We played the Condors under lights at the Occidental College sports fields in LA at 7pm on July 23rd. The Condors of '08 are a younger, less experienced team than that which we met in the semi-final at Worlds in Finland - only 2 of those Condors have survived in this team. The Dingos on the other hand have 12 returning players and for many of us, the semi of '04 was a disappointment that still niggles every now and then.
Coming out of the blocks fired up and hungry, the Dingos man-on-man defence was sensational, shutting down movement around the disc and generating turns through pressure across the field. Massive blocks from Tim Booth (high overhead contested block) and Gavin Moore (full length layout in the corner of the endzone) were standouts. The offensive machine looked like the Vogon Galaxy-Crusher Earth-Destroying Battleship fleet as the Condors were so much roadkill across the windscreens. Tats was on fire, bombing long with impunity and throwing cross field hammers for Glover to pluck from the air for goals. This was the first full game Glover played after fending off a back niggle, and he had a standout - cutting like a machine and backing up when needed. He also had a nice assist when he streaked long, jumped for the goal and managed to nubs it so that the disc bladed towards the ground. The ever aware Kenny Shepherd however was on hand, lurking as always, and made a massive layout to score - reminiscent of Gus' grab in the '06 Clubs Final.
Half was taken by the Dingos at 9-4 and things were looking comfortable. To their credit, the Condors came out hard after the break and began clawing their way back into the game. They started connecting with their long game, with Steve Dugan and Matt (a younger handler type) started smashing some backhands. The pressure slowly built and they finally leveled the scores at 15-15 (game was to 17, win by two). With a big crowd in attendance (and obviously Condors biased - there were only a couple of Aussie supporters including including Minh (ex Canberra) and some other connections) the US lads were looking fired up. Some tough points followed, and the Dingos offense stood tall and the D line managed to get the turnover when required, a forced throwaway. In the end the Dingos won 19-17.
This was our highest quality game of the tournament, and arguably our hardest. The come back from the Condors was impressive, and it put our entire line under pressure, it was a great game to test our ability against a committed and talented team who wouldn't just give us the game. The determination of the Dingos and the ability to remain focused at the crucial stages of the game was outstanding.
We are now in Boulder about to play Johnny Bravo.
Jonno, Tats, Chris and Glover.