Two games, two wins. AFL Sweden West, Round 1

Rene on the run

Rene on the run

(Update – photos are now up on flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/oslocrows/ )

Last year when the Oslo Crows travelled to Goteborg, the team was undermanned and outmatched, going down by a sizeable margin. Had the Beserkers kicked straight it would have been a 10-12 goal difference. The Oslo team played with heart, but was just not at the same standard that day.
This year, in the first round of AFL Sweden West, it was a different story, and for the first time ever a team from Oslo beat a team from Goteborg – on their home ground.

It took us a while to find Goteborg’s brand new ground, but 14 of us (almost 15 – next time Zack!) eventually got there in time to watch the end of Goteborg v Karlstad in the first match of the day. A few things were clear straight away – 1 Both of the Swedish teams were competitive 2 The turf on the new ground was rock hard.

After one of our trademark ‘rushed warm ups’, we worked out our positions and our strategy for dealing with the strong breeze.
Amund, Rene and Adam started in the middle, and straight away had the ball moving against the wind towards our end of the ground. A miss to Stoney was followed by a great goal by first gamer Ludvig ‘Luddy’ Hedberg, and we definitely owned the opening few minutes.
Perhaps inevitably, the strong wind became a factor once players hit their first fatigue barrier. Our forays forward were hard work and lacked penetration, and Goteborg’s were easy – sometimes it was as simple as just bombing the ball and watching it sail on the breeze. Goteborg’s midfield lifted and suddenly they had two quick goals.

At quarter time it was obvious that it would be a game of trying to capitalise on the strong wind in quarters two and four, and holding Goteborg as much as possible in the third.

Forwards Kurt, Stoney and Luddy presented well in the second, and the breeze made it easier for midfielders to flow down and have some shots at goal. Todd, James, Roxby were pushing the ball nicely into the attacking area, and soon enough the rewards came for their efforts. At half time we had pegged back Goteborg’s lead and were narrowly ahead.

Heading into the third, a really big effort was needed. We knew if we broke even with Goteborg and we are likely to come home strong with the wind and win the game. The tactic was to keep the ball wide. That would make turnovers less costly.

We needed our defenders to stand tall, and Sean Van Steel proved in the third quarter that he is more than just a guy with a cool name. He spoiled, cleared the ball, tackled hard and was solid on the last line of defence. Tobias got into the game and exerted his trademark tackling pressure, and suddenly we had a strong functioning backline. Goteborg were unable to create many good scoring opportunities thanks to the extremely wide style of play the Crows were creating. Rene, Adam, Todd and Roxby got the ball moving to Stoney and Kurt across half forward, and Dave B started getting some touches and looking dangerous. Although we didn’t score heavily, when the siren sounded we had fought off the best Goteborg could dish up with the strong breeze behind them.

The last was a hard fought contest from start to finish, and Goteborg just kept coming at us. It was a huge effort for a team that had already played in the morning, but it seemed every time we kicked away they would somehow manufacture a goal and get back into the game. It was a high quality quarter of football. In the end, the class of Adam, Rene, Todd and Roxby, coupled with Amund’s rucking and our solid backline ensured we were able to hold them off and finish three points to the good. It was a close game played without a scoreboard, so most players weren’t actually sure who had won! Final score Oslo 6.11.47 Goteborg 6.8.44.

The team went over to congratulate Cosso, who had started the game well only to be felled by an accidental elbow to the nose. Thankfully the friendly local nurse was helping him and he was doing OK.

A quick regroup and then Karlstad awaited us. In honesty, the team looked and performed like a team that was tired. The effort of beating Goteborg had taken a lot out of many of us, and once we agreed to loan them two very good players, James and Sean, we were suddenly facing a big challenge.
The breeze was again a factor, but it had dropped a little. Karlstad’s performance was much improved from 2010, and James and Sean made them into a good unit.

Thankfully the core midfield group again did the job for Oslo. Adam, Roxby and Amund were tireless, and Todd moved the ball beautifully when he was in there with them.

Tommy (welcome back!), Stoney and Rene held the backline together, and their task was helped by a couple of amazing misses by Karlstad. One of them was a shot from no more than two metres out, which hit the post. James’ early dominance (three goals) for Karlstad thankfully tapered off.
Roxby ran himself to exhaustion, Kurt kept putting in and Dave B lifted his workrate. Luddy was just as impressive as in the first game, and he finished his first game as an Oslo Crow with the respect of teammates and opponents alike.

Dave, Luddy and Todd

Dave, Luddy and Todd

The final score was a hard-fought win, 7.9.51 to 4.9.33. The weather turned just as the game concluded, which was unfortunate for the Goteborg BBQ that had been planned.

Unperturbed by that though, we showered up, had a few hard earned drinks and headed out for Thai dinner and festivities with the Goteborg boys. The night definitely helped us forget the bumps, bruises and scratches earned during the day. Even Cosso managed to get there after getting the all-clear on his nose at the local hospital. His swollen nose ended up being quite the talking point. It was like a beacon for the local females, and he was surrounded by well-wishers the whole night, including the nurse who had seen to him at the game.

Finally, some thanks. The host team has done a great job setting up a legitimate Australian football ground in Goteborg, and there is lots of potential to keep growing the game now they have their own permanent patch of turf. They were also very hospitable after the game and a good group of guys to hang out with.

Thanks also to Karlstad for fronting up and playing their two games with such great spirit. The difference between the team this year and last year is noticeable, there has been definite improvement. The second game, when we added a couple of extra (quality) players, they were suddenly a very challenging opponent.

Thanks to the umpire for doing a very good job for all three games. We couldn’t have had these contests without him.
Up next for the Crows is a game against Ås in a few weeks, followed by round two of AFL Sweden West, this time in Oslo.

See you at training on Thursday
Stoney

Oslo Crows May 2011

Pre game team photo

James, Sean and Rene at our luxurious cabin

James, Sean and Rene at our luxurious cabin

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Comments

  1. geirmund says:

    Congratulations Crows! And for a superb post David.

    To anyone else (like me) this wiki entry explains Australian Football scoring: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_Australian_football#Scoring

  2. well done lads…hopefully you also had a win at the nightclub!

  3. Bloody good stuff guys! Looking the goods for 2011..

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