The Baltimore Dockers are USAFL Division IV National Champions!

 

The Baltimore Dockers are USAFL Division IV National Champions!

What an intro to Coach’s Corner this month. While the bruises are still purple and the body sore from our weekend in Racine WI at the USAFL National Tournament, the smile has not yet faded.  We went to Racine to win our division and after a hard-fought win against Seattle (combined with Las Vegas and Arizona) in the grand final we did just that.

I am very proud of all those who put the boots on for Baltimore this year as we went about establishing ourselves both on and off the field. It has been a steep learning curve for myself in a coaching role, no less so than those who have had a run around playing “footy” with us for the first time ever this year.

The Dockers had a solid training regime coming into the Nationals competition and I believe this helped us achieve our goal for 2018. The additional numbers we had helped us train in the style we wanted to play- to hold possession and to lock the ball into our offensive half as much as possible. Game style football training (practice) is where I believe we need to direct our focus to continue to develop as a club and achieve higher goals moving forward. We trained hard in the final month and it really did show on the field. Skills and fitness will obviously be a steady diet for the Aussie footy player but where we can really develop the nuances of the game is with game style training.

In the first game of Nationals 2018, Baltimore were a little slow out of the blocks. This was against Seattle, our Nationals nemesis. Whilst not outplayed, missed scoring shots and a lack of focus had the Dockers with their backs against the wall. The second half was a very different story however and Baltimore were very unlucky after sustained pressure to lose by 4 points.

This was the last game they lost and from then on Baltimore played “Our Style of Footy”. This oft repeated mantra (cue Ian Payne and myself) related to the type of football we wanted to play and what that meant if we played that style- i.e. we would play clean, tough, fast moving football. We would be having fun on the field and all this together will lead to victory. Essentially this is the style we want play and what we want to be known for in the future.

This determined play style led to the team hoisting the DIV IV Cup and celebrating the tough victory at Nationals.

This really is an amazing achievement for a new club. This has been made possible due to the massive amounts of hard work put in behind the scenes by the Dockers board members. I thank you for all your efforts. I also thank all those that came down and had a run and for those that helped throughout the year. Thank you to those that flew back from Aus to put the boots on for us again, you know who you are.

It has been a great year for the Baltimore Dockers and I believe this success will continue if we can stay together and continue having fun as a team (and as always at the end of my coach’s corner, KEEP COMING TO TRAINING!)

See you all at the end of year windup.

Brynno

Coach’s Corner September 2018

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!

 

Bryn

 

 

Coach’s Corner – August 2018

It has been a hot and steamy month this August in Dockerland. Not to mention the weather, which has been rather warm of late too. After a few disappointing weeks with low numbers at training we have seen a surge of late with nearly 20 on the track the last few sessions.

Awesome!

This has helped us to continue our match simulation drills and full field pieces.

We believe that if we can continue training in this game play style with a good number of players we will start seeing the results on the field. We have the talent in our ranks. We just need to continue working together to learn the most effective ways to limit scoring at our defensive end and transition down the field to maximize damage.

We have played 3 games since the last issue. The first was a full 4 quarter game against North Carolina Tigers. They unfortunately only had 14 or 15 players that travelled with them to Baltimore to face us and we won convincingly. The delivery to Ian Payne in the forward line was crisp and allowed him to run on to mark the ball out in front. He finished up with eight or so goals, and was the major goal kicker on the day. The biggest takeaway from this game was the attitude and team spirit that was evident from the start. We wanted to win and were willing to work together to make it happen.

Last weekend saw the Dockers travel up to Philly to play a mini tourney against them and D.C. We finished up 1 & 1. We easily took care of D.C. who unfortunately were missing a plethora of their usual best. They tried, but were unable to impact the scoreboard. Josh Richards led the way for the backline, the midfielders owned the middle and Ian Payne, Kit and the rest of the forward line finishing off with near constant scoring. Another team effort with all on the field putting their head and body on the line.

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The Philadelphia Hawks have shown what it takes to win in this Eastern Division and have been the benchmark this year. We Dockers can take a leaf out of their book in relation to ball movement from the back half- something we will be working on every training session. We had a tough hit out against them, unfortunately going down by about 4 goals. Most of the Dockers (myself included) were out of legs and the fresh Hawks got away from us in the 2nd half. It was a good hit out though and I look forward to playing them again next month over 4 quarters to see where we really lie. Rocket ended up best on ground over the 2 games. Unfortunately, we say goodbye to Rocket until Nationals but we have improved as a playing group with the time he has spent with us.

August has been a good month for us. With consistent training and a well set game plan, there is no limit to how far this team can go in the USAFL. We continue to prepare for Nationals and have a very busy schedule in September.

Come see us play at our next home game. Bring a chair, bring your dog, and enjoy a sausage roll and a beer as we take on Philadelphia on September 8 (unless you want super fan credentials and travel to Boston next weekend!)

Thanks,

Bryn

 

 

Coach’s Corner: Exciting Times Ahead

The Baltimore Dockers have been very busy this summer. Training, playing, socialising and saying goodbye to a couple of midfield legends we have been playing alongside with over this year and for some many years. It is sad to see Brent Bates and Neale Williams head back to Australia but we wish them the best and thank them for being such good clubmates.

These departures have created a good opportunity for some new blood in the middle of the field, or “the guts” as it is known. These positional changes have occurred not only in the middle, but right across the field as we are trying to find the best suited positions for both our new and veteran players. This is one of the many challenges we face as a new club.

To paraphrase Jay Z, we got 99 problems, but lack of numbers on gameday ain’t one.

We have been very fortunate to have great numbers at our games this year, typically above 25 people. This is due to the incredible work being done behind the scenes by the Docker’s board and the commitment being shown by the players.

On the field of late we have had mixed results. We went 1-2 in Div 2 at the Eastern Regional Tournament hosted by Philadelphia, with a great win against DC following losses to Columbus and Boston. We have been playing with a lot of heart and endeavor, and I firmly believe that once we get more experience playing together and iron out the problem areas we have identified then we will turn the corner.

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We had the opportunity to host NY and Columbus this past weekend in Baltimore and over all we had a very successful day in Baltimore. We played NY first and showed great promise in the first half, however in the second they showed why they’re considered the best of the East, coming away with a 6 goal win.

We were trailing against Columbus when in the second half we showed how good we could be. Great field movement followed by strong marking and conversions from Ian Payne pulled Baltimore right back into the game. The clock got the best of us with all the momentum and the siren went with us just one goal behind Columbus.

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This 10 minute spell highlighted how well we can play and shows the potential this Dockers team has. Exciting times are definitely ahead of us.

Stand outs players for us of late have been Josh Richardson, Nick Sisca, and Rocket. A special note to all the new recruits who have been learning the ins and outs of footy and training as often as they can.

Thanks to all those that helped on the sidelines over the weekend.

Bryn

Bogged down at Bocek Park

Saturday June 9th saw the Dockers host their first EAFL tournament that saw three outstanding Eastern Region teams converging on Baltimore, MD. The teams consisted of the Philadelphia Hawks and DC Eagles with the Baltimore Dockers serving as hosts. The game was played at Bocek Park in Baltimore City and in true Baltimore City fashion the day turned from a hot sunny day to a wet cold monsoon in a matter of hours that saw teams playing in water ankle deep.

Game 1: Battle of the Beltway, Game 2

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The rain held off for the first game where the DC Eagles took on the Baltimore Dockers in the second game of the “Dennis Ryan Cup”. The first half went back and forth, with DC pulling ahead at halftime. As the second half began, the Dockers where able to trim the Eagles lead but in the end fell short.  Game 2 went to the Eagles by a score of 6.4.40 to 8.3.51. In the end, DC’s midfield with standout performances from Jake Moyer and Sam Radcliffe served too much for the Dockers to overcome.  Standouts for the Dockers were Josh Richardson and Mike Horney.

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Game 2: Dockers vs the Philly Hawks

The second game started shortly after the first one ended and saw the Dockers take on the Philadelphia Hawks. Hawks jumped out early on the Dockers kicking three quick goals. The Dockers were able to answer in the first half with a goal of their own two behinds. At halftime the heavens opened up and it was a torrential downpour that lasted for about 20 minutes. As players and spectators took shelter the rain, thunder and lightning lasted for about 20 minutes.

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With a break in the weather the second half started. With ankle deep water all over the field it turned to a very sloppy game of footy with each team just trying to gain territory in each other’s scoring half. The Hawks were able to pull away with some timely marks and straight goal kicking to come out on top of the Dockers by a score of 3.3.21 – 6.8.44. The Dockers were led by Ian Payne, Terrance McAuliffe, and Mike Horney who won Iron Man honors for his effort in both games.  

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Dockers bring home their first “W” from Music City U.S.A.

Earlier this month, the Dockers headed to Nashville, TN to take on the Kangaroos (June 2, to be precise). The Dockers were still hungry for the first win of the season — and after canceling the May 19 games due to a a monsoon in Baltimore, it was nice to play a game on a sunny warm Tennessee day.

Both teams started the game feeling each other out as each tried to swing the momentum to their respective sides. The first half saw the Kangaroos being on top 16 -7. The Dockers made some adjustments at half time and started to assert themselves on the offensive end. In the 3rd quarter Baltimore had repeated forward 50 entries that resulted in multiple goals being kicked. Ian Payne lead the charge by kicking 2 in the 3rd term with Jack Chalmers and Jake Moyer adding a goal each. In the 4th quarter the Dockers were aided by the Kangaroos inability to kick straight and coupled with a great defensive effort, were able to hold on for the win. The final score was 3.13.31 to 6.5.41 in favor of the Dockers.

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Zeluis Teixeira played a great game in the ruck, winning multiple ruck taps and not coming off the field all game, earning himself Iron Man honors for the match. Mike Gilbart, Nick Tyson, Mike Horney, and Matt Woodruff dominated the back line and held the Kangaroos from kicking a goal in the 4th to preserve the win. Coupled with some timely goal kicking by Ian Payne, the Dockers were able to secure their first win as a stand alone club.

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Coach’s Corner: Dockers look for their first win this weekend

With recent local lightning and thunderstorms here in Baltimore one could think we humans had pissed off some ancient weather God. One could also ponder the same thing with the Baltimore Dockers and the footy Gods, with the Baltimore Dockers without a win after their first two games.

It has not been without effort though and the boys can hold their heads high with the intensity and passion they displayed in their first hit out against Washington D.C. this year. The hard effort we have put in at training and on match days will ensure we will bounce back and soon be in the winner’s circle.

The game against Washington last weekend was physical. Neither side wanted to give an inch. This tight affair continued, with both teams scoring evenly until late in the 3 rd quarter. This was when D.C.’s ruck and midfield dominance capitalized and they got a good run on and delivered the ball continuously into their forward line. Our back line could only hold on for so long and the DC pressure paid dividends. They ran away victorious 77 to 42.

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Baltimore will lick its wounds and be ready for hit out #2 in June. Standouts were Brent Bates, Ian Payne and Nick Sisca.

 

Not dwelling on a loss, Baltimore are solely focused on this weekend’s home game against Philadelphia in what will be another good test of the depth of our squad. Philly has a lot of experience and we will need to be on our A game defensively to ensure their experienced squad doesn’t get any freedom to dictate play. I expect we can outrun, outmuscle and outscore this side but we will need to be focused from the get go and remain so for all 4 quarters.

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We will be playing at Bocek park this Saturday at 1pm so make sure you get down and enjoy what will surely be a good display of Aussie Rules Footy.

Coach’s Corner: Dockers Debut in Wilmington, NC

Coach’s Corner

Spring may finally be upon us here in Baltimore and with the (hopefully) warmer comes the official beginning to the USAFL season 2018. The Baltimore Dockers have been keeping busy with preseason training over the last month maintaining 3 sessions per week. Fitness levels have massively increased since our first REFLEX FITNESS sessions at the start of the year and all our new comers to Aussie footy and the Dockers are improving rapidly. It is great to see how far this new team has come in such a short time.

It was with this strong attitude of belief that we travelled to Wilmington, NC, last weekend to test our skills and strength against the NC Tigers. This team has come off the back of a very strong 2017 and we knew we were going to be in for a tough scrap. In very blustery conditions the Dockers were ahead for 3 quarters with Terence aka Tezza kicking the Dockers first ever goal as a USAFL side. Scores were low as the windy conditions made it very difficult to kick accurately.

Tezza having a kick

The Tigers roared back in the fourth quarter and took the lead and the momentum. A late Baltimore goal got us back in the game but it was not enough, as the Tigers eventually secured a close one by 7 points. Injuries unfortunately played a role with major influencer Ian Payne out with a hammy in the first 5 minutes and Ben Crenca suffering with knee and back injuries until he could not go on.

Heads were held high as this game was not lost for a lack of effort or toughness. Gusty conditions and a strong zone from the Tigers made it very difficult for us to move the ball effectively even though we did hold most of the possession. A solid first hit out for Baltimore with standout performances from captain Nick Sisca, Kit Drury, Dan Zimmerman and the defense who made it very difficult to score. Overall, I am very happy with how we went about it as a team. We have shown what we are capable of and now have an idea of what we need to do at training to improve and secure our first win as a team together.

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Thanks to the NC Tigers for their hospitality and for a great hit out. We look forward to returning the favour and hopefully getting one back next time we meet in Baltimore.

Next up we face our former teammates and current mates Washington D.C. for what is going to be a battle of epic proportions. Locked in for May 5 at Bocek Park in Baltimore, this will be the first time the two teams have locked horns since splitting into 2 separate sides during the off season. The Battle of the Beltway will surely be a very tough and hard fought out game with both sides aiming to get the very first win for both teams and bragging rights for a long time.

We all hope to see you there!

Bryn