R1: Dingos beat Eagles in season opener
The Toronto Dingos kicked off the official 2015 AFL Ontario season with a strong effort against longtime rivals the Toronto Eagles, running out winners by 34 points at Humber South on Saturday.
After a close and hard fought first term, the Dingos pulled away in the second quarter kicking 5.3 to 1.0 and never looked like losing the match in the second half, with Wade Edwards (six goals) and Mitch "Fridge" Stewart providing strong contests around the forward line.
The team was buoyed by the presence of seven first-time Dingos, who all got a touch in during the match - Mitch 'Fridge' Stewart, Steve Elliot, Eric Brewis, Simon Sigler, Mike Bocian, Niall Okane and Rob Mcnaughton.
The first 10 minutes of the opening quarter were the same as any footy game - lots of voice, lots of excitement, lots of run and lots of hits. The two longtime rivals played to their history, and the teams traded goals early with Wade Edwards cracking the first through with the Eagles answering shortly thereafter.
But after the adrenaline had subsided and the grind of the game was on, the Dingos started to dictate the pace in a more pronounced way. The midfielders were key in controling the pace, as Tom Humphries, Shaun McKay and Andrew Gaut - with Alex Aitken and Rob Mcnaughton rotating in - put their heads down and tap after tap ended in a Dingos possession.
Through the second quarter and into half, the one-two punch of Wade and Fridge became a huge boon for the Red and Black, as the big boys started snatching marks left and right and converting for goals. A few goals did leak through, as the Eagles were quick to counter-attack when the Dingos failed to form that strong wall, but by half the Dingos had a solid 8-to-3 goal margin.
With the forwards building up the lead, it fell to the backmen to secure the win as the Eagles made their push in the 3rd quarter. Tasked with marking big Azza, Mike Karas was relentless in the contests, spoiling marks repeadedly as the Eagles struggled to get the footy to their lead forward.
Patrick Bossey and rookie Mike Bocian formed a solid half-back line with coach Justin Robertson in support Karas, while Joe Carrig, Gary Conlon and Niall Okane were also playing hard, physical footy and giving solid bumps and shepherds.
In the end, the Dingos carried the day with an 11-goal effort and 22 scoring shots to the Eagles eight. Highlight of the match was a circus-like goal from Camilo Serpa, who had the footy in a pack and was being taken down, yet somehow managed to get enough boot in the motion to kick a goal from the 50 (thanks to a fortuate bounce).
DINGOS - 11.11-77
EAGLES - 7.1-43
DINGO GOALS - W. Edwards 6, M. Stewart 2, T. Humphries , D. McIlravey , C. Serpa
Next up for the Red and Black are the Etobicoke Roos, for a classic Friday Night game at Humber South.