August 4, 2009, Mason, Ohio USA: This past Saturday the small town of Mason Ohio played host to the 2009 49th Parallel Cup, an annual event that matches the USA National Australian Rules Football Team, “Revolution” up against “Northwind”, the Canadian National Australian Rules Football team. The 49th Parallel is the average latitude that marks the border between the US and Canada. It was a football match that eventual saw the US Revolution victorious by 8 goals and leaving the Northwnd think tank scratching their heads on what had possibly gone wrong for football in Canada on that one beautiful August day in the small town Mason.
As best as Northwind’s preparation was they managed to miss the subtle early warning signs that surrounded the event as they rolled into town a day before the big game. The small original farming town of Mason was named after a “revolutionist” war hero William Mason, and Northwind was certainly not ready for the type of war they were about to be handed! Mason is also the home of Ohio’s largest amusement park, Kings Island Resort where thousands of Canadians flock to during the summer months. But after witnessing the past weekend’s football events, it appeared it was the locals having all the fun this time and not the tourists.
With perfect football conditions the day was underway with two curtain raiser games, the first between Cincinnati and Columbus and the second at 1 pm between expatriate Australian footballers forming AllStars teams from both Canada and the USA. The second was to be a very high standard football game with talented OAFL Australian footballers such Emile Studham, Justin Harris, Fraser Nicholson, Daniel Anderson and John McGrath who all reside in Canada and took to the field for the Canadian Aussie AllStar side. Captain Coach Emile Studham who in the forward pocket swallowed every low, accurate and precision pass that was given to him from the fast moving and skillful mid-fielders of Justin Harris, Daniel Anderson and others. Studham appeared to be unstoppable kicking seven goals for the day, three of them in the first quarter. Not to be out done was onballer Harris, himself banging of three goals of his own goals in the first quarter. So at the first change it was Canada’s Australian AllStars in full control of the game with 52 points to the USA Aussie AllStars 12 points. Although in the second and third quarters the US Aussie AllStars finally began to find their feet and began keeping pace with the Canadian Aussie AllStar team however there was just too big of lead from the first quarter to get over. The Canadian Aussie AllStars had done the damage in that first quarter and would run out comfortable winners in the end by 59 points.
Q1: Canada 8.4.52 USA 2.0.12
Q2: Canada 12.7.79 USA 6.3.39
Q3: Canada 16.10.106 USA 9.3.57
Final: Canada Aussie AllStars 20.11.131 defeated USA Aussie AllStars 11.6.72
Best: Canada: Justin Harris, Daniel Anderson, Emile Studham, Travis Mackenzie, Fraser Nicholson
Goals Kickers: Canada: Emile Studham 7, Travis Mackenzie 3, Justin Harris 3, Chris Buckowski 2, Kyle Pinto 2, Luke Lombardi 1, Mark Peterson 1, Ajit Alister 1
Northwind Vs Revolution (Photos to Come)
It was now time for the big game, with the national anthems and loads of national pride riding on the game’s outcome along with an USA vendetta dating back to July 2007 when in a surprise to football fans and to US Footy, Canada beat the US at Vancouver’s Thunderbird Stadium for the first time in the sports 20 year plus North American History. The game got underway and Canada came out of the blocks like an Indy racecar as its midfielders hit Northwind’s Scott Fleming with a perfect pass at full forward, who then put Canada on the scoreboard for a six point lead. But it was a lead that they would soon give up as the stronger looking Revolution moved into second gear. They began to find space and move the ball more skillfully into their forward fifty giving their forwards the best opportunity to kick goals. Persistence in the forward line is something that is required to win football games and it was exactly what the Revolution had on order for the day. After a couple of near misses early on in the first quarter eventually the goals began to come. Not even the strong rucking efforts of Northwind’s in form and very powerful ruckman Manny Matata could swing the game back in Canada’s favor as they went into the first break trailing by nearly 4 goals.
During the first break a dejected and somewhat surprised Northwind was asked individually by the coaching staff if they were each beating their opponent and/or capable of doing so. A good question it seemed at the time as the team appeared to lack the accountability and in some cases the zest for playing hard football. If it wasn’t for the efforts of backline players such a Clayton Holmes, Danny Zimmerman and James Maitland the team may have found themselves even further behind and perhaps even considered out of the race at an early stage. The second quarter was much like the first, the Northwind backline seeing more football than they would have liked. The simple mistakes began to increase as Northwind began to overturn the ball without a contest. The Revolution was becoming too strong, too skillful and just too determined to let Canada upset their well planned Mason August holiday. The young inexperience and youthful Northwind (10 new players inducted into Northwind for this game) began to show as they pushed the ball to the flanks and wings rather than going direct to the middle on a smaller ground. At half time it was the assistant coach’s turn, Emile Studham to work some motivational magic on what appeared to be a flat Northwind. A ten hour bus trip and few early goals against you tend to be big confidence destroyers. Emile asked the team for a big one time effort, an effort needed now if the Northwind was to beat the Americans. It was time to “have a crack” at the football.
As the third quarter begun, it was the Revolution that must have overheard Emile’s half-time encouragement speech as they continued to dominant the game. However, Northwind did offer up the idea for a brief moment that a comeback could be possible. As Northwind’s Jared Postance began a charge from the half backline kicking and hand balling the football through to the forward pocket that eventually resulted in a Gareth Bowley goal. One more from Fleming and Vice Captain Aaron Falcioni lead the motivational charge as he lifted the team. All of a sudden Northwind was back at the contest. Northwind’s onballers Cam Stark and newcomers Robin MacDonald and
Justin Oertel playing on the wings and the flanks began to get the upper hand and first use of the football. However, just as they did in the first quarter the Revolution responded with answers for the Canadian charge and quick pumped in goals that seem to take the wind out of any Canadian late game attempt at a revolution. Tempers then began to overheat as the score began to widen and the Northwind began to acceptable the inevitable. Falcioni received a yellow card and was sent to the sin bin for the remaining part of the third quarter.
As the game rolled into the fourth and final quarter and although Canada looked good early in the quarter with Captain Leyhane get his usual number of football possessions and Vancouver newcomer Ash Steier deciding that he had a little bit left and who marked strongly in front of his man in the forward pocket and managed to kick Canada’s fifth goal, it was all too late. And then at the 16th minute mark in the final quarter the Revolution ran the ball down through the centre and eventually into an open goal square where they goaled, that was the sealer, game, set, match! At the end of the day obvious game day statistics told the story. The Revolution had had 23 shots at goal and made the best of them compared with Northwind’s 8 shots at goal. Put simply Canada could not seem to move the football into its forward 50 and when they did they failed to convert. It was a case of a stronger, fitter and more skillfully Revolution.
REVOLUTION 12.11.83 defeats NORTHWIND 5.3.33
Best Revolution: Luke Nemeth, Andy Vanica, Noor Jehangir, Wes Edwin, Dan Sarbacker, RJ Wheelock Northwind: Manny Matata, Aaron Falcioni, Cam Stark, Gareth Bowley, Justin Oertal, Robin MacDonald,Macdonald, Clayton Holmes, Stefan Leyhane, Kien La, James Maitland
Goals Revolution: Weelock 2, Stange 2, Hansen 2, Jehangir 2, Floyd 1, Jonhs 1, Loring 1, Sarbacker1 Northwind: Flemming 2, Bowley 2, Steier 1,
Finally for the Team USA it was off to Ohio’s largest fun park and the revenge that they had been wanting now for more than 2 years. As for the Canada’s Northwind it would be a long soul searching ten hour bus ride back to Canada.