Wednesday, August 17 2011 @ 11:02 am ACST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
In the last match of Game Day 2 (Monday 15th), in a trans-Atlantic challenge the Great Britain Bulldogs took on the Canadian Northwind. Going on past ranking the Canadians would have gone in favourites today but Great Britain showed that the squad they have brought in 2011 is perhaps the most balanced one yet in terms of height, speed and strength. They took out today's match by 29 points.
After the first five minutes of bouncing to and fro from pack to pack the Canadians were the first to get on the board, even if only with a behind. The ping pong nature of the game continued with many stoppages and turnovers forced by intense pressure from both sides. Great Britain finally broke the deadlock with a goal to Tom Mercer. Late in the quarter Gareth Blackstaffe-Turner for GB was hurt (possibly broken/dislocated finger) when he barreled over the metal faux picket fence. While this incident was assessed and Blackstaffe-Turner lay on the ground outside the field of play (like a WWE wrestler cast from the ring) play was stopped and due to no time on in the quarters the siren sounded. A Canadian free kick after the siren from 70m out failed to make the distance and it looked like the team that settled to get clear possessions would eventually win the match.
What came next did not follow the script.
Late in the 2nd quarter, swift movement of the ball gave the Canadians a mark in front of goal. The forward played on, but a magnificent last ditch chase and smother by Anthony Trigg denied the opportunity. Trigg has been honing his skills at the Maribyrnong Park Lions and the experience has developed his game immensely.
The Canadians had struggled to bother the scorers on Game Day 1, even against the low-ranked Peace Team. This was assumed to be an anomaly but against the Bulldogs the pattern continued. The fresh faces on GB's team were playing well and by the time Harmeston (#8) kicked truly from long range the Brits were looking like winners - 20 points up at the main break.
If the Northwind were to salvage the game the turn around needed to happen in what is known as the premiership quarter. It didn't happen. A further two goals to none iced the game for the Europeans and despite a late rally in the last Canada never really threatened again.
Great Britain by 29 points and the post game glow continued well into the next day as they turned their attention with renewed confidence to powerhouse New Zealand. For Canada they have to re-group before their own daunting clash with the Kiwis, on Saturday back at Blacktown.
Great Britain 6.8 (44) def Canada 2.3 (15)
Great Britain Goalkickers – P. Wild, T. Mercer , B. O''Brien , T. Atkins , R. Harmeston , L. Tarn
Great Britain Best – A. Trigg, P. Wild, T. Mercer, B. McGeever, S. Walton, M. Whiteley
Canada Goalkickers – K. Graham, Z. Macdonald
Canada Best – K. Wong, S. Rutledge, M. Karas, A. Millen, K. La, E. Williams