Round 2 Match Reviews
AFL Quebec Round Two Review:
West Island Wooders v Montreal Demons
After only two rounds of footy, the AFL Quebec ladder is already starting to take shape. After perhaps the most dominant performance in AFL Quebec history the West Island Wooders shoot straight to the top of the ladder with two wins from two and a huge percentage that will stand them in good stead come the business end of the season.
After quite comfortably beating the Old Port Dockers in their opening game of the season one would have expected a similar performance from the Montreal Demons in game two against the West Island Wooders. However with only half the team from round one available, Demons coach Luke O’Farrell had to call upon a handful of new players, some coming out of retirement, some playing their first game and some playing through injuries, just to be able a field a side against the West Island men. With the vast majority of Demons arriving just before ball up and with no pre match preparations in place all the signs pointed to a long day for the downtown men.
On the contrary, Wooders coach Dan Robinson had the luxury of naming an unchanged side from round one and also welcomed 2014 draftee Ian Martin into the squad for his first Wooders game of the year. The mood in the Wooders camp was in stark contrast to the Demons, who were on the field raring to go an hour before the game.
Things looked ominous from the offset. With no pre match warm-up in place, the Demons found themselves six goals down within the first quarter with five separate goal scorers from the Wooders side. While the Demons managed to gain somewhat of a foothold in the second quarter, the momentum the Wooders had gained in the first saw them bag another eight goals, two of these coming of the boot of new boy Ian Martin, and saw them lead at half time by almost 70 points. The game was effectively over as a contest.
One would have hoped for a better and more spirited second half performance from the Demons, and while we saw glimpses of what they can do especially from Morgan Whyte and Nico Pouessel, the second half continued in much the same fashion as the first. Petosa and Chemin both added goals in the third for the Wooders and four goal haul from Dan Robinson in the last saw the West Island Wooders annihilate the Montreal Demons on a score line of 28.12.180 to 7.8.50.
While the score line is not a true reflection of the Montreal Demons as a team, it was a pretty fair reflection on the day. They now have two weeks to regroup, take along good look at themselves and build upon this experience before they face last year’s Anderson Cup champions the Laval Bombers. In Whyte, Pouessel, Nixon, Sadier, and Cicek they certainly have the players, but whether they have the mentality and commitment remains to be seen.
The West Island men are on the other hand are all systems go. The Wooders had ten separate goal kickers on Sunday and even after only two games seem to be gelling brilliantly as a team, something which is pretty perturbing for the rest of the league. Thomas Core seems to be a whole new player this year and the progression of Pio Chemin from rookie to player of the round (not game) in just three games is nothing short of phenomenal.
AFL Quebec Round Two Review:
Old Port Dockers v Laval Bombers
Game two between arch nemeses the Laval Bombers and Old Port Dockers couldn’t have been any more different from the first game of the day. In true Docker/Bomber fashion the game went right down to the wire and could have be won or lost in the dying seconds by either team. In the end the Bombers for a second weekend running will rue a whole host of missed opportunities kicking 13 behinds, a majority of them very easy scoring opportunities.
The game on a whole was low scoring affair, so much so the Demons score of 50 points from game one would have ran either team very close. The Dockers opted to play with a strong but varying wind in the first and went in at quarter time by the slimmest of margins courtesy of two well taken goals by Andrada and Shaughnessy. The sole Bomber goal in the first coming thanks to new boy and Damien Conneely.
The Bombers will lament a second quarter in which they weren’t able to take advantage of the strong breeze at their back, kicking five behinds and only one goal. The Dockers on the other hand added another two, thanks to Andrada again and first game Faranda. The Dockers midfield and defence, especially Kozikowski, Charbonneau and Lee can take a lot of credit for applying such pressure to the Bombers attach making their scoring chances anything but easy.
The third quarter was all Dockers in particular Koch who kicked two magnificent goals from right on the scoring line after two splendid marks. Shaughnessy snapped a goal with his back to the posts and Faranda added his second of the day. Again a tireless display from the Dockers midfield saw the Bombers limited to just two behinds in the third and the Dockers lead at ¾ time by 32 points.
The last quarter was however a mirror image of the third and a dominant display in the ruck by Fairbrother and Boulerice saw the Bombers attain countless possessions, inflicting wave upon wave of attack on the Docker goal. With only the bear minimum of players an overtired and overwhelmed Dockers midfield and defense afforded the Bombers way too much space to which the Bombers added five goals. However a sublime Shaughnessy free kick from way out on the sideline was just enough to keep the Dockers ahead by four points going into the dying moments. A frantic passage of play saw the Bombers break clear with second’s remaining and the writing looked on the wall for the Dockers. But from somewhere, the Docker players summoned up enough energy to sniff out the attack and get their first win of the season and leave the Bombers rooted to the bottom of the AFL Quebec ladder. Old Port Dockers 9.5.59, Laval Bombers 7.13.55
Bomber coach Fairbrother while obviously incredibly disappointed to loose such a close contest will have a lot of positives to take away from the game. They created chances and lots of them and once they get their scoring boots on the Bombers will be a force to be reckoned with. They have two of the best ruck men in the league and have yet to welcome back Strevens to the team. In the Telya and Wienand they have two of the best defensive marshalls in the league and when he hits form Bogdan Rotaru isn’t best and fairest for nothing. And once Conneely familiarises himself with the oval ball he will be a hard man to stop.
The Dockers will have been delighted to get their first win of the season under their belt but they can count themselves lucky too at the same time. More accurate kicking in front of goal by the Bombers and we could have been reflecting on this game a whole lot different. But coach Faranda can be very pleased by the heart and commitment showing by the nine players on the day, and the never give up attitude which helped see his team over the line in the end. If the Dockers can get fitter they will be right up there come end of the season because they have some of the best ball players in the league. But in 9 a side footy fitness is paramount.
Full league ladder, league goal scoring ladder, photos, match highlights and stats to follow soon.