Mens Open do Victoria Proud
The Men’s team began their campaign late and had limited preparation. In adding to that they were dealt what became the pool of death for Nationals. They were to face only NSW and QLD teams who would all be competing for that top four position in the pool. The Men’s team began the campaign strong against the Sunshine Coast going into half time locked at 3-3, but the Pineapples proved too strong in the 2nd half, winning 8-3. The belief was there for a strong campaign but unfortunately for the men’s team they lost two of their main players (Ahmad Daizli & Tim Booth) to injury for the tournament and had minor injuries to Coach El Chaar and Ash Davine. An undermanned VIC team battled on to play some impressive touch against the Sydney Rebels & QLD Bulls where they were again in the games until the half time break. The Sharks and Cyclones skill and flare were too good for VIC running away with easy victories. Along the way the VIC’s would lose Ben Coupe to a serious shoulder injury leaving them to face the Hunter Hornets in the final round with 12 players including 3 injured. The Hornets match was a grudge match for Victorian’s with one of their own in a Hornets shirt. The VIC boys came out running, lead by Captains Finlay Batts and Richard Johnston, quickly finding themselves ahead on the scoreboard early. Knowing they are playing a team which fielded 3 or 4 past and present Australian players they couldn’t afford to let their guard down. VIC jumped to a 3 touchdown lead in the second half which was a reversal of past games. This lead would prove too much for the Hornets with Victoria recording their 1st win of the campaign a 7-6 upset win against the Hunter Hornets. The final game was a playoff game against the Southern Suns with Victoria looking to record two Victories at the tournament for the 1st time let alone back to back Victories. They did so quite convincingly 8-5, ending what was a successful campaign considering the circumstances.
The Big V reporters prediction of 11th was just out of reach with the boys finishing 13th.
The best for the Men’s team based on player’s player votes in order 1st Finlay Batts, 2nd Steve Huynh, and equal 3rd Elies El Chaar & Tristan Harris.
Congratulations to the Victorian Men’s team.