Two wins for East, heartbreak for West, Ås stay on top

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Check out the full gallery of pics from round 3
Round 3 of the 2013 Kenguru Cup was without question the highest quality Australian football ever played on Norwegian soil.

Three constantly improving teams – Oslo East, Oslo West and Ås, squared off in front of a modest crowd at Storebrand Stadion, and showed just how far Australian football has progressed in a short time.

Ladder leaders Ås were desperate to retain their stranglehold on the competition, and two wins from their two games would put breathing space between them and Oslo East. They approached their first game with Oslo West with strong intent, and simply beat West to the ball. They wanted it more, and it showed. West’s larger squad was not well organised in the first half, and manning up was a large problem. Players like John Debenham just didn’t seem to have an opponent for much of the half, and with returned ruckman Amund Lundesgard dominating the ball-ups, Ås strolled out of the middle with ease.

They had put a big gap on West before half time, and while the second half was a definite improvement from the westside squad, the damage had been done early. Ås galloped away to a straightforward win, 9.4.58 to 3.4.22

Game two pitted the two top of the table squads against each other, and despite being undersized, it was East that came out firing. The ageless Pearce/Roxby duo was prolific, and Brage Blomdal was tireless in the middle. Newcomer Darren Allbeury continued his good form, and at half time East owned an 11 point advantage. Ås was going to need to do better than just match East goal-for-goal if they were to come out of the game victorious. The goals certainly flowed in the second half, but Ås simply couldn’t shut down the variety of avenues to attack that East had established. Marius Wold and Andreas Kristoffer Berge were in on the act, and East ended up narrowly outscoring Ås in the second half. Final score, Oslo East 9.6.61 defeated Ås 7.1.43

On that form, it could have been expected that East would cruise past their crosstown rivals in the final game. After all, in game one the westies had been nowhere near good enough to compete with the team that East had just beaten.

Football is a funny game, and the walk in the park some had expected for East never happened. West played with FAR more desire and heart from the first minute, and used its height advantage to stretch the East backline to its limit. Talls Matt Stirling, Ben Marks and David Stone were accumulating marks around the ground, Atle Mengshoel Brevik was rock solid at full back and second gamer Håkon Molvig was playing a sensational game in the middle. His physicality and fitness was keeping the normally unstoppable Pearce quieter than usual.

When the much improved Klas Alexander Harris and then Ben Marks goaled just before half time, both from precise set shots, scores were dead level at 4.2.26 each. The goal spurred West, who kept their momentum going in the second half. Momentum was with them, but a cluster of poor decisions in front of goal and costly errors down back let East wrestle back the initiative. Having weathered the storm, East showed its class with three quick goals against the tide, and suddenly it was over. The narrow margin meant that East, while equal on points, remains behind Ås on percentage.

For West, this was the game that got away. Unfortunately for them, the premiership points table doesn’t care for who could have or should have won, and the cold numbers after round 3 show West languishing on the bottom of the table, despite a much improved effort against East.

The quality of football in all three games was outstanding, however the enthusiasm for how great the games had been was a little tempered by some injuries to several players. Oliver Tomic, Adam Pearce, Erik Bjureus and Atle Mengshoel Brevik all sustained injuries during play, and its hoped that all recover quickly.

Next up is round four in Oslo. Can West finally get back on the winners’ list? Will East or Ås manage to break clear at the top of the table? Time will tell. Until then, training continues, as does preparation for Euro Cup and Algarve 9s.

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