Houston Summer Metro Round 1 – Red Warriors vs Blue Barn Burners
Sunday July 20, 6pm
Summer has really hit Houston and so too did the Houston Lonestars second Metro series with the opening match played on Sunday evening! Last week's player combine saw two new team captains take the reigns - Zac Weikel leads the experienced the Red Warriors team whilst Chris Fielder marshals the young and energetic Barn Burner Blues. There has been plenty of banter about the selection decisions, particularly the young and less experienced Blues team. However Fielder stood by his strategy opting for young and dedicated players rather than a team of experienced individuals…we’ll see if that holds up…!
With very strong numbers available for round 1, the game was played 14 a side with 4 or 5 subs each team. This made for a tough encounter on the small field with the teams show-casing the new Lonestars Metro Jerseys. The message for the Blues was to be first to the ball and be accountable, whilst the Reds focus was to use the teams's natural ability to control the game.
The first quarter was played at a furious pace as many players obviously missed hard physical footy with the Lonestars last playing back in June. The Blues started just as planned leading the Reds to the ball, playing a team game and running in numbers. The experience of the Reds was clear with Hodson, T Donnelly and Jessie getting plenty of ball early, however were overcome by the more cohesive Blues unit particularly feeding off the dominant Matt Holub and a solid backline holding firm. The Blues went into quarter time 1 goal ahead, but looked more organized across the field.
The rain came down in the second quarter and turned the ball into a bar of soap! The Blues continued to play with intensity and use the football more smartly than the Reds, however the slippery conditions made for more scrappy footy and scoring was difficult at both ends. Impressive new US recruit Perham tightened up on Blake and the Reds midfield was muted somewhat by the Blues numbers and committed style of footy. At half time the Blues remained a goal ahead in a tight second quarter.
The second half started similarly to the first with the Blues continuing to get numbers to the contest and their head over the ball. Again the attack started from the backline with Matt Stevens, Sean Smyth and Sam Donnelly supported by Craig D-G and Fielder in the middle. The Reds were getting plenty of the ball across the field with Ruggles and Art bursting through packs and Holwerda presenting options up forward, however being well-held by Sean most of the day. The Blues could not convert their possession kicking 1-4 for the term and went into ¾ time only 3 points up. Fitness looked to be a question mark against the Reds…and seemed to take their frustrations out on Umpire Nate…
The final quarter saw the Reds wake up and stamp themselves on the contest. With Perham having to depart before the end of the game, Blake Hodson racked up multiple damaging possessions early in the quarter to bring the Reds right into the fray, and when Beers kicked accurately after Cameron's shuffling effort on the HF line, the Reds finally hit the front! From then on, the Blues kept themselves in the contest but could not convert their opportunities despite Matt Holub's efforts with some great grabs up forward and surging efforts by Chisi, Phil, Josh and Rick. The Reds experience told in the end as Edgy, Zac, Nick Plaisance and Tom Donnelly getting their team back into the game as they combined better as a team. Despite missing highly fancied Rix and Power, the Reds prevailed on the scoreboard although the Blues can definitely hold their heads up high and ultimately their inaccuracy cost them the win.
Thanks to all supporters who came out to watch this physical opening game. Game 2 looks to be a great match-up between the 2 teams next Sunday so everyone get out there!!
Thanks also must go out to water girl Renee Coates who did a stellar job keeping the teams hydrated in the stifling heat!
Red Warriors 6 – 6 – 42
Reds: Remeljej 2, Vaugn 1, Holwerda 1, Dillman 1, Beers 1
Reds: Hodson, Ruggles, Remeljej, Dillman, Carcamo, Art