October 5, 2008

by Daniel Eddy…  In one of the greatest Grand Final’s in the 20-year history of the Ontario Australian Football League, the Etobicoke Kangaroos have taken out their first Premiership in stunning fashion by defeating the Toronto Eagles by just one point. The victory stopped a run of two consecutive Conacher Cups for the mighty Eagles team.

The day began with an exhibition match between a metro team and a team from outside of Toronto, with the metro squad too strong in the end to the tune of 97 points. That was then followed by a junior match with students from Red Willow public school in Brampton. This was a success as the kids soaked up the chance to learn the skills of the game on a League oval in front of a big crowd. With a junior program in the works for next season, we may see these kids playing in the OAFL before too long. It was then time for the big match, and after opening speeches from representatives from League sponsors Crown Point (Martin Walter) and the Trillium Foundation (Vincent Conville), as well as the Canadian National Anthem, the game got under way.

Like they have done most of the season, Toronto jumped out of the blocks and kicked 4 goals before Etobicoke knew what hit them. It wasn’t just the forwards firing for the Eagles though, as the defence kept the Roos to just one point at quarter time. For the rest of the first half the Roos were playing catch up, and despite kicking their first goal and holding the Eagles to only 1 themselves, the margin was still 25 points at the main break.

At half time, Broadview Hawks forward Danny Walker brought the crowd to their feet as he took out the Grand Final Sprint, and when the third quarter began both sides seemed to feed off the crowd’s enthusiasm as the game went to a new level. There was a sense around the ground that if the Eagles could kick a couple of goals that the game would be out of reach, but the Etobicoke team thought otherwise as they matched it goal for goal throughout the quarter and actually out scored them 22 to 19 to trail by twenty two points at the final break.

Within minutes of the re-start, Eagles star Troy Marsh was issued a yellow card after a heavy collision with an opponent which sent him from the field for the rest of the game. This added drama to an already intriguing story line, and the Roos seized the momentum as they continually propelled the ball forward, only to see it come straight back out thanks to the mighty Eagles defenders. It was obvious the Kangaroos were wearing their opponents down through their physical play, and finally they were able to string a couple of goals together, bringing the margin under two goals.

Now it was anyone’s game to win and Etobicoke refused to release the pressure they were applying. Ruckman Manny Matata threw himself at the contest time and time again and then it was left to playing-coach Emile Studham to become the hero. After being beaten most of the day by Grand Final MVP Tasos Dimacakos, Studham was influential in the dying stages, kicking a crucial goal and then being the man with the ball in his hands 50 metres from goal with a minute to play, scores tied. His kicked sailed long and just cleared the behind line to register a point, giving the Roos their first lead of the day with less than a minute to play. It was bedlam on the sidelines as every possession was heart-in-your-mouth sort of stuff for the over 600 strong supporters. The Eagles made one last ditch effort to score, bringing the ball from defence to their half forward line. But time was to be their enemy and the siren sounded and jubilation set in for all involved in the Etobicoke club. The dream of a three-peat was over for the Toronto Eagles.

This game will be forever remembered for the classic it was, and capped of a mightily successful season which included Canada’s National team, Northwind, achieving their greatest ever result at the International Cup in Melbourne. With the financial help of a number of League sponsors, the game continues to grow throughout Ontario and next season already looks promising for a number of clubs and the League as a whole.

Official scores from the Grand Final are as follows:

Visitor                Host             Location                Time
GF   Toronto Eagles       Etobicoke Kangaroos    Humber South - Toronto        Saturday 2pm
¼    4.2.26            0.1.1
½    5.3.33            1.2.8
¾    8.4.52            4.6.30
Final    8.5.53            7.12.54

Country            Metro        Humber South – Toronto       Saturday 11am
2.5.17                  17.12.114


September 29, 2008

by Daniel Eddy… The Toronto Eagles today booked themselves a shot at their third Premiership in a row, when they defeated the Broadview Hawks by 57 points. The two clubs who played in last year’s final match (Toronto & Etobicoke) will meet again to decide who takes out the 2008 OAFL Grand Final.

After their shock loss last weekend to the Kangaroos, the Eagles came out a more focused group and were determined to not go out of the finals in straight sets. The game was all but over at quarter time with Toronto leading by 30 points. The next three quarters were a lot more even as Broadview started to be more attacking at the ball, but they could never get close enough to really threaten on the scoreboard. Tarquin Netherway was the standout up forward for the winners with 4 goals, while Lachlan McDonald kicked 3.

All attention now turns to the Grand Final which promises to be a tremendous event, this year being hosted by the Etobicoke club on their home ground, Humber College’s South Campus in Toronto. Festivities kick off at 11am with the main game to be played at 2pm. Please see the official Grand Final poster (attached) for details, and visit our website at www.ontariofooty.com for further updates throughout the week. All our league sponsors and the media are invited to attend this big day, and family and friends are always welcome.

The official score from today’s Preliminary Final was:

Sat Sept. 27th -        Preliminary Final
Toronto Eagles        Def.    Broadview Hawks
14.9.93                              5.6.36

New look Northwind likes its chances

August 12, 2008

by Martin Walter… Canada’s Northwind as it is known likes its chances as it enters into its final preparation for 2008 International Cup. Speaking from Toronto, Martin Walter, Northwind’s General Manager commented that the team’s management is very comfortable with where the team has been drawn. In a recent interview he commented “We have Finland up first on August 27th and we are now totally focused on that game, but at the end of the day, you have to beat them all and we believe we are capable of doing just that”. Canada is bringing a squad of 31 players along with ten support staff that have a combination of experience and youth and are the best that AFL Canada has ever brought to Australia. Last year the newly revamped Northwind silenced a lot of critics by beating USA’s Revolution in a game in Vancouver.
This is Northwind’s 3rd International Cup tournament and while they have not been that successful in the past, this year’s team has a new look to it. “We have a new Coach plus we have managed to get a number of strong corporate sponsorships for this year’s cup, especially from the mining industry such as companies like Foraco Drilling, Quantec Geoscience and Laramide Resources Inc all of which have business on both sides of the Pacific” Walter said. “This has put the team into a strong financial position, and that allows us to bring the best football talent that the Ontario Australian Rules Football League (“OAFL”) and other Canadian league’s have to offer” Walter went on to say.
AFL Canada this time around has appointed local OAFL legend Mark “Flash” Block as Northwind’s new coach and Emile Studham as his assistant skills coach. Mark is Canada’s most successful coach and has taken his local team, the Toronto Eagles to the past two OAFL Premierships. He is also no newcomer to the international arena as he captained the Northwind side in the 2002 International Cup. When asked what is different this time around? Flash Commented, “since being on board as coach I have made a number of changes to the National Program. For example we are playing more games together now and that is starting to give off results as the team is starting to gel”. He added “due to increasing levels of interest we have been able to set higher standards which have allowed us to name a well balanced team consisting of top line defence-men, a nice blend of big guys and vastly improved centre and forward lines that can move the ball forward quickly. For example I am very happy with the way champion brothers Taso and George Dimacakos are playing along with the way Danny Zimmerman and Danny Mcullagh are shaping up” stated the new Northwind Coach and finished off by saying “We also have a number of players that are improving their skills by playing in Australia this year and I think we have improved significantly since last year’s win over the US Revolution”.

The Team appointed Stefan Leyhane of the local Toronto club, the Broadview Hawks as its Captain and has named centre-half forward Aaron Falcione as its Vice-Captain. As previously mentioned Northwind is drawn against Finland on August 27th and has Sweden to face on Aug 29th, both games are in Melbourne. Their final game within their division will be against Ireland and is scheduled for September 1st in Warrnambool. This year Northwind’s host AFL club is the Sydney Swans who also hosted them in 2005. The team has also partnered up with local VAFA club, the NOBs St Patricks College Football Club who has offered their club facilities for Team Canada to train on and make their final preparations. While in Warnambool, Northwind will be hosted by the Allansford Football Club.

Representing Northwind at this year’s International Cup in Melbourne will be:


Vancouver Saints – James Maitland, Gareth Bowley, Clayton Holmes,
Vancouver Cougars - Scott Flemming
Toronto Eagles - Olivier Haywood, Taso Dimacakos, George Dimacakos, Kevin Minaker, Matt Lowden, Steven Carew, Aaron Falcione (V.Capt.) Frank Luissier, Sean Kennedy
Broadview Hawks – Stefan Leyhane (Capt.), Rhys Harris, Mario Pareja
Central Toronto Blues – Bruce Parker, Kien La, Jacob Sone, Jared Postance
Toronto Downtown Dingos – Chris Buckowski, Danny McIlravey
Etobicoke Kangaroos – Murray Lovett, Chesley Long, Matata Emmanual, Adam Jacobs
High Park Demons – Dale Simnett
Guelph Gargoyles – Chris Cunning, Greg Logel
Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Mark Block (Toronto Eagles)
Assistant Coach: Emile Studham (Etobicoke Kangaroos)
Scott Sheen Assistant Coach (Vancouver Saints).

General Manager: Martin Walter
Team Manager: Helga Cunning
Media Manager: Bruce Parker