On Saturday, the Munich Kangaroos went to Stuttgart for the final game of this year’s regular season, with the opportunity to cement their position on the AFLG ladder.
A win would see the Kangaroos secure the second spot on the Ladder of inconsequence™ with a 9-1 record and an away final against Berlin in Cologne.
There was also a mathematical chance that they could finish first, if Hamburg had a loss or a 1 point win and Munich could kick 700+ points on the day, which would see them get the prize position of first on the Ladder of inconsequence™ and get to play Rheinland in, well, Rheinland.
Ah well, as Coach “Billy” Woods said on the day, “let’s not flirt with form”, and so Munich got to the Pitcher’s Mound Stadium™ ready for a strong hit out.
In the previous game against these two sides, the Roos had come away with a handy win at the Hirschy, despite missing their captain Josh “No longer Pointy” Wilson and Scott “Pointy (née TFOM)” Woodward (née Macdonald). That time around Jan “U-Turn” Hüsken made his return and kicked 10.1
Forward to this time around, and unfortunately not only was Josh “new nickname required” Wilson not available, but neither was the other dominant midfielder, James “Jimmy” Clarke. However the side did see the return of Scott “TFOM” Woodward and Lachlan “SPF100” Scully.
TPOM’s return into the ruck allowed retired veteran Andrew “Hulk” Clarke to be positioned in the goal square, which immediately reaped dividends, when he settled in with 6 first half goals, whilst at the other end SPF100 was providing some much needed stability and run down back, although the comment was heard from the opposition bench that he may have had an unfair advantage as he “was too glary in the sun”. Either way, his run and dash combined with the dour defending and poise of Glen “Beavis” Jennings that got the Roos off to a solid start.
In the middle of the ground, Marc “Frenchie” Benkamoun provided the grunt and voice in the middle of the ground, although “voice” was not a solid contributor for the rest of the team in the first half at all. Supporting Frenchie in the middle were Friday’s birthday boy Will “Cooked” Heading, who showed some good footskills around the ground and kept his calm at all times, especially when he was 100m free on his own in a pocket, and team Captain Martin “Marty” Bauer, who also fought hard all day, taking some big hits but getting in and under when needed.
Speaking of 100m on his own in the pocket, we must acknowledge the much anticipated return of umpires boss Nilss “it vass zee Russians” Lode, who despite the temperature, worked tirelessly all day to allow us to have a game at all. A much deserved cigarette at half time and full time his only reward.
The game in the first term felt tight and the Roos were a little sluggish off the mark, however the scoreline read 7.5 to 1.0.
The second quarter was much better, although actually the scoreline showed different, with 13.9 to 3.0. As we can see though, the defence which has been strong but undermanned all year with injury, stood up again. Rob “Legroom” Macher, Timo “Finky” Zink and returning Sam “Sammy” Clark all stood up back there at different times, despite the hot weather and some unconventional opponents.
The highlight of the first half was the way the Roos played team football at almost every opportunity, especially pushing back to support the team mates when an errant kick occurred.
The third quarter started off poorly, with the team show boating a little, meaning that the Giants had more shots on goal than in the first two quarters. Luckily they were not putting them away, and could only manage 1.3 for the term. Despite this poor quarter by Roos standards, Munich was able to get scores on the board, with Jan “U-Turn” Hüsken putting through 4 majors in short succession (after which he got dragged for burning 4 teammates in an electric paced U-Turn for the ages). He ended the day with 6 straight to take his season total to 29 and second on the AFLG Goalkicking list.
Despite the scoreline reading 21.13 to 4.3, which translates into an 8 goal quarter, it was not through clean football.
Ironically, the final quarter was significantly better football, despite Württemberg having their best quarter of the day.
The Roos began to run in waves and use their voice. Players were being selfless around the ground, and providing multiple great efforts. Despite the hysterical laughter at the 0.6 performance by TFOM “Pointy” Macdonald Woodward, it was actually an amazing effort that a first year ruckman playing his 8th game of football against a seasoned ruckman from the opposition, could have had 6 shots on goal and given off many more. Had he kicked straight, it could have been the close to a best on ground performance.
Although he would have been lucky there anyway, as Duncan “Clunkin’ Duncan” Crosbie managed to take home another bag, of 8.4 to bring his season tally to 43 (last year’s winner had 42). It has been a good season up forward and hopefully he can continue this into finals.
This being said, he also might have some competition for BoG, with Brett “Knees” Neale putting in one of his best performances for the Roos since his retirement. Despite his body being one year into retirement and getting absolutely poleaxed by his teammate “SPF100” Scully – albeit after a terrible kick out from “Billy” Woods, “Knees” Neale ran around in every position on the ground, cutting off the ball around the ground, setting up teammates with kicks, blocks and shepherds, and slotting through 2.2 himself.
Although, this effort probably still sees him behind in the inaugural Best Retired Player of the Year Award, as the “Hulk” Clarke pulverized his opponents, this time with his boot, not a fatality head squash. “Hulk” finished with 11.1 in a dominant display up forward, not only out bodying his opponents, but also outpacing them on the lead, and out positioning them around the goal square.
All in all it was a fine performance by the Roos, finishing 29.15 (189) to 8.4 (52) winners.