The Road to Nationals - Roos retain title as Western Region Champions
Going into the 2017 Western Regionals tournament, many doubted that the Roos could defend their 2016 title and stellar off-field success. This year saw the absence of two crucial 2016 heroes in Ace and Khakis. Luckily for all, the team gained several new Roos who arrived as one in Denver, favorites to hoist the championship trophy, no wait bucket.
Game 1 - Roos Vs. OC Bombers
In 2016 the Roos faced OCB twice, and blew them away each time for a combined score of 121-7. The Roos expected the OC had done some totally legitimate player recruiting since then and that we were in for a serious test from the SoCal squad. However, the Bombers did not travel well and the score showed it. At halftime, 4 unique Golden Gaters had goals to led 41-1. The second half was not much different, as the SF Bay Area's favorite sons piled on 31 more points to the Bombers’ 3 points. When the final horn sounded the Roos had won 72-4. Bluey celebrated his BOG performance like only Bluey can... a good ol' 20 minute chunder.
Final Score: OC - 0.4.4 | Golden Gate - 11.6.72
Goalkickers: Smyth 4, Ryan 2, Dowdell 2, Warren 1, Dragus 1, C Johnson 1, Livy 1
Game 2 - Roos Vs. LA Dragons
The LA Dragons came calling in game two. After the lizards de Los Angeles lost their first game of the day to Denver, the Roos were ready for a big fight. To spice things up, skipper Jake Ryan had to leave after the game so he was ready to make a serious impact. The game started as expected, with the score tied 0-0 and Ben “Big Sexy” Dowdell winning the tap (it was expected since he won every tap of every match), and that was about as close as the Dragons got to the Roos. Golden Gate had 10 scoring shots to 1 in the first 20 minutes, converting 4 of them, and Ryan, Dowdell, and Dan “Flowers” Livy combined for 237 touches. At halftime the Roos had a 30-1 lead. In the second half, the Dragons found the feet and made a serious charge. They kicked the first two goals of the game and put a scare into the Roos. Luckily, newcomer Jack 'J-Man' Lucas joined the midfield and couldn’t be stopped. He dished out pills like a dealer at Stereosonic, allowing the Roos to build on their lead over the course of the half. In the end, GG won 52-19 and as they walked off the field, led by Jake Ryan in his final match for the day, it was clear to all that the Golden Gate Roos again ruled the golden state of California.
Final Score: Golden Gate - 7.10.52 | LA - 3.1.19
Goalkickers: Ryan 2, Dowdell 2, Lewis 1, Livy 1, Kyle Johnson 1
Game 3 - Roos Vs. Denver Bulldogs
The final game of the day pitted 2-0 host Denver against 2-0 Golden Gate. It was an excellent opportunity for the Bulldogs to get revenge on the Roos, who won the same battle just weeks earlier at the Roos home ground in Concord, and the first half showed the Dogs wanted it bad. Even with Dowdell winning every tap, the Roos struggled to have the same success in the middle against the talented Denver side. Every loose ball was a massive battle, usually with Denver coming away with the footy, and the Roos couldn’t seem to stop Denver’s ability to run in numbers. While the Roos had a few scoring chances, they had even more clangers, falling behind in the first half: 27-8.
At halftime, a spark was lit in the Roos huddle. The boys found inspiration from Coach "Willie Nelson" Chyna and the Downing family supportive cheers. The message was loud and clear... the game was NOT over. Starting at the first bounce, Dowdell took the game on. He won the tap, corralled the ball himself, made 2 guys miss, and slotted a goal from 80 meters out (... admittedly the high altitude allows the ball to travel further). That was the start of a massive half for the big man. He added another goal, about 982 hit outs and 456 disposals. Jack 'J-Man' Lucas also found his second wind and couldn’t be beat out of the middle. Cooper Lees and his sweet hat also made a strong appearance, leading to a huge goal for the boys from the the bay. But even after all that, the Roos still found themselves down by a goal with 5 minutes to go. Dowdell won another tap, and Livy sent the ball bouncing into the open space in the half forward line. And then came.... The Plough!!!
Aka. Cody Burman, our newest American Div1 recruit, started to drive the Bulldog players through the dirt... emerging with the contested footy every time. His fast feet, combined with his veteran experience of 100 minutes, saw him take over. Plough continued to race into forward 50 space, denying the Bulldogs any run out of their defense. Even when second to the ball, he won the 1-on-1 battle kicking it forward to the hot spot and even slotting a major! All of a sudden, the Roos were tied with a 2 minutes left.
What followed was the most intense footy the Roos had played in years. Every loose ball was a fight, and every contest was a war. The Roos stout defense led by JT Mann, Matt Lege, Diesel and Chris Colman kept the Bulldogs at bay and rebounded every attempt. Joshie Warren continued his excellent play winning battle after battle in the forward line, assisted by Brian 'Hightower' Lewis in the air. Finally, after a couple intense minutes, Buckets 'Big Hands' Johnson won a free kick 55 meters out. He waited patiently as Dowdell circled back to the goal square for one last lead to the ball. Johnson launched the perfect kick to the top of the square and Dowdell took a MASSIVE mark over a flood of panicked Bulldogs. Sexy strolled back, winked at a few Maidens, and then slotted the goal. For the first time, all game, the Roos were up. Every player diving and scratching for the footy. A couple huge tackles by Corey Irwin stopped Denver at midfield and the horn sounded. The Roos enormous comeback was complete and they were, once again, the best of the West!
Final Score: Denver 5.4.34 | Golden Gate - 6.4.40
Goalkickers: Dowdell 2, Dragus 1, Warren 1, Livy 1, Burman 1
Tournament 'Best and Fairest' Winner: Jake 'the Snake' Ryan
Reported: Heber 'Washboard' Saurey (streaking)