Gargoyles topple Swans

In what has become an Ontario Australian Football League tradition, the Canada Day Cup kicked off for its five year anniversary this past Saturday at the Rideau Carleton Raceway, pitting the Guelph Gargoyles versus the Ottawa Swans.


Under hot, yet blustery conditions the sides were eager to start off on the right foot. The intensity of the match was palpable from the opening bounce as the midfields proved key throughout the day. Returnee Pete Fisher had a solid day in the ruck as he proved dominant in the tapouts. Matt Payne found the ball often and used his possessions effectively, alongside rookie Nic Vautour who had a formidable day roving, making several key tackles and disposed efficiently. Guelph proved up to the challenge and found their targets downfield early and often and led at the opening break.


Applying pressure remained tantamount in the second quarter for the Swans, as the Gargs continually pressed forward through an experienced half-forward line and a hard-leading full forward. For their part, the backline composed of Alec Campbell, Jake Plunkett-Latimer and Brad Romanow, were relentless in their attack of the ball carriers and battled hard for four quarters. Rookie Tyler MacLellan, following several strong showings in the half forward line, put forth a superb effort in defence, as he repelled the main point of attack. While the pressure certainly remained evident, the Swans were also fortunate to have a bit of wayward kicking by Guelph, keeping them within reach at half.


With the game still up for grabs, the Swans continued to battle mightily. Centre Darren Roffey, clearly a marked man on the day, had a strong showing once again, slotting a goal from well out early in the stanza to bring the home crowd alive. Paul McCosh proved to be a handful for the Guelph defence, taking several strong, contested marks and added to his tally sheet, as well. Player-coach Chris McLean was a presence around the ground has he racked up possession after possession and was a model of the team’s effort in the third; “I thought our men really came out strong in the third. We won quite a bit of the ball and with a bit more polish to our skills, we will start seeing real rewards on the scoreboard.”


Exerting so much effort in the third, the Swans were looking to replicate this in the final stanza, however, a fit and skilled Guelph side was simply too much over the final 20 minutes, as the continued to attack with vigour. Nic Ladouceur and Chris Bellman were both solid in their defensive roles, while Tom Fuller and Kirk Cushing were ever-present in the forward lines and found the leading McCosh time and again. In the end, however, the Gargoyles were simply too skilled and found the goal sticks in the fourth, to come away solid victors. With the win, the Guelph side returned for the third consecutive year with the Canada Day Cup in hand.


The Swans return next Saturday versus the Central Blues at the Rideau Carleton Raceway.


Swans 2.5 (17) defeated by Guelph Gargoyles 11.21 (87)

Goals: D. Roffey, P. McCosh

Best: D. Roffey, P. Fisher, A. Campbell, T. MacLellan, N. Vautour

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