The playoffs have arrived for the Ottawa Swans Australian Football Club, and with a spot in thesemi-finals on the line the second place Men’s team took on the fifth place Toronto Dingos at home this past Saturday.
This was the third time the two teams had faced each other this year, with bothteams splitting the regular season with a win each. The Swans, missing two veteran players, asked their rookies to step up in a big way. Scott Heeney was tasked with following the Dingos’ top player and did an outstanding job at shutting him down all game. Mic Masek was also asked to play a number of different roles coming off of the bench. This demonstrated the amount of depth the Swans have this year.
Jordan Harcombe got the Swans off to a great start with three first quarter goals. The Swans were able to hold off a second quarter push by the Dingos to go into halftime up by two goals. The third quarter was an arm wrestle as both teams missed opportunities to score. The ball was hotly contested in the middle of the ground. When tempers started to flare, the Dingos took a poorly timed 50m penalty that resulted in a crucial goal for the Swans.
The Dingos wouldn’t let up in the fourth quarter. Down by 4 goals, they came out hard and kicked two quickly. But the Swans managed to hold off the press and when the final siren sounded, the Swans won 9.11.65 to 8.4.52, clinching a spot in the semi-finals next weekend.
Sunday saw the women take centre stage at Vanier College in Montreal. The top ranked Carleton Warriors took on the fourth place Plateau Eagles. Coming into the game losing two straight, the Warriors got off to a sluggish start, letting in two quick goals in the opening ten minutes.
As the game went on the Warriors started to, hit their stride, battling hard with consistent tackling and finishing the quarter with 2 goals of their own.
They didn’t look back, pulling further ahead of the Eagles at each quarter and building to a fantastic second half full of smart running, solid defense and impressive marks. 4 goals from Belinda Wozniak. At the siren, the Warriors were the better team, winning 48-25.
The other women’s contest saw the third place Rideau Shamrocks face the second place Notre-Dame-de-Grace Giants. The Shamrocks were entering the match on a hot streak and had beaten the Giants in their most recent match. The game was a showcase of two evenly matched teams grappling for a spot in the Finals that could easily belong to either.
Amanda Paradis led the way with 2 goals, and the lead shifted back and forth repeatedly with only 1 point the difference heading into the second half. However, the third quarter was the breaking point for the Shamrocks, who were down a player due to injury. The Giants took full advantage and bashed in three goals to the Shamrocks one that quarter. Though the Shamrocks kept pace in the froth, this proved to be the difference, and the Shamrocks fell 47-36.
What does this all mean?
Next weekend the Ottawa Swans men will face the Hamilton Wildcats at home on Saturday at the Manotick Polo Club. This is an historic match as the Men have never made it past the first round of playoffs. With a Grand Final berth on the line, the guys will be fired up and a great game of footy is expected. This will be the last home game of the season!
The Warriors will play the following day for the AFL Quebec Premiership at Vanier College in Montreal. The Warrior won this honour last year. Can they repeat as champions?