DAFL Preliminary Final: Port Malmö Maulers At Odense Lions
Starting line up
Yes, you read that correctly. Despite finishing second on the ladder, and travelling to the farthest corners of Scandinavia the Maulers were on the road yet again to face the Lions of Odense. With injures to the teams best defender (Gates) and the DAFL runner up best and fairest and leading goal kicker (Brodie), it was always going to be a tough game. There was however an air of belief around the club knowing that we still had the dogs to win the fight.
The game started and it was on from the first bounce. The midfield matchup appeared to favour the Maulers with a healthy Tim and a Matthew who has stepped up from being a rookie to an important part of the midfield. The balls was a hot potato and bounced around from player to player on both teams. Tim made it look like he had all the time in the world and was two or three steps ahead of everyone. Donny, despite not being 100% locked up a key forward that allowed the other Mauler defenders to focus on other things. Some simple mistakes were turned into goals, and this set the tone for the game. Make a mistake and you will pay.
1st Quarter Maulers 8 Odense 19
The second quarter showed what Mauler pride is all about. With a left shoulder that was hanging by a thread, our Lativain Hercules, gave both teams a lesson in heart. Without being able to lift his left shoulder above his head, Nauris went out there and punched, defended and bumped , again and again and again. This was a truly inspiring effort, and allowed Old Man Andy to go forward and be a menace. This paid off immediately with Andy kicking around his body for the first goal of the quarter, and giving us another option going forward. Captain America, Ross, stepped up his presence on the field deciding that rendering the opposition incapable of playing was one method to victory and decided that the biggest bloke on their team was a good place to start. The game paused for a minute while the opposition big man was helped off the field. Donny continued to dominate his man as did the entire backline holding the Lions scoreless in the 2nd quarter.
Half time Maulers 23 Odense 19
The third quarter was a real arm wrestle with the slight breeze favouring the home side. Early on the injury gods decided we weren’t banged up enough and decided that Taffy needed a kick to the head requiring eight stitches. Fair play to Taffy who had until that point, held their very dangerous small forward well, took the stitches without pain relief and did his best to try and get back on the field. It wasn’t to be however and we really missed the reliable Welshman down back. The highlight of the quarter was no doubt the mark and goal from first year Swede Pontus who bombed one against the slight breeze that looked like it came off the boot of someone playing their entire life.
3rd Quarter Maulers 44 Lions 44
Once again the Maulers vs the Lions come down to a nail-biter. Literally. Early on it looked as though Tim was going to win the game on his own, having what seemed like a million touches and the same number of shots on goal. His long range snap around the body was something special. The midfield was incredible themselves all game and Old Man Andy was a problem for the Lions everytime the ball came his way. Paul ran and ran and ran and then ran some more, on a dodgy ankle and suspect calf. Pontus went down back to cover for Taffy and his huge fists down back would have made Spud Frawley proud. It was a seesawing affair with the lead changing every other minute. As can happen in this beautiful, yet heartbreaking game, one team experiences ecstasy while the other is rewarded with pain. For the Maulers today it was their turn for devastation. With Matthew and Toby both making huge plays, it came down to a tough shot at goal after the siren. What we know about football, and life is that it’s not always fair, right or just. Despite having 21 scoring shots to 14 the Maulers were left gutted for 2019 with a three point loss.
Final Score Maulers 66 Lions 69
It’s interesting to look back at the season. If you measure the success of the season based on trophies and medals then no, this was not a successful season. If you measure the season based on the people in the club, the culture of the players, coaches and admin then this gives you a better idea of where the Maulers are at. Bringing in new players that are locals, seeing their improvement, surely must be the envy of the DAFL. Seeing that the Maulers had the highest attendance to every game, with all players paying their way, it is clear we have people around the club that want to be here, not people that are forced. We don’t ship people from overseas, we don’t steal from the GAA club, we work with them. We have a great sponsor who looks after us and we have the best women’s team in Scandinavia. We work with each other and support one another when we have tough weekends, and we celebrate when times are good. We see each other socially and enjoy one another’s company. We tease not because we hate but because we love. We work for one another. We play injured to help. We have people that don’t kick a footy but hang around because they like the community. So no we didn’t win the premiership this year, but we will be better next year. We are going to be stronger. We are going to be closer because of this loss. We won’t take victories for granted and we will keep the Maulers strong for years to come.
Odense Lions: 69
Port Malmö Maulers: 66
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