Round 1: Div.1 lose Grand Final re-match to solid Hawks by 38-pts
The 2014 AFLO Season got off to a rough start for the Toronto Dingos, dropping their 2013 Grand Final rematch to the Broadview Hawks on a sunny Friday night affair. While there were some positives to take from the match, including some steady progression by the Red and Black as the quarters turned over, the early 4-goal lead the Hawks jumped out to in the first quarter proved too big an obstable for the Dingos to overcome, with the Hawk forward line executing at key opportunities and counter-punching the Dingos time and again.
The Dingos opened the first quarter of 2014 with a very different lineup. Gone were the familiar names of 2013 like Mal Brady, Max Parish and D'Arcy Hill - not to mention the permanent fixture that was Craig Stewart - and in their place were a flurry of new faces, including Mike Ladd, Alex Aitken, Paul Browne, Tyler Pennell, and Ryan Caron. While the Dingo coaches got a solid look at what could be some very exciting players, there were very obvious growing pains in the first quarter as new teammates learned how to play with each other, an advantage the veteran Hawk squad pounced on. The footy flowed down the corridor for the Hawks, as they excuted on their possessions and played a very patient game when the ball was in dispute, and by the 10 minute mark the defending champs were up 4 goals to nil. While some credit can be given to the Red and Black for holding the lead to just that for the rest of the quarter, the team has a whole went into quarter time with some serious issues to fix.
But progress did come in the 2nd, as new mid-fielders Laddy and Alex began to read James 'Big Jim' Sheehan's taps more effectively and get that footy moving out of the centre. Adjustments made on the HB line also game the Dingos more lift, as new team captain Shaun McKay seemed to be in every battle for possession and was getting a lot of run off the rebound. Slowly but surely, the Dingos began to get the footy into the hot spots where Wade Edwards makes his money, and the goose egg on the Dingo scoreboard finally disappeared. The Hawks were relentless though, with new Aussie Daniel Kilpatrick getting a lot of the pill and Nick Shuttleworth taking some big marks, and made sure each Dingo goal was matched by one of their own.
The first 10 minutes of the 3rd quarter - the "premiership quarter" - was the make or break moment for the Red and Black. The Dingos got the first goal on a Wade set shot and were pressing for a second, which would have pulled them back into striking distance (not to mention the momentum swing). Shauny and Justin Robertson were both giving lots of push from the HB line and the onballers and James Duggan were crumming for Big Wade, as the team tried desperately to break through the Hawks defence. Unfortunately the Hawks weathered the storm and quickly counter-punched with two goals of their own, effectively sealing the game.
Some lineup swaps in the 4th quarter saw Dave Wells thrown in at CHF, who promptly took a deft handball from Chris Buczkowski and pulled a classic Stewy deke, faking right and swingly past his man to the left where he had plenty of time to line up the goals and put it through. It was the highlight of an otherwise frustrating quarter that saw the Hawks go tit-for-tat with every forward push the Dingos made.
DINGOS - 7.5-47
HAWKS - 12.12-84
GOALS: W. Edwards 4, S. McKay 2, D. Wells
BEST ON GROUND: Shaun McKay
Match details can be found here. The Dingos play another Friday night game next week, squaring off against the Etobicoke Roos.