After starting the 2012 Ontario Australian Football League season with a commanding victory over the powerhouse Toronto Eagles, the Hamilton Wildcats again hit the road to face the Broadview Hawks at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, for what looked to be a hard hitting and potentially low scoring affair. Forget the low score. When the dust had settled, the Hawks emerged victorious, 24.4-76 to 2.11 to improve to 2-0 while the Wildcats went to 1-1 on Saturday (May 12).
Unfortunately for the visiting Wildcats, the Hawks came out firing on all cylinders to start the game, winning the opening tap and quickly moving the ball forward to the sure hands of Nick Shuttleworth. Broadview opened the scoring thanks to the big boot of the lanky Aussie Full Forward, but Hamilton fired right back. From midway through the first quarter, it seemed that neither team was going to give up any points without a fight, and both clubs battled hard in the guts to gain any sort of momentum.
As the visitors took to the pitch to start the 2nd quarter, they looked to re-group and made a few small changes around the oval in hopes of kick-starting their offense, but the Hawks seemed to have an answer for everything Hamilton tried to throw at them. The Hamilton backline of Justin Johns, Nicholas DiRago, Eben Schaeffer, Terry Brake, and Charles Thompson definitely worked hard to repel the multiple Hawk aerial attacks, but Broadview’s forwards just seemed to be one step in front and a hand above the Wildcat defenders at each contest.
Shuttleworth added to his early goal kicking haul on the day (finishing with nine goals) heading into the half. Accuracy that helped the Wildcats to defeat the Eagles a week earlier (kicking 12.6) was definitely missing against the Hawks as Broadview led 4.2 to 1.4 after 40mins.
The Hawks were extremely impressive on this day, as their midfield controlled much of the play for the final 40 minutes and despite an amazing tagging effort by rookie Wildcat Dennis Choi on the Hawks Connor Dullard, it wasn’t enough to stop their clean delivery into the Broadview forward line again and again. Wildcat veteran Fullback, Schaeffer, was given a tough task against one of the premier Full Forwards in the OAFL.
Hamilton had strong individual performances from veteran defender Johns, rookie Aussie import Simon O’Donnell, captain Luke Lombardini, rookie Andy Leon, Justin Settle, and Brendan Major.
The game was definitely bitter sweet for Hamilton, as it was very important for the ‘Cats to assert early pressure in hopes of coming away with two straight wins away from home against top tier teams to start the 2012 season.
The Wildcats are back in action on Saturday, May 26 against the Etobicoke Kangaroos at Mohawk Sports Park with an 11 a.m. start.