Contributed by: Troy ThompsonThe US saw this as a danger game as Nauru have been the big improvers in this tournament, and rated highly by the opposition that they had already encountered. For the Nauruans this would be a great challenge and a great opportunity to take another scalp. The first minutes saw the customary full on scrap with high pressure and quick ball movement causing numerous turnovers with neither team able to put together a long string of possession. The US were the first to break the deadlock when Paul Duncan scored the first behind. The US had the breeze which was blowing from the south today.
The tight contest was pretty much the story of the quarter, while the Chiefs did get the ball forward they either kicked out of bounds or had the ball cut off by the Revo’s defence. Danny Hansen was able to mark and goal and later in the quarter Robert Strange’s pass hit Rob Lutostanki who also kicked truly from 38m out. Standouts for Nauru were Mallinson Batsiua, Trent Depaune and Vili-Kesa Jeremiah who stifled what should have been a bigger lead to the US at quarter time of just 13 points.
Nauru started well, but their finishing left a little to be desired. German Grundler and Deamo Baguga kicked early points and other kicks were going out on the full. The US managed to work the ball into the breeze but Dan Sarbarker missed to the left for a minor score. Depaune continually rebounded the ball as the Revolution drove forward, but Nauru failed to use the breeze well as Deamo Baguga got plenty of it but kicked four out of bounds on the full for the quarter. The US team matched the Nauruans for pace around the ground but were fortunate to only have the quarter time margin reduced to two goals at half time.
The US team now with the breeze again had to have a big quarter to be able to hold off Nauru who would come home with the strong southerly in the last. After three minutes of early struggle with the ball bouncing between half back lines, a relayed free kick downfield was in the hands of Dustin Jones. But again the US failed to capitilise when his kick went wide. Nauru was showing that their greatest strength was actually their marking. At contests around the ground they started to mark everything, highlighted by a great mark by Piven Dame’s mark over US captain Donnie Lucero. The US looked better out in space though and Jon Loring and Brett Ullman were working hard in defence. But the pressure was on and Otto Adam received a 25 metre penalty to put him 22 metres out he kicked truly to give Nauru their first goal. Chris Candelaria was giving the US some spark on the ball but still the Chiefs worried them, Shadrach Notte took a great mark across the front of a pack for them but then kicked it out on the full. Deamo Baguga dropped the mark from the kick in but played on to kick a point. Valuable minutes with the breeze were being wasted by the US as the Nauruans zoned off and continually marked across their half forward line sending the ball forward. Big Jay Mueller was giving his team mates first use of the ball, but they were always heavily tackled. When they did break out the Lucero got the ball in long but the ball came off hands on the line for a minor score. Danny Hansen got the ball and looked link goaling but the ball was smothered and again went across the goal line for a point. At three quarter time the lead was reduced to just nine points.
The final term belonged to the Nauru. They got the first centre clearance and when Johnny Dagiaro picked up the ball that fell over the pack his snap went high and the breeze carried it over the line, a Nauru win looked likely. German Grundler soon added another breaking clear of the pack, had a mis hit handball that he then ran onto again and slotted the goal from close range. The Revolution rallied and a long kick from Sarbarker found Hansen who had a Nauruan defender on his back too early. He went back and calmly goaled. But that was the end of the resistance. Nauru then goaled through Grundler twice more after Lucero was penalized for an off the ball incident, and then similar to his first goal Grundler ran in another loose ball to kick from close range. Johnny Dagiaro then goaled for the chiefs after Bruce Beilfuss this time was penalized for holding off the ball. Otto Adam sealed the game’s fate with the last goal of the match and it was the Nauruans home by 22 points.
Nauru 7.3 (45) def USA 3.5 (23)
Goal Kickers: G. Grundler 3, J. Dagiaro 2, O. Adam 2
Best Players: T. Depaune, M. Batsiua, B. Waidabu, A. Amwano, P. Dame, T. Waidabu
Goal Kickers: D. Hansen 2, R. Lutostanski
Best Players: J. Levesque, J. Muller, R. Strange, D. Hansen, C. Candelaria, M. Kleinhenz
World Footy News