Game 3: Brewers Sneak Past Steelheads
The third Portland Power Metro game for the year was met with great anticipation. Could the ailing Brewers break their duck for the year, or were the Steelheads going to maintain their iron grip over metro footy dominance in the Rose City?
The raven haired Matt Zaffino forecast a wonderful day for footy, and his predictions didn’t disappoint as magnificent conditions were enjoyed by players and spectators alike. The Brewers welcomed back wunderkind Alex McPhee, fresh off his selection in the World U/18 squad that will compete in Australia later this year. Debutants included two generations of the Gawlista family, John and Jacob who both played like seasoned vets. And the infamous Snider troika was complete as Jason debuted for the Steelheads, competing against his Brewer brothers Chris and Brandon, creating a family feud filled by the kind of rancor not seen since Romulus and Remus butted heads.
With Peter Klaebe and Marc Rotse sharing calls as umpires, the first quarter got underway in a pretty hectic fashion. Both teams got out of the gates quickly, with the canny Kyle “Slugger” Easton finding proving very damaging for the Steelheads, snaffling three majors in the first quarter. Club stalwart Gavin Bruhn was overheard saying “Is Kyle an Aussie?” — perhaps the highest praise one could lavish on a guy in his first year of competitive footy. Fresh off a diet of burgoo and mint juleps, William “the Bluegrass Bomber” Sandman, was proving particularly damaging through the
middle of the ground. Martin “the Derwent Destroyer” Coventry was his usual self, running hard through the middle, making sure to kick truly when his chance came.
The Brewers were squandering their chances up forward, but the strong marking Scott “Mitts” Hager was able to keep the Brewskis in the game at quarter time, although there would b eplenty of work to do.
Steelheads – 6.2.36 (Kyle Easton 3, Sandman 2, Coventry)
Brewers – 1.4.10 (Scott “Mitts” Hager)
The second quarter resulted in a slight change of momentum, with the Brewers producing some great passages of play. Slugger Easton continued to play like a young Mitchell White, but Brandon “Mickey” Snider was proving up to the task in guarding him, creating some great spoils, contests and pressure all over the backline. The Bluegrass Bomber kept working hard through the middle providing plenty of drive for the Steelheads. Benjamin “Jammer” Ratcliffe was leading hard and providing superb on field leadership for the Steelheads, and Ryan “Ryno” Gardner was showing more poise, skill and trademark toughness as the game wore on.
For the Brewers, the enigmatic James “Chilean Casanova” Begg was showing he was not exhausted from the amazing feat earlier in the day of ordering a double shot orange mocha frappuccino while wearing Blundstones – a task many believed only Keith Urban was capable of performing. Yet the man of steel showed he had plenty of energy reserves left in the tank, proving slipperier than a Santiago car salesmen up front for the Brewskis. The Chilean was ably supported by Wes “Craven” Brower up front who took a great mark and kicked dead straight for tremendous goal. Nick “Eric Decker” Wirth was leading hard and becoming a vocal leader in the forward line, while young Adam was showing tremendous courage and presence as always. It is easy to forget he is a tender 13 years of age!
Tyler “Project Mayhem” Cox was proving a handful for the Steelheads as his balanced poise and attack on the ball was proving difficult to counter. Mike Keller was working hard in defense for the Brewers and Lance “XXXX” Brooks was partnering well with the midfield duo of Coventry and Sandman in providing hard running drive for the Steelheads out of the middle, taking a fantastic mark flat on his back, making the coach look deadest foolish. Nathan “Rose City” Weinstock was at his tireless best all day, proving a solid link up man and pushing through the lines to create options.
The return of the McPhees for the Brewers was proving telling. John was once again proving that there is indeed a fountain of youth and it is spelled “M-A-R-AT-H-O-N.” The man doesn’t not know any gear apart from the fifth, and was proving a crash-bang handful for the dangerous spearhead Nathan Gaebe — a perennial thorn in the Brewers side. John was being assisted ably by the other Brewer nearing forty, Glen “Green Lantern” who was invaluable as always being the pivot through which many plays revolved around. Young Alex McPhee was prolific off the wing and half forward flank, proving a great leading target for his teammates and getting plenty of the ball, playing much like a young Martin Coventry did back in his Sandy Bay halcyon days (sans ponytail and acid wash jeans).
Brewers – 6.6.42 (James Begg 2, Wes Brower, Mitts)
The pendulum swung back towards the Steelheads after the main break, with veteran star Gavin “DeGraw” Bruhn providing the spark the fishes needed. He and Morgan “Freeman” Will were having a titanic tussle of the kind not seen the Carey v. Jakovich days of the mid nineties. The imposing Nate Klett was running rampant through the middle of the ground for the Steelheads having a great battle with Big Mitch “Carl” Hooper all day.
Steelheads – 11.8.74 (Gavin Bruhn, Nate Klett, Sandman)
Brewers – 7.8.50 (Alex McPhee)
The fourth quarter began in a hard fought manner with Jezza “Undercover brother” Cover giving the Steelheads some breathing room by snaffling a major with his trademark leadership and good timing. Both teams were attacking the ball hard and the match was in the balance. The Brewers were looking for a spark, and they found it in their captain Scott “Mitts” Hager, who was proving the catalyst his team needed, much like his cousin Paul “the ignitor” Molitor provided for his Milwaukee Brewers in the eighties. Mitts relished the new found freedom after debutant John Gawlista tragically went down with a torn achilles injury after performing superbly in his first match of footy. John’s son Jacob was proving the Gawlista clan is cut from the finest cloth by tuning in a magnificent performance in his debut match. Reminding many spectators of a young Anthony Koutoufides, Jacob showed a natural aptitude, toughness and awareness for the game, the type that is bound to attract interest from national talent scouts in years to come.
The Chilean Casanova was proving damaging for the Brewers, and Chris “Meatwhiz” Snider showed he is growing in stature every game with some great roving and game awareness.
When the siren sounded, and the umpires compared notes, it was discovered that the Brewers had got over the line narrowly – in a match that truly could have gone either way. Like an untalented drummer, the Steelheads were simply out of time.
Steelheads – 12.11.83 (Jeremy “Jezza” Cover)
Brewers – 12.13.85 (Mitts 3, Begg, Chris Snider)
Steelheads – Sandman, Nate Klett, Coventry, Kyle Easton, Rhino, Jezza
Brewers – James Begg, Mitts, John McPhee, Alex McPhee, Subway, Chuckles