This Saturday, the Dockers men’s team played their final games of the 2018 regular season in Philadelphia. In the USAFL’s traditional format, three teams gather in one city for a round-robin format in which each team plays the other two. The Dockers’ opponents were the New York Magpies and the Philadelphia Hawks.
The Dockers brought sixteen players, a mix of veterans and first-gamers, to face two of the largest and best-organized teams in the Eastern Australian Football League. Although the Dockers eventually lost both games, they played proudly throughout.
Game 1 started as a back-and-forth contest between the Dockers and Magpies, before the New York pulled ahead with three goals late in the first half. In the second half, the Dockers’ back line played with their trademark intensity and skill, holding the experienced Magpies without a goal.
Game 2 was a low-scoring defensive battle throughout the first half, with the halftime score level at 9-9. But as the game wore on, Philadelphia’s superior numbers made the difference, as the Hawks scored eight unanswered goals plus two behinds for a final score of 59-9.
And so the Baltimore Dockers men’s team closes out its first-ever regular season of operations after playing an incredible 17 matches, finishing with a record of 5 wins and 12 losses. Their next appearance will be the weekend of October 13, 2018 at the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) National Championships in Racine, Wisconsin. Matchups for championship weekend will be announced next week.
Women’s team victory in Boston
The Lady Eagles traveled to Boston at the end of August to take on the Boston Lady Demons on a combined team with the Philadelphia Hawks. We played with smaller sides on a condensed field, which led to a very fast paced game. Strong defensive play by Lough and Christina prevented many scoring opportunities by the Lady Demons and enabled quick transitions into the midfield and forward lines. Our midfield and forwards were dominant, scoring 16 goals and 17 behinds over 4 quarters of play. The Lady Eagles emerged victorious. We celebrated our victory with a night out in the city and some Australian pies and sausage rolls then capped off the celebration with a boat race win!
East/West Showdown: Magpie shutout, then shut out by the Maidens
In early September, the Lady Eagles traveled to New York for the East/West Showdown and the end of the regular footy season. This tournament featured teams and players from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic along with California, Arizona, and Seattle. We began our tournament with a game against our Eastern Region rivals, the New York Lady Magpies. The Lady Eagles were dominant all game. The defense was a wall, blocking any scoring chances. The midfield led by Molly and Karen kept up the pressure, turning over the ball and transitioning it well up-field. We had good intensity and communicated well. Kristin scored the two goals for the Lady Eagles in their decisive victory.
Next, we took on the San Francisco Iron Maidens, who were the Division I USAFL National Champions in 2017. The Iron Maidens were a very strong side and moved the ball well throughout the game. We played well defensively but our communication broke down, which made it difficult to effectively clear and transition the footy down the field. Despite the loss, the game was an excellent learning opportunity and helped us prepare further for USAFL Nationals. The San Francisco Iron Maidens also beat New York and were crowned the winners of the East/ West Showdown. Following the games, we celebrated all together in the city!
Our fantastic regular season has come to a close. We went 5-2 in regular season play and won the USAFL Eastern Regional Championship. Next up, we travel to Racine, Wisconsin on October 14 for the USAFL Nationals. We will play combined with another team (to be announced) in Division II as we look to continue our winning season and hopefully bring back some hardware! Stay tuned!
It has been a hot and steamy month this August in Dockerland. Not to mention the weather, which has been rather warm of late too. After a few disappointing weeks with low numbers at training we have seen a surge of late with nearly 20 on the track the last few sessions.
This has helped us to continue our match simulation drills and full field pieces.
We believe that if we can continue training in this game play style with a good number of players we will start seeing the results on the field. We have the talent in our ranks. We just need to continue working together to learn the most effective ways to limit scoring at our defensive end and transition down the field to maximize damage.
We have played 3 games since the last issue. The first was a full 4 quarter game against North Carolina Tigers. They unfortunately only had 14 or 15 players that travelled with them to Baltimore to face us and we won convincingly. The delivery to Ian Payne in the forward line was crisp and allowed him to run on to mark the ball out in front. He finished up with eight or so goals, and was the major goal kicker on the day. The biggest takeaway from this game was the attitude and team spirit that was evident from the start. We wanted to win and were willing to work together to make it happen.
Last weekend saw the Dockers travel up to Philly to play a mini tourney against them and D.C. We finished up 1 & 1. We easily took care of D.C. who unfortunately were missing a plethora of their usual best. They tried, but were unable to impact the scoreboard. Josh Richards led the way for the backline, the midfielders owned the middle and Ian Payne, Kit and the rest of the forward line finishing off with near constant scoring. Another team effort with all on the field putting their head and body on the line.
The Philadelphia Hawks have shown what it takes to win in this Eastern Division and have been the benchmark this year. We Dockers can take a leaf out of their book in relation to ball movement from the back half- something we will be working on every training session. We had a tough hit out against them, unfortunately going down by about 4 goals. Most of the Dockers (myself included) were out of legs and the fresh Hawks got away from us in the 2nd half. It was a good hit out though and I look forward to playing them again next month over 4 quarters to see where we really lie. Rocket ended up best on ground over the 2 games. Unfortunately, we say goodbye to Rocket until Nationals but we have improved as a playing group with the time he has spent with us.
August has been a good month for us. With consistent training and a well set game plan, there is no limit to how far this team can go in the USAFL. We continue to prepare for Nationals and have a very busy schedule in September.
Come see us play at our next home game. Bring a chair, bring your dog, and enjoy a sausage roll and a beer as we take on Philadelphia on September 8 (unless you want super fan credentials and travel to Boston next weekend!)