Thrilling finish pushes Metro season decider to September 6.
Metro Game 6 was a potential decider for the 2012 Nashville Metro championship. A fourth win by the Wallabies would decide the championship as they led 3-1. On the other hand, the Redbacks were desperate to extend the season and gain a chance to even the series.
The Redbacks had the speed and skill to win center clearances with players like national team representative Luke Nemeth and Jake Ridings. This provided opportunities for laser-accurate forwards Chris “Dex” Neilson and Evan “Colonel” Ling, who each kicked an early goal. The Wallaby defenders responded by rushing center square contests, a risky strategy as it provided plenty of room for Neilson and Ling to each kick an additional goal for the quarter. At the other end, the Wallabies had their own goal-kicking firepower. David “Walka” Walker kicked two goals, adding to a goal each by Clint Milner and Ross “Rosco” Flemming. The tiebreaker was a spectacular goal by Ridings to give the Redbacks a six-point lead at quarter time.
Two multiple goal scorers in the Redbacks forward line was clearly unacceptable to Wallaby coach Milner. Much tighter tactics by the Wallaby backs stifled the Redback scoring machine in the second quarter, limiting them to one goal by Neilson. Goals by Walker, Flemming and Josh “Pooh” MacWilliams gave the Wallabies a slender lead until Redbacks wing Derek Blank kicked a miraculous goal to keep the half time scores even at 7.1 (43).
Redbacks captain Luke Nemeth exhorted his team at half time to follow the Wallabies successful strategy of man-on-man defense. Despite this, Wallabies Jay McDonald, Flemming and MacWilliams each scored in the third quarter as the Redbacks seemed to tire and failed to follow the game plan. The Wallabies exemplified the same strategy, limiting the Redbacks to a single goal by Neilson. At the final break, it looked like the Wallabies would wrap up the series as they were leading by two goals and seemed to have the wind in their sails.
With only twelve minutes to keep their season alive, the Redbacks kept the ball in their scoring end for much of the final quarter with sheer desperation and adrenaline. Although MacWilliams kicked his third goal at the Wallaby scoring end, Neilson and Travis Quigley both goaled to bring the Redbacks within a goal. Ling tied the scores with a snap shot that barely missed the post, a gentle zephyr wafting it through for a goal. The inexhaustible Ridings kicked his second goal just before time expired, and the Redbacks improved to 2-3 as if by destiny.
A fourth win by the Wallabies would decide the championship at Metro Game 7, while a win by the Redbacks would tie the series. Spectators are welcome to watch this exciting game at picturesque Elmington Park at 6 PM on Thursday September 6.
Scores by quarter:
1st - Wallabies 4.0 (24), Redbacks 5.0 (30)
2nd - Wallabies 7.1 (43), Redbacks 7.1 (43)
3rd - Wallabies 10.4 (64), Redbacks 8.2 (50)
4th - Wallabies 11.5 (71), Redbacks 12.5 (77)
Wallabies: David Walker 3, Ross Flemming 3, Joshua MacWilliams 3, Clint Milner, Jay McDonald.
Redbacks: Chris Neilson 5, Evan Ling 3, Jake Ridings 2, Derek Blank, Travis Quigley.