use of voice at contested ball ensured a great team effort and first up victory of the season. At the final siren the Goannas ran out comfortable winners with a commanding 51 point victory.