by Roving Roo Reporter
Nashville, TN -- September 27, 2019 in Australia had footy fans everywhere arguing whether the Tigers or the Giants would claim the ultimate prize on the morrow, but before that would be settled, halfway around the world a far more important battle took place: the Wallabies and the Redbacks would face off for the Nashville ARFC Metro Grand Final Cup! In 2018 the same two teams had battled fiercely into the warm night for the inaugural Cup, only to be stymied by a point at the siren that left the scores level, but technically made everyone a champion.
With the same comfortable weather the teams squared off in the cozy confines of Morgan Park. The Redbacks won the coin toss and chose to kick to the north end, a slight advantage due to the tilt of the ground. They immediately stomped on the gas and did not let up for the whole quarter. With Andrew Gleickman dominating in the ruck and Alex "Lilo" Dreifke and Kersei Davis running like gazelles, they fed their forwards and got four goals before the Wallabies could answer. Sensational newcomer Kayla Toney got the first major, followed quickly by Freedom hopeful Alexa "Lecka" Roncancio and Alex "Lilo" Dreifke. Towards the end of the quarter, coming out of the backline Saul Camarena snared a goal, but that seemed to wake up the Wallabies who responded with a goal from the eternal Evan "Colonel" Ling, the only player to play in three centuries of footy. Redbacks 4.2(26) led the Wallabies 1.0(6).
The teams swapped ends for the second quarter and the Wallabies apparently realized that the match had started and after another lovely scoring shot from Alexa "Lecka" Roncancio, the Wallabies went on a tear, taking full advantage of what would be the scoring end of the field. Mick Jones got things started with a nice mark and set shot, followed by Tim "El Presidente" Dunn with a runner, and Steve "I'm a New Daddy" van de Kamp both finding the scoring touch. Amid all the scoring some may have missed the best tackle of the game as Kristen "Bulldog" Baldwin brought down the elusive Kersei Davis; luckily umpire Villicana did not call her for 'Holding the Man'. As the siren sounded for halftime, what started out as domination had the growing crowd wondering would this year see a second draw? Redbacks held a slim lead 5.3(33) to 4.5(29).
As the teams got rested and hydrated at halftime, Wallaby leader Dave "Frosty" Harris pulled off a coup in signing midfielder Alex "Lilo" Dreifke to bolster their midfield. League management approved the contract under auspicious circumstance, amid rumors of multiple beverages in payment following the game. As the the Premiership quarter got started, that move payed immediate dividends as Lilo kicked the opening goal followed by El Presidente getting his second major and clearly looking forward to said adult beverages! With the Wallabies' first lead of the match boosting their confidence, they kept rolling, behind tremendous play of Myriame "Mymy" Essalki in her first ever footy contest taking two marks and tackling fellow Frenchman Maxime Rosinski making a French Connection (sorry, couldn't resist) as well as Maurice "Slo Mo" Howell who was racing all over the midfield scooping up the crumbs. Then in the best sequence of play on the night, Carlos "Taco Gobbler" Villicana kicked from goal to Natalie Smith who connected to Tim Dunn who found Steve van de Kamp who kicked true from 20 yards out. The Redbacks weren't impressed as Kersei Davis grabbed the next ruck tap and not only cleared it to advantage but put it though for a goal to stem the Wallaby tide. But the New Daddy wasn't to be outdone as he then snuck in behind the Redback defenders to snare his third of the match. When the carnage was completed, the Wallabies held the lead 8.6(54) to 6.6(42). With one quarter between the teams and glory that would last forever, who would step up and be counted? The Redbacks had to go up hill literally and figuratively and they went to work. Veteran of a 1000 psychic wars and 200+ Roo matches, Dee "Weeman" Vsetecka broke free and showed why he played for the USA Revolution in Australia with the first goal. In the surprise move of the match, El Presidente switched sides (apparently remorseful after approving the Dreifke signing) and kicked his third of the match but first for the Redbacks, leaving the lawyers to sort out this one afterwards. As there is a lawyer on the team, Wallaby Dave "Frosty" Harris, it will be interesting to see which way he rules! Meanwhile, the Redbacks having regained the lead by a single point put the hammer down (no, not Hammer, he wasn't there; the proverbial "hammer") with two late goals from Kayla Toney (her second and third) and for good measure, super midfielder Logan "Luna Feliz" from directly in front. Wait, scratch that, he's doing push ups, apparently he missed and only got a behind which means he'll be hitting post game as Luna Furioso, not Luna Feliz - you've been warned! The Wallabies attempt to rally back late fell short as the final siren sounded. Redbacks are Champions!! Congratulations to all the players for their efforts on the night and the year. They now turn their focus on the National Championships next month in Sarasota, FL where the women will combine with Columbus, Minnesota and Tampa in the Women's Division II and the men look for their first championship in a tight Men's Division II. Some of those games will be streamed live, so check out the website for details. Thanks to those who ran all the off field duties to help make the game a great spectacle for the 50 fans who wildly cheered their Wallabies and Redbacks. Thanks also to Tim Dunn, Carlos Villicana and Phil Lavis for field umpire duties, Lauryl "Yanny" Desch and Gilberto "Chimi" Ortiz and family for goals, Jess West, Bryar Moore, Melissa Harris at the officials desk, and Toby Persson for helping the off field team. Redbacks 10.8(68) defeat Wallabies 8.7(55) Redbacks Goals: Kayla Toney 3, Alexa Roncancio 2, Alex Dreifke, Saul Camarena, Kersei Davis, Dee Vsetecka and Tim Dunn 1 Wallabies Goals: Steve van de Kamp 3, Alex Dreifke and Tim Dunn 2, Evan Ling 1 Injuries: None Attendance: 50