On April 6, 2019, the Baltimore Dockers sailed down to Richmond, Virginia to compete in the first-ever Mid-Atlantic Cup, hosted by a newly-formed USAFL club – the Richmond Lions. The complex was tremendous and the Lions were terrific hosts. Thank you very much for having us!
versus North Carolina Tigers
The Dockers have been training since late January to get in top condition for the first game of the season, and it showed immediately. The club ran all over the Tigers and moved the ball seamlessly through the midfield. A couple hard hits by midfielder Johnnie O’Connor and defender Mike Horney knocked the Tigers out early. And a number of early goals by Brian Skaggs, Matty Byrne, Kit Drury, and Ian Payne quickly put the game out of reach.
In the second half, the Dockers piled on the scoring with additional goals by Skaggs, Byrne, Drury, and Nick Sisca. While the goal-kicking was concentrated between a handful of Dockers, the ball movement was not. It was impressive to watch the Dockers move the ball on all parts of the pitch. When the Tigers were able to possess the ball in their forward 50, the Dockers defense, led by Scott Bradford and Terrence McCauliffe, were able to keep their composure and patiently clear the ball towards the sideline or switch the ball to an open midfielder.
The Tigers scratched and clawed but it was not enough to sink the ship.
The Baltimore Lady Dockers joined forces with the DC Lady
Eagles to face the Virginia Generals men’s team. Warning: DO NOT MESS WITH
THESE LADIES! They put a stomping on the Generals. IT. WAS. NOT. CLOSE.
The Baltimore Dockers representatives, Karen Stablein and
Roxy Alei, put on a show throughout the game. Everything the Dockers have been
working on in training was clearly demonstrated by our female teammates –
sheparding, tackling, handpassing, kicking skills, and overall endurance.
The Generals had to retreat with their heads down as the Eagles laid droppings all over their army. Great work ladies!
versus DC Eagles
Once again, this long-time rivalry did not disappoint. The match was chippy from the beginning and the competition was evenly matched throughout the first quarter. But in between the first two quarters, the Dockers had a quick pep talk and reminded themselves why they are defending Division IV National Champions. The Dockers stepped on the gas pedal in the second quarter and left the Eagles in the dust.
Goals by Ian Payne, Jack Chalmers, Kit Drury, and Brian Skaggs allowed the Dockers to pull away pretty quickly. Strong ball movement through the middle of field by Jake Moyer, Nick Tyson, Jesse Galdston (Captain), and Cam Stewart tired out the Eagles midfield, allowing the Dockers to take advantage of scoring opportunities. Normally, Eagles are known for eating small animals, but the Dockers were selling them candy throughout the second half. Johnnie O’Connor and Nick Sisca AKA “Willy Wonka brothers” broke a few ankles with their quickness and agility.
Flying is cool but sailing is more fun.
In the all three games, the Baltimore Dockers executed the game plan crafted by coaches Ian Payne and Nick Sisca. And with two wins, the Baltimore Dockers men’s club was named Mid-Atlantic Cup Champions! This makes two championships in less than six months. It’s hard winning all the time. You get more haters. More clubs want to come at the throne. But this tournament was just another day at the office for the Dockers – kicked some goals, crushed some skulls, and enjoyed some celebratory beers. #Road2Repeat #Undefeated #NevaLost
Best on Ground for the tournament – Jesse Galdston
Dockers Iron Man Award – Cam Stewart
First-time Dockers players: Reese Garner and Jake Moyer
Thanks again to the Richmond Lions for hosting us!
Preseason training is starting up for the 2019 season – from now until the end of April. We’d like you to come out and give Australian football a try. Don’t be bashful. All genders, ages, and experience levels are welcome. Some of us are brand new and some of us have been playing for years, so there will be people to help you learn and people to learn with.
Saturdays at 9:00 am we have outdoor skills training at Swann Park
Give it a try. It’s way more fun than going to the gym by yourself and we often will grab lunch or a beer after Saturday training. See the flyer above for details. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. You don’t need to RSVP but you can if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Come celebrate Australia Day on January 26th, 2019 with the Baltimore Dockers Australian Rules Football Club at Nobles in Baltimore’s famous Federal Hill. If you are new to the sport, come learn about Australian football and see what we are all about!
This fundraiser will help support the club for the upcoming season as well as help start a kids Auskick program in Baltimore. There will be live music by the talented Rich Mascari playing from 4-7pm, as well as drink specials, goanna pull competition, a raffle – with great prizes to be won, Dockers merchandise for sale, and a meat pie eating contest brought to you by Four’N Twenty and Australian Packaged Imports; where Kevin Horney will defend his title as reigning champion.
Doors for the event open at 3pm till late. There will be a $5 cover at the door. Free entry for any Dockers and social club members so check out our registration page if you are not already a member.
Come celebrate a fun day with a great crowd in Baltimore!
In its inaugural season, the Baltimore Dockers sailed into beautiful but chilly Racine, Wisconsin ready to compete for a USAFL Division IV National Championship. The Dock Show rolled deep with 29 men, but USAFL rules only allow 24 players on a roster for each game. With a good problem to have, Coach Bryn Hansen had to make some tough decisions, but in the end, everyone got on the field, everyone had a run, and we can proudly say that everyone is a national champion!
Throughout the tournament, the entire team displayed skills that we have been working on all season long. From fitness trainings in early January at Reflex Functional Fitness to fall practices under the lights at Lansdowne High School, every member of the Dockers club put in the work for ten months to give the team a chance at a Division IV National Championship. By the end of the tournament, few could walk without pain, no one had a voice, and one unlucky lad even left on crutches.
All weekend, the Baltimore Dockers showed heart and determination on and off the field. Not only can we say that we are national champions, we can also say that we are best mates.
First Round vs. Seattle Grizzlies – Saturday at 12 pm
Going into the first game versus the Seattle Grizzlies, the Dockers were amped up and a tad nervous. The nerves showed in the first half as the Grizzlies used windy Racine to their advantage and managed to put up a handful of goals on the Dockers’ veteran defense. Down by quite a bit at halftime, the Dockers were determined to get back in the game.
The initial nerves dissipated in the second half and the Dockers got back to playing their brand of footy, which they had crafted all season long in training. Defenders Pete Gormley and Mike “Mad Dog” Gilbart helped shut down the Grizzlies’ offense in the second half and the Dockers prospered from having the wind to their backs with goals by Ian Payne and Albert Kobe. A punch to the throat did not stop Dan “Wristy” Zimmermann from attacking the footy all game. Bryn Hansen, Travis “Rocket” Flight, and Nick Sisca led the charge in the middle of the field as the Dockers entertained the grounds with some premiership-level footy towards the end of the game.
Unfortunately, the Grizzlies’ commanding first half lead was too much for the Dockers to overcome. Seattle’s bear attack left the Dockers badly bruised, but ultimately, it was not enough to sink the ship.
First Round vs. Atlanta Kookaburras – Saturday at 3 pm
The Dock Show did not travel all the way to Racine, Wisconsin to go 0-2 on the first day. After a close loss to Seattle, Baltimore was focused on righting the ship versus the Atlanta Kookaburras. With an early goal by first-year player Jack Chalmers, the Dockers built on that momentum and never looked back.
After multiple goals from veterans Ian Payne and Kit Drury, the Dockers’ bench put on a display that few USAFL teams could replicate. The Dock Show benefited from goals by first-year players Johnny O’Connor and Josh Hildebrand, and the cunning bloke Greg “Frenchy” Brétière scored what some are calling the “goal of the century.” (Well, he’s calling it that.)
Baltimore also profited from aggressive play by Aaron Wolff and Paul “Flippy” LaShier, who hunted the footy every second they were on the pitch. Self-proclaimed “greatest goal-kicker in USAFL history,” Scott “Stacks” Bradford, lived up to the title when he got in on the action in the second half. And Matthew “Bunda” Byrne demonstrated that age is just a number with his offensive prowess and high footy IQ.
Like that scene in “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” the Dockers’ ship invaded the grounds at the SCORe Complex in Racine. And when the final horn sounded, this massacre left the field covered in feathers and these Kookaburras were not laughing about it.
National Semifinal vs. Nashville Kangaroos – Sunday at 10 am
Entering the semifinal on Sunday morning, the stakes were high for the Baltimore Dockers. Win or go home. Thanks to strong leadership and determined veterans, the Dockers kept their composure and were not fazed by the Kangaroos from the Music City. Shortly after first bounce, long-time veteran Kit Drury got the Dock Show started with a beautiful goal.
With suffocating pressure led by Bryn Hansen, Terence “Tez” McAuliffe and Jesse Galdston, Nashville hardly was able to get the ball into their forward fifty throughout the game. Baltimore continued to tack on points with goals by Jack Chalmers and Albert Kobe. And the midfield held their ground as the Dockers maintained a commanding lead in the second half. Onballers Ben Crenca and Nick Tyson helped control possession and Nashville’s two forward lines barely touched the ball in the second half. Throughout the game, forwards Tracy Williams and Zeluis “Ze” Teixeira used their large frames to shepherd (or block) their opponents and create space on the Dockers’ side of the field. And attackers Mark “Ski” Salansky and Brian “Boz” Thornton helped build a zone around Baltimore’s forward fifty to prevent the ball from advancing beyond the midfield.
Nashville did their best to play their style of footy, but they could not be saved by another “music city miracle.” The only hearts getting broken in this country song were the Kangaroos’ as they hopped off the field. Up the Dockers!
Division IV Grand Final vs. Seattle Grizzlies – Sunday 1 pm
The Baltimore Dockers were humbled by the initial matchup with the Seattle Grizzlies, but were confident they would meet the bears in the Division IV Grand Final if they were so lucky to advance that far. Determined to get revenge, the Dockers were calm, cool, and collected entering their final game of the tournament. Knowing that this was the final forty minutes of the season, the Dock Show was ready to leave everything on the field.
Despite going down by a goal early in the first half, the Dockers came sailing back with a strong core up the middle of the field. Rocket, Ian Payne, and Kit Drury led the ball movement throughout the duration of the game. Nick Sisca showed why he is captain of the club winning nearly every 50/50 ball in his direction. Nick Tyson may not be able to kick straight (with 10 behinds throughout the tournament), but he used his speed and strength in the middle of the field to keep the ball on the Dockers’ offensive side of the ground.
Baltimore held a strong lead at halftime but the shine of the cup may have distracted them from where their attention needed to be. The Grizzlies came roaring back in the second half, when the Dockers’ defense broke down for the first time all tournament. Then, after a scary injury to first-year legend Josh Hildebrand, the Dockers were inspired to get back on track. Forwards Wristy, Neale Williams, and Andrew Pike helped maintain possession of the ball in the Dockers’ forward fifty. Late in the game, the Baltimore defense buckled down with a couple of key marks by Tez and some clutch spoils by Will Lothian and Mike Horney. Albert Kobe was a true sailor providing tremendous marks and goals in the first half and defending the ship late in second half.
Ultimately, the Seattle Grizzlies put up a noble fight but were mauled by a large vessel that could not be docked. The Baltimore Dockers cruised to victory and were crowned USAFL Division IV National Champions. By hoisting the cup, the Dockers became the first club to ever win a National Championship in their inaugural season. (We are still fact checking this.)
Tournament Notes and Accolades
Dockers Midfielder Flippy made his umpiring debut during the championship tournament and did a fantastic job, receiving a perfect score from all the fans – except for his fellow Docker teammates who playfully heckled him from the sidelines of each game. Great work Flip!
At the trophy ceremony, Dockers President Ian Payne was named the “Best on Ground” for Division IV and Rocket was named Grand Final MVP. Absolutely well deserved!
The Dockers’ championship trophy (or “Cuppy” as we are calling it) could not have been secured without contributions by all the players mentioned above, as well as the Dockers players who could not make the trip but challenged the team in training all year. Welcome to the team Cuppy!
Thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, and board members who supported the team all season and provided the Dockers with necessary resources that made the trip to Racine possible. We could not have done it without you.