Mike Staffa sends news from Japan

Mike is a Minnesota Freeze player who has been in Japan for a year and is currently the only US player in Japan, playing for the Kinki Kangas.  Here is an excerpt from the match report where Mike scored the Goal of the Game.

It was Chairman Mao who said that every long march starts with just one step. Well, now after a few tentative steps in the early rounds the inaugural season of the AFLKJ is more than marching ahead, it is absolutely running. The fifth round of the season between the Kinki Kangaroos and the Kyoto Kockatwos, not only saw a great turnout in terms of players and supporters but also was the best standard of football played yet. Although the result ended up being a little lopsided, both teams exhibited some high class passages of play, and fierce tackling, not to mention much improved shepherding.

The game started at a furious pace with a couple of early goals by the Kangas being quickly replied to by the Kyoto boys. The Kangas on paper looked to be quite strong with a good blend of height and pace and a fair deal of experience. Although, as has been seen in previous rounds, the newer boys from Kyoto care nothing for reputations when the ball is bounced. Through some strong running work, particularly from Junji, and good leading from captain and full forward Matt, the Kockies managed to go to the first break with a seven point lead after kicking 4-4 to Kinki's 3-3.

After a rev up from captain Tony Walsh and some clever positional moves, the Kangas started to look a vastly different side in the second quarter. Two positional moves were to prove decisive to the outcome of the game. The first being to put new player James Dooney to full forward where his height resulted in either marks or bringing the ball to the ground where the Kangas mosquito fleet could sweep through. James ended up with 4 for the day and helped out in several other goals. The second major tactic employed by the wily old fox Walsh was to pop Byron (Baz) into the hole just in front of Matt, the Kockies full forward. This managed to block off Matt's leading options and forced the Kyoto players to try to kick over centre half forward and high into the square where Walsh himself took several good defensive marks and cleared the ball with penetrating kicks. This effectively negated the effect of Matt who is at the moment the leading goal scorer of the season and probably the Kockie's best player. The second part of this ploy, concocted by the wise old heads of the Kangas, was to free up Mike Staffa to play a sweeping attacking role from half back. The tactic worked so well that Staffa ended up close to best on ground as he continually turned defence into attack for the Kangaroos and displayed sure ball handling skills.

To read more go to http://www.aflkj.com/AFLKJ_Matchreport5.html


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