Lions defeat the Vikings in the Wind and Rain
Sunday, August 31 2008 @ 03:50 pm ACST
Contributed by: Aaron Richard
The South Africa Lions defeated the Denmark Vikings in tough conditions for football at Geelong’s Kardinia Park West Oval yesterday. With a strong wind towards the southern end of the ground, the Vikings did most of the attacking in a tight first quarter, but from then on the Lions gained the edge, eventually running out 45 point winners.
Ed: Many thanks to guest reporter Marty Davies for the report and photos, stepping in at short notice to cover the match for WFN and giving our other reporter present a welcome break.
The Vikings did most of the early attacking towards the river end of the ground with the aid of a strong wind, however they failed to capitalise on their entries inside forward fifty, and it was the Lions who broke through for the first goal of the match.
The Danes exerted some physicality on their smaller opponents, with Erik Krolmark throwing himself in at every contest, and they soon regained the ascendancy around the ground, registering their first major score with a mark and successful set shot by Nicholai Secher. The quarter remained an arm wrestle in which the Lions' defence were forced to stand tall against their larger opponents, and they managed to do this, holding onto a two point lead at the first break.
The rain came in the second quarter, but it did not dampen the spirit of the Lions, who came out firing with two early goals. The Vikings managed to answer with another six pointer to Secher, his second goal kicked roving a marking contest, but the Danes found the going much tougher into the breeze at the city end. The exuberant Lions seemed unstoppable with the wind at their backs, and a great tackle from promising 17 year old Tshepiso Mogapi earned him a freekick, from which he set up the team’s third of the term.
The Lions were successfully carrying out the quarter time instructions of Coach Jason McCartney to run harder and increase their number of handball receives. Toy Prinsloo took a strong mark, and his clever kick utilising the wind resulted in yet another South African goal, and with two more goals scored in quick succession, the Lions ended the half with a handy lead and high spirits, as evidenced by Steven Matshane’s spectacular post goal acrobatic celebration.
The Vikings emerged from the long break trailing by 35 points and with a tough task ahead of them. The rain subsided, but unfortunately for the Denmark team the pressure exuded by the South Africans did not. Opportunities were denied to the Danish forwards, as their team was forced to play wide and indirect. The South African team found it much harder going into the breeze towards the city end, but their ability to run and carry the ball meant that the Danes could only manage a solitary goal late in the term, Christian Rose marking after some strong bodywork, and converting the resultant kick.
Trailing by 30 points at the final break, the Vikings urged each other to lift, whilst in the South African huddle Coach McCartney praised his team’s tackling and put emphasis on his players to work hard in order to compete in the air with their taller opposition; skills which they will need for their upcoming match against USA Revolution. A feature of the South African huddles is the attention to statistics such as clearances and shepherds, something we will increasingly see as the teams become more professional in their approach.
Most of the action in the final quarter was at the river end of the ground, with the Lions dominating clearances, and the Viking team was forced into damage control, unable to attack for any chance to win the game. The Lions grew in both enthusiasm and confidence as the match progressed, and they consistently entered their forward fifty in the last term, holding the Danish team scoreless. Richard Prinsloo kicked a skilful goal in general play, and this was followed by vice captain Steven Malinga, who played well all day, earning a holding the ball free kick from a tackle which typified the South African performance. He slotted the game’s final goal from 45 meters, as the Lions ran out 45 point winners.
|1.2 (8)||1/4||1.1 (7)|
|7.6 (48)||1/2||2.1 (13)|
|7.8 (50)||3/4||3.2 (20)|
|9.11 (65)||Full||3.2 (20)|
Goals - T. Prinsloo 3, J. Zidel 2, M. Mashigo, S. Malinga, S. Matshane, R. Prinsloo
Best - R. Prinsloo, T. Phakedi, M. Hlomela, J. Horn, S. Matshane, S. Mbhalo
Goals - N. Secher 2, C. Rose
Best - J. Djernes, T. Cederholm, M. Neugebauer, R. Jacobsen, N. Secher, C. Rose
After the match the South Africa coach Jason McCartney praised the Danes for their hard, competitive football saying he enjoyed their style.