Triumphant Reading Roos add to the Trophy Cabinet
Wednesday, August 16 2006 @ 04:38 pm ACST
Contributed by: Aaron Richard
This report courtesy of Adam Bennett and Joao Coelho.
The IX Europe Reading Kangaroos added to an already impressive achievement list on Saturday, soundly defeating the Nottingham Scorpions in the Regional Grand Final by 151-44. In windy conditions and with tensions running high between the teams, the Roos put in a devastating performance to shake off the lethargy of the last few games.
Right from the opening throw up, the Roos went right up the gears and quickly had points on the board through Brent and both the Andy's. Going with the strong wind, the Roos took full advantage, but also displayed none of the inattentiveness which has slightly marred recent victories. They were focussed and allowed the Scorpions very few chances at solid possession or territory, all the while racking up goal after goal, finishing the first quarter with an astounding 70-1 lead. Nottingham finished the quarter a man down after a stupid off the ball ram in the back on Andy Craig, who was proving to be the bane of the Scorpions all over the pitch.
The second quarter would be a telling one, seeing how the Scorpions reacted and used the wind, but to the delight of the Roos travelling supporters, the lads battled hard and kept the majority of the possession and piled on the points. The play up top from Paul, Brent, Andy, Ted, Joao, Tim and Sam was fantastic, securing good position and many points. It was particularly good to see Sam back in action after a Rooney-esque recovery from his dislocated shoulder.
In the middle of the park, the Roos were dominating the packs and the breakdown. With ferocious shepherding from both sides, the physical battle was going to be pivotal, and the Reading lads broke up attack after attack and came away with the ball, distributing well into the front line, where Brent and Andy were grabbing anything and sticking goal after goal through from all over the pockets. Gary, Andy, Zac, Crox and Will were allowing no easy ball to their opposites and were shrugging off some fierce hits.
The half-time team talk was a welcome surprise for Ads, who for the first match in weeks, did not have to rant about anything. The message was simple - keep doing exactly the same, stay focussed and ignore the increasing number of desperate late hits and off the ball incidents, which the Nottingham lads were resorting to in order to break up the Roos momentum. If the Scorpions had been as focussed on the ball as they were on targeting the Roos, the game might have been closer, but as it was, the Reading lads were able to power through many of the challenges and carried on mounting up the goals. Oli in particular was tormenting the tiring Nott's centres with his pace and agility, dodging aside as they threw increasingly desperate challenges to him.
The second half continued in much the same way, though the Roos did allow the Scorpions onto the score sheet a few times after a few loose plays. Ads, Mike, Ian, Ben, Tristan and Nackers coped well though, rotating round and marking up really well, giving their opposites very little chance at all to create anything solid. In the fourth quarter, with several Nottingham players slow to get back and a few good kicks forward, the Scorpions managed to get a a few goals on the board, but could not make any serious dents in the massive lead the Roos now comfortably held.
The final whistle was greeted with jubilation, by a Roos team who thoroughly deserved the reward at the end of a great season. With circumstances going against them in both previous encounters with the Nottingham lads, it was great to find redemption on the big stage, and in such emphatic style! The presentation of Best On Ground went to Brent Barton, with a magnificent performance and 10 goals and he then received the cup from BARFL President Remon Gazal as the IX Europe Reading Kangaroos were crowned Regional Champs once more.
Further information about the Roos can be found at www.readingroos.co.uk.
Squad: Ads (Captain), Mike, Ben, Tim Tristan, Nackers, Ian, Oli, Will, Gary, Zac, Andy Craig, Sam, Paul, Brent, Andy Whits, Joao, Crox, Ted
Support Staff: Phil, Mick, Patto, Tony - all the travelling Roos Footballers' Wives (and girlfriends, nans and daughters!)
Best Performances: Will, Andy Craig, Brent and Tristan. Everyone performed above themselves.