Round 5: Brave Div.1 fall to Eagles by 19pts
The Toronto Dingos struggled once again this past weekend, dropping another match against their longtime rivals Toronto Eagles in a game of one very poor half and one very good (but not quite enough) for the Red and Black.
The diminshed Dingos went into this match with another short bench, plagued by mid-season injuries and mid-season weddings. The Eagles came out strong in the first half, challenging a strong Dingo midfield and playing strong through the middle from their half-back line. Both teams had their fair share of the pill, with the Dingos getting multiple set shots at goal in the opening quarters but the Eagles converting at a much better rate on their opportunties. Alex Aitken once again was a ball magnate, ruthlessly attacking packs and using his speed to create space for the Red and Black. Despite the midfield struggles, Tom Bell was a massive force in the ruck all game long, and was roaming all over the field taking marks and spoiling contests in an attempt to jump start the squad.
Unfortunately it was the turnovers that crippled the Dingos in the first half, as the half-back line of the Eagles were running through and making the Dingos pay for every error - often a threatening push by the Dingos would be immediately turned back up field by the Eagles backmen, forcing the Dingos to scramble back on defense and try and shut down the Eagles big full forward Aaron Falcioni, who made few mistakes on his opporunties.
Down 7 goals at the half, the Dingos made a major tactical shift in an effort to not only get some points up on the board, but to also have some fun out on the field. The mantra was play on - no more waiting, no more pulling back and assessing the play, just play on hard and run for every single ball. It worked, as some dynamic plays out of Heath Neville, Anthony O'Brien and the captain Shaun McKay finally landed the Dingos some major conversions. Jumping in at full forward was rookie Colin Turner Bloom, who was making veteran leads and taking marks not often seen out of a rookie. The defense of the Dingos stepped up as well, with Andrew Anderson locking down Azza and Gary Conlon lapping up a ton of free footies, giving the Red and Black a shot at a comback.
The Dingos clawed their way to within two goals midway through the 4th, but the veteran savvy of the Eagles proved too much to overcome, as they played possession footy and waited for the eventual mistakes a breakneck pace by the Dingos would inevitably provide. They scored two late majors to shut the door on any such comeback, leaving the Dingos to lament a 1-4 start to the 2014 season and many questions to be answered.
DINGOS - 6.9-45
EAGLES - 10.4-64
DINGO GOALS: A. Ranchhod , T. Bell , D. Cormier , S. McKay , A. Aitken , P. Tinkler
DINGO BOG: Tom Bell
Full match stats can be found here.