Nashville, TN -- On Saturday September 7, 2019 the weather finally cooperated and was below the point at which one would go to hell to cool off. And with that comfortable footy weather came visiting a team from the north, a team that last visited the confines of Elmington Park in 2002 (which the Roos narrowly lost by two points), perennial Division I contenders, the New York Magpies. And they came loaded with Aussies and plenty of footy experience. It was to be a true test of how far the Nashville Kangaroos have progressed these past couple of years.
The Magpies were ready to go at the start and grabbed the first goal straight out of the center clearance and never let up, out-hustling the Roos to a first quarter lead 4.4.28 to 0.4.4. But then the Roos decided that they could care less what the history of the rivalry was and how many Aussies were wearing black and white: the teamwork took over, and combined with a ferocity not seen since... well, since the Roos were losing to Columbus two weeks ago(!) our hometown heroes fought back with two goals from Joel "Fine Master" Thornton and a gorgeous 40-yard lefty from Logan "Luna Feliz" Monday to bring the margin down to a mere two goals, New York leading 5.7.37 to 3.6.24 at half time.
In the Premiership quarter the Roos continued their pounding away on the Magpie defense, while the stalwart Roo defenders fought off repeated Magpie attacks. The Roos were able to win the possession game and counted more scoring shots (6 to 4) but were only able to convert a lone goal from Benny Vaatstra while the Magpies stretched their lead by two points to 7.9.51 to 4.11.35 heading into the final period.
Once again the Roos looked to their backline to make a stand and give the Roos a chance for a major win. And that is just what they did. Fighting off the relentless Magpie attack, they only ceded behinds, giving the forwards multiple opportunities to close the gap, including the Play of the Day by Carlos "Not in My House” Villicana and the ceaseless efforts of Saul Camarena. Unfortunately, the scoring shot accuracy was off a bit and while the Roos got plenty of pushes into the forward line they were only able to muster five behinds, and after a couple of late goals fell short 9.13.67 to 4.16.40.
In spite of the verdict going in the loss column, it was most decidedly a moral victory; this game proved the Kangaroos are able to play toe-to-toe with the best teams in the country! Good on ya, boys!
With the conclusion of the regular season, the Roos sport and most impressive record of 7-3 (3-1 at home) and now turn their focus on the National Championships next month in Sarasota, FL where they most likely will be competing for a Division III trophy. But before that happens, there is still one game to be played in Music City: on Friday night, September 27 at Morgan Park, the Metro League Grand Final will see the Wallabies and Redbacks fighting to hoist the Championship Cup, and then head straight to the Smokehouse on Sixth in Germantown to the AFL Grand Final Watch Party.
Thanks to the Women's Team who ran all the off field duties to help make the game a great spectacle for the 125 fans who wildly cheered their Roos. Thanks also to Evan "Colonel" Ling and Adam Alvarez (who flew with New York just to umpire) for the field umpire duties and Toby Persson for helping the off field team.
New York Magpies 9.13.67 defeated Nashville Kangaroos 4.16.40
Nashville Goals: Joel Thornton 2, Logan Monday and Benny Vaatstra 1
Best on Ground: Carlos Villicana
One Percenter Award: Saul Camarena
Umpires: Evan "Colonel" Ling, Adam Alvarez, and Jeff Persson (field); Lauryl "Yanny" Desch, Kristen "Bulldog" Baldwin, Natalie "Nat" Smith (goal)