Kangaroos start 20th season with a win
2017 is the Nashville Kangaroos’ 20th season, a fantastic milestone by any measure. We’ve been playing footy in the Music City for a long time now, and this celebratory year is going to be massive.
To kick it off, the Atlanta Kookaburras and Nashville Kangaroos continued their fierce rivalry with the first action of the 2017 USAFL season. The Kookaburras were on the rise last year, taking the 2016 series 2-1, including a big win in Nashville.
Atlanta coach Brent “Piggy” Bacon brought his high-scoring strategy, with speedy midfielders who most recently produced 11 goals in forty minutes against the tough Tulsa Buffaloes at 2016 Nationals. This is a team that attacks from the back line, with numerous avenues to goal.
The Kangaroos recruited well in the off-season, with Mick Jones and Joel Thornton joining veteran Nathan Caldwell and 2016 recruit Elliot Szabo in the ruck rotation. Brad Chamberlain and Kyle Li were speedy additions in the midfield, while Saul Camarena was strong in defense.
Interim coach Cliff “Nugget” Cosnahan dropped the clipboard pretty quickly, being first on the scoreboard with a goal. Atlanta’s Mick Frost evened the scores, but otherwise both defenses were inpenetrable in the first quarter. The Kangaroos burst through at the beginning of the second quarter, with Tim Dunn kicking two goals and Cosnahan scoring his second major to provide Nashville with a three-goal cushion at half time.
The Kookaburras came back in the third quarter, midfielder Chase Trujillo opening the scoring for the second half. Atlanta’s continued to bring the ball forward, but the Roo defense was solid. At the other end, Caldwell opened his ledger for 2017, and Cosnahan added another pair to his tally.
Nashville went into the last quarter with a five goal lead, but the Kookaburras have proved well capable of kicking five or six goals in a quarter. The sealer came when Chamberlain knocked down a long Atlanta shot right on the goal line, leading to a remarkable passage of play, taking the ball end-to-end for a goal by Thornton, effectively a two goal turnaround. The remainder of the quarter was fairly even, with Cosnahan’s fifth and sixth goals matched by goals from Atlanta’s Bacon and Trujillo.
Keeping a high-scoring team like Atlanta down to only four goals was a feat. Nashville’s defense playing a big role in the win, and will be even stronger with the skill of Dee Vsetecka and height of Brian Domin. With further players to return all around the ground, the Kangaroos have high expectations for their 20th season.
The Nashville Kangaroos now enjoy a 26-9 record against Atlanta, including 16-3 at home. The two teams will next meet in the Nashville Kangaroos’ Homecoming Tournament on June 3, again at Elmington Park.
Scores by quarter:
1st - Nashville Kangaroos 1.2 (8), Atlanta Kookaburras 1.0 (6)
2nd - Nashville Kangaroos 4.4 (28), Atlanta Kookaburras 1.1 (7)
3rd - Nashville Kangaroos 7.7 (49), Atlanta Kookaburras 2.4 (16)
4th - Nashville Kangaroos 10.11 (71), Atlanta Kookaburras 4.5 (29)
Nashville: Cliff Cosnahan 6, Tim Dunn 2, Nathan Caldwell, Joel Thornton.
Atlanta: Chase Trujillo 2, Mick Frost, Brent Bacon.
Evan Ling, Jeff Persson
Toby Persson, Simon Thornton
Orthopedic & sports massage:
Lewis Braswell, Nashville Orthopedic Massage