Roving Roo Reporter
Ohhh, the weather outside is frightful... in Nashville. But by the time the Rooboys arrived for their Saturday afternoon match against Ohio Valley River Rats in Louisville, Kentucky, the weather was a glorious 70 degrees with scattered clouds and a negligible breeze. In other words, a great day for footy! Of course you may argue that every day is a great day for footy... and you'd be right.
As is typical for road footy matches in the US, getting enough players there was tough, but a dozen die-hard Rooboys made the three-hour tour (and didn't get stranded on a desert island... for those who remember Gilligan's Island). The River Rats have been building up their numbers since covid, so it was anyone's guess how they would stack up against the Roos.
With veteran umpire Scott Schroeder keeping everyone within the laws, the Roos took the first ball up and it was game on. Both sides were eager to prove their worth and it was a back and forth, between the 50s, first five minutes. Then the initial energy subisided as everyone settled into what would be a great battle. Nashville's ancient one, Evan "Colonel" Ling, kicked the first behind, but the River Rats answered back straight away.
Then the Roos midfielders were able to push the ball into the forward line and Luke "Bagman" Chadwick pulled in a contested mark in the goal square and the Roos had the first major of the contest. With the Roos winning the following clearance, Maurice "SloMo" Howell kicked a beauty of a runner from 25-yards out for his first of the season. And on the very next push into the forward 50, Jeff "Peeps" Persson hit a no-look back tap to Luke "Bagman" Chadwick for an easy 15-yard kick and his second of the game. There was no let-up from the Roos midfielders and ruckman Thomas Procter slotted a perfect 30-yarder for the fourth of the quarter. Not to be outdone, converted defenseman Saul Camarena showed that his move to the forward line was no fluke as he kicked the Roos fifth goal. Apparently the Roos were ready to play and they led comfortably at the first break 5.3.33 to 0.1.1.
The River Rats huddled and figured out how to fix the holes in their game plan and the second quarter was tightly contested, with the teams heading back and forth up and down the field. Every time the River Rats were able to push into the Roos forward line, they were repelled by the staunch defense led by captain James "JD" Duty and his new recruit David Gonzalez, playing his first game as a Kangaroo! The scoring was low with a few behinds and single major as Luke "Bagman" Chadwick made it a hat trick. Going into the major break, the Roos led 6.6.42 to 0.3.3.
The third quarter started out like the first with the Roos midfielders dominating behind the veteran leadership of Cody McLain taking marks everywhere, Brad "Chambo" Chamberlain manning the wall and keeping the ball in the forward 50, and brand new Rooboy Ty Harden (who learned how to handball and kick on Wednesday!) showing the unmistakable signs of White Line Fever as he took multiple marks and wowed his teammates with his ability get to the footy! Luke "Bagman" Chadwick got his fourth of the match on an extra-effort play from Max Chadwick, all the more special as a father-son connection. The River Rats finally broke through with goals from AJ and Timur Whitaker to close the gap to 7.8.50 to 2.4.16.
With the game still in doubt, Maurice "SloMo" Howell was able to give the Rooboys the breathing room they needed with his second of the game and then the lockdown went into effect. The River Rates were able to score one more major from part-time Rooboy Jayston Johnson, but only a couple of minor scores finished out the match. The Rooboys secured the win in their 200th Away match (and 95th Away win) all time: Roos 8.10.58 def River Rats 3.7.25. It also moves the Kangaroos all-time record versus the River Rats to a perfect 8-0.
Keen-eyed observers will note that the Roos score line was identical to the first match of the season (what are the odds?). If the Roos can hit 8 goals every game the rest of the way, I like their chances to grab their second national championship come October. Next up for the Rooboys, another road trip, this time to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Midwest Cup on Saturday June 3rd. The schedule has not been posted for games yet.
Goal Kickers Nashville: Luke Chadwick 4, Maurice Howell 2, Thomas Procter, Saul Camarena Ohio Valley: AJ, Timur Whitaker, Jayston Johnson Nashville Best and Fairest: Cody McLain Nashville 1%er: (tie) Brad Chamberlain, James Duty Nashville Coach's Award: Ty Harden Field Umpire: Scott Schroeder Goal Umpires: Mark Gall, Wayne Purcell Attendance: 45