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Sunday, July 05 2020 @ 07:01 pm ACST

AZAFL Devils draw first blood

North America

The first match of the newly overhauled AZAFL for 2007 was played on Saturday Feb 3rd between the Devils and Dingos. The league will consist of three teams vying for the title this year, with two teams competing and the third team handling field setup and officiating each round. This report supplied to us by John ‘Pops’ Meier

Under beautiful skies and on a typical Arizona straw-like grass field, the new and improved AZAFL began the sixth Metro Footy season. The Devils went on the offensive right away, pushing the ball into their forward zone with scrappy on-ball play by Ryan Luto and Troy Anderson. The Dingos managed to turn away the Devils initial attempts with some excellent back line defence from J.D. Sovereign and on-ball play by Chad Martin. The Dingos got the ball into the hands of Johnny Reynoso who snapped off two majors in the first period. Captain Gabe Miritello and Jason Todd added two more goals for the Devils. The Devils answered with three 6-pointers of their own to pull within five points at the end of the first period of play. Towards the end of the period the Dingos were forced to play a man down to an unfortunate injury to Mid-Fielder Brandon Gumbert. Without any exchange players on the bench, the Dingos would have to hustle all day to keep up with the Devils.

The second period of play was much like the first with spirited mid-field play from both sides and strong defensive play on both ends. The larger field and 12 per side format really allowed both teams to run into open space and stay a kick away from the ball making for better flow of the game. Of course, when the ball was on the ground, pure AZAFL Metro Footy took over. No one is harder at the ball than our own AZAFL footballers. The Devils managed to pull ahead at the half-time horn with a 2 point lead.

The two teams kept up the level of intensity in the third period with a fair amount of on and off the ball. Neither team was giving up any ground, nor gaining much during this period. Reynoso tallied his fourth and fifth major on the day and the Devils spread their scoring out amongst three other players to push their lead to six points at the final break.

The final period started where the third ended with the Devils pushing the pill into their forward zone early and often. The Dingos fought back valiantly but were slowly running out of gas without and fresh legs. Rob Luto added his fourth goal of the day along with AZAFL newcomer Daniel Rogan kicking his first major of what we hope will be a good many goals by this young man.

In the end, the Devils ran out winners in an excellent and hard fought match by both teams.

Final Score - Devils 11.9 (75) d. Dingos 9.8 (62)

Goals - Devils: Rogan, Denis Kelly, Jellison, Anderson, Rob Luto (4), Ryan Luto (3)

Goals - Dingos: Gumbert, Todd, Miritello (2), Reynoso (5)

Best - Devils: Anderson, Luto, Koernig, Jellison. Dingos: Reynoso, Miritello, Gumbert, Martin, Hanover.

February 10th at the same location, McQueen Park at 2 PM the Devils are back in action against the Marshalls. Also this season will see all those intrepid players that started footy in Arizona invited back to participate in an Epic Legends Footy match against the formidable Lady Hawks on March 3rd.

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