This Saturday, the Dockers men’s team played their final games of the 2018 regular season in Philadelphia. In the USAFL’s traditional format, three teams gather in one city for a round-robin format in which each team plays the other two. The Dockers’ opponents were the New York Magpies and the Philadelphia Hawks.
The Dockers brought sixteen players, a mix of veterans and first-gamers, to face two of the largest and best-organized teams in the Eastern Australian Football League. Although the Dockers eventually lost both games, they played proudly throughout.
Game 1 started as a back-and-forth contest between the Dockers and Magpies, before the New York pulled ahead with three goals late in the first half. In the second half, the Dockers’ back line played with their trademark intensity and skill, holding the experienced Magpies without a goal.
Game 2 was a low-scoring defensive battle throughout the first half, with the halftime score level at 9-9. But as the game wore on, Philadelphia’s superior numbers made the difference, as the Hawks scored eight unanswered goals plus two behinds for a final score of 59-9.
And so the Baltimore Dockers men’s team closes out its first-ever regular season of operations after playing an incredible 17 matches, finishing with a record of 5 wins and 12 losses. Their next appearance will be the weekend of October 13, 2018 at the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) National Championships in Racine, Wisconsin. Matchups for championship weekend will be announced next week.
It seems like just yesterday I sat down to write the last spiel in Coach’s Corner, such is the speed of how time seems to fly by. With that said, it also seems like just last month that the Docker’s season kicked off and we were having our first run against the Tigers in Wilmington N.C.
We have had a great season overall, and though this is not an end of year recap it won’t be long until we are having a rest from footy. This weekend is our last regular season game where we head up to Philadelphia to face the Hawks and the N.Y. Magpies. It will be a very tough hit out as both these teams are skilled, experienced and are bringing plenty of players.
The Dockers have played only one game this month after a tough loss in Boston at the end of August. On September 8, we faced the Philly Hawks at home on a windy and dreary day. Conditions were very wet, making it difficult to play a brand of attractive footy. In a low scoring, scrappy affair the lead changed hands several times and Baltimore narrowly held back a determined Philadelphia to come away with a 1 point victory. Philly did not have their full contingent but did have a lot of experience and it was a very solid effort put forward by all Dockers to come away with the chocolates.
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The defense did very well all day led by Stacks and Horney, as did Kit Drury in the ruck. Johnny also did very well and is showing signs of becoming a very good footballer as he continues to learn the game. Overall, it was a solid team effort on the day with all players helping each other out and willing to put their heads over the ball. It certainly was a good feeling when the siren (or whistle in this case) sounded and we could all relax and enjoy a hard earned cold one. Good Times!
We have the National competition starting in less than a month in sunny Racine and we will be needing to ramp up our fitness levels from here on in. Obviously, we need to get to training but I recommend all the Dockers to start getting 2 or 3 high intensity cardio workouts a week between now and then. The short format games we play require a quick recovery and interval training is a good way to simulate the way that footy is played. We need to be fit and ready to go to maximize our chances of coming home with the cup! That will be a good feeling boys and one that we have the capability of achieving!
The Lady Eagles traveled to Boston at the end of August to take on the Boston Lady Demons on a combined team with the Philadelphia Hawks. We played with smaller sides on a condensed field, which led to a very fast paced game. Strong defensive play by Lough and Christina prevented many scoring opportunities by the Lady Demons and enabled quick transitions into the midfield and forward lines. Our midfield and forwards were dominant, scoring 16 goals and 17 behinds over 4 quarters of play. The Lady Eagles emerged victorious. We celebrated our victory with a night out in the city and some Australian pies and sausage rolls then capped off the celebration with a boat race win!
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East/West Showdown: Magpie shutout, then shut out by the Maidens
In early September, the Lady Eagles traveled to New York for the East/West Showdown and the end of the regular footy season. This tournament featured teams and players from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic along with California, Arizona, and Seattle. We began our tournament with a game against our Eastern Region rivals, the New York Lady Magpies. The Lady Eagles were dominant all game. The defense was a wall, blocking any scoring chances. The midfield led by Molly and Karen kept up the pressure, turning over the ball and transitioning it well up-field. We had good intensity and communicated well. Kristin scored the two goals for the Lady Eagles in their decisive victory.
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Next, we took on the San Francisco Iron Maidens, who were the Division I USAFL National Champions in 2017. The Iron Maidens were a very strong side and moved the ball well throughout the game. We played well defensively but our communication broke down, which made it difficult to effectively clear and transition the footy down the field. Despite the loss, the game was an excellent learning opportunity and helped us prepare further for USAFL Nationals. The San Francisco Iron Maidens also beat New York and were crowned the winners of the East/ West Showdown. Following the games, we celebrated all together in the city!
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Our fantastic regular season has come to a close. We went 5-2 in regular season play and won the USAFL Eastern Regional Championship. Next up, we travel to Racine, Wisconsin on October 14 for the USAFL Nationals. We will play combined with another team (to be announced) in Division II as we look to continue our winning season and hopefully bring back some hardware! Stay tuned!
The Dockers men’s team won a thrilling game against the Philadelphia Hawks today, using a fourth-quarter comeback to win by a score of 33-32.
The Dockers were down 30-19 at the end of the third quarter, but came back to score 14 points while holding the Hawks to just two behinds. The defense withstood intense pressure from the Hawks’ forwards in the last two minutes to hold on for the first win over Philadelphia in club history.
The entire game was played in driving rain at Baltimore’s Patterson Park. Thanks to the Hawks for their fierce competition on the field and their camaraderie off the field, thanks to the umpires, and especially thanks to the fans who turned out in heavy rain to cheer on your team!
At the same time, our women’s team, the Baltimore/Washington Lady Eagles, split two games on the road in New York. The Lady Eagles lost to San Francisco 66-0, but defeated New York 17-5.
The Dockers’ next men’s game is next Saturday, September 15th, in Washington, DC against the Chicago Swans, while the women’s team prepares for USAFL Nationals.