Saturday Night Football, the first time ever in the GGAFL was held out in Walnut Creek this past weekend. The only derby match of the day would pit the Oakland Pirates against the San Francisco Knights in the TI Derby. The league had the lights, the field and the yellow football ready to go for their initial night game and people were bussed in from all over the bay. Before the Knights and Pirates could start though, the second place Mavericks took on the fourth place Seals in a Saturday Arvo showdown.
Major Upset: Mavericks Vs San Francisco Seals
The Mavericks managed to negotiate the first draft pick in the supplemental draft of the day and used it to take Bobby Sears, making them significant favorites. Coach Craig was missing this round for the Seals and the reigns fell to Assistant Coach Adam L. The Seals put Matt Rayza Rayson out at Full Forward after playing him in the backline and put a very small, loose lineup out to try to combat the skills that the Mavericks would have and it seemed to have worked early, with the Seals kicking three goals and having a lead at the first intermission. The Mavericks came out strong in the second quarter, but could not kick straight, and kicked 1 goal 10 behinds at halftime.
The Seals managed to put on a couple more goals and take a 31-16 lead going into halftime. It looked like it may be a difficult task for the Seals to hold onto that lead as Glenn “Blayza” Smithson who had kicked two goals early, went off with an ankle injury and Seals inspirational force Jack Tse left the game with an injury not one-minute into the game.
As the players started to tire under the Walnut Creek sun, the game got sloppy and tempers started to flare. The Mavericks were starting to crack under pressure, but they found the goal more and more regularly, bringing the score after three to 56-34. The Fourth Quarter saw the tables finally tip the way of the Mavericks, as they moved Bryan Dragus up to the full forward line where he promptly kicked three to bring the Mavs back within striking distance, but a late goal for the Seals from substitute Jeff proved to be enough, as the time ran out on the Mavericks and the upset was complete. The Seals prevailed, 63-57.
Seals: John Carpenter (3), Matt Rayson (3), Glenn Cayhll, Ari Mitchell, Justin Yee
Mavericks: Jow Brugaletta (2), Bobby Sears (2), Bryan Dragus, David Franco, Bobby Lancaster
Jumping the Siren: Sirens Vs Breakers
A few familiar faces were missing from the girls game this weekend with Taylor Davidson on a pilgrimage to visit the Incan High Priestess and Jess Estrada refereeing the UFC Championship fight in Las Vegas. However there were still great numbers at the games once again showing that Women’s footy in the Bay Area has really picked up some momentum.
In Taylor’s absence, Mary Cuthbert lined up in the ruck for the Breakers (White) team against Brette Brower for the Sirens (Blue/Orange). This proved to be a decisive move, as it left a gap at Full Forward for the Breakers that several players tried to fill, but probably didn’t have the height or experience that Mary usually provides down there. At the first contest, Henrietta Tran (who was sadly playing her farewell AFL game due to a chronic ankle injury forcing her early retirement) showed her commitment and ability to use her head under pressure brilliantly smothering the ball (with her head) leading to the first scoring opportunity for the Breakers.
It didn’t take long, however, for the likes of Sirens, Milli Bruce and Devon Fuller to start racking up possessions. Multiple scoring opportunities were provided to the Siren forward line, and for the most part they took them for the full 6 points. On the other hand, the Breakers had Jenny Kang keeping them in it with a couple of beautiful running goals. At the half there was only 10 points in it.
With a few key line up changes seeing both Bruce and Courtney Sherman move into the middle, the Sirens then just took the game over. Brette was giving their midfield first use of the ball and Jillian Sine, while not getting many shots on goal herself, was able to compete at Full Forward keeping the ball an advantageous position for the Sirens mosquito fleet to crumb and shoot. Tishe Williams tried hard for the Breakers, but there were too few opportunities. She didn’t didn’t get hurt though, which is rare.
In the end the Sirens ran out easy winners 10.9 to 4.4.
Under the lights: Oakland Pirates Vs San Francisco Knights
The lights came on for the second game between the Pirates and the Knights and only one would take home the TI Derby title. The Pirates came in as the heavy favorites, having gone undefeated so far this year, and the Knights had just fallen to the Mavericks two weeks prior, but with the school year ending, the Knights had numerous players return, including their ruckman, Aaron “Spider” Aikman and Henry Otherguy. Kyle “Manly” Johnson and the Pirates chased the yellow football into the Knights territory early and often, where they promptly put themselves in front on the foot of Dan Livy. The Knights made a few adjustments going into the break and captain Andrew Upton managed to slowly start to right the ship. The Knights picked up on the kicking of Uppers and managed to bring the score nearly level going into half time. The adjustments at the long break seemed to work out well for the Knights, as Bret Bergmark was able to slow down Livy, and Noam Scott and Kiwi “Kiwi” Gain put the defensive pressure on the Pirates and the game seemed to really slow down into a fierce battle.
Underneath the stars, the game started to heat up, with both teams within a goal of each other and the lead see-sawing. Down by 6 points, Andrew Upton kicked a goal for the Knights to bring the scores even, then took a mark 30 meters out and converted it for a minor score to put SF up by one-point with under two minutes to go. Oakland was unable to clear the kick-in out of their backline and the Knights put on another point. With just over a minute to spare, Knights forward Andrew Stamatis took a mark in the forward 50 and converted it into 6 points to put the boys in blue up for good. The Pirates were able to scrape back a pair of points at the end, but not enough to get the win.
Pirates: Andrew Upton (3), Chris Morrison (2), Henry Lerdal, Greg Skaug, Andrew Stamatis
Knights: Daniel Livy (4), Tristan Boyer, Chris Johnson
Article contributors: Adam Linke, Luke Quirk