Winter League Social Footy Begins In Montreal

Aussie Rules football in December - in Montreal - became a reality last Saturday as the Social Co-Ed Winter League kicked off inside the Concordia Stinger Dome. Game 1 between the Mad Hatter Mad Cats and the Strathmore Dragons began at a frenetic pace, the smaller field and 7-a-side format turning the match into a shuttle run v sharp skills combo that had all players trying to catch their breath within the first few minutes.

Game 1: Mad Cats 4.1 6.1 (37) defeated Dragons 2.1 3.3 (21)

The Mad Cats controlled the ball early, speedster rookie Camilla “el huracán” looking dangerous up forward. She eventually marked strongly inside the scoring zone to register a behind and the game’s first score. Brett “The General” Whyborn had the ball on a string through the midfield and before too long, goals to Youssef, Whyborn and Yacine saw the Mad Cats skip away to a handy lead. Looking down the barrel of a blowout the Dragons responded with vigour. Missing star Jack “Homer” Simpson with a severe bout of pretendinitis, the Dragons found plenty of run through the midfield from Oscar the Grouch, Adele “la Bete” Saives and Caro ‘The Arrow” Leduc. It gave their forward line plenty of chances and doing so unearthed one of the stars of the round. In her first game of Aussie Rules Niamh the Magician turned her opponents inside out booting two goals, one amongst a throng of traffic, both reigniting the Dragon’s flame and dragging the team to within 12 points at halftime.

As the second half got underway the Dragons had found a setup that was working like a well oiled machine. Rookie Romane “la Phenoméne” Villemin started to work her way into the game, Jim “Ji-Fo” Foley was at his usual best under the packs while another debutante Ben “Barry Hall” Azoulay (after a 5 minute skills crash course from Caroline Leduc) put on a display of kicking that would make any Aussie veteran proud. With the goal face reduced to 4 metres accuracy would play a key role in the final stages. A near miss for Dragon Jim Foley was a get out of jail free card for the Mad Cats. The Cats were also getting plenty of chances in their front half, Charlene Colnat busy through the midfield while Larissa “AK47” Andrusyshyn had been in the thick of everything. Mad Cat Larissa’s dead straight shot on goal fell inches short and was cut off by the safe hands of Benjamin “BB8” Bradley VIII and the Dragons still had a pulse. As time ticked down the Dragon’s chances for victory were starting to slip. They finally broke through with a goal to Geoff “the road runner” Daniel, but some good work by Stine “The Rock” Hoj and Yacine “The flying doormat” Baouche across half-forward would help the Mad Cats steady with a goal to Whyborn. The final nail in the coffin came when Dave “the dominator” Simon who was having a day out up forward marking everything that came his way slotted through his first of the day. 4 scoring shots to 2 in the final half would be a tale of what could have been for the Dragons, the Mad Cats victorious by a hard fought 16 points.

Game 2: Hot Pies 3.1 7.1 (43) defeated Rainbow Roos 1.1 5.2 (32)

The Pies burst out of the blocks in game 2, Collingwood tragic Matt “Pendles” Wilson etching his name into Montreal Magpie history with the team’s first major. Rookie Luca “il cecchino” Geno was brilliant on debut looking likely to score everytime he laid hands on the ball. When he slotted through the Pies second goal of the game the black and white army were up and about. The Roos were far from outgunned. Geoff “Wile E Coyote” Daniel (the Road Runner’s better looking twin brother) scored the reply for the Roos while a narrow miss for Chris “Don’t call me Perverill” Robinson had the Rainbow Roos nipping at the Pies heels. However, it was a 5-star return to footy for the Michelin man Chris Micheletti as he led the midfield charge for the Pies, some link ups with Emma “All-Star” Shriar and the always deft play of Lindsay “Lohan” Belzie kept the Roos at bay. Add to the Pies talent stock Kenneth "Barbie" Boudreau's dominance across the field and all the Roos could do was cling to the Pies coattails. It would take a solid contribution from Emilie “Heppell” Perrault and a stellar effort from Christopher “Classic Catches” Cuellar (one that had the Perthonian diving left and right in defense making several flag tackles) to keep the Roos in touch and trailing by just 12 points at the half.

With 4 rookies in their ranks the Roos could be forgiven for a sluggish start, but as the debutants found their feet in a baptism of fire they also found their swagger. Sebastien “the bullet” was firing off handpasses like a seasoned pro and fellow rookie Pierre the prefect stamped his authority on the game with several commanding runs through the midfield. Not to be outdone the dynamic duo of Danielle and Taylor found themselves playing key roles all over the field, both driving the Roos forward time and time again. The game had lifted several gears and quickly became a shootout. The Pies were firing on all cylinders too, Adrian “007” Clarizio booted two classy goals to open the half while the superstar simply known as “V” opened her account with a brilliant shot on goal. At the other end Chris Robinson was doing his best attempt for goal of the year, his superb snap on goal registering back-to-back goals for himself and the Roos.Like Rocky and Apollo Creed, both exhausted teams stood toe-to-toe trading punches. Michelletti extended the Pies lead before Natasha “The Answer to the question is play me forward” Teich kicked truly to keep the Roos alive. Another goal to Roos from Geoff and the game was in the balance. Late stages and the man that puts the word contact into non-contact Matt Payne who had been superb in defense surged forward and took a shot on goal. The narrow miss would have made it a one kick game,

but the Pies would hold on to claim an epic first up victory.