What's On Tap: June 3rd

June is well and truly bustin’ out all over.

We start to move into the summer months of the year, and the action is invariably hotting up along with the mercury.  We’re now three weekends away from the first ever USAFL Super Regionals in Kansas City, but before that, there are some blockbuster rounds of Aussie Rules ahead of us.

This first weekend of the month features no fewer than 21 USAFL clubs taking part in events across seven cities, from the capital to the Carolinas to the west coast, from Wisconsin to Texas.  Ten, including six women’s teams, will be making their 2023 debuts.

If you’re in any of these places, come on out and support local Aussie Rules football.  And if you do, here’s what to expect from each of the matches.

DC Eagles (2-0) vs Baltimore Dockers (3-0)
10am EDT - West Potomac Park, Washington, DC

After being denied by Thor and his liquid accompaniment in Richmond three weeks ago, the Denis Ryan Cup rivalry finally gets its 2023 start.  Both teams bring unbeaten records into the matchup, with each winning their two MAC games and Baltimore opening the season with a home win over Philly.  Since the expansion of the Baltimore-Washington Eagles into these two clubs, the Eagles have won nine of the previous sixteen matchups, including six out of the last seven.  DC also won three out of the four tussles against the Dock Show in 2022.

Texas Cup
Men’s: Austin (0-0) vs Houston (2-0) vs North Texas (2-1) vs Austin
Women’s: Austin/Houston/North Texas (Matchup TBD)
10am CDT - Soccer Fields West Creek, Austin, TX

Austin kicked off their 2023 campaign last week with a squeaky squeaky one-point loss over the USA Revolution as a part of the Revos’ pre-49PC camp.  Now they begin their quest for their fifth straight USAFL Men’s D1 title by hosting the 2023 edition of the Texas Cup, an event that they have dominated for recent memory.  It’s always an intriguing set of games, however, with always-improving North Texas and the ever-consistent Houston Lonestars coming to town.  The women’s match with feature the growing crop of athletes from the three clubs, as they look to put together a strong side for Nationals.

Midwest Cup
[Ohio Valley (0-1)/Minnesota (4-0)], Columbus (1-2), [Chicago (2-1)/St Louis (1-3)], Nashville (2-0)
11am EDT - Indianapolis World Sports Park, Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis is set to host its biggest footy event since the 2016 Central Regionals.  They will join up with Cincinnati and Louisville as the Ohio Valley River Rats and be further augmented with players from Minnesota.  This should be a fantastic day of footy at the International Sports Park, with Nashville trying to stay unbeaten and Columbus striving for revenge for an earlier defeat to the Roos.  Chicago and St. Louis, who were also at the 80/35 tournament two weeks ago, will also play as a combine.

Midway Mashup
Mens: Portland Steelheads (0-0) vs Seattle Grizzlies (0-0) vs Sacramento Suns (0-0)
Women’s: Seattle Grizzlies (0-0) vs Sacramento Suns W (0-0)
11am PDT - Colver Field, Talent, OR

Somewhere halfway between the cities of Portland and Sacramento lies the town of Medford, Oregon.  Thus, the Midway Mashup gets its name.  The Suns & Suns W played the Steelheads and Sockeyes there in 2018, and now with the Grizzlies tagging along, the series is renewed again.  All of the teams will get their first official hitouts of 2023.  The Grizzlies and Suns W match will feature players from the Sockeyes as well, and will be a key barometer for Nationals. Seattle won both women’s matchups played in 2022.

On the men’s side, Portland beat the Grizzlies in both matchups a season ago, while the Grizzlies beat the Suns’ senior side and procured one of their three draws in 2022 against the Suns reserves.  There is a ton of history in three-way battles between these sides, as they contested Division 2 at the 2016 Western Regionals in Salem, a carnival won by Sacramento on a kick after the siren over Seattle.

California Tri-Cup
Los Angeles Dragons (1-2) vs San Diego Lions (3-1) vs Golden Gate Roos (0-0)
Noon PDT - Westchester Park, Los Angeles, CA

After being part of a three way split to kick off the SoCal Cup, the Dragons and Lions will be joined by the Golden Gate Roos, who will kick off their representative season in this Tri-Cup triangle.  LA and San Diego traded victories in their first two matchups; this will be the third of seven scheduled games between the two.  The Gaters triumphed over San Diego in their only battle last season, and two from three from L.A. - including their Nationals encounter. 

Wisconsin Wombats (2-1) vs Des Moines Roosters (4-1)
2pm CDT - Door Creek Park, Madison, WI

Though they both were at the 80/35 10s tournament a couple of weeks ago in Des Moines, this will be the first match between then the ‘Bats and ‘Sters this season.  It’ll also be the first official game pitting the two since September 7, 2019, which saw the Wombats win their first ever game as a club in league play.  Overall, the Roosters lead the series 4-1, and will be a showcase in good American talent that each side has recruited.

North Carolina Tigers (0-1) vs Jacksonville Saints (0-2)
5pm EDT - Norris Park Soccer Field, Apex, NC

A budding friendly rivalry has emerged between the Tigers and Saints, one older club from the south and one of the newly emerging ones.  The Tigers teamed up with Philadelphia at the MAC last month and fell (two split-squad losses accounting for one full one in the standings), while Jacksonville is on the hunt for its first victory of the year after two defeats over the winter.

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