Kangaroos advance to 8-1 with six goal victory

The Nashville Kangaroos traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina on July 14 hoping to extend their winning start to the 2012 season. Their hosts, the Tigers had an inauspicious season opener in Columbus but were strong at home with a ten goal win over the Philadelphia Hawks in June.

Several key players couldn’t make the trip, but the Kangaroos still took a strong side, including two very promising first game players in Luke “Deuce” Cooper and Shane Branscum. Cooper provided extra speed on the wing, while Branscum gave the defense additional height. Both displayed surprising skill development considering their limited experience of Australian rules football.

Team captain Luke Nemeth won the toss, and the Kangaroos kicked to the scoring end for the first quarter. A goal by Chris Neilson was soon equalized by a Tiger goal by Nick Camilleri, but a long goal by Tim Creed and an additional goal by Neilson gave the Kangaroos a two goal lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Tigers had the advantageous direction in the second quarter, and North Carolina’s Aaron Plumley soon responded with a goal. At the other end, the Roo forwards struggled to convert opportunities. An opportunity was missed off the ground and another behind kicked from a set shot before David Walker bounced one through for a goal. It was a scrappy, low scoring quarter, and the teams went to the main break with Nashville retaining that slim two goal lead.

Rain fell in the third quarter, and both teams struggled with ball handling. The Tigers were proving competitive. Although Nashville seemed to have most of the possession time, the Tigers had numbers around the ball to limit the options. The Tigers’ Camilleri scored his second goal, and it was followed by another goal for Neilson. Thereafter, desperate defense by both teams controlled the action. The difference was less than two goals at the final break. The Kangaroos were confident, but the Tigers were still in it.

In the fourth quarter, Kangaroos outnumbered Tigers at contests and were first to the ball. The Tigers seemed to have tired from their strategy of greater mobility, while most of the Nashville players still had something left in their legs. A snap shot by Neilson extended the lead to three goals early in the quarter. The character of the game changed dramatically in the final ten minutes, with another goal by Neilson, a fantastic long goal from the boundary by Creed, and an exciting play as Branscum ran down the middle of the ground to gather the ball and deliver to Milner for the final goal of the match

In terms of skill and strategy, the Tigers showed that they could stay close to the Kangaroos for three quarters. While everyone felt the heat and humidity, the Kangaroos displayed the fitness to play a full four quarters of fast-paced footy.

Scores by quarter:

1st - Nashville 3.4 (22), North Carolina 1.3 (9)
2nd - Nashville 4.6 (30), North Carolina 2.6 (18)
3rd - Nashville 5.7 (37), North Carolina 3.8 (26)
4th - Nashville 9.10 (64), North Carolina 3.10 (28)
Nashville: Chris Neilson 5, Tim Creed 2, David Walker, Clint Milner.
North Carolina: Nick Camilleri 2, Aaron Plumley.
Nashville: Chris Neilson, Luke Nemeth, Clint Milner, Shane Branscum.
North Carolina: Aaron Plumley, Nick Camilleri, Ross Pleban.
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