Norge v Sverige – 24 hours in Sweden

24 hours in Sweden – The Stone Cold Truth
By Stoney

It’s like the intro-line of a joke. Five Norwegians, A SANFL player, a Kiwi and a Czech medical student walk into a bar….

But it wasn’t a joke – it was Trolls 2009 – the first and therefore best 24-hour ‘sneak across the border and smash those damn Svensk footballers’ expedition of all time.

Through history there’ve been countless stories of the “improbably thrown together rag-tag bunch of misfits triumphing against the odds” (the kids from ‘the Goonies’ being the most obvious example).

But has there EVER been a more bizarre collection of humans fighting for a common goal than the Norway Trolls?

We had every type of non-traditional AFL player: Scandinavians, women, Queenslanders, Czechs, Kiwis, even a Pom (although he ended up being medical officer rather than playing). Yep, we had a pretty unusal lineup.

***Build up***
Respect to Bergs for the organization. Always positive, always chipping away at getting it arranged. The only stain on his report card is for not getting a Russ bus, but that was always a pretty tall order, and I actually don’t know if I could have taken the hilarity of a three hour Russ bus trip with you guys.

***At the venue***
Fuck. Yes, there were posts and a really nicely marked out ground (good work Karlstad), but there was also a force five gale, horizontal rain and a brass monkey whose balls had just frozen off- it was that cold.

No changerooms, no enclosed areas, barely any shelter. The only blessing was that it hadn’t started to snow – yet.

***Pre game***
Probably not the best pre-game preparation. While the well organized Swedes were diligently jogging laps ad pep-talking each other, we had guys who were still at the bottle shop, guys who didn’t have kit, guys fighting severe gastro and even guys who thought they were on the bench who were actually starting on the ground. It’s the only game I can think of where a team has handed their opponents a two-person head start by only having sixteen on the ground. Still, our jumpers looked nice, and Tor-Arne’s advice to wear woolen thermals under the footy jumper was bloody good advice.

***The match – player summary***
We all know what happened out there and who won. Here are a few of my thoughts on individual efforts. Feel free to add your own about guys I missed!

Crawf/Roids: Great solid effort in the first half. Saved a heap of goals. Even managed to throw in a few ‘that’s what I’m talking about’s while playing. Also frightened the reception lady when enquiring about where the coffee was.

Adam O’Toole: A sensible head, played an excellent game. Marked well, kicked long and didn’t shirk the issue. Also provided jumpers and a handful of players. Great work!

Swanny: Kicked a guy – someone (possibly me) forgot to tell him the kicking in danger rule. Having said that, an outstanding debut game. Ran in straight lines and stopped guys when he needed to stop them. His ‘drop bear’ effort late at night has become legend already.

Bergs: Captain courageous. Hunted the ball and hurt the Swedes several times with his run and carry. Took more ‘Jesalenkos’ after the game than in it, and drunkenly/accidently greeted two female cops with the words ‘how’s it going lads?’

Tim: Bagged a lazy three goals, all in the first half. Highest goal scorer on the ground. The game comes easily to him. Enough said.

Adam Pearce: A Rolls Royce of a footballer. Can simply do EVERYTHING on the football field, and do it better than we mere mortals. Best on ground.

Ben: Played a blinder. Just kept getting the ball and doing good things with it. One of the best. Other highlights included taking a stubby of beer to breakfast. True story.

Damo 1: Humorous drunk by night, surprise packet footballer by day. Played dry weather football while all around him floundered and kicked a ripping long goal. By far the funniest at the afterparty.

Amund: Nothing short of heroic in the ruck against ‘Matzilla’. Brilliant debut. Gets only an A- though – the minus is for not buying me a beer after I bought him one

T-Bone: First footballer I’ve ever seen do a full slide tackle. Somehow didn’t give away a free kick for it. Worked hard and did his job. Good clubman.

Damo 2: Did some very good things. Rucked well. Kicked a rover’s goal in the last, and got great penetration on all of his kicks considering the weather.

Hinesy: More of a dry weather man, but still managed to get around the place, just being Hinesy. Played a pretty good game. Ran into some trouble with the waiter at dinner.

Tor Arne: Sensibly attired, willing to do his bit, and definitely better for the run.

Davo: class footballer hobbled by a quad injury. We were denied his best work.

Jenna: Respect. Didn’t shirk the issue, went hard at the ball, and took the hardest slam tackles the Swedes could dish out

Iceman: Where to start? Brought huge tackling power and running power before leaving the ground with Swedish gastro. Scared more locals than any other member of the squad, especially when he flipped his hoodie over his head and started shadow boxing on the dancefloor. Slept in a chair. Pretty much did it all.

Andrew: Another to feel the gastro pain. All the way back to Norway. Contributed on the field, and apparently got punched in the mouth during the game somehow.

Roxby: Got busy in the midfield and showed some class. Very strong contributor. Did it all at the afterparty. Won money, got bodyslammed and apparently got a blood nose…somehow. Nobody knows how.

Knut: I think it was Knut that kicked a guy a la Swanny? Not sure. Played his part and won for his country.

Stoney: A poor imitation of his 18 year old football playing self, but did some good things. Kicked a quality lob soccer goal in the last. Took a controversial sliding ‘mark’

Erik Svela: Has the makings of a very good footballer. Would have torn the game apart had the weather been dry. Still a very good first game.

Erik 2: Did what was asked of him and contributed to the win.

***The wash up***
Well played all, both on and off the field. I honestly can’t think of how it could have been a more memorable trip. Can’t wait for 2010. In the immortal words of Roids, THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!

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