Emus match it against the league’s best

Lions recover against determined Emus to maintain unbeaten record

Rheinland Lions (9-13-67) versus Stuttgart Emus (6-6-42)

16 June 2012, Cologne: All over Germany it was a hot and sunny day – except in Cologne: a low pressure system dropped the temperature to 17-degrees and brought light rain. Not to matter, the Emus raised the pressure considerably in this fantastic game of football and the Lions certainly felt the heat.
Emus travelled with a 17-man squad and after our great performance against Munich the boys were keen to surprise the undefeated league leaders. The first ten minutes of the game belonged to the Emus. We won the midfield and locked the ball in the forward line. Again and again it was returned to our scoring end. A couple of misses and then a brilliant goal was kicked from the boundary by Robert. The Emus were off to a flyer. There was instant disharmony in the Lion’s den, they rebounded and showed why they are the league’s best team: with their first entry into their forward line they kicked a goal and the second half of the quarter saw the ball swing from end to end in an even contest. With three shots at goal per team, the Lion’s experience and accuracy gave them a five-point lead at the first break.

In the second quarter the difference between the teams was experience. The Emus fought with great tenacity and matched the Lions one on one. But the Lions built a wall with three free players waiting unmarked in the middle of the ground, while the more disciplined lions switched play and opened up the fat side of the ground. Mostly, the ball stayed in the Lion’s forward line. They put points on the board and had a commanding lead at half time.

At the long break the Emus re-established their game plan: we needed to go Man on Man, to pick up the loose players in their wall, and to take away their option to switch play. A tactic that also hadn’t been adhered to was to kick wide and use the boundary to slow the game down with stoppages rather than always kicking to their loose men.  We saw a huge difference in the third quarter. We upset their structure and their frustration and confusion was heard all over the ground. A focused and determined Emus team kicked three good goals from marks within 30 metres and the Lions lead had been cut back to nine points. It was anyone’s game going into the last quarter.

The Lions kicked one goal against the tide but the Emus responded in kind. However, our boys were tiring and we suffered two injuries that took Andreas and Kev from the ground. It took some time to restructure the back line, and the Lions pounced, kicking a quick goal. They also got the last goal of the game, and ran out winning by a comfortable 25 point margin in the end.

Overall though, this game revealed that the future of the Emus looks great. We definitely scared the Lions in this game, our attack on the ball was more ferocious, and with a little more team discipline that comes from experience – plus better fitness – we will be a huge threat in the AFLG.

The four Aussies in the team certainly inspired others, and Andreas did a fantastic job not only at the ball but more importantly sharing his experience and organising the defence. JC also did a magnificent job at half back. His kick-ins were spot on, and we normally held possession from them. What was of more significance was the development of the twelve German boys who carried the responsibility to take on the Lions in a fantastic team effort. The effort, commitment and teamwork displayed in Cologne proved that the Emus have the potential to outplay any team in the league and should approach the second half of the season with full confidence.

Match Report: Grant Walsh

Posted in: Featured on June 25th by Martin