On Saturday June 13, a depleted Swans squad of 16 blokes descended into Nashville to defend the Wayne Schwass Cup at Elmington Park. Stu has either 20/120 vision or a nose that a TSA sniffer dog would be proud of, but lucky for us he recruited an Aussie on the flight down to Nashville. Zane was handy for us as we needed all the men we could at that point.
The ground was a treat, a fast track, a lot of sunshine and more heat than us Chicagoans had seen in 10 months. Thankfully we had Hendrie running water in between shuffling the side around as best he could.
Pony Boy won the toss and kick with the aid of a two goal breeze. The Swans made the most of their opportunities, with Nathan Bird, Woody, and Stu slotting majors for the term. The quarter was marred by an incident that occurred at the 5 minute mark more likely to be seen in a cage fighting bout. Corey Barker wore two clinched fists to the forehead, which kept him off the field until the second half. The incident really did spur the boys on and finished the quarter strongly, Swans in front by 13 points.
The second quarter tightened up considerably with the Swans adding a solitary goal through through Nathan Bird. Webby in his first game back from a pre-season hamstring injury was serviceable at center half back, the two Brads, Clifton & Ross were working overtime in the back line. The junkyard dog was a welcome addition back into the Swan outfit, big things to come once the dog finds his form later in the year. New bloke, Jonno lurking on the last line of attack calmly took a number of telling grabs and thwarted a good number of their forward thrusts. With Corey off the ground, the mid fielders, Pony Boy, Pedro, Tommy Shearman, Al Martin were wearing the load. Nashville had a couple nippy mid-fielders that were causing head aches for the under manned Swans. The Swans battled gallantly in the quarter and went into half time with a slender 7 point lead.
The premiership quarter saw the Swans play like rock stars ignoring the heat, Corey defied the pain barrier and touched it out and appeared to inspire the boys. The Swans banged on four goals to three; Stu benefited from a couple down the field free kicks making The Roos pay for each. Brad Clifton and Pony Boy each nailed goals. Nashville were beginning to carve out goals of their own in the quarter adding three goals and six behinds. Swans went into the final term, 8 points ahead.
In all honesty, as coach, it was hard to watch the boys do their stuff against tough conditions, but they continued to battle on but in the end were over run by Nashville, who were obviously more attuned to the oppressive conditions. I might add, that had we travelled with 3 or 4 more players the result may well have been in our favor. That said, it was a tough hit out, aside from the first term incident which is not part of our game, the game itself was played hard and tough and we new Nashville would be keen to atone for their loss in Chicago last year.
The Swans now set their sights on the Central Region Tournament in Racine on July 11th. At present they are expecting an excellent turnout with 12 men’s teams competing (Austin, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Houston, Milwaukee/Indy, Minnesota, New York, Ohio Valley and Tulsa). Now is the time to keep the ball rolling lads, let me or Hoyty know if you are going to make the day trip on the 11th.
Onwards to Victory!
Chicago Swans: 3.3.21 4.5.29 8.6.54 8.7.55
Nashville Kangaroos: 1.2.8 3.4.22 6.9.45 10.13.73
Goals: Stu 3, Nathan Bird 2, Woody, Clifton, Pony Boy
Best: Jonno, Corey, Clifton, Ross, Pony Boy