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Nashville Kangaroos Head to Sarasota, FL to vie for the Division III title this weekend!

Nashville Kangaroos 2023 Nationals Team Preview

October 13, 2023

Roving Roo Reporter

As the Nashville Kangaroos prepare for the 2023 USAFL National Championship tournament in Sarasota, FL October 13-15, it makes sense to look over the team and see who is going to be bringing home the hardware for the Rooboys. But first a quick review of the Roos’ efforts in past Nationals.

The Kangaroos competed in the first National Championship tournament in 1998, going 1-2 and then 1-3 in the following year. The improved to 2-2 in 2000, and for the next three years went 2-1 but not able to get into a grand final. After a two-year hiatus when the team chose not to travel, the results were not so good for the next eleven years, going 8-25. 2017 saw a return to better fortune going 2-1. The following year a mis-seeded team lost all three matches, before the 2020 covid-19 season was wiped away. But post-covid the Rooboys have been on a tear, going 6-0-1 with a D-IV Premiership and outscoring their opponents 289-111. Overall their US Nationals record stands at 27-41-1 with one Grand Final win in 2021 in 22 tournaments. In a few short days, they put that winning streak on the line as the number 1 seed in Division III. Here is the team that looks to make that happen.

#1 – Marty Curry

Roo Games Played – 0; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: Not Tennessee

Marty started playing with the Inland Empire Eagles in 1997 when the league started, then moved to the Orange County Bombers from 1999-2005 and then with the start-up Las Vegas Gamblers in 2006 to 2010. He was part of the USA Revolution from 1999-2008 and played in three International Cups! He may have no games played as a Kangaroo, but he is no stranger to USAFL footy, with multiple Best and Fairest awards to his credit. He will be a great addition to the Kangaroos forward line, making his mark on the club before formally moving to Nashville in summer 2024. Now that is commitment to your new team. Fair Dinkum, Marty!

#2 – James “JD” Duty

Roo Games Played – 86; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2012

From: North Carolina, USA

JD has been playing footy for many years between North Carolina and the Kangaroos, and the past couple of years has really elevated his game, being part of the gritty crew to win the D4 Title in 2021, stepping up in 2022 as the Football Manger, and taking on the Captaincy in 2023. Look for JD to rove the halfback line, taking big marks and slamming the door on opponent forwards. If everyone plays as hard as JD, the title is going to the Roos.

#3 – Tyler Ayers

Roo Games Played – 0; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: Akron, OH, USA

Tyler is part of the Cleveland Cannons footy team and having combined with the Kangaroos earlier in the season decided that he wanted to be part of a National Title team, that being the Roos! He is from the same place as Lebron James, and if you need tickets to the Cavs games, give him a call. With a background in lacrosse, his introduction to Aussie Rules helped him adapt quickly to the sport. He played his first game earlier this year with Columbus in a losing effort against Baltimore but did not give up hope. He will use his height and speed to advantage in the midfield and forward lines including some rucking duties.

4 – Andrew Gleichert

Roo Games Played – 15; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2019

From: Somewhere, State, USA

Andrew joined the Roos and immediately became an impact player in the Ruck (having been part of an NFL training squad previously!) He has improved his marking and kicking skills over the past few seasons and now that he has returned to the team after the birth of his first child (congratulations!) we look forward to him being an absolute wrecking ball in the midfield, winning ruck contest after ruck contest!

#5 – Matt Filchak

Roo Games Played – 20; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2014

From: Woodbury, CT, USA

Matt grew up playing soccer through college, having watched the AFL on Fox Sports at 3 am! He moved to Nashville after college and joined the Roos for a few years, winning Best Newcomer in 2014. He then went to the far side of the galaxy (Chicago) from 2016 to 2021 where he was persona non grata, but then redeemed himself, finding the light and moving back to Nashville last year. He is in the forward lines as a goal sneak so look for this guy to crumb off the big men all weekend long.

#6 – Evan “Colonel” Ling

Roo Games Played – 220; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2000

From: Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Evan, the Colonel as he is known, has the second longest tenure and is second in games played with the club and the second longest hair. But most importantly he set the record for the oldest Kangaroo to kick a goal earlier this season! He played for the Murrumbeena under 15s back when the drop kick was still in use (I think that was the 1870’s). He returned to footy with the Kangaroos and if you ask him, he’ll tell you he has no plans to return to Footy Retirement. He’s one of the utility players coming off the bench to play where needed.

#7 – Cody McLain

Roo Games Played – 44; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2018

From: Somewhere, State, USA

Cody joined the Kangaroos mid-season 2018 and never looked back. He has been a powerful midfielder getting better every year. At the 2022 Nationals he was named the Division III Coopers Medal Most Consistent (think MVP) in a tough division where the grand final was undecided until the final minute. Look for this ball vacuum to be soaking up loose footies all through the midfield and putting the Kangaroos in position to win another premiership.

#8 – Stuart Prendergast

Roo Games Played – 0; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: Melbourne, Australia

While Stuart focused his life on Melbourne’s other cultural obsession – Music – his passion for footy never ceased through his love for the Carlton Football Club and through his support for friends and family who played for one of the most well known local Australian football teams, Noble Park. When he moved to the US in 2019, he was encouraged by a colleague to reach out to the DC Eagles as way of making social connections. After playing his first game for them, he realized how much he’s missed and enjoyed playing the game. While circumstance and Covid moved him away from DC to eventually land in Cleveland, he set out to revive the Cleveland team and, through an overwhelming desire to beat Columbus, has acted as a fill in for away teams against Columbus throughout 2023, one of which was playing for Nashville. Look for Stuart to be a rock in the backline with his footy background leading the way.

#9 – Cameron Atlas

Roo Games Played – 5; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2022

From: Uworra, South Australia

Hailing from a farm in outback Australia, Cameron “Atlas” Brown began playing footy when he was 8 years old. After moving to Nashville in late 2021, he joined the Roos and won Rookie of the Year for his outstanding play as well as helping the new players learn the game. He immediately joined the Roo board for 2023 and has been instrumental in ramping up the Roos’ social media presence. In the early 2000’s, Cameron missed out on winning a premiership by less than a goal two years in a row and is ready to make up for that with the Kangaroos at Nationals in Sarasota. Look for the speedy sneak to rove the wings and into the forward line to feed the goal kickers, and bagging a few for himself (and no behinds this year!)

#10 – Jeff “Peeps” Persson

Roo Games Played – 241; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2000

From: Pleasant Hill, CA, USA

Peeps is the longest tenured Kangaroo and currently serves as club President and Head Coach. He has been a USAFL umpire since 2001 and currently serves as the Umpire Association Head Coach. He played for the USA Revolution in the 2008 International Cup. He was inducted into the Kangaroos Hall of Fame in 2008, the USAFL Hall of Fame in 2023 when he was also named a Silver Anniversary Team member for the Kangaroos, the Umpire Association, and the USA Revolution.

#11 – Judd Kozikowski

Roo Games Played – 6; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2022

From: Somewhere Unknown, USA

Judd found the Kangaroos in 2022 and was a big part of the run to almost the D-III Grand Final at last year’s nationals. He has made his return to the team in 2023 and is keen to help the squad make the leap into the Grand Final and win it, very much looking forward to toasting from the championship trophy Sunday afternoon!

#12 – Bill Comstock

Roo Games Played – 1; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: Parts Unknown, USA

Bill is the newest footy player and second newest to the team. He has shown incredible skill and athleticism at training and that was on display when he played his first game against Chicago in September. Look for this young stallion to run with the wind and leap tall buildings in a single bound as he discovers the miracle of footy and the magic of playing in the National tournament.

#14 – Brock Donaldson

Roo Games Played – 0; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: The Outback, Australia

Brock and his wife moved to Nashville and found out that we have footy in Tennessee. He was so surprised, he forgot to bring his boots to his first training. Kidding, but he enthusiastically joined the boys straight away and is looking to be a beast in the forward line, dualling with Luke Chadwich for most goals in the tournament.

#15 – Luke “Bagman” Chadwick

Roo Games Played – 5; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: Melbourne, Australia

Luke played first senior game of football at age 16 and has played for a number of clubs in Australia including the Ovens & Murray as well as Victorian Amateurs. He moved to the USA in 2002 and joined the Orange County Bombers for a few seasons as well as a short stint in 2006 with The St. Louis Blues (where he tangled with Colonel and Peeps during MAAFL play!). He hung the boots up for 17 years before playing a cameo role for the Kangaroos with his son, Max, this season, but White Line Fever never leaves you, and he is certainly feeling it as he gets ready for his first Nationals. He last won a premiership in a 12U competition, but he looks to change that in Sarasota! While he at times played on the ball his true skill is in the forward line due to his pure kicking skills, having top club goal kicking on several occasions in his career.

#16 – Maurice “SloMo” Howell

Roo Games Played – 75; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2014

From: Yet to be determined, USA

SloMo, has been part of the team for a decade, climbing the ranks in games played. He has also been passionate for the Roos, having served multiple stints on the board, focused mainly on selling team merchandise (to great effect!). On the field, SloMo uses his crazy speed to get to loose footies through the midfield and kicking both right and left in his effort to feed the forwards. Which is exactly what he will be doing this weekend for the Rooboys, leaving his opponents in the virtual trail of dust.

#17 – Colton Atwell

Roo Games Played – 15; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2021

From: Owensboro, KY, USA

Colton may be from Kentucky where you might thing he would play with Louisville (Ohio Valley) but he is much smarter than that: his first year with Nashville was 2021 and the highlight of his footy career (and testament to his wisdom) was winning D-IV title with the Rooboys that year in Austin, TX. Colton continues to make the effort of a long drive to be part of Nashville and he will be showing the boys his gratitude with maximum effort in the backline, where all opponents will fear to tread.

#18 – Ty Harden

Roo Games Played – 5; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: Nashville, TN, USA

Yes, you read that right: the Nashville Kangaroos do in fact have a player who is actually from Music City, USA! Ty found footy during Covid and has cheered for the Western Bulldogs since then (we will beat that out of him soon enough). He stumbled upon the Roos playing the Columbus Cats and signed up immediately. His willingness to be taught the skills and tactics of the game in addition to his athleticism and joie de vivre have placed him in the midfield, where he should have a long career helping the Rooboys collect hardware for years to come.

#22 – Brad “Chambo” Chamberlain

Roo Games Played – 44; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2017

From: Charlotte, NC, USA

Chambo has been a steady presence for the Roos – at training, on the board and football committees, and in the backline. He won a D-IV championship in 2021 and was named to the Silver Anniversary team in 2022. His has defense first mentality and bringing a physical presence to the field makes him always in consideration for the 1%er award each game (the 1%ers do the “dirty” work, making the extra effort to help others get the glory) so look for that in the backline at Nationals.

#24 – Thomas Procter

Roo Games Played – 8; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: Somewhere, State, USA

Procter (as he prefers to be called) not only joined the Roos in 2023 but was able to secure a spot on the USA Revolution team and played for the Development squad in the 49th Parallel Cup (played between the USA and Canada in preparation for the International Cup). He dominated that game being named second best on ground. Pretty awesome for a rookie! He will be roving the half forward line for the Kangaroos on the weekend, looking for a repeat performance in pursuit of his first premiership!

#25 – Saul Camarena

Roo Games Played – 56; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2017

From: Somewhere, State, USA

Don’t let the fact that his daughter has him wrapped around her little finger fool you – this beast of the backline has patrolled the Roos defense for his entire career, until now when he is moving up to the midfield. He was part of the Central Regional Championship team that pitched two (2!) shutouts, having now two Regional titles to his name (Cincinnati and Kansas City). As a veteran he also plays (and won) the first ever Mateship game in Wisconsin, scoring two goals. His two personal awards are two he is most proud of: 2018 Most Improved and 2022 Best and Fairest).

#27 – Andrew “OD” O’Dwyer

Roo Games Played – 16; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2022

From: Cherkasy, Ukraine

OD is in his second year player with the Kangaroos, having learned about footie playing soccer with Saul Camarena. He was picked up by the USA Revolution immediately and was part of the 2023 Squad to win the 49th Parallel Cup (versus Canada), playing in the forward line and midfield. The Revo squad saw in OD what the Roos saw: a quick, crafty, go-get-the-footy player who can make players around him better. He will be doing more of the same in the Roo midfield, forcing opponents to chase him and shake their heads in disappointment.

#30 – David Gonzalez

Roo Games Played – 5; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: South of the Border, Not sure which border…

David is another of those first year Rooboys (you can tell it was a good recruiting year!) who is making an impact on the squad. He looks to make an impact on his opponents at Nationals this weekend, roving the backline, shutting down opposing attacks and getting the footy out of danger.

Tj Greenway, Bench Coach

Roo Games Played – 16; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2022

From: Athens, GA, USA

Tj has been in Nashville since 2008. Unfortunately, he only found footy last year. After coming to one practice, he fell in love with the game (known as contracting White Line Fever) and to get more experience spent October and November playing with Rome and Birmingham in Georgia where he unfortunately tore his ACL. That only made him more passionate to get back to the team and he has been supporting the boys all year and is making the trip to nationals to help out on the bench. Now that is dedication. Good on ya, Tj!

Emma “Squid” Whewell, Team Runner/Water

Roo Games Played – 5; First Year as a Kangaroo – 2023

From: Centralia, IL, USA

Squid is from Centralia, IL, home of the Orphans. Apparently, she took her mascot with her when she joined footy because as of this nationals, she has played alongside eleven (yep, 11) different teams. In her first Nationals in 2022 her squad took runner-up, falling short in the GF. Her love of footy knows no bounds: she has been Secretary of Women’s Association for the last two years. No stranger to physical play, during the regular season plays in the men's games and takes that experience to the women’s division at nationals. She scored her first career goal September 16th on Kangaroo turf and the Roos could not be more proud! In addition to playing on the women’s side, she’ll be running messages and water for the boys this weekend. That is dedication that knows no bounds.


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