Central Regional Tournament Travel Details - July 11th, Racine, Wisconsin

Lonestars - the time has come to turn our attention to the 11 July Central Regional 18s tournament in Racine, Wisconsin.  
A lot of strong teams are already confirmed, so the tournament will be a great opportunity to benchmark ourselves against key rivals and work on our game plan ahead of Nationals.  We want to encourage as many players (and family/friends) as possible to come up and put in a good showing at the tournament whilst enjoying a fun a weekend away together.  
Situated on Lake Michigan, Racine is closer to Milwaulkee (30 mins) however we have looked into flights and there are only non-stop flights to Chicago.  Racine is 1.5hrs from Chicago Midway airport (South West) and 1 hour from Chicago O'Hare (All Other Airlines).  
Real Racine Tourism is hosting the event for the USAFL and will provide such freebies as breakfast at the USAFL affiliated hotels, a Saturday night after-party with transport and other extras.
You can read more info on Racine and area here: http://realracine.com/about-racine/
The game schedule will be finalised as we get closer and confirmed numbers, but it is looking like 2 men's divisions of 6 teams and a women's division of 3 teams.  First games will likely begin at 10am with finals likely at 4:30pm. 
Field Adddres
SCORe Soccer Complex (Note--the lower case "e" is intentional.)
9509 Dunkelow Road
Franksville, WI  53126
*Games will be played on the north end of the complex.  There is plenty of on-site parking.  Indoor restrooms and a concession stand will be available.
Post-Tournament Party
Real Racine will proudly host the post-tournament buffet dinner and party for players, coaches, officials and staff on Saturday night.
Route 20 Outhouse
14001 Washington Ave
Sturtevant, WI  53177
*Located just a few minutes from both partner hotels.


Real Racine will provide complimentary shuttles to and from the partner hotels starting at 7:30 p.m.  A complimentary dinner buffet will begin at 8:30 p.m.  Drink specials will be available throughout the night.  A band will come on about 9:30 pm.

The recomended plan is to fly into Chicago on Friday evening and fly back either Sunday evening or Monday morning.
We have narrowed down 5 flight options travelling IN Friday and OUT Sunday to allow for ease of ground transport to and from Racine.  If you wish to travel outside of these flight times significantly then you may be on your own with transport.  If  enough people are interested in staying Sunday night we will put out some Monday return flights.
At this stage you are in charge of booking your own flights.  If we have 10 or more interested in South West then we can look at a group booking but need to know in the next week.
South West 1 (Midway) 8.00pm>10.30pm 8.15pm>10.55pm $375 (Inc 2 x Checked bags)
South West 2 (Midaway) 4.10pm>6.40pm 8.15pm>10.55pm $410 (Inc 2 x Checked bags)
United (O'Hare) 5.49pm>8.35pm 7.10pm>9.57pm $435 (Checked extra)
American/United (O'Hare) 5.55pm>8.57pm 5.59pm>8.57pm $405 (Checked extra)
Spirit (O'Hare) 6.39pm>9.15pm 7.00pm>9.36pm $388 (Inc 1 x Carry On, Checked extra)
*Prices as at 5/11/15.
We will wait to co-ordinate this once flights are booked so if you wish to share ground transport please don't book anything yet.
Due to Real Racine sponsoring the event, it is mandatory to stay at the USAFL tournament hotels, so we will be staying as a team Saturday night in Racine and we encourage you to stay Friday night. If you do not stay Friday then you will need to plan to be at the grounds no later than Saturday 8.30am.  We will be letting you know the hotel soon.
*As per Nationals, the club will be supplementing share accommodation as much as possible and this amount will be confirmed soon or when we have a better idea of how many players are going.  Supplements only apply to Players and not extra travellers.
If you would like to extend your trip either side of the tournament please feel free and we are polling people of whether they would be interested in staying in Chicago on Thurs or Sun night together.
Please complete the Google spreadsheet to let us know if you are Playing; preferred Flights and Accom or if you will be making your own travel arrangments.
Flights will only get more expensive, so please confirm your availability ASAP.
Don't forget all partners, kids, friends welcome!!!!
Any questions please talk to Scotty (scottmcam@hotmail.com), Mueller(muellerp01@yahoo.com), Sonni or DB(bryant702@bigpond.com). Bring on the Mid-West!!

MATCH REPORT: The Ruggles Cup/Anzac Day, Apr 25th 2015

April 25, a momentous date the significance of which words don't do justice for Australians, New Zealanders and Turks. In 2015 , this day marked the Centenary of the WW1 Gallipoli landing followed by 8 months of bloodshed on both sides.  

The schedule for ANZAC Day in Houston was considerable with the AACC Dawn Service in downtown at 6am, the ANZAC Day Ruggles Cup Australian Football clash at 11am, then culminating with the Houston Lonestars hosted ANZAC Day Memorial Event at The Phoenix later in the afternoon.  This day called for resilience and stamina…

For the Houston Lonestars football club the day’s significance was closer to home as this game has marked the remembrance of our own fallen hero, Craig Ruggles, a long-standing and respected player tragically and prematurely taken from us 18 months ago. We were fortunate to be graced with the presence of members of Craig’s family and so all paid tribute in his honor; players, supporters, family and friends. Ruggles Strong.

You could be forgiven for carrying around a box of Kleenex such was the sheer weight of the air and depth of reflection in the lead-up to the game.  The Baton Rouge Tigers - 10 strong - made the 5 hour journey, though not the usual pilgrimage aboard the trusty yellow school bus.  Torrential weather tried to slow their progress, but eventually the Tigers arrived at Bendwood Park (after a minor diversion via the original venue Cullen Park, changed at last minute to test their flexibility…).  The early morning threat of a soggy day proved false, replaced by beaming sunshine and good conditions for football – in fact Bendwood park had rarely looked as good barring the odd puddle…

The pre-game prep started with the usual pleasantries and field set-up but once Benny Power cranked up the BBQ and the tantalizing waft of charred sausage permeated, we knew this was more than just a standard game of footy.  This too was the first time our new team trainer and qualified therapist Samantha would provide much needed pre-game strapping and injury management support.  Such was her popularity early on that the line-up for strapping was ten deep before long. We hope to get future support from Sam, she did such a great job.

Approaching game-time, the teams lined up in chevron formation and a brief tribute was paid to the fallen ANZACs accompanied by the Last Post eloquently trumpeted by Jason Browne, member of Houston Taps Bugler for Veterans.  With the Ruggles family members present, a moving reflection followed by a minute silence dedicated to Craig.  The tribute was a stark reminder of the occasion that brought us there and the underlying bond that existed between these 2 clubs and the ANZAC spirit.

With only 10 Baton Rouge players making the journey, the Tigers were bolstered with 5 pretty handy Lonestars enabling a 14-a-side game.  By game-time the players' emotion climaxed as coaches Dan Holwerda and Neil Stebbing addressed their respective troops for the last time - it was time for some good, hard footy. 

As the ball went up for the first ruck contest with the field bathed in bright sunshine, the first exchanges suggested that this game was not going to be a Sunday stroll. The opening minutes were highly physical if not particularly skillful as the Lonestars took the early honors at ground level and on the scoreboard.   Tom Donnelly dominated in the Ruck with Perham, Benny Power, Blake and CDG moving around the park like gazelles across the Serengeti.  Nick Maas was also energetic displaying greatly improved foot skills. A couple of recent LSU recruits showed some spark for the Tigers and veteran Josh Cartmill showed he meant business. The Lonestars took a few bruises and a comfortable lead into the quarter time huddle.

The second quarter followed suit with the Tigers continuing their highly physical approach.  Houston continued to extend their lead absorbing the barrage from Baton Rouge and giving a bit back as Perham got up close and personal with his midfield counterpart and not showing any signs of backing down.  Ben Power, Blake and CDG ably supported by Mash, Justin and Tommy again dominated the midfield giving forwards every chance.  Coach Dan, Mueller and Rick were the main targets up front though returned mixed results due to indifferent goalkicking. The Lonestars took a strong lead into the main break.

The third term saw a new look Baton Rouge Tigers having received a new batch of very skillful Lonestars taking the field in the navy and gold jersey.  Perham provided the Tigers far more presence in midfield as did CDG who also made the switch.  The football remained physical however the play more evenly balanced.  Benny Power and Blake continued to provide drive for the Lonestars but the Tigers started getting more flow and benefitted from better ball use, exemplified by a 3-bounce run down the wing by CDG resulting in goal of the day for the Tigers.   Sean Smyth continued to provided sturdy defense this time for the Tigers being called upon frequently to provide defensive drive.  The Tigers ended up winning the quarter in a far more even contest.

The intensity didn't let up in the final quarter and with multiple high and sling-tackle free-kicks paid throughout the day, why should it!? CDG, Ben Power and Blake turned in solid 4 quarter efforts controlling the ball through the midfield, irrespective of the team they were playing for.   Josh Cartmill maintained his intensity displaying his characteristic white-line fever and Robbie Montanaro, Fielder and Robbie kept pushing for the Tigers throughout.  The final term was an arm-wrestle with the Lonestars maintaining their healthy lead and prevailing by 12 goals.  

With temperatures creeping well into the 80’s, the final siren was welcomed as the intense game had taken its toll.  Players were rewarded with plenty of cold water and crisp beer and a signature Phil Harford sausage from the barbie.


Final Score: Houston Lonestars 18.15.123 vs Baton Rouge Tigers 7.5.47

Best Players: CDG, Ben Power, Blake Hodson, Sean Smyth, Art Livingston, Adam Ruggles, Josh Morgan

Goals: Rick, Dan, Blake and Paul shared most of them. CDG kicked some for both sides. Singles to several others…


Houston best player: CDG (played a half for both teams)

Baton Rouge best player: Josh Cartmill

Craig Ruggles Most Courageous award: Ben Power


ANZAC Day Memorial Event

After some much needed rehydration and slightly burnt sausages, players and supporters made their way to the traditional ANZAC Day Memorial event, this year held at the Phoenix on Westheimer pub and sponsored by our good friends Karbach Brewery.  The day of tribute to the fallen soldiers involved activities including traditional two-up, screening of the ANZAC AFL clash, Aussie goodies and meat tray raffles, handball, and the popular jumping castle for the kids.  The Last Post trumpeted for the third time that day by Jason as some other formalities of rememberance were held before the footy went back on and the beer flowed in honor of our brave past and preset soldiers.

A huge thank you to several people who helped coordinate the day and help make it a true reflection of the ANZAC spirit, particularly and in no order; Sonni, CDG, Scotty, Samantha for keeping the boys on the park, Ruan & Max goal umpiring, Zac and missus for scoring, Benny Power for the BBQ and Phil for cooking and liquidating everyone at the game.   To Jason Browne, a big thank-you for playing The Last Post at each of the events on the day and making the day extra special and truly reflective. Additional thanks to Vu and The Phoenix and the team at Karbach for their ongoing support for the club and this event. Finally thanks to BR for making the journey across and we'll see you again in September for the famous LSU Tailagte weekend.

For the ANZACS and Craig Ruggles, lest we forget.