Contributed by: Roy Obal Thursday, May 28 2009 @ 02:41 pm ACST
While the Essendon Bombers came from behind for a famous victory over the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG, Australian rules football resumed in Japan with the commencement of the JAFL 2009 season.
The Nagoya Redbacks hosted the reigning premiers, the Tokyo Goannas, on Australia’s most revered occasion on the national calendar, ANZAC Day 25th April. The Goannas showed their class in wet and difficult conditions with a dominant 10 goals to 2 first half before running out 13.9 (87) to 5.6 (36) victors. The Redbacks, playing their first game as part of the JAFL, valiantly fought out the game, matching the Goannas for goals in the second half. They were brave in defeat, facing a more experienced and hardened outfit that also had a significant number advantage on the bench.
Two games were played on Sunday 26th April. The 2008 runners-up, the Eastern Hawks, had winners all over the ground as they thumped the Tokyo Leopards 25.18 (168) to 3.7 (26). The first quarter was marred only by inaccuracy in front of goals for the Hawks, although this improved over the course of the game. The Hawks showed a ruthless edge in kicking 9 goals in the final quarter to ensure a healthy percentage. The young Leopards battled hard throughout but lacked the skills and experience to match their opponents.
The final match of the round saw the Osaka Dingoes travel to Tokyo to play the Komazawa Magpies. After an even first half that saw the straight kicking of the Magpies take a 9 point lead into the long break, the more experienced Dingoes lifted their work rate, scoring 10 goals to 1 in the second half to run out 49 point winners, 14.15 (99) to 7.8 (50). First-gamer Sato was superb up forward for the Magpies with 3 first half goals, while the load was evenly spread by the Dingoes with 5 players kicking two goals apiece.
The Senshu University Powers had the bye this round.
Ed: WFN welcomes Roy Obal to our team of correspondents. An Aussie living in Japan as an English teacher, Roy will be reporting on the goings-on in the Japan AFL.