CHICAGO, IL- Burgmann Field was full to capacity with a huge crowd on hand to welcome football back to Chicagos’ beautful Lake Michigan shoreline with a cracker of a game that had everything from a bit of biffo (who didn’t love seeing Grisoni lay out Betty Palmer?) to numerous lead changes in a heart stopping last quarter.
The game started with a great showing from the Tigers and yeat another disappointing one by the Rhinos who required the services of some Pee rah nas to enable a game of 16 a side to go on. Thankfully for the Rhinos though, they did get the 12 required to miss point deductions, much to the chagrin of big Mustard who was rueing his new rule brought out mid week.
The weather was a balmy 70 odd with a good 70 odd knot wind blowing across the ground with any advantage going to the Tigers who kicked to the northern end in the first stanza. From the bounce, it was obvious this was going to be an arm wrestle as both defences were on top as sides struggled to move the ball effectively in the conditions. Rhinos went with Kansas Hattery on the dangerous Burgmann who was looking resplendant in his “sexy capri pants and manicured toes”, while Drake was shadowed by Poncho up front for the Rhinestone cowboys.
The Tigers looked the goods out of the blocks as repeated forays forward looked dangerous but the extra man in ‘D’ for the Rhinos subdued any problems. Brennan was on fire early and the run of Poncho and Crabs out of the backline gave Burgmann, Meyer and the forwards plenty of opportunity, all to no avail however. Braddis was looking good and proved to be a handful for Disco Panek all day as the seemingly 30 lb lighter version of the 08 Braddis was running around like an acne scarred teenager with some high powered binoculars at a nudist colony.
It wasn’t long before the reason all the ladies turned up got hold of the ball but much to the assembled ladies dismay, Hoyts shot flew wide. A rejuvenated Biggs took a nice grab on a long lead in front of new Rhino Tyler Dorsett but he also shot wide. The Rhinos moved the ball down the ground through first gamer Clarke, top recruit and rugby convert Adrian Deeham and perennial legend Drew Wolfe and found new manager Jezza Morgan whose bomb into the far reaches of the forward line bounced into the waiting arms of Drake who, showing a bit more agility than anyone, particularly himself expected, went left, then right then back to the left in front of Poncho. Utterly confused and rueing his decision to go onto the left, he banged it on the foot anyway, just as a huge gust of wind came through, tilting the goal post and enabling his snap to sail through, breaking the strangehold the Tigers had had on the game thus far.
From the center bounce, the Tigers went back into attack and after dropped mark number 8 by Wazza, Braddis showed him how it was done with a lovely mark and goal to send the favorites into the first break 1.2: 8 to 1.0:6 up. The Tiger guns were firing with Burgmann, Poncho, Uhlmann and especially Oscar getting plenty of it, a worrying sign for the Rhinos who were being kept in it by first gamers Glenn Clarke, Jack Thompson and the hard running Jeff Borchardt.
Against a probable 2 goal breeze, the Tigers continued to dominate with Meyer becoming a particular pain in the arse for the Rhino hierachy as he seemingly had the ball on a string. He found Braddis early and the svelte big man popped through numero dos as the Rhino backs showed some tired legs. Drake went into the ruck and Wolfe to full forward as the Rhinos searched for their next goal. The move paid dividends as momentum shifted late in the first half.
Biggsy missed again and Braddis was unlucky as his third missed by centimeters then the Rhinos struck. Jack Thompson, the nephew of Swan legend Basher took the game on his shoulders as he continually presented up front. His first went wide but then picking the crumbs from a Wolfe lead, the big man sat back and nailed his first ever goal from 30 out on a tight angle. Wolfe was proving a handful for Gaelic import Rahilly and the Rhinos seemed to be getting on top as the siren blew. At the half, the Tigers went in 3.4: 16 to 2.3: 15 up with the game very much in the balance.
The second half was a doozy as the center lines for both teams took over. For the Tigers, Uhlmann, Meyer and Crabs were terrific but the Rhino backs in first gamers Forte, Hattery, Dorsett, Deeham and BOG Clarke were running hot. Poncho, Rahilly and big Pace kept the Rhino forwards at bay and the game became a war of attrition. Braddis, who was giving Disco Panek plenty to think about was able to break through for his third of the game but Jeremy Morgan, busy up front, was able to pull the Rhinos back after a deft handball from his coach let him dribble, literally, a ball through from 20 out. As they say in golfing circles Jezza, it’s how many, not how.
Brennan then struck for the Tigers as the lead changed again and again. Hattery continued to frustrate Burgmann while Hoyt was shifted into the backline to see if he could get that elusive second touch of the game. With the 2 main Tiger forwards being shut down, Braddis continued to resist but his snap was touched through for a point. From the kick out, the Rhinos, through Clarke, Morgan and Forte moved solidly on the top wing and Fortes bomb forward found Drake whose grab in heavy traffic was rewarded with a fine goal from 40 out. At the orange break she was anyones game with the Tigers still leading 4.7: 31 to 4.3: 27.
Drake, smelling an upset, through Forte and Clarke into the middle and Wolfe back into the ruck with Deeham back in the guts as well with the aim of stopping a red hot Crackers Brennan. The move paid off for the Rhino coach as Wolfes tap from the Big Al bounce found Forte who went bang from the center of the ground and the ball, bouncing in front of a leading Aussie Mike, evaded both him and his defender and mercifully for the Rhinos went through the big sticks to put the Rhino in front. Next up and the Rhinos attacked again with Morgan missing one he should’ve kicked before big Aussie Mike Allen said thanks very much and kicked truly to bring up his first to put the first nail in the Tiger coffin. Seconds later he had another chance but a sensational diving effort from Grisoni enabled him to get a hand on a certain 6 points, keeping the Tige’s in it.
With the pressure on, the Tigers, through Meyer, Crabs, Brennan and Mark Warren kept attacking until a Rhino defensive break down saw Uhlmann mark 30 out dead in front. His shot missed and the Rhinos were able to suffocate the game as Jack Thompson, Glenn Clarke and Jeffery Borchardt each stepped up again for important plays enabling the Rhino to gore its way to a momentous victory 6.5: 41 to 4.8: 32
|Goals||Rhinos: Drake (2), Thompson, Morgan J, Allen M, Forte
Tigers: Bradshaw (3), Brennan
|Best||Rhinos: Thompson, Borchardt, Clarke, Deehan, Hattery
Tigers: Bradshaw, Brennan, Meyer, Doorhy V