What's On Tap: May 21, 2022

The weather is getting warmer, and that must mean footy season is hotting up with it.

It’s the final weekend before Memorial Day, and the last before the USAFL Regional Tournament Series kicks off in Philadelphia in two weeks’ time.  A month’s worth of full season football is now arrears, and as a heatwave comes to the west coast and the mercury goes up, so doe the Aussie Rules action here in the USAFL.

This weekend’s events sees the return of a marquee event in Iowa, a four-way soiree in North Georgia, a three-way tangle in Ohio, a rivalry renewed in the Charm City, and two OG USAFL clubs dueling in the Windy City.

Men’s: Baltimore Dockers (1-1) vs New York Magpies (0-0)
11am EDT – Herring Run Park, Baltimore, MD

The defending men’s D1 runners up leave their nests for the first time in 2022 as they head all the way down I-95 to face the Dock Show, who already have two games under their belt in the young season, having won in Philadelphia then dropping the Ryan Cup opener at home against DC.  Can Jack Chalmers and the Dockers pull off the upset at home, or will Troy Danilo and the ‘Pies swoop in and steal the points?

Men’s: 80/35 Tournament (10-a-side)
11am CDT – Des Moines Rugby Club, Des Moines, IA

A midwestern Aussie Rules tradition returns with the 80/35 ten-a-side tournament in Des Moines, where the hometown Roosters welcome in five teams from around the Central region.  This six-team tournament will feature two pools of three teams each, with the winners facing off for the title of champions.  All six teams in the tournament are making their 2022 debuts, and they represent all four contested divisions from last year’s Nationals.

Pool A sees the Wisconsin Wombats, Minnesota Freeze, and newly rebranded Oklahoma Buffaloes playing off in their first games of the season, while the Kansas City Power and Denver Bulldogs join the hosts in Pool B.  The Freeze and Bulldogs have historically done well in this tournament, but the rest of the field have always put together competitive efforts at the 80/35, and this year should be no exception.

Columbus Tournament
1pm EDT – Three Creeks Metro Park, Columbus, OH
Men’s: Columbus Cats (1-0), Cincinnati Dockers (0-1), Saint Louis Blues (0-0)
Women’s: Columbus (0-0) vs Cincinnati/Saint Louis (0-0) [subject to change]

Last year, the Cats traveled to Missouri and routed the reformed Blues by ten goals.  Ten months later, it’s St. Louis’s turn to head to Ohio where they will seek revenge against Cbus while also trying to topple the Dockers.  Both Buckeye teams are coming off different results to the Nashville Kangaroos in their respective openers, with the Cats winning by 20 points at home and Cincy losing by 27 points on the road.

The three teams will also stage a women’s match, as 12-year veteran Stephanie McKitrick leads the Cats into battle against (and possibly with) burgeoning programs from Cincy and the Lou.

Three Rivers Tournament
1pm EDT – Grizzard Park, Rome, GA
Men’s: Rome Redbacks (2-1), Grovetown Pirates (2-2), Atlanta Kookaburras (0-3), Birmingham Bushrangers (0-0)

It’s been a busy spring for the league’s Georgia clubs, and it continues this Saturday in Rome for the annual Three Rivers cup.  A year ago, it was the Alabama invaders who swept in and took the cup from the Redbacks and Kookas on percentage after the three teams split.  Now they’ll look to defend against an improving Atlanta team, a vastly grown Redbacks outfit, and a determined if not plucky Pirates team from the East.

Men’s: Chicago Swans (0-0) vs Boston Demons (0-1)
2:30pm EDT – Cricket Hill Soccer East, Chicago, IL

You have to go all the way back to 2016 when the full version of these two teams met, and it was at that year’s Nationals in Florida where the Swans edged out the Dees by a single point.  Boston is coming off a opening round loss to noisy neighbors Maine, and are looking to build on their runner up showing at Nationals in D2 a year ago.  The Swans open their year looking for a fast start at home as they look to be a rising star in the Central region.

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