Round 10 was, for all extents and purposes, a semi final for the Barracudas and the group from Vest Danmark; the points up for grabs deciding who would earn a place to compete in the Grand Final in two weeks time on September 17. It was a winner-takes-all affair. The day however started slow for both sides, with the team from the country’s western half missing some key players, a few late but big withdrawals from the Cudas in the form of key forwards, Jack Siebert and Fraser Lane, and players rolling in late, the 4 points were anybody's for the taking.
The warm up was a mere shadow of that of the week before. The group of committed competitors that turned up to play in Farum wasn't anywhere to be seen, heard or felt. But a few last minute inclusions saw the home side with a few extras on the bench and some run in the legs in the likes of young-gun Charlie MacDonald and last weeks fresh-starters Brad Nirens and Scotty Wylie.
The first bounce saw the Cudas hit the ground running with a quick goal from b&f favourite Emil Thaning and the boys didn’t stop from there. Big Brammer made his presence felt in the ruck, returning with experience from his study tour down south with the Waterland Eagles , premiership medal in tow. Coming back from injury to relieve him, James Maine also played a strong ruck role, showing he hasn't forgotten how to play in his year off. Time and time again the rucks would feed the midfielders who would deflty deliver the ball to the forwards or run up themselves and have a ping - like Charlie McDonald or Sam Murray. Tommy Page was all-guns-blazing, running from one end to the other and dishing the ball around to his teammates like a waiter at a busy restaurant, while Kane Perkins in fine form as always, stopped the opposition dead in their tracks, taking strong marks around the ground and laying tackles like a cage hen lays eggs.
Tom Mulquiney finally made an appearance after threats of pulling on a Cudas jersey for over a year, to create a strong target up forward; presenting with long leads that left the forward line open for some of the smaller guys to push into.
Scotty Wylie held down the fort at centre-half-back while backline specialists in the form of seasoned veteran Patrick Ghazouani and ever-reliable Kristian Frevert, kept the opposition forwards in check when the ball eventually made it's way down to the danger-zone.
The story of the day though goes to *uhm cough* yours truly, stepping into the forward line when Tom Sandow Smith took himself off due to tightness in his goal-kicker, to take the game on and single-handedly outscore the opposition to put the game beyond doubt by three-quarter time.
Depsite what the scoreboard would tell, the guys from the West made it a tough contest. Even when the game was all but sealed in at half time, they didn't stop coming. Helped along the way by new Cuda James MacLachlan, pulling on the opposition jersey to give them a boost, the guys - led by Morten, Scott and Matt made some brilliant plays and showed a lot of promise for the seasons ahead.
As ever, a huge thanks to Eddie The Ump for a fine job with the whistle, Ras-the-man Andersen for his role-behind-the-goals and Emma for keeping the hungry mouths at bay with pies in the oven.
Three proud coaches watched on from the boundary and will have a hard job ahead of them to select a team for the coming Grand Final against Farum on the 17th. Now let's bring home that cup!
Vest Danmark 7 . 3 - 45
Cudas Goalkickers: Jason Nunn quite a few, Charlie McDonald 5, Sam Murray 3, Thomas Page 3, Emil Thaning 3, Brad Nirens 2, Tom Mulquiney 1, Kane Perkins 1, Tom Smith 1, Bram Kerhoff 1, Patrick Hoffman 1, Scotty Wylie 1
Best Fishies in the Pond: Team effort