2012 Nationals Recap
On October 12th through the 15th the Steelheads traveled to Mason, Ohio to represent Portland at the United States Australian Football League’s 2012 National Championship Tournament. Friday was a long day of traveling with an early start well before dawn for most of the team. Saturday morning saw the start of the tournament and the Steelheads’ first game against the Baltimore-Washington Eagles. The team was assigned to Division 2, meaning a tough draw from the beginning against some quality opposition. The opening minutes of the match saw both teams competing evenly, but only a quarter of the way into the match two injuries to Steelheads players Blake Kingsley and Scott Johnson resulted in the team having no interchange players left on the bench. The Eagles had the run of play and entered halftime up a couple of goals. In the second half, Scotty was back on the field and the Steelheads continued to battle hard for the ball, scoring their first goal. However an injury to Tim Mann left the Steelheads unable to run the interchange once again. At the final siren, the Eagles were the victors.
Later in the day, the Steelheads faced off against the Los Angeles Dragons. The teams had met earlier in the year in San Francisco, with the Dragons narrowly defeating Portland, who went on to win the tournament on percentages. The Steelheads were able to find a trio of extra players, but with Tim and Blake out still were left with only one interchange player. The Dragons were up for the game and dominated the run of play in the first half to enter the break leading by several goals. However in the second half the Steelheads came out with renewed passion and played evenly with LA, trading blow for blow and scoring several goals. Unfortunately the damage had already been done in the first half and the Dragons won despite the Steelheads’ turnaround.
On Sunday the Steeheads were already warming up on the field by the time the sun rose as they prepared for their final game against the Philadelphia Hawks. After a hotly contested opening quarter, the Hawks slowly edged out to a halftime lead. Injuries again took their toll as Scotty copped a broken bone in his left hand. The Steelheads rallied and fought back hard in the second half and kicked a couple of goals. Tim even took the field despite carrying what he would later learn was a broken collarbone. Despite the tough effort, the Hawks prevailed at the final siren. Though in the end they didn’t get the results they wanted, the team played hard in a difficult division against some skilled sides and left nothing on the field. The injury toll didn’t help either, but a big thanks goes out to Scotty, Blake, and Tim, who did everything they could to help the team despite their injuries. Thanks also go to Andrew Daniel, who traveled to Mason to umpire (and was named the Best Umpire in his division for his effort) and assist the team as a runner and managing what interchange was left during their games. The boys finished off the weekend socializing with other clubs first at a local sports bar, and later at the official tournament after-party at an Irish pub in town. A good time was had by all.