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.
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.
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.
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.
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.