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Swans fall in League Opener

The Ottawa Swans began season 2012 of the Ontario Australian Football (OAFL) season with a road trip to Toronto to take on last year’s foe, the Toronto Rebels, who narrowly defeated the Swans in 2011. With several players debuting in the red and white on the day, the club expected great efforts around the ground and another tight contest in Toronto.

The game took to a blistering pace from the opening bounce with both teams sacrificing greatly to win possession. Tom Fuller and Chris MacLean won the ball and delivered into full forward, Dave Martin who led strongly all day. Paul Fairbrother was an option early and often, taking several strong contested marks and capping off his efforts with a goal to close out the quarter. While the forward pressure was constant, a few bad bounces and rusty kicks prevented the Swans’ efforts from appearing on the scoreboard.

The second quarter started much differently, with the Rebels taking to the attack and applying pressure on the Swans’ backline. Anchored by Ronan Shaughnessy, who continuously spoiled and evaded would-be tacklers, the Swans were able to keep the Rebels at bay. Mike Kozlowski stood tall and took several contested marks along the halfback line, while Matt Payne and Luke Anderson were prominent options and swiftly moved the ball into attack. The seesaw battle continued back and forth, with the Rebels taking a slim lead into the second half.

At halftime, the Swans were implored by Head Coach Chris MacLean to return to first quarter form, apply pressure and challenge each contest. The Swans were more than happy to respond, starting the second half at pace.  Last year’s Best and Fairest winner, Darren Roffey, has clearly returned to form, collecting possession around the ground and a few spectacular marks across the centre. However, the Swans were able to find their target early in the term, with Pete Fisher delivering a left-footed bomb and Bogdan Rotaru kicking his first ever OAFL goal. As the siren closed the third quarter, the Swans found themselves ahead by just 3 points.

Unfortunately, the final stanza was simply one to forget for the Swans; the attack from the Rebels was ominous as the ball was continually trapped in the Swans’ backline. Despite solid efforts from Mike Beall and the forward line pushing back, their opponents had found their stride and kicked truly. Despite the result, Assistant Coach Marc Magierowicz lauded the efforts of the men on the day, “We had some moments of very efficient and effective football. The rust still showed and certainly the fitness of club came to the forefront in the final quarter. Our rookies debuting on the day put in solid efforts and will promising for the coming rounds.”

The Swans will return to the track for their home opener on Saturday 12 May against the High Park Demons at the Rideau Carleton Raceway.

 

Swans 4.9 (33) defeated by Rebels 7.10 (52)

Goals: Darren Roffey, Paul Fairbrother, Pete Fisher, Bogdan Rotaru

Best: Ronan Shaughnessy, Darren Roffey, Mike Kozlowski, Jay Goldhawk, Tom Fuller, Luke Anderson

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