Friday, 22 June 2012

Another Loss to the Column

Our Woodville team experienced another loss, this time falling to Sturt 13-6.  This one hurt as we’re nearing the point in the season where we need to start winning consistently or we can kiss the playoffs goodbye. 

A few weeks ago I mentioned how much I enjoy playing on the grass fields in Australia.  Every of the fields I played on up to that point were in tremendous condition and had great playing surfaces for running and for ground balls.  That is until we played at Sturt.  The pitch was slightly slanted and very wet as it lies at the bottom of a large hill.  The field provided a challenge to gain solid footing and it hurt our ability to cut on dodges and on defense.  That said, the way we played we wouldn’t have won no matter where the game took place.

We played very uninspired lacrosse, especially in the second half.  Our team went into the mid-game break down two goals but couldn’t muster enough enthusiasm in the third quarter to mount a comeback.  We created some good scoring looks but instead of capitalizing on our opportunities we kept hitting the post. To his credit Sturt’s goalie came up with some good saves as well.

One of the major issues with the game was once again the Australian referees.  A lot of the flags that were thrown were for clean hits while a lot of the dirty hits and legitimate penalties went un-called.  While I was on the wing on a face-off, the Sturt player who was lined up next to me tapped me and said, “So what do you think of our umpires over here?  At least they’re bad for both teams.”  There is no doubt that reffing a game is a difficult task to undertake but some of the calls here are baffling.  I’m hoping we don’t see those same referees for at least a few weeks. 

Myself (14 in green) racing in on the wing during a faceoff.  Tom Filpy, our faceoff guy was one bright spot for Woodille on the day, winning 10 of 14 faceoffs.

Our next opponent is against Burnside who is in the top four spots on the league ladder.  In order to make the playoffs, we need to advance to at least the four seed, and right now we’re about 4 wins behind that mark so we have our work cut out for us.  Fortunately for us, my St. Mike’s teammate Christian Cook just had the cast on his hand removed so he can help provide some offensive firepower for us.  The only unfortunate aspect of Christian joining is that only two foreign players are allowed to play on the state team every week, meaning that one of the three of us will have to play on the reserves team.  Although this is a bit of a bummer, we came to Australia mostly for the opportunity to travel and meet new people so there is no major issue.  Not to mention we’ll still be playing in a game- it will just be in a lower division. 

Aside from lacrosse we’re having an unbelievable time.  Members of the Woodville lacrosse club are extremely close and we have developed great relationships with countless people.  Hanging at the clubhouse and having a few pints of beer is a regular thing for a lot of the guys and we all enjoy each other’s company.  We St. Mike’s guys like hearing stories about other alumni who played for Woodville over the last 4 years.  It’s becoming a great tradition for a growing collegiate program and I hope future Purple Knight alumni will look into it when they graduate.

A lot of people back home have been asking me what kangaroos and koalas are like.  Up until last week I had no idea. Fortunately our teammate’s father works at the Cleland National Park and organized a trip for us to visit some of the animals.  The three Americans and some of the other guys from the team went to Cleland and fed kangaroos which are extraordinary animals.  Seeing them up close gives one a good idea of how strong their tails are.  Apparently if you aggravate a kangaroo it will balance on its tail and kick you.  Luckily these kangaroos were accustomed to humans walking around and petting them so we didn’t have to worry.

New Hampshire native Tyler Violette with a mother kangaroo who has a Joey in her pouch.  Oddly enough, this Joey is tucked away head-first

The highlight of the day trip however was the koala.  Most Americans are under the impression that koalas are cute and friendly.  It’s certainly true they are cute but they are not as friendly as one might think- it is recommended to keep your distance from a wild koala.  The reason we were allowed to hold one (his name is Thomas) is because he was high from the toxins in eucalyptus leaves; the favorite food of koalas.  They love these leaves as it gives them a euphoric feeling, resulting in them acting extremely lazy.  For example, Thomas sleeps 19 hours a day and while he’s up he eats these leaves non-stop to keep him mellow around humans.  Although you need to be careful around most koalas, Thomas didn’t mind us holding him.  Although I must admit I was nervous after seeing the length of his claws, he was very soft and I am glad to have had the opportunity to carry him for a bit.

Myself holding Thomas.  Notice the eucalyptus leaf he is munching on… the park rangers constantly feed him these to ensure his good behavior. 


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