The Toecutters vs Team Venture
The Toecutters’ first challenge of the season was facing off against league leaders Team Venture. In perhaps an unsurprising outcome, an in-form Venture defeated the Toecutters 7-2.
The Toecutters, who were unable to field core player Gordon Patrick, relied on Drew Cowen and a trio of younger players from their youth squad. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the experience of Team Venture shone early, resulting in a very dominating series of attacking plays early in the match, This was perhaps exacerbated by the Toecutter youngsters making risky plays on the sack, which often allowed Venture to capitalise and create several attacking chances. Both teams lacked in midfield, often relying on clearing the sack with specialty plays, and then focusing on a heavy attacking presence.
Charlie Rogers was the first to notch points on the board with a Buce, before new player James Patrick managed to clear a single point for the Toecutters. Shortly after James’ point, The Toecutters saw much more time in attack, with Venture sometimes struggling to get the sack out of their half. However, a convincing defence from Alex Conway and Chris Beavon kept the opposition from completing some close chances. While Venture placed priorities on their set plays in attack, it was the unexpected opportunities where Charlie Rogers grabbed two more points just before half time, once with a blind shot over Drew Cowen’s head, and another beating Cowen for the sack and hacking it into the side of the bin.
As the match progressed the game evened out- with James Patrick managing another point in his debut- this time beating two intrusive Venture defenders to the sack and getting a successful header through for a point. Charlie would eventually retaliate with a header of his own for a point, and finish up the match with a second buce on the buzzer of the match, to finish with a 7-2 scoreline.
Despite taking a lion’s share of the points, Charlie Rogers said he was impressed with all of Team Venture. All players had close chances, with Alex Conway, Alec Forbes and Ashley Everson almost scoring several times, with Conway sadly missing out on a disallowed hairline point. Chris Beavon worked hard for a fine send-off in what may be his last game of the Buce League as a transfer to the Sydney league seems more and more likely for the player. Ashley Everson once again shone in defence, keeping a tight hold on the Toecutters through much of the match. The team kept no secrets that they were putting to practice many new tactics on the field- and by the looks of it, these changes to the team structure paid off.
Drew Cowen, in what was a belated first game in many years, seemed frustrated yet optimistic at his team’s performance. Coping well with his new role as leader of the Toecutters, he led by example and managed several close chances himself. The newcomers to the team- Oscar Cowen and James Patrick, who will surely be core Toecutter enforces in the near future, shone in their new sport, particularly Patrick, who, like his father, looks to make waves in the sport. International import Patrick Langlois also added an impressive cohesion to the team being an integral part of many big plays from the Toecutters.
There’s little doubt that a matchup with the league leaders was an unfortunate way to start the Buce League for the new Toecutters, but with it, the hardest lessons may have been learned. Captain Drew Cowen seemed happy with the performance and eagerly awaits the return of Gordon Patrick from the lunatic asylum for the next rumble against the Hawks next week.
Man of the Match: Charlie Rogers
Rogers played an outstanding match against the Toecutters, and thanks to an excellent supply from his teammates, was able to capitalise on many opportunities. Rogers’ return to form will be welcomed by Team Venture, as they hope to start the semi-finals with a high run of form. His 7 points in the match has skyrocketed him to first place in the top scorer’s list, closely followed by Matthew Lee.
Match 2: The Hawks vs Team Blek
In a massive upset win, The Hawks shocked Team Blek with a 9-4 scoreline that has left fans gobsmacked and members of Team Blek scratching their heads.
Blek, who dominated much of the first half, lacked the ability to finish their many tight chances and were left dry of points for the first 20 minutes, mostly due to a desperate but successful defensive effort by The Hawks. The loss of Nick Allan, who was banned earlier in the week for a match-fixing controversy in his previous match, definitely created a weakened Hawks with a less experienced squad on the field. There was a scruffy display in the midfield, with both teams struggling to control any part of the court, and the Hawks didn’t get out of second gear for much of the first half. the only saving grace for either team was a lone header from returning star Mitch Furner, who elegantly headed the ball behind him to grab a point.
By the second half, the dominance swapped over, with the Hawks taking control and enjoying a lot more attacking opportunities. This was broken temporarily by a baffling own point by Tim Abel, but resumed straight away with the Hawks lumping the pressure onto Blek. Then, within the blink of an eye, the Hawks changed the game rapidly by scored 6 points. This consisted of two buces by Matthew Lee, who used graceful and perfectly timed footwork to bring 4 points onto the board, then a Buce by Ash Condon, sister to fellow Hawk Cody Condon, who blasted home a powerful header, and has become the first professional female player to score a buce, a welcome sign of things to come. Matthew Lee then compounded more pain onto Blek, with yet another buce, to bring the score to 9-1.
A dumbstruck Blek refused to step down however, with Gus Bevan and Hamish Rogers rising to the challenge of bringing the game back, with some last-ditch moves to take back control. Tim Abel somehow managed to score an even more ridiculous own point than his first one, and Hamish eventually brought home a buce for Blek, with a beautifully executed play from Tre Clifford to Rogers’ foot. It wasn’t enough to bring the game to heads, however, and the Hawks walked away with a huge win, sending a truly terrifying message to other teams in the league.
Blek are forced to continue an unlucky run of games despite solid performances from their players. Angus Beavon is sure to be an important asset to Blek in future, showing plenty of promise during the game but not quite getting the last touch needed to put Blek ahead. However, he contributed greatly in defence alongside Nick Scott and Tre Clifford. Scott, Wrightson and Hamish Rogers did well in midfield despite a strong Hawks presence. Newcomer Sam Henskens was slow to start, but contributed greatly to some of Blek’s plays. Tim Abel dominated in defence, and was much of the reason Blek failed to score for much of the game. Furner’s long awaited return to the Hawks’ lineup was well deserved, with great work in both defence and offence. Ash Condon’s attacking talent was unprecedented by the Blek camp, and complimented Lee’s phenomenal achievement in scoring for the team.
Man of the Match- Matthew Lee
Like the previous match, the points were a definite reflection on the standout player from the match. Lee’s three buces were all brilliantly executed, with amazing timing, balance and judgement. With such a meteoric rise to top of Buce, we are left to wonder: what more amazing things will we see from Lee this league?