September 16, 2023
Roving Roo Reporter
In the world of Footy you never know how things will turn out. Saturday September 16th saw the Nashville area see its first rain in three weeks, which normally would be hailed by all those tired of watering their lawns, except it threatened the Kangaroos plans for the day. But read on, intrepid adventurer, to see how the day really went and you’ll be as amazed as I was.
After an immensely fun Schools Program at Holy Trinity Montessori on Wednesday, thirty of the students dragged their parents out to Elmington Park so that they could be a part of the Kangaroos Kids Clinic. Said parents undoubtedly looked to the skies, sighed, and thought to themselves “you only live once” and piled in their cars, drove through the drizzle, and arrived at the park to see the hallowed ground of the Nashville Kangaroos already set up and two dozen Kangaroos ready to teach the bobbins the game of Footy.
The clinic started at 1 pm as the clouds began to clear, with kids and Kangaroos doing handball drills and kicking drills with footies provided by sponsor Play Aussie. With team captain James “JD” Duty, Andrew “OD” O’Dywer, and Luke Chadwick leading the way with a “GO ROOS!” team cheer, the kids they practiced their goal kicking which will come in handy when their school decides to implement an AusKick program, hopefully later in the year.
It must have been the tremendous enthusiasm of the kids that began parting the clouds and bringing the sunshine through to dry out the ground as the Kangaroos readied for battle against the Chicago Swans. All doubts were removed when the kids got to come to center ground at the start of the match to participate in the pregame speech by the umpires and participate in the nail and boot check (to be sure no one has metal cleats). One lucky student got to do the coin toss and everyone waved back to the parents and fans, thanking them for being part of a great day!
The Kangaroos then paid tribute with a moment of silence to Hall-of-Famer Shane “Mouth of the South” Clohesy, honoring his contributions to the club's first decade with his skills on the microphone calling games. The fans got busy perusing their Footy Guide and looking over the Australian Slang insert while game got started. And they were not disappointed.
The Kangaroos grabbed control straight away in the first quarter with Chadwick getting the first five scores on the board, including two goals. Newcomer Hayden Sloane finished the scoring in the period to give the Kangaroos the lead at the first break, 4.3 (27) to 0.0 (0).
It was more of the same in the second as the Kangaroos kicked toward the West End Middle School end of the field. Chadwick started as he did in the first getting his third of the game, followed by O’Dwyer showing that lefties are the most dangerous kickers! Veteran Maurice “SloMo” Howell came tearing out of the middle to put another major on the board, and then the world nearly stopped spinning when 20+ year veteran Evan “Colonel” Ling became the oldest Kangaroo to kick a goal (breaking the record set earlier in the season by Jeff “Peeps” Persson.) That woke up the Swans who then took over for the remainder of the second, finally breaking the shut out with a nice goal by Sean McKenzie finishing a well-played end-to-end sequence of passes and sent the boys to the half-time break with the score Kangaroos 8.8 (56) vs Swans 1.0 (6).
During half-time with the sun warming everyone, rewarding them for getting past the morning’s shower, the fans were able to get a bit of the history between the Swans and Kangaroos and a bit of Aussie lingo education to go along with the game descriptions being broadcast live through the public address system to help those new to Aussie Rules understand the game flow, what are the penalties and signals being used to communicate to the fans, and some periodic entertaining commentary.
The second half started and Chicago’s Marc Edwards closed the gap with the second goal for the Swans and started to give them a whiff of a comeback. But visiting from St. Louis Emma (Squid) Whewell kicked her first career goal followed by Chadwick’s fourth to close out the Premiership Quarter: Kangaroos 10.12 (72). Swans 2.2 (14).
In the final period rookie Ty Hardin sold the dummy and kicked true, followed by Howell and O’Dwyer adding to the totals. Late in the game Brad “Chambo” Chamberlain was rewarded for his work in the backline and Duty got his second on a nice banana shot from the right pocket. As the final siren sounded, the scoreboard showed Nashville 15.16 (106) d. Chicago 2.4 (16).
At this point a number of players deserve mention: With the Swans depleted numbers many of the Kangaroos spent a half in the red and white Swans jumpers: David Gonzalez, Brett Philpott, Jonny Guider, Bill Comstock, and Colt Atwell and several others. It shows the true spirit of Footy in the USA that players make these sacrifices so that everyone can get to play this great game. Now everyone can get home and showered so they can head to club sponsor Homegrown Taproom and Kitchen to relax, feast, and wash away their aches and pains while recounting the exploits on the day!
This match brings a close to the Kangaroos regular season with a record of 8-4, having 31 different players put the Red Roo on their chest. Overall, the Roos are 190-130-2 and 90-23-0 at home in 26 years, a solid accomplishment. Against Chicago, the record stands at 16-14 and 9-2 at home, with the rivalry surely headed for more clashes in 2024. Next up, the season finale: USAFL National Championships. The boys head to Florida October 13-15 where they will likely be seeded in Division III and carry into the tournament a 6-0-1 record in the past two years and their sights set on bringing home their second national title in three years. Follow their progress on the various social media sites (website, Facebook, Instagram). Go The ROOS!!
Nashville 15.16 (106) d. Chicago 2.4 (16)
Nashville goals: Chadwick 4, Chamberlain, Duty, Filchak, Harden, Howell, Ling, Sloane, O’Dwyer, Whewell
Chicago Goals: Edwards, McKenzie
Field Umpires: Krazka, Mills
Goal Umpires: Chadwick, Greeway
Photography courtesy of Ron Warren