Your Nashville Kangaroos win their first USAFL National Championship!
"If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together." African proverb.
2021; It was a year of firsts: It was the first Regional Championship with the Roos being unscored on. 💪🏼 It was the first time a Roo Squad won a USAFL National Championship. 🇺🇸 It was the first time a Roo squad was in a grand final. 🏟 It was the first time a Roo squad never trailed in Nationals. ⚡️ It was the first time a Roo squad won every Nationals game. 🔥 It was the first time a Roo player earned their second Coopers Medal. 🏅
2021: Uncertainty, belief and teamwork.
The year 2020 was marked by uncertainty for everyone. No one was immune to the Covid-19 pandemic, least of all sports. As so many discovered, it's painful being forced to socially distance yourself from your favorite sport with your favorite teammates in your favorite city.
But like the country songs of old, belief comes to those that prepare. Slowly, like the flowers that gently blossomed in Spring, unofficial trainings were held with the belief that footy would return. So after the vaccines were released it was time for the Roos to believe in playing footy again.
However, it wouldn't be a quick return to the oval. Player safety had to be ensured, joints had to be loosened, muscles had to be stretched. As the weather warmed so did the teammates enthusiasm to return together. We came together just to enjoy playing again. Slowly, we decided that the uncertainty of playing footy was no longer an issue. Instead, we believed we could play great footy again. We'd wrap our arms around one another and play for the man beside us. We were ready to go far.
Home Opener vs Cincinnati
The year began with the season Home Opener against Cincinnati in early June. It was a long, hot game with both teams working out the rust from the Covid induced off-season. However, the collective work of the Roos, along with Eric "The Red" scoring nine goals gave the Roo's the W.
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Sub-Regionals in Cincinnati
The 2021 season wasn't guaranteed to happen due to the uncertainty of Covid-19. However, thanks to the success of the Covid-19 vaccines the 2021 season was able to begin during the summer. The USAFL adapted by encouraging Sub-Regional Tournaments being hosted and competed in by teams within close proximity to one another. So the for the Roos the tournament would be in Cincinnati with the competition being against Columbus and Cincinnati on August 7th. Due to the unique style of the tournament your Roos opened their arms and brought the Indy boys into our circle and put Nashville jumpers on their backs. Their experience allowed them to easily connect with the Roos and enjoy playing fast, loose, footy together. We'll let the Roos Captain "Frosty" describe what happened next: "As I looked over our squad during warmups, I got chills as I realized that this may, may just be the very best footy team I've ever played on. Turns out, it was. Your Nashville Kangaroos and their Indy helpers put on a footy show that day which will likely never be repeated again in true competition. Across two games, your Roos scored 162 points, and allowed our opponents to score... none, zip, nada. And not just that; during both games, our opponents were able to push into the scoring end only twice. Only twice did our defense allow apposing players into enemy territory. This, without a doubt, was the most complete day of footy I've ever played, and I've played about 130 games on 3 continents. We were awarded our medals, and through sweaty, bloody hugs and high fives, we spiked open our cold beers and watched with amazement as Revos player John Freeman presented a large golden personalized trophy for the day's victory!! As the footy concluded, it was time to turn to celebrating the crowning of the 2021 USAFL Central Regional Champs, and letting the city of Cincinnati feel our joyous wrath, and oh boy did we. We met for a team dinner at a swanky outdoor Mexican place. We ate, drank, laughed, and moaned about our injuries. I had to wear the WAP shirt because I thwarted Nillas first goal chance. Oi. Next day we prepared to leave, and the trophy is lost. No one can remember what the hell happened to it. Lost in an Uber probably. Gone forever. Perhaps not.... After about two months of emailing and calling Uber, I finally tracked down the driver who had picked up my drunken brothers and asked the question: did he have our trophy? To my AMAZEMENT, he did. I was overjoyed. Sent him a gift and care package from the Roos, and he mailed the trophy back to me. Then I presented it at the Awards Night. Talk about FULL CIRCLE huh boys? GO ROOS."
Later in August the Kangaroos welcomed the combination team of Columbus and Chicago. It was another classic of a game with the visitors staying organized, finishing their chances and in the end pulled away for a victory. Even though your Roos were missing key players, others played injured but no excuses were made. It provided a valuable lesson for the Kangaroos in providing what we needed to improve on for Nationals.
After a year hiatus the USAFL National Tournament resumed in Austin, Texas. Divisions were announced prior to the tournament with your Roos being placed in Division 4. The Roos started hot and never looked back defeating Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Des Moines and then North Carolina in the Championship match. It was a fantastic finish to the year!
Game 1 vs Los Angeles:
Nashville - 11 7 73
Los Angeles - 2 4 16
Game 2 vs Los Vegas:
Nashville - 10 6 66
Los Vegas - 1 2 8
Game 3 Semi-Final vs Des Moines:
Nashville - 6 6 42
Los Angeles - 2 6 18
Game 4 Championship Final vs North Carolina:
Nashville - 6 4 40
Los Angeles - 3 4 22
Let the celebrations begin!:
Awards Night Celebration
A big thank you to the 2021 Board for their efforts in navigating the uncertain months of quarantine, Covid and restarting games. Their efforts helped put the Roos back in USAFL play. Additionally, a special thank you to John Freeman. His tireless, and thankless, efforts as the Roos conditioning trainer greatly contributed to the season's success.
The Club Awards for 2021:
Brad "Chambo" Chamberlain
Best on Ground - 2021 Nationals
Eric "Red" Toepfer
Best & Fairest
Nationals DIV Cooper's Medal
Congrats 2021 Roos, it was a celebration for the age
The 2021 Season was a year like no other. It was a year that began with much uncertainty and ended with certain victory. That victory was first and foremost a return to enjoying playing sports again. No one could have predicted that the 2021 Season would have ended with your Kangaroos first National Championship. Yet, that's the joy of pulling on your guernsey, tightening your boot straps and playing the greatest game most people have never heard of, yet.
Thank you again to our supporters, fans and family that helped us during the 2021 season. It was one for the ages and we look forward to developing the Club for more success in 2022. To the men that persevered: Never forget the challenge you overcame and never forget we did it together.