DAFL Round 3: PMFC Maulers Vs Odense Lions
Starting line up
Wow. Just watching this match was exhausting. I can’t imagine what it was like to actually play in it. In what will go down as an absolute thriller and a showcase for the toughness of Aussie rules, this was a game that had everyone on the edge of their seat! It has been said that “Football doesn’t build character, it reveals it!” Never has that been truer than on the 18th of May at Mauler Park.
The first quarter started with a small breeze favoring the Maulers as they kicked towards the Copenhagen end and from the first bounce it was on. Port Malmö was unsettled by the aggression at the ball that Lions showed causing a lot of spills and early bumps and bruises. While Maulers had most of the ball, it was wasted with the excitement of the breeze and the game and a lot of leads from Brodie and Paul were ignored while the ball flew over their head, out of bounds or for a behind. The excitement settled and the Maulers were able to convert a few six pointers. There was no doubt it was going to be a slugfest with early knocks and bruises piling up.
The second quarter started much the same as the game started. The Lions were living up to their name and the many Maulers young and old were getting a lesson in how to attack the ball and if it weren’t for some wayward kicking the result could have been very different. The Maulers were able to strike with another goal, however the biggest turning point of the match came when Brodie, the team’s only recognized forward was knocked out in what can only be described as a violent hit. Despite being knocked out, and a shiner to boot, a free kick in front of goal was not paid, and the game continued. Losing 6 points and a key player was a huge turning point in the match, both in how it was played and on the scoreboard. After an extended break in the game the real slugfest began. The game became a throw back to the 80’s of football where skill was replaced by will and the Maulers looked to live up to their name. Odense snuck a late goal to start some momentum going into the second half.
The third quarter resembled the rumble in the jungle and may be remembered as the massacre in Malmö. Bodies were flying around as both sides looked for the edge in attack at body and ball. Some bone crunching tackles by vice captain Coops were felt in on and off the field with many players wondering how such tackles could be legal when they hurt so much? That’s footy though isn’t it. Captain Ross stepped up and made sure if anyone had even a thought of trying to intimidate the team then there was a large angry Yank they had to go through first. This didn’t seem so enticing, and again made a lot of people question how this was legal. The umpires had their work cut out to keep the match flowing as emotion was spilling into every aspect of the game. Little Freddie who never fails to make an impression on Malmö was able to score a much needed goal off the ground to give the Maulers some breathing space. Odense responded with a goal of their own through some hard running from their midfield and the game was on a knife’s edge going into the last quarter, with Malmö holding a 2 goal lead but showing signs of tiring losing yet another forward, and being forced to earn goals multiple times.
The last quarter was a blur. With Odense having a slight breeze and a forward that had found his hands, the Maulers needed to dig deep. Attack after attack was repelled by the Frenchman, his two irish allies and his All American captain. Yet finding moving targets was tough, with players feeling the effects of a long day. When Malmö did get the ball past half way, it was unfortunately wasted with many players rushing the ball and not allowing teammates to get back into space. A lesson learned! Odense got the two goals they needed and could have easily been found the winning goal if not for some wayward kicking. After what seemed like an eternity the final siren blew, and it was Malmö who finished the victors.
Despite being one of the most aggressive and congested games, there were cool heads make no mistake. Stretch did an underrated job in the ruck having big blokes thrown at him all day and despite copping huge knocks on his leg he ran out the game and got to every ball up, of which there were many! Tim was clean and classy and was able to stay on the field with cramp knowing we needed him. Chris worked his backside off all game and will no doubt have trouble picking up his little fella this week! Gates was Gates and saved the Maulers many a time when the ball went forward and Ross was Ross leading from the front with voice and body. The surprise packet of the day was Hendrick who showed that he is going to be a weapon for the Maulers. Hendrick ran and ran and ran some more and made a tonne of contests and set up multiple scoring opportunities from the wing. He also ran back and his pace caused problems for his direct opponent.
It was great to get the win, and even better we were able to get it without key forwards who no doubt would have had an impact on the game. There was a lot to learn from the weekend, and it gives us specific areas to focus on going into the next two weeks of training.
Wishing a speedy recovery to Brodie who took a sickening hit, and we need to get around the big fella who plays a huge role not only in our forward structure but leadership on and off the field.
Lets go Maulers!
Port Malmö Maulers: 39
Odense Lions: 36
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