San Diego, CA – It was the first time the Eagles had fielded a full second men’s team at a USAFL National Tournament, and they didn’t disappoint.
The Eagles second’s team entered Division V of Nationals with a win-less record this season, but steady improvements in the performance of this team of mostly new recruits. The Eagles were right to enter Nationals with confidence in their development, and that confidence showed in their 11-point first game victory against the LA Dragons.
The Eagles fielded a balanced team, with ball magnet Brian Skaggs winning the footy in the middle, and Matthew Woodruff leading a mostly American backline of Will Lothian, Scott Williams, Brendan Kelly and Michael Horney. Anthony Orford and Scott Bradford provided tall targets up forward, with Brian Thornton, Antoun Issa, Matthew Byrne and Seth Sternberg adding to the forward mix. New American recruit and first-time ruckman Zelius Teixeira competed strongly, while Andrew Pike, Mark Salansky and Ryan Cartwright provided plenty of run.
Baltimore-Washington were put to the test, however, in their second encounter against Austin Crows. USAFL rules controversially permit the movement of players between divisions during Nationals, and Austin exploited that to a tea, bringing in several Division I players to combat the developing Eagles’ second’s team.
The result was predictably a one-sided affair, with the Crows winning by 45 points, and going on to claim the title of Division V.
The loss meant that the Eagles were no longer in contention to win the tournament, but their confidence remained high. Baltimore-Washington played their best footy all year in their final game against the Seattle Grizzlies, with clean ball movement throughout, and a total dominance of play – the end result a 35-point victory.
Baltimore-Washington – 3.7. 25
Los Angeles – 2.2. 14
Baltimore-Washington – 0.3. 3
Austin – 7.6. 48
Baltimore-Washington – 8.1. 49
Seattle – 2.2. 14