Baton Rouge Tigers 17.12 (114) defeat Nashville Kangaroos 7.4 (46)
The Nashville Kangaroos travelled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a depleted but confident team. The record against the Baton Rouge Tigers stood at 7-1, with the only Kangaroo loss being by a scant 8 points to Revo-supplemented Tigers at the DUFFA Cup in May 2012. Despite the need to play “iron man” footy with every Roo on the ground, the Kangaroos trusted their superior skills and experience to win the day.
On the other hand, Tigers were on home turf and well prepared to take on the 10th ranked Kangaroos. In hot conditions, the Tigers planned to use their bench to keep fresh legs on the field to wear down the Nashville team.
The first quarter went as planned for the Kangaroos, taking an early lead with two goals from rover Tim “Squirrel” Fulwider and a goal from Cliff “Nugget” Cosnahan, playing at full forward while rehabbing a shoulder injury.
The Tigers took good advantage of the wind in the second quarter and gained the lead. Baton Rouge invested well for the second half by rotating players off the bench, keeping key players fresh. Nonetheless, the Kangaroos believed the game was still well within reach, trailing by just 16 points at half time, 4.2 (26) to Baton Rouge 6.6 (42).
The second half did not go as planned. The heat and the well-managed Tiger interchange took their toll, with the Kangaroos clearly losing their hops. Nonetheless, there were a few thrilling moments of Roo skill and tenacity. Duane Mathes threading one through from the boundary was a sweet moment. Fulwider continued to play strongly and take great grabs in the center and half forward, producing another two goals to give the final score some respectability. James “JD” Duty won more than his fair share of taps and contested marks, and played through an ankle injury that initially looked nasty.
Both teams played hard but clean, providing a spectacle of USAFL footy as it should be played.
It was great to see the Korean visitor, Derek “Alpaca” Blank, who truly left it all on the field.
Nashville Kangaroos 7.4 (46)
Baton Rouge Tigers 17.12 (114)
Goals: Tim Fulwider 4, Cliff Cosnahan 2, Duane Mathes.
With that, the Kangaroos are at 4-2 with only four USAFL games remaining before Nationals. The Baton Rouge Tigers make their return trip to Nashville on August 8, along with the Ohio Valley River Rats for a three-team tournament. With the two teams responsible for the Kangaroos’ only two losses in 2015 both at Elmington Park on the same day, it will be a unique opportunity for Roo redemption.