AFLG Stuttgart Tournament
It seemed like the sun had only just gone down when the Crocs boy’s gathered at the Ritter Sport statue just after 4am. The boys however were up and about, off for their first footy game for the year in the AFLG and for 5 of the lads their first game wearing the famous Green and Gold of the Berlin Crocodiles. A solid 7 and a half hour journey filled with some live streaming, games, banter and minimal sleep cruised by and the boys arrived to a beautiful sight of Sun and Dirndls. After 3 and half months of training the crocs were primed to put their stamp on the AFLG competition for season 2016.
Game 1: Berlin Crocodiles 5:8 38 def by Munich Kangaroos 6:6 42
The opponent for game 1 was the reigning premiers and currently undefeated (6-0) Munich. They have been the bench mark of the AFLG for years but the Crocs were quietly confident of an upset after getting close to one last season. Off season recruits Mitch New, James Sundermann, Luke Edwards, Felix (Puss) Gross and Aussie Gerrit all made their debuts after impressing the coach on the training ground.
The Crocs got off to a dream start with the first major as a long kick out from Full Back from Trev hit the leading Miegel who used an opposition player as a stepladder pulling in mark of the day. A quick dish off to the running Mitch saw him open his account for the Crocs with his first kick. The Crocs were exerting physical dominance on the game and this was led by the hard James Sundermann who was tackling, bumping and beasting any player that came near him. The rest of the Quarter was a tale of missed opportunities for both teams and Berlin led at the break 2:5 17 to 1:5 11.
The crocs knew they had a great chance to post an upset and they came bouncing out of the blocks in the second half. Three unanswered goals to Edwards, Miegel and another great running goal from Mitch saw the Crocs out to a 25 point lead with only 7 minutes to go. Munich however drew on all their experience and showed why they have been the dominate team and fought back kicking the last 5 goals of the match to win by 4 points. Coach Con had a difficult shot with under a minute left to win the game but could only register a point. It was a tale of could haves and what ifs but at the end of the day poor kicking and a lack in concentration cost the young Berlin outfit. Miegel’s 5 points really hurt and the Crocs were left lamenting for the second time in 2 years the one that got away.
Game 2: Berlin Crocodiles 12:11 83 def Freiburg Taipans 2:0 12
Coach Con had the hard task of picking the boys up after such a close match but after a game break the boys were back on the park. The Crocs had lost star half back Trev Meinecke while Sundermann was rested. Into the team came Veteran Handsome to share the ruck load with Jansen. This was never a contest from the first bounce as the Crocs were out to register their first points for season 2016.
The first half however was a bit sloppy as it took the Crocs a while to get going after a break. James Jansen was bossing the middle giving Berlin first use at every contest. The move of Edwards to the wing also paid immediate dividends as his pace, fitness and lace out kicking came to the fore. Aussie Gerrit who transferred to Berlin from Dresden in the off season bobbed up with his first goal. A lovely centering ball from Mitch from the boundary line found Gerrit in acres of space and the Aussie local delivered with a straight kick. Half time saw the crocs leading by 3 goals which could have been less had it not been for the solid defending from Bart, Woodsy and Wild Bill however Coach Con was not happy, ripping into his chargers to talk more and move the ball faster.
This they did and they came out after half time all guns blazing. Handsome Dan took off from what Jansen started and dominated the middle with Gerrit and Mitch getting on top sending the ball forward regularly. Miegel found his kicking boots and kicked 4 for the half and Edwards continued to dominate on the wing continually finding himself in space and finished the game with 3 goals of his own.
Game 3: Berlin Crocodiles 14:7 91 def Stuttgart Emus 3:2 20
The Crocs had back to back games and made the one change to the squad with Handsome Dan being rested after being tired after his 5 minute cameo and Sundermann coming back in and going straight to full forward.
The Emus jumped the Crocs from the first bounce and with under a minute on the clock had the first goal on the board. Coach Con made a quick change and Put powerhouse Sundermann back behind the ball and the benched Miegel back on into the forward line and it reaped immediate effects with the Crocs laying on 7 unanswered goals. Dingo was back to his crumbing best kicking 2 small forward goals, Edwards and Mitch once again were dominating the middle and after some great work from the two, Miegel ended up with the ball before centering to the unmarked Puss. Felix calmed the nerves and went bang to kick his first of hopefully many goals for the Crocs to finish off a great half.
The second half was much of the same as the Emus boys turned their attention to the cold beer on the side. Woodsy threw himself into the middle searching for a goal but missed horribly after marking in the pocket. James Jansen topped off his excellent day with a fine goal and he is pushing a great case for not ever needing a pre-season. Coach Con even got forward and snuck one through the big sticks in front of his girl which I am sure he will tell her about for the next few months.
The Crocs even after the 2 wins could not help but feel down and question what could have been. This just proves how far they have come in the last couple years when one win would have cued wild celebrations.
A huge thankyou to the Stuttgart Emus for hosting us and apologies we had to leave early. A big shout out to Rhys, who travelled with and ran water for the team. Also was great to see an old Croc in Christopher Weiss out cheering us on.
Until next time don’t forget ‘There is only one Rhysy Mongers’.