Tigers take on Warriors
Saturday 23rd February 2013
Last Saturday saw the Tigers kick off their 2013 international campaign with a tour match in Kuala Lumpur against the Malaysian Warriors. As is their tradition, the Tiger’s showed up to KL late on Friday evening and found their way to the hotel bar for a few Friday night brevvies. After glancing across the team sheet and considering the strength of their opposition, it was decided that the game was a forgone conclusion and the Tigers would just keep drinking and make the most of their weekend away.
So they drank on.
With a late starting time of 3pm, the Tiger’s got a nice sleep-in before boarding the bus, bleary-eyed, but dressed in their spiffy new tour singlets, for the journey to Nexus International School. They arrived long before the Warriors and had plenty of time to warm up. Being locked-up in the cage-like country of Pakistan, Paddy saw the open space and took off like a dog on it’s weekly trip to the park., but was encouraged to take it easy as he would be required to do a lot of running on the hot day.
The Warriors arrived in dribs and drabs, and when the goalposts were finally erected sometime after the scheduled kick-off time, the second game of the inaugural EAAFL was finally underway.
Borrowing a few players from the Warriors allowed the Tigers to field a full side, and it was surprisingly the visitors who got off to the better start, after some tough defensive work by Rut, with a goal to grizzled veteran and the long-time nicknameless, Saul Morgan (the name Stall was suggested on the day, but it surely won’t stick to this Teflon-monikered Tiger). The Tigers kept pace with their more-fancied opposition for the early exchanges, but let through several easy goals, then a few more, to end the first quarter facing an already bulging deficit.
Perhaps it was the Warriors taking it easy after the break, maybe it was the inspiring speech from the coach, or maybe their hangovers had been sweated out a little, but the Tigers of quarter #2 looked like a far more formidable machine than the first. Paddy, who started the game like a man possessed, started playing like a man possessed by another possessed man, constantly sprinting around the Warriors, breaking tackles, kicking long and kicking goals. Captain Brad was doing the tough stuff in the middle, while Jesus ignored the potential of another dislocated shoulder and returned to the ruck – the position where he made his name.
\The Tigers definitely had the better of the 2nd quarter and went to the long break only 20 points down and feeling they were carrying a fair bit of momentum into the 2nd half.
If the Warriors were concerned about a surging Tiger outfit, they must have been absolutely crapping themselves early in the third as Paddy came out to really make the game his own. While Samo began taking a bevy of interception marks across half-back, it was Paddy who kept banging away, kicking the goal of the day and dragging the Tigers to within just 8 points of the lead.
While the ball found itself in the Tigers front half for much of the quarter, the home team began feeling the pressure and dropped back defenders to stifle the Tigers scoring. This had another subsequent effect in opening up the midfield, allowing Malaysia to score a few easy goals in the last 10 minutes to extend their 3-quarter time lead to a daunting 30 points.
Knowing they were running short on legs and with the weather closing in, the Tigers dedicated the final quarter to having fun and enjoying their footy. As the game slowed and the rain started to fall late in the game, the Tigers stood up well and continually pressured the Malaysian goals. Tired midfield legs meant the Tigers backline was open and somewhat leaky, but they held strong right to the end. When the umpires finally called an end to the game, the Warriors held a comfortable and hard-won 34 point lead.
Despite the margin, the Tigers played one of their best loses in recent years; playing away with small numbers and against one of the leading teams in Asia, the Tigers showed up, put the Warriors under constant pressure, and executed their skills exceptionally well.
The best player on the ground – by a considerable margin – was Paddy, who at 3-quarter-time the Malaysian Warriors inquired about changing his nickname to Jesus, because they felt more comfortable referring to him in a biblical sense.
But despite his dominance, this was really a very good effort by all Tigers, who are clearly responding to the influx of numbers at training.
A special thanks needs to go to the 2 Warriors players who kitted-up for us and of course Rooster and Paddy’s brother who both made their debuts for the Tigers (though Rooster’s previous Tigers experience is up for debate).
Malaysian Warriors 13.5.83 d Thailand Tigers 8.5.53
Tigers best: Paddy, Brad, Jazz, Leigh, Samo
Goal-kickers: Rooster 4, Patto, Paddy 3, Stall 2, Vic 1.
*I am aware that 13 goals have been claimed, yet only 8 kicked by the Tigers. Very dubious indeed.