Contributed by: Brett Northey
The inaugural "Wild West Shootout" 9-a-side tournament was held in Las Vegas on 16th April. As often happens with such events, a few last minute changes were necessary and the final set-up was 7 teams. The Mojave Greens, the Tucson Javelinas, and the OC Crush were combined into one side for the day. That still provided a healthy competition for a tournament in its first hit out, in a city where the game isn't played at all.
The Orange County Bombers won the day, finishing undefeated. The Californians knocked off reigning 3-in-a-row USAFL champions the Denver Bulldogs in a close final, thanks to the use of the 9-point super goal, awarded for goals from outside 40 metres. This system has been trialled at the top level in AFL matches in Australia in the pre-season "Wizard Cup" tournament, but for goals from outside 50m. In the final OC kicked the same number of goals as the Bulldogs, but three of theirs were super goals to Denver's two.
The heat and dryness was also a factor, and the final two rounds and the grand final were shortened to thirty minutes each. The Philadelphia Hawks garnered an honorary mention for their tenacious play and effort to travel from far afield, and were given the Shootout Trophy, a goal-post driver designed to look like a giant bullet with two pistols as handles. Orange County's Marty Curry, a Vegas native, received the Most-Valuable-Player award, and the Denver Bulldog's Jed "JEDI" Farley received the Best-and-Fairest award for the Grand Final.
Scores below are super goals (9 points), goals (6 points), run-through (3 points), behinds (1). The run through was an experimental rule allowing a score similar to an American football style touch down, although none were scored in the final.DENVER BULLDOGS 22.214.171.124 - 59
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