Tokyo Goannas Football Club Official Document
Top League Grand Final Match Report
21 November 2010
TokyoGoannas vs NagoyaRedbacks
Travis Wilson (c)
Dean Dowey (c)
Mohammed Howard Azzeh
The Enthusiastic Crowd
A big crowd assembled at the Yokohama Country & Athletics Club (YCAC) for the 2010 Japan AFL grand final. In perfect Autumn weather the players and administrators (thanks Loz) from the Tokyo Goannas and the Nagoya Redbacks arrived early for match preparation. Festivities kicked off at5pm with an exhibition match between the Japanese stars under lights. Then at 6pm the grand final teams lined up while the Australian National Anthem was played. The atmosphere was electric and the Redbacks, playing in their first JAFL grand final, and travelling with a touring squad of 16 expats, looked sharp in the warm up. The Goannss, led by Wilson in his 100th game for the club, were quietly confident of defending their JAFL premierships over the past 4 years and were primed for a big match in spite of the late withdrawals of some of their prime movers.
After some marshalling by Ritchie and Sullivan, who shared game day coaching duties, the Goannas got off to a flyer with Lavender in the ruck winning a quick tap to McGee who booted it forward onto the chest of Mitchell who nailed the first major from 40m to give the Goannas the lead within 30 seconds. Richardson, playing in the midfield, was another early ball winner and he combined well with Wilson, playing off the half back line, who played a blinder in his 100th game leading by example and continually winning contested ball. The Goannas forwards looked dangerous and when Sullivan and Mitchell goaled with right and left foot snaps respectively the Goannas were away. Huddleston and Peyton down back were on fire, racking up several strong marks to constantly repel the Redback’s forays forward. The Redbacks pulled back with a late goal but at qtr time it was the Goannas by a couple.
The Goannas started strongly with Komiyama playing well off a wing and kicking an early goal after marking strongly. Ogilvy made immediate impact down back and solid field kicking by himself and Huddleston kept the Redback forwards at bay. Lavender continued his strong game with superb ruck, and ground level, work all over the pitch. McGrath, coming off his 6th dislocated shoulder injury only 4 weeks ago, marked strongly late in the quarter and threaded it truly from tight on the boundary. Cole and Atkins ignited the Goannas team with strong running and smart ball use and when Atkins goaled the Goannas had a commanding lead. Furness, in only his second game for the club, was instrumental when rotated through the midfield and his tenacity was Tony Liberatore like. Wilson’s attempted mark of the year was a highlight and Woods’ showed glimpses of his rugby past with strong dash by bursting through a web of Redbacks and pumping the ball forward with a spectacular left foot. Goannas by 4 goals at half time.
After some inspirational speeches at half time and quenching of the Goannas thirst via oranges provided by Scanlan the Goannas were keen to press on and break the game open. The young Fabrici brothers, Ryan (18) and Nick (15), quite possibly the youngest lads ever to pull on a Goannas jumper were game breakers – their dash was reminiscent of Peter Matera in his glory days. Ryan’s strong lead up mark and goal followed by a marvelous snap and goal by Anderson, our gateway to future tours of the USS George Washington, were inspirational and the defence continued their superb match with Huddleston, Peyton and Ogilvy firing on all cylinders. The Redbacks did manage a couple of late goals through Jenkins and Dowey, the 2009 and 2010 JAFL MVPs, but couldn’t sustain the pressure. Goannas by four majors going into the final change.
The supporters could sense it and Apps, Eyes, and Whyte provided some encouragement at the final team huddle of the year as the Goannas eyed victory. The key message of the coaches at the last change was to maintain the pressure to ensure we end the year on a high by playing consistent 4 qtr football. Lavender, quite possibly the fittest 40 year old with a PhD, responded in the middle with some athletic ruck work and McGee again set up another attacking move leading to a goal to McGrath after a juggled goal square mark. Richardson’s aggression at the ball were rewarded with constant possession and when Wilson kicked to a contest at half forward, Peyton released a bullet handball to Mitchell, who snapped a left foot team goal to push the margin out to beyond 6 goals. The goals kept coming and when Lavender kicked a ripper from the boundary the celebrations started. The Goannas ran out winners by 49 pts to capture their 5th straight Japan AFL Top League Premiership by defeating their Nagoya based ex-pat brethren.
Well done to Lavender who took out the Grand Final MVP award and to Wilson in captaining a winning grand final side in his 100th Goanna appearance. Congratulations lads on a magnificent year and many thanks to all the Club’s supporters & sponsors and special thanks to the Club’s committee, led by Dave Ogilvy, who did an outstanding job in ensuring 2010 on and off field success.
Thanks to all the players and especially the Nagoya Redbacks for a great season!