Minnesota Freeze Capture Madison Midwest Invitational Title

Milwaukee Bombers
Kanack Ruck

On Saturday, June 11 the Milwaukee Bombers hosted the first Australian Football tournament in Madison, WI.  Participating teams were the Chicago United, Cincinnati Dockers, Des Moines Roosters, Milwaukee Bombers and Minnesota Freeze A and B.  The Bombers have been wanting to attract more players from Madison, with the goal of eventually starting a club there, for several years.  With that goal in mind the idea for a Midwest tournament came about in discussion after a Madison metro match last summer.  While in Louisville for last year’s Nationals the Bombers discussed the tournament idea with Midwest clubs and based on the positive feedback decided to go ahead with plans for the event. 

In January the Bombers began working with the Madison Area Sports Commission and Director of Sports Sales & Program Development, Jamie Patrick to put the plan in motion.  All the planning paid off in what was a fantastic day of footy.  “The tournament was a tremendous success and we look forward to welcoming Australian Football teams and supporters back to Madison in the future,” Patrick commented.

The teams were split into two pools.  Minnesota A, Des Moines and Cincinnati made up pool A, while Chicago, Milwaukee and Minnesota B were in pool B.  Due to rain and soggy field conditions at the original venue, the tournament was moved to the Wisconsin Rugby Club Sports Complex in Cottage Grove just outside of Madison.  Team captains met prior to the tournament to decide on number of players best suited for the rugby size fields.  The decision was made to go with 11 players per side.  This turned out to be the ideal number for a competitive tournament.  In post tournament remarks, Bombers President, Ross Siegel said, “Based on the success of today’s format, we’ll be looking at making this an 11’s tournament next year.”

On the field, the style of play was fast paced and high scoring.  It was the Minnesota Freeze A 8.11.59 over the Milwaukee Bombers 4.8.32 in the championship game.  It was anyone’s game at halftime as the Bombers trailed by just 2 goals, but in the end the Freeze were too much for the Bombers who were missing several key players due to injuries, from earlier games.  Led by Revolution players Danny Hansen, Stephen Fashant and Andrew Werner the Freeze were crowned the inaugural champions of the first Madison Midwest Invitational.  Fashant was named the championship MVP for his 4 goal effort.  In the third place match it was Chicago United over the Cincinnati Dockers.  The United found the goals early and often in this contest and were aided by fresh legs off the bench.  The fifth place game saw Minnesota B come away with the victory over Des Moines.

Minnesota’s Danny Hansen was named tournament MVP with 10 votes on the day, while Cincinnati’s Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, Milwaukee’s Daniel Higham and Minnesota’s Andrew Werner all received 9 votes.

The Milwaukee Bombers would like to thank all participating clubs and supporters for attending.  Particular appreciation goes to Gary Hill, Al Macglashan, Dale Parsons and Anthony Hendrie for their umpiring efforts.  Special recognition goes to tournament sponsors Best Western Inn on the Park and Brocach Irish Pub.  The Bombers would also like to thank the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau for their support in the promotion of the event.

For a local perspective on the tournament click here.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Malchow and Ruth Alvarez.

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