Dingoes 107 v Goannas 75
Q1 1.3 v 5.2
Q2 6.6 v 6.4
Q3 8.9 v 9.7
Q4 16.11 v 11.9
by Ronnie Mitchell
10 brave Goannas ventured half way across the biggest island in Japan (Honshu), by bullet train, to take on the much improved Osaka Dingoes in an away clash that was always going to be tough. Playing with the bare minimum of 10 players, and no bench, the Goannas were quietly confident they could stretch their unbeaten run to 16 games. Either way it was going to be a cracking weekend as Osaka really is one of the best places on earth to party.
After disembarking the train following a 3 hour run from Tokyo stn, the Goannas proceeded to the Himeji Sports Centre and were greeted by a magnificent stadium, an all weather pitch and quite a few spectators, including a bunch of Americans holding banners such as ‘The Dingoes ate your Babies”…..
The Dingo boys were all ready kitted up and out on the ground and bolstered a strong squad of 18 guys. The scene was set for a cracking contest.
After a pre-game rev up, the Goannas took the field with Nick Utting leading in his first game as captain. The game got off to a heated start with Jones receiving a heavy knock in the first minute of the game that left him ginger for the remainder. However Huberts provided a great contest in the ruck and Wilson, who read the play magnificently all day, carried and delivered the ball well to Mitchell who slammed on 3 first quarter goals. Utting in defence played a superb game and provided plenty of rebound football. The Goannas led at the first change, kicking with the wind, by 18 points.
The 2ndquarter was a complete reverse with the Dingoes doing most of the attacking, with their first game forward from Okayama kicking 2 quick goals. Rowe did well off the wing and managed to find some space running forward and delivered the ball well to Mitchell who kicked another for the quarter. Woods, who is a much improved player, tried hard down back and did well in contested situations. But the Dingoes played good team footy and went into the long break with a slender 2 point advantage.
The Goannas needed to dig deep and they delivered an outstanding 3rd quarter of high intensity football with numerous goals from both sides. Jones continued to battle hard in the mid field and was well supported by Wilson who had a blinder. Ogilvy stepped up and after promising a big quarter during the half time break, delivered the goods with a sensational hanger on the wing that led to a Goannas goal. Sheppard also battled hard up forward and contested well as did Ritchie who managed to break free on a few occasions and deliver the ball by hand to good effect, even with a crook ankle. The Goannas played their hearts out to regain the lead and take a 10 point lead into the final break but the effect of having no interchange was starting to take its toll. Utting limped to the 3 quarter time huddle with a suspected, and self diagnosed, stress fracture of the shin and Ritchie, carrying an ankle injury, was clearly not 100%. Jones, who suffered a big hit early in the game was also feeling the effects. So the Goannas were down to 7 fit men, defending a 10 point lead against the wind and up against a much improved Osaka outfit hungry for a first ever win against the boys from Tokyo – it was gonna be a tough 15 minutes to finish off the game.
The Dingoes started the last quarter well and had 2 goals within 2 minutes to take the lead. From then on they had a sniff and although the Goannas battled hard and fought it out, they simply did not have the cattle to go with the Dingoes who eventually ran out winners by 25 points. Well done to the courageous 10 Goannas who gave it their best shot and almost came away with what would have been an outstanding away victory all things considered.
Following the game, the boys headed back to Osaka on the shinkansen and then hit the town. Now the old saying “what happens on tour stays on tour” must be applied but suffice to say it was a sensational evening which should probably not be summarised with words but instead with a schedule of the evening’s events as follows;
Saturday & Sunday
Well done again lads and good to see that the Goanna tours maintain their high standards both on and off the field!!!