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2013 Swans host Minnesota

2013 Swans host Minnesota

The Chicago Swans have finished their final regular season game with a huge win over the Minnesota Freeze. This was the perfect result for the home team who had yet to register a win in 2013 including a narrow loss to the Freeze earlier this year. The selected side also had 12 missing from the disappointing loss to Columbus 2 weeks ago. That said the 25 blokes that put on the Swans jersey were determined to give it a red hot go!

Chicago set the tone early with repeated forward entries set up by Jason Wilhelm giving the on ballers first sniff of the ball. A few close misses finally turned into goals and at quarter time the Swans had a 4 goal lead with the ball barely entering the visitors forward half. The early signs looked ominous for the Freeze with Swans’ midfielders, Porter, Young Pat playing most likely his best game for the Swans, Pedro, Sainty & Keefy dominating the center clearances and the forwards locking the ball in the forward 50 in an impressive display.

Full forward Leigh Rees showed his overhead skills was going to be a handful for the Minnesota defense, and the likes of the 2 Nolans, Doddsy, Dougy Malcolm, Dorsett, Henry Knoop all doing their bit to turn a defensive action into a scoring opportunity. Such was the domination in the first quarter the Freeze didn’t look close to scoring and failed to register a single point.

The 2nd quarter was a continuation of the first with the Chicago on-ballers taking advantage of the clever ruck taps from Revo Ruckman Ponyboy and working strongly together to clear the ball and deliver effectively into the forward line. Chicago’s defence held together by club stalwarts Hoyt & Prez Poncho, along with first gamer James Rapley & Russ holding the Freeze game breaker, Tiger to a few inneffective touches, were tried only slightly but held strong and worked well to clear the footy when the time came. Not being quite as wasteful in front of the big sticks the Swans were able to extend their lead with another couple of goals while the the Freeze still couldn’t get themselves on the scoreboard.

The Swans went into the main break with a commanding lead, 5.9 (39) to the Freeze 0.0 (0).

No score in the first half would be eating away at the Freeze and we knew they would rebound from such a one sided first half and with a little bit of luck and some classy play from a few of their guns, Zach & Tiger managed to finally score. Still, the Chicago backline kept the visitors busy and provided a great springboard for their forward thrusts. Fitzy & Nolan Schmelzer came out on the wings and played like men possessed; Fitzy really did turn back the clock on Saturday. This type of form from these two blokes makes for a difficult match up for the opposition.

Even with Minnesota kicking a couple of quick goals the Swans still won the quarter kicking 3 majors of their own to extend their lead to 45 points. it was clever play that won the premiership quarter, working in numbers, leading hard and not afraid to take the opposition on when it counted. A couple of key attacks from patiently going backwards to progress forwards was a clear indication that the Chicago boys weren’t only playing harder than their opponents but also working smarter.

The last quarter was more of the same. The midfield didn’t let up, full back Hoyt, Fitzy were almost toying with their opponents thrusting the ball repeatedly into the forward line, and kicking almost as many goals in 20 mins as they had in the previous 3 quarters. Even the midfielders were sharing the honours desperate to get their name in the paper.

Minnesota did manage to score another couple of goals but it was too little too late. The domination shown by the Chicago Swans was highlighted by an an absolutely fantastic end to end goal which the Freeze had no answer to. Young Pat El Zoghbi capped off a magic day with a goal on the siren.

In the end the Swans ran out 70 point victors 14-14 (98) to Minnesota 4-4 (28). It was great effort by Chicago who were keen to round out their season with a comprehensive 4 quarter effort leading into the final few weeks before Nationals in October.

If the boys can take this effort and keep moving forward then there is a most definite chance that they can bring back more Silverware from Austin and continue their climb to the upper ranks of the USAFL.

Results

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Swans 3.6.24 2.3.15 3.2.20 6.3.39 14.14.98
Minnesota 0.0.0 0.0.0 2.2.14 2.2.14 4.4.28
Goals Swans: McKeegan (4), Rees (4), Porter (2), Fitzgerald (2), Wallach, El Zoghbi
Minnesota: None
Best Swans: McKeegan, Rees, Porter, El Zoghbi, Hermann, Hoyt B, Jimenez
Minnesota: None
2013 Swans at Minnesota

2013 Swans at Minnesota

With 7 Metro games under our belts our Swans season kicked off on Saturday with 20 of us heading up to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to take on the Freeze, who are the current Division II Premiers. A perfect afternoon for football with the sun shining and what appeared to be a 3-4 goal breeze down the City end.

The Freeze were switched on from the outset and were able to quell any forward movment by the Swans. Given we were aided by the breeze in the first quarter were unable to capitalize, heading into the first break 1 point in arrears. The second quarter saw the mid field for the Freeze gain the ascendency, Pony owned the aerial dual and in the end the Freeze roved his taps very well and gave our backman some real headaches. At this stage in the game the scoreboard was getting away from us, at half time the score 32 to 14.

After some soul searching at half time, the Swans came up and really took the game up to the Freeze and you could feel a momentum shift and all of a sudden the Swans got a sniff. Xavier went into the forward line after half time and made an instant impact, Big ‘soon to be wise’ Al battled all day against what must have seemed to be a wall of opposition. The mid field began to click and guys that had been relatively quiet, Keefy, Alex, Sars, Dougy, Rocky started to find the ball and create some quick movement into the forward, something that had been lacking in the first half.

We had outscored them in the 3rd quarter, and there was a buzz in the huddle about the fact we were still in it. The last quarter began with a real sense of urgency, Pony Boy began to give our mid fielders first use of the ball, this kick started some real genuine chances with quick movement into the forward line and all of a sudden opportunities began to present. Of the four behinds registered in the last quarter, three were from set shots, so to go down in the end by 9 points was a pretty reasonable effort given the first half performance being below par.

There were some really excellent efforts from the boys and to get so close with only 20 blokes gives us some real positives moving into the second half of the year. New Swan recruits and first gamers, Wade Porter, Quin McMillan, Alex Wallach, Andrew Woodman, showed us their value and ability and we look forward to having them be a string part of the group for the rest of the year.

Revolution ruckman, Jason Wilhelm seems to get better and better every time we play and am sure Revo Coach Bishop is excited knowing Pony Boy will be up for the challenge in the upcoming Parallel Cup in Edmonton, Alberta, CA on August 3rd.

A really good start to the year overall! I beleive as a Club and as individuals the programming this year has been beneficial. With the mid season break upon us, it gives a bit of breathing space before we head into the business end of the year.

Results

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Minnesota 1.2.8 4.0.24 1.1.7 1.1.7 7.4.46
Swans 1.1.7 1.1.7 1.1.7 2.4.16 5.7.37
Goals Minnesota: None
Swans: Burton (2), MacGlashan (2), Bradley
Best Minnesota: None
Swans: Burton, MacGlashan, Porter, Wallach, Wilhelm

2012 Swans host Minnesota

Results

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Swans 0.0.0 0.0.0 0.0.0 4.3.27 4.3.27
Minnesota 0.0.0 0.0.0 0.0.0 6.8.44 6.8.44
Goals Swans: None
Minnesota: MacGlashan (2), Adams, Daudelin
Best Swans: None
Minnesota: Adams, Brennan, Burton, Campion, El Zoghbi

United fall to Minny

Congrats to those of you that actually made the trip up to Minnesota this past weekend. The challenge began way before the first bounce, however full credit to the 15 of us that took the field against Des Moines and Minnesota in the afternoon. Their ability to focus on the task at hand knowing full well that we were behind the eightball in terms of being undermanned from the outset.

Our first game against a determined and constantly improving Des Moines outfit turned out to be an inspiring win with a number of players stepping up to cover the losses to mother nature. Jayson Schmelzer, Mark ‘Gunner’ Gzynski and Graham ‘Crackers’ Brennan led the way up forward consistently finding a lot of ball and more importantly rewarding themselves and the hard work up the field to work Des Moines into the ground.

Results

Team 1st Half 2nd Half Final
Des Moines 0.0.0 0.1.1 0.1.1
United 0.0.0 8.4.52 8.4.52
Goals Des Moines: None
United: Brennan (2), Gizynski M (2), Schmelzer J (2), Deehan, Wilhelm
Best Des Moines: None
United: Brennan, Deutz

Brownstone award: David Deutz
Oxford Landing award: Crackers

Slow starts have plagued us this year, the lads stepped up against a full strength Freeze outfit and restricted their scoring in the first half. The back line must have thought the Freeze had 22 players on the ground, but to their credit withstood the avalanche, however we were unable to apply any scoreboard pressure at the other end, however opportunities were few and far between. At half time: CAFA 0.0.0 and MN 1.6.12 With some of our key position players preparing to endure a night with the package back in Chi-town, our makeshift team with 5 Des Moines players stepping into help us out, held their heads high. But in the end, with little rotations available to us in the middle, saw their midfield shift gear, increasing their inside fifty forays, and the scoreboard began to tick over for them. Eventually running out winners 5.9.39 to 0.1.1. The scoreboard really didn’t tell the true story, i have no doubt CAFA can avenge this game at Nationals, something to look forward to! MN have set the bar pretty high, they will field 2 solid teams this year, we need to continue to build on our fitness and make sure that MN don’t have a chance at Nationals this year.

Results

Team 1st Half 2nd Half Final
Minnesota 1.6.12 4.3.27 5.9.39
United 0.0.0 0.1.1 0.1.1
Goals Minnesota: None
United: None
Best Minnesota: None
United: Panek, Zukowski

Brownstone award: Mike Panek
Oxford Landing award: Ez

That said we now switch into overdrive, and set ourselves for the Milwaukee Bombers who will no doubt come into Chi-town full of confidence after beating us recently in Madison on a postage stamp!

United Start Fire in the Freezer

LAKE NOKOMIS, MN- Billy Uhlmann, Gordon Ambrosino and the big man in Rohan Ward led a red hot Chicago United team into the deep freeze of Minnesota in a game that Chicago desperately needed to win to maintain their strangehold on the MAAFL title for 2009. The Freeze shook United to the core last season and an equally tough game was expected when the United team touched down in Minneapolis and made their way (erroneously) to the banks of the mighty Mississippi to take on the upstarts from the home of the Pillsbury Dough Boy (and you all thought Al was from Corio Bay didn’t ya’s?) and the humble Cheerio…. not to mention Target and of course both Judy Garland and Bob Dylan!!!

The breeze afforded a 2 or 3 goal advantage to the northern end and BJ Gambaro got things underway handsomely by winning the toss and kicking with the it. Ehlers, Ward and MacGlashan were the big boys United would be relying on up front while Gambaro, Bradley and Fitzgerald welcomed back Mustard DeJong to the impressively strong United backline along with Betty Palmer and Brian ‘the shirtless worm got me kicked out’ Hoyt. United brought 25 boys up but Oscar Meyer was a late withdrawal that worried the coaching staff as his goal kicking ability (and pace) would be sorely missed.

United were out of the blocks first and constantly attacked Becker and the Freeze backline as they searched for the first. Minnesota hung on gallantly and continued to thwart the United forwards who were certainly not starved of opportunity but the delivery to them was not up to their liking. Deehan, Bashford and big Stace were hot in the middle and the wingers in Uhlmann and Hayse provided plenty of spark and it wasn’t long until Ward started to put his 4 fingered stamp on the game by taking a grab about 60 out and banging long to where MacGlashan was able to get his impressively big posterior into perfect position to keep his opponent out of a contest in the square and took a nice grab. Not wanting to risk a set shot dead in front and possible ridicule, big Al played on with the speed of a hypnotised gazelle tricked into thinking itself a tortoise and banged home United’s first of the quarter. United continued to attack but bad kicking for goal and desperate defence by the Freeze kept them out and at the first break, Minnesota had the upper hand despite not troubling the scoreboard attendant going in 1.5: 11 to 0.0: 0 down but about to kick with a handy breeze.

The United coaching staff looked at the positives including all them having all the play and then moved MacGlashan to a spare man in defence hoping he could dominate the air and stem the onslaught that was sure to come. United asked their middlemen in Rocky Deehan, Deri Morgan, Paul Drake and Stacey Elmore to step up to the plate and pressure the Freeze runners and win the ball out of the center as this has been an area of concern but for once they answered in kind, even after the loss of legend Rod Bashford to a knee strain early in the game. Elmore, giving away 6 inches and about 100 lbs was particularly impressive as he repeatedly won tap outs giving his runners all the ball they needed. With Al down back, the United forward line opened up and it was new dad Roofy Ward that took full advantage taking several telling marks before the recently parolled Anthony Sacco, fresh from his starring role in the Melbourne Underground hit “Underbelly” was able to go Daicos and soccered a ripper through to bring up Uniteds second which was all the more important as it showed scoring into the wind was not impossible.

The Freeze were able to bring their first up as they started to settle down and play some good footy but it was all Chicago from there on in. The run from the backs, especially Mustard, Poncho, Hoyt and Fitzgerald was fantastic and they singlehandedly turned the game as the Freeze struggled to control all the spare men around the ground this set up. Drew Ehlers was able to continue his Phoenix like return to the pinnacle of Australian Football in the Midwest with a nice grab and goal into the wind. Billy Uhlmann had the ball on a string and when he exploded out of the midfield and hit big Roofy on the left tit, it was all Roofy had to do to go back and slot through his first of the afternoon. A season defining quarter of football came to an end as a completely shellshocked Minnesota trudged from the field and big Becks looked around for answers. United had the tail up and Drake went straight for the Freeze jugular moving MacGlashan to center half forward and Roofy to full forward with strict, simple, Ditka type instruction to his charges “get the fu*&ing thing and kick the fu*&ing thing as long as you fu*&ing can and let the big bastards do their thing”. At the half, United by 23 points 4.5: 29 to 1.0: 6

Rocky Deehan continued his impressive metamorphis from Rugby god to Australin Football legend as the Xavier prodigy produced a shirt front that Brian Urlacher himself would’ve been happy with before going back after the Sherrin and coming up with the free kick, inspiring his teammates and scaring a few at the same time. The flying Almond in Billy Uhlmann opened up the United floodgates after a clever mark was met with a clip behind the ears that netted him 50m and a certain goal. Deri Morgan was also on fire in the middle as Stace continued his good work and the United backs became mere spectators. Dougie Fresh came on to have an instant impact and I could go on forever but the backing up, numbers to the ball, sharing the ball etc etc was a wonderful thing to behold as the United threatened to blow the game apart. Roofy took a grab on the run after Drake marked at center half back and his Burgmann like bomb sailed through from 60 yards out. Dave Worniak, with his stunning wife on the sidelines guarding his stash of 48 cold Miller Lites got amongst the action with a smart goal from about 20 yards out. Roofy then decided he’d go ahead and kick his fourth for the afternoon as Oscars fingers started to show fatigue as he tweetered for his life, keeping the huge Chicago fan base back in the Windy city up to date. When it looked like it had all been done, Ambrosino decided to chase down and smother a seemingly free Freeze defender in what was possibly play of the game but alas, that may have even been improved on when Brian Hoyt took off from the backline with a smart pass to hayse. Hayse held the ball and handballed inboard to a runaway freight train that turned out to be Hoyt following his kick up (it took 5 years of coaching and yelling but by god, we got there!!!) and he kicked, Jimmy Jess like into the forwards. At the orange break, a very happy United team led 9.11: 65 to Minn 1.0: 6

MacGlashan went into the ruck to replace an injured Stace whose next to best on ground heroics was the impetus for the win and the strong showing from the United midfielders. Kastilahn was welcomed back into United colors as he took his place in the middle and in the famous red, white and black for the first time in a long time. His impact was immediate as MacGlashan won the tap, DK took hold, dodged one and found Drake with a handball that put the coach into space and he went bang with a ball that found that man again, Rohan Ward who marked strongly. He calmly went back and went BANG for Chicagos 10th as they continued to apply the pressure. Ambrosino set the crowd alight again after chasing down a lost Freeze defender and in a damning tackle, laid him out and received his just rewards with a holding the ball decision. His kick into the big boys saw the ball bounce to Stace who soccered off the ground bringing up his first meaning Chicago now had 10 separate goal kickers.

The Freeze, to their credit, never gave up in the face of wave after wave of United attacks and their perseverance mixed with some poor manning up led Minnesota to get a couple of late ones to put some respectability on the board as the final siren blew mercifully in the afternoon breeze, echoing a magnificent Chicago win in which all players had a hand in. After a magnificent team effort, Chicago eventually ran out winners by 56 points. Next up is a possible match up with UsFooty ranked number 1 team the Eagles of Baltimore.

Results

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Minnesota 0.0.0 1.0.6 0.0.0 3.0.18 4.0.24
United 1.5.11 3.0.18 6.6.42 1.3.9 11.14.80
Goals Minnesota: None
United: Ward (5), Worniak, Uhlmann, Sacco, MacGlashan, Ehlers, Elmore
Best Minnesota: None
United: Ward, Uhlmann, Sacco, MacGlashan, Hoyt B, Ambrosino

GREEN JACKET:
Billy Uhlmann

GOLDEN GOOSE:
Paul Drake (leaving Billy… BOG… at the airport before the game and then trying to blame his missus)

BEST BAR IN MIDWEST:
Brits! I reckon we go up when the Sox play the Twins next just to go to Brits and get some decent fish n chips!

Chicago in a Classic

Chicago, IL- In a classic match up of the up and comers versus the experienced reigning MAAFL champs, Chicago snuck through to record their third win for the season and condemn Minnesotta to their second straight loss in their first year of MAAFL play.

Chicago had turned it on for the visitors with a balmy 80 degree day with 30 knot winds blowing straight across the ground. The new Australian Consulate General in Chicago was honored with the coin toss and thus began both the game and a huge torrential downpour that didn’t let up until midway through the third quarter.

Immediately after umpire and new dad Justin Biggs bounced the ball it became a cake of soap and players from both teams struggled with the wet, slippery conditions. Chicago did the bulk of attacking early and were rewarded with a classic crumbers goal to a very busy Gordon Ambrosino who is coming into some great form for the United. Chicago stepped it up as the Freeze threw men back and set up a Sydney Swan type flooding game plan and the game got very dour, very quickly. The Freeze scored their first through some nifty ballwork near the goal line resulting in a goal to Marx and that evened scores up. The Freeze continued to attack and were able to goal through Hanson. The game continued to be a tough affair as backlines, aided by the weather, completely took control and with the Freeze flooding their backline, the United lads found it hard to score and looked to Big, Bad, Bustling Al MacGlashan for some Corio Bay brilliance. After missing an earlier (and much easier) shot for goal, big Al swooped onto a loose one (not the first time just quietly!) in the pocket, gave the old “don’t argue” to a freeze defender and then went bang over the shoulder to produce one of the goals of the day. That late sausage roll put sent the United lads into the first quarter huddle 2.3: 15 to 2.0: 12 up and knowing that Minessotta meant business.

The second quarter, played in still a torrential downpour was a tough, old fashioned quarter where both teams threw themselves at the ball and the umpiring was sensational as Biggs let the two teams have at it. The Chicago dangerman, Dave Allen, broke the goal drought and slammed home Chicago’s third as the United boys started to gain the ascendancy. Big Al took a cracker of a mark 25 out dead in front but his ensuing kick failed to make the distance, a point that was brought up to Al several times after the game and one part of the game Wazza wished he’d have seen. The miss turned the game and the norv’erners came back and goaled again through Marx, who was having a handy game on a day not suited to forwards. That took care of the scoring in the second and at half time, Chicago led by a mere two points, 3.4: 22 to MN (My fingers are getting tired of typing in ‘Minessotta’ and I’m sure I’m spelling it wrong to? Why can’t they be St Paul?) 3.2: 20.

Both coaches pleaded with their charges to keep going as sore bodies ran on to dance in the rain once more. Both teams had nice sized benches so many a change was happening as the conditions took their toll. Chicago once again looked the better team as their impressive backline started to get the run it is famous for as the weather started to improve. Poncho Bradley was again amongst Chicago’s best and alongside him, BJ Gambaro was fantastic. The wingers in Uhlmann and Hayse continued to exert their influence but the windy city lads couldn’t get it done where it counted (on the scoreboard that is) and a counter attack by MN led to a horrible mistake by the coach who didn’t get the big body behind the ball and watched horrified as little Jaanke swooped onto it and despite having his own troubles picking it up, soccered through MN’s fourth to send them into an improbable lead. As the quarter continued, the Freeze continued to press the united backline and if not for some staunch work by the Betty Palmers, Mike Paneks and Funky Millers of the world, could have nailed the first nails into the Chicago coffin. As it was, some nice play out of the backline found the ball in the Chicago forward pocket where the ever dangerous Dave Allen picked it up, went that way, then this way and then went bang to record a highlight reel classic goal that picked up the hopes of the large Chicago crowd (who were all still hiding in their cars from the rain which had started to fall again). At the final change she was all even stevens with both teams having booted 4.4: 28 a piece and looking to someone to provide the spark to get them over the line in what would no doubt be a cracker jack last quarter.

Pulling the same move that worked against St Louis, Drake shifted himself up forward as Funky Miller took fullback. The middle got a good rev up with Macglashan and Isadore asked to get into the pressure cooker environment and start throwing their big bodies around because that first goal was going to be a biggy. Chicago won the clearance and attacked ferociously but MN continued to hold on until the Chicago coach was able to kick the first from 35 out to get the United lads going. From the next bounce, the dangerman for Chicago, Dave Allen, found Drake who popped it over to the fleet of foot Ryan Hayse who was able to play on and from a tight angle boot his first for the day and send the crowd (who had started to emerge from cover) into a tizzy as Chicago started to play like winners.

They continued to attack and after a screamer by Billy Uhlmann at center half forward, the mercurial Brian Hoyt pulled in a great grab of his own in between 2 Freeze defenders. He went back and slammed on Chicagos third for the quarter as the Freeze started to show cracks for the first time as they fell behind by 20 points with a little over 10 minutes left. But good teams don’t throw in the towel and the Freeze are a bloody good team. Their on ballers stepped it up again with Quirk being particularly effective. Despite momentum being against them, the Freeze were able to goal through Bondar after the Chicago defense over ran the ball and when McCuen goaled a minute later, it was Chicago’s turn to sweat as their ball movement got sloppy and they started to run out of legs as the boys from the land of lakes sniffed an improbable but classic victory over the reigning MAAFL premiers. Both teams desperately threw everything they had at the ball and each other. When the Freeze took a mark 20 out dead in front whilst only 8 points down, it looked to get even tighter but mercifully for Chicago, umpire Biggs signalled the end of the game and the shot after the siren flew wide resulting in an historic 7 point win for Chicago and the promise of what should be a great rivalry for many years.

To the victors the spoils. Chicago continue to improve after their horror trip to nashville. They were able to blood several new players in Pace, Isadore and Joe while welcoming back Swans legend big Spider who played a ripper in the ruck, and they now have the daunting task of going north to Milwaukee to face the Bombers in a must win game as the race for the MAAFL crown heats up. Nashville hold all the cards but have to travel to MN and Milwaukee while Milwaukee must travel to MN in what will be a game for the ages. The Chicago celebrations went long into the night at new sponsor Rebel bar. The night was proudly sponsored by the Hoyt family who turned up en masse to watch their pride and joy do the worm, a sight no one wants to miss.

For Minessotta it was a great loss if they actually exist. In their first MAAFL season they are finding out first hand how hard it is to win away from home but it’s obvious they enjoyed the game and the experience they will take away from this game is priceless. The guts they showed in coming back when it looked all chicago in the last quarter was a tribute to them and the coaching staff and here in chicago, we look forward to meeting them up there next season. A bloody good game of football by all.

Results

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
United 2.3.15 1.1.7 1.0.6 3.3.21 7.7.49
Minnesota 2.0.12 1.2.8 1.2.8 2.2.14 6.6.42
Goals United: Allen D (2), Hoyt B, Hayes, Drake, Ambrosino, MacGlashan
Minnesota: None
Best United: Allen D, Hayes, Gambaro, Bradley, Uhlmann, Morgan D
Minnesota: None