The brisk weather didn't hamper Friday's efforts as we saw many new faces amongst the old guard for the first game of the season. If there was rust from the offseason, it wasn't showing as the Rhinos got off to a flying start with Bobby and Jeff linking up well in the middle. The Piranhas were shell shocked as Levi and Tom C. used their speed to slot away the second major of the afternoon.
It took Pedro and Tim to reignite the Piranhas and get them into second gear with slick handpasses through the middle with another newcomer, Dion opening up the Rhinos defense to put their first notch on the board. By this point Hendrie had taken over umpiring efforts from Stu and the Rhinos had an extra player to their advantage.
The Rhinos steadied themselves with the ever consistent Russ cleaning up the backline and Brad C. throwing another solid performance charging everywhere around the ground making an impact like a bull in a china shop. That being said, every time the Rhinos pushed forward, Charlie and Gordon proved immovable objects as they seemed to thwart every attack.
A few changes at half-time allowed for coach/umpire Hendrie to see what different link ups looked like. Bobby swapped out for Russ and immediately Bobby and his fellow Revo hopeful Jeff looked to take each other to the next level as they prepare for the Revo camp next week. It was Levi who proved to be the turning point in the battle of the midfield as he took on Bobby head on in what turned into a David and Goliath conflict. All of it made for great footy.
Jeff's consistency in getting the ball out to Ty, who regularly slotted them home, proved to be the deciding factor in the third quarter. Stu changed sides again and Jeff's quick knock to him out on the boundary allowed him to put on his dancing shoes and get an improvised kick over to Tom in the goal square allowing for the Piranhas to pull further away from the Rhinos. John, by the way, had his first footy training on Tuesday and followed up with an incredible effort against Stu. He's going to be one to watch this season. As the game wore on, Amy and Matt dropped in deeper from the forward line in search for possessions and became an instant nuisance to Russ and Gordon.
Tom C, Tim, Pedro and Dion all valiantly battled through to the end with incredibly efforts in the midfield. The fourth quarter definitely belonged to the Rhinos as the unsung hero of the day, Jayson, signaled his intention for the year by taking the game by the scruff of the neck and dictated every play until the end of the game. Some great footy being played straight out of the starting blocks with a number of the old guard missing in action. Exciting times for Chicago footy as we kick off the season with so many new faces.
Best: Jayson, Gordon, Charlie, Jeff, Pedro, Bobby