Burgmann Fields, Chicago IL- In a classic tussle between the Rhinos of Wrigleyville and the Piranhas of Lincoln Square, the Rhinos managed to triumph to ensure the privilage of defending their premiership against the Tigers of Lincoln Square.
In a game dominated by the wind, the Rhinos won the toss and kicked with the breeze in the first. Drake threw his big guns up forward in ‘Biggun’ Jackson and a refreshed Scotty McCoombe just off the plane from Oz. The two big men dominated as Panek in the ruck played an outstanding game against Tiny and was able to win several taps giving the dynamic Wolfe first use of the ball. McCoombe’s mark and goal was the games first before a big goal from Jacko set the crowd alight. The Piranhas, fearing a blow out strengthened their backline and double teamed the two big fellas which gave first Funky Miller and then MacGlashan Medal leading Gordo all the ball and space they needed. Through three brilliant snaps, they led the Rhinos into the quarter time break 5. 2: 32 to 0.1: 1 up but the Piranhas were licking their lips as they looked at the wind which had refused to die down and knew their chance was coming.
The Rhinos brought Jackson and Hoyt (B) back to strengthen the backline but all to little avail. Despite time wasting tactics and playing the boundary as oft as possible, the Piranhas were able to surge back through a midfield that had come alive. Deri Morgan and Betty Palmer were marvellous as they ran hard and often through a weakening Rhino line and set up many scoring opportunities for their forwards. In a strange move designed to keep the forward line open, Kastilahn left big guns MacGlashan and Roofy up the ground preffering to rely on Ehlers and an unfit Burgmann who was having a lot of trouble holding onto anything, let alone a football. Brian Hoyt had the better of Ehlers and B.O.G Miller the better of Burgmann but the Rhino backs couldn’t contain holidaying mercenary Paul whose three goals for the quarter were sheer class. The surprisingly quiet Roofy piped up to mark and goal to make it 4 for the quarter as the Piranhas showed they were certainly not a spent force. At the long break, the Rhinos clung to a 5.2: 32 to 4.2: 26 lead.
As in the first, Drake sent ‘Biggun’ Jackson and McCoombe up forward along with Anderson, the brothers Hoyt, Ambrosino and OBK to see if they could break the game open but the Piranhas were to strong and shut the big Rhino game winners down. Goal of the day came off the boot of Biggun as he broke two tackles and snapped truly from 45 out to break the Piranha strangelhold and shake off the determined tag of Poncho for a brief second . OBK marked truly in the goal square but decided to kick it 90 degrees the wrong way to bring up a point before the Piranhas were able to attack and get a great goal off the boot of Ehlers. Minutes late Ehlers, after a diving mark, had the chance to put the Pirnahas up but his shot from 25 out went left and the ensuing kick in found biggun Jackson whose bomb from 50 put the Rhino faithful in a better mood as they went into the orange break 2 goals up, 7. 3: 45 to 5.3: 33.
The last quarter was one of the best quarters in Metro footy history as both teams threw themselves at the ball and gave everything they had. The Rhinos learnt from their mistakes in the second quarter and strengthened their on ball division to quell the Pirnaha danger men of Hayse, Morgan and Palmer. The brothers Hoyt were marvellous down back along with Funky Miller and Toddy McClamroch as the Rhinos repelled forward foray after forward foray. Beau Rogers marked and goaled 10 yards out to bring the game to within a kick and with 3 minutes left, it was still anyones game. The Rhinos attacked and Anderson kicked an important behind (not Al’s!) to make the difference 7 points. In the ensuing time, players from both teams left everything they had out on the field as the Piranhas looked for that elusive goal and the Rhinos tried to stand tall. In the end, Kogs blew time and a relieved Rhino team emerged with a gutsy win. The Piranhas, while bitterly dissapointed, were not left empty handed as they reflected on a marvellous second half of the season that signalled their coming of age. Coming out of nowhere mid season, the Piranhas accounted for the Rhinos twice and lost heartbreakers twice to the Tigers. Their new recruits in Ternes, Monico and Morrisey were wonderful and the play of elder statesmen Ehlers, Deri Morgan and MacGlashan was heartwarming for both DK and the United selectors ahead of the Milwaukee clash proving why Metro football is so important to the future of the game in Chicago.
|Goals||Rhinos: Jackson (3), Ambrosino (2), Miller, McCoombe
Piranhas: Paul (Roofys mate) (3), Ward, Ehlers, Beau
|Best||Rhinos: Jackson, Ambrosino, Miller, Hoyt P, Wolfe, Panek
Piranhas: Paul (Roofys mate), Morgan D, Kastilan, Palmer