MATCH REPORT - Hamilton Round 9 v T. Rebels
Jul 30, 2009
"CATS FIGHT THEIR WAY BACK INTO THE WIN COLUMN & DROWN REBELS AT HUMBER"
After dropping a very disappointing game at home versus the Guelph Gargoyles last weekend, Hamilton hit the road and headed East on the 401 to take on the (1-7) Toronto Rebels at Humber College North in Round #9. Sitting tied for 4th with the Central Blues @ 5-3 on the OAFL ladder heading into the match-up, the 'Cats knew that this game was a MUST win and anything short of a win would definitely put their Finals hopes in jeopardy with over half the season already in the books.
Despite their lackluster record so far this season, the Rebels were looking to play spoiler on this day as Hamilton limped into the game missing several key players and coming off a very slim 2 point loss a week earlier. Hamilton on the other hand, was looking for redemption and it was unfortunately going to come at the hands of the hometown Rebels in the pouring rain. Due to low Canadian numbers for both Clubs, Coach Johns and Rebel's skipper Rick "Monty" Burns agreed to field 7 Non-Canadians per side, evening the rosters to 17 players per side in what was shaping up to be a very muddy affair. Right from the opening toss, the Wildcats began to set the tone for the afternoon with Nolan, Johns and Aussie newcomer Brett "Nuts" Aiken working well in the guts, continually launching the rain-soaked Sherrin into the Wildcats forward 50. Consistently strong leads and several highlight reel marks from forwards Rutten, Visser (6 goals) & Brake (3 goals) helped the 'Cats jump onto the score board with a handful of big scores early, as Hamilton's centre men in the guts were just starting to pick-up steam. Ruck for a day, Mike Nolan filled-in admirably for the missing Paul “It was one of the hardest break ups ever” Lawson and fellow ruck men Fish, while Mike Travers and Harley Graef made the most of their opportunities, playing well on the forward flank and wing respectively. Heeding the wise words of Coach for the day Justin "Buncle" Johns, Hamilton kicked well to space (something they didn't do a week earlier vs. Guelph), using the speed of Wilson & Hill to help open up the "hot spot" for the 'Cats forward line to work their magic. As the first quarter came to a close, Hamilton took a 3 goal lead into the break and looked to be in control as the weather continued to spiral out of control.
As the second quarter began, Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the Humber North oval, making the pin point passes and overhead marks we saw I the 1st frame practically extinct in the second. To the Wildcats credit though, they backed their skills and were prepared to take risks when it counted. Hamilton's backline of McKillop, Munro, DiRago and Thompson stood strong heading into the half, while fellow Wildcat Justin Settle put in a fabulous performance on the day, racking-up 25+ possessions floating across the Rebel's forward 50 all afternoon. As the rain continued to pour and time ticked away; strong center clearances and the relentless pressure of Hamilton's forwards seemed to deflate the hometown Rebels, and the visitor's eventually ran out winners on the day by a score of 14.9.93 to 3.3.21. A very solid team effort was put forth by the entire Wildcat roster from top to bottom, and despite playing short numbers in terrible conditions, it was great seeing many of the newer players who don't get a lot of playing time backing themselves and being accountable all afternoon. After a very tough loss in Round #8, where the "one percenters" and accountable play seemed to be thrown out the window (not to mention losing favour with their favour superhero, the OAFL Phantom), Hamilton again found their early season form and made amends with a 72 point victory over the Toronto Rebels.
HAMILTON WILDCATS 14.9.93 def TORONTO REBELS 3.3.21
GOALS: Visser (6), Brake (3), Aiken (2), Johns (1), Hill (1), Nolan (1)
BEST: TEAM EFFORT
HARDHAT AWARD (Hardest Working Player): Johns
OUT: Schaeffer, Hryhorec, Waugh, Main, Lawson, Assel, Steinmetz, James, Watt, Witt, Fish, Crouch, Schulthorp, McMahon