The Baltimore Dockers are USAFL Division IV National Champions!

 

The Baltimore Dockers are USAFL Division IV National Champions!

What an intro to Coach’s Corner this month. While the bruises are still purple and the body sore from our weekend in Racine WI at the USAFL National Tournament, the smile has not yet faded.  We went to Racine to win our division and after a hard-fought win against Seattle (combined with Las Vegas and Arizona) in the grand final we did just that.

I am very proud of all those who put the boots on for Baltimore this year as we went about establishing ourselves both on and off the field. It has been a steep learning curve for myself in a coaching role, no less so than those who have had a run around playing “footy” with us for the first time ever this year.

The Dockers had a solid training regime coming into the Nationals competition and I believe this helped us achieve our goal for 2018. The additional numbers we had helped us train in the style we wanted to play- to hold possession and to lock the ball into our offensive half as much as possible. Game style football training (practice) is where I believe we need to direct our focus to continue to develop as a club and achieve higher goals moving forward. We trained hard in the final month and it really did show on the field. Skills and fitness will obviously be a steady diet for the Aussie footy player but where we can really develop the nuances of the game is with game style training.

In the first game of Nationals 2018, Baltimore were a little slow out of the blocks. This was against Seattle, our Nationals nemesis. Whilst not outplayed, missed scoring shots and a lack of focus had the Dockers with their backs against the wall. The second half was a very different story however and Baltimore were very unlucky after sustained pressure to lose by 4 points.

This was the last game they lost and from then on Baltimore played “Our Style of Footy”. This oft repeated mantra (cue Ian Payne and myself) related to the type of football we wanted to play and what that meant if we played that style- i.e. we would play clean, tough, fast moving football. We would be having fun on the field and all this together will lead to victory. Essentially this is the style we want play and what we want to be known for in the future.

This determined play style led to the team hoisting the DIV IV Cup and celebrating the tough victory at Nationals.

This really is an amazing achievement for a new club. This has been made possible due to the massive amounts of hard work put in behind the scenes by the Dockers board members. I thank you for all your efforts. I also thank all those that came down and had a run and for those that helped throughout the year. Thank you to those that flew back from Aus to put the boots on for us again, you know who you are.

It has been a great year for the Baltimore Dockers and I believe this success will continue if we can stay together and continue having fun as a team (and as always at the end of my coach’s corner, KEEP COMING TO TRAINING!)

See you all at the end of year windup.

Brynno

Despite losses, Dockers women have an a-maize-ing time at USAFL Nationals

The Lady Eagles had a tremendous regular season going 5-2 and winning the Eastern Regional Tournament in June. This past weekend we headed to the USAFL Nationals in Racine Wisconsin to close out our season.

  • Five players from the Dockers' women's team in a field of corn at the national championships in Racine, Wisconsin

The Lady Eagles played in Division II on a combined team with the Boston Demons and the Des Moines Roosters. We began the weekend with a chilly morning game against the Calgary Kookaburras (combined with Arizona Lady Hawks, North Star Blue Ox, and Nashville Kangaroos). The first half was a little slow for the Lady Eagles, as we learned to work together as a combined team and communicate with one another to move the ball up the field. We began to feel more comfortable as the game wore on and played stronger in the second half. It was a very defensive game, with our back line and midfield working hard to keep the ball out of the goal. In the end, we ultimately fell to the Kookaburras.

Results

TeamGoalsBehindsTotal
Lady Eagles000
Calgary Kookaburras3725

As we continued to gel as a team, we felt more confident going into our afternoon game against our Eastern foes, the Columbus Cats combined with the Philadelphia Hawks and Chicago Swans. The Cats struck first but Kristin scored our first point of the tournament with a behind. Lough continued our scoring with two goals of her own. However, some costly penalties led to good scoring opportunities for the Cats, who came away with the win in the end. It was a hard fought match on both sides and we were proud of the team effort that we put in on day 1 of Nationals.

Results

TeamGoalsBehindsTotal
Lady Eagles2214
Columbus Cats4327

The Lady Eagles continued their Nationals Tournament with a very early game on Sunday morning against the Texas Heat combined with Los Angeles Dragons and Oklahoma. The Lady Eagles struck first with two behinds by Kristin and later two more by Kendall and Lough, but were unable to capitalize on these scoring chances and kick a goal. We competed well and played strong in the defensive end. The backline led by Christina and Tatiana played particularly well allowing only one goal and a behind. However, that proved to be enough for the win.

Results

TeamGoalsBehindsTotal
Lady Eagles044
Houson Lonestars117

Our last game of the tournament was against a very strong side that combined two teams previously in Division I, the Sacramento Suns and the Montreal Angels. The Suns dominated the game, with the ball rarely leaving our defensive end. Our defense and midfield were relentless nonetheless, working hard to prevent further scoring opportunities and clear the ball into the forward 50. Despite a solid effort, we fell to the Suns.

Results

TeamGoalsBehindsTotal
Lady Eagles000
Sacramento Suns8957

Even though our Nationals did not go as we had hoped, it was still an awesome time. We were able to cheer the Baltimore Dockers to their first Division IV Nationals Championship in our first year as a club, which was amazing! We also had a great Silly Sunday celebrating the season and the Dockers’ Championship throughout the night in Milwaukee.

I could not be prouder of this Lady Eagles team as I reflect back on this 2018 USAFL season. We came together as a team and grew stronger with each game. We fielded 14-16+ players at almost every game, which was incredible. It has been so great to watch the women’s team grow over the past few years. Our Eastern Regional Championship (and celebrating the win in Philly), was of course the highlight of the season, really demonstrating the skill, talent, heart, and tenacity of our team. I cannot wait to see what the Lady Eagles do next year, as we continue to get better and stronger this offseason!

Thanks for supporting the women this year and stay tuned for 2019!