After what seemed like an eternity of an off season, footy is back in Ontario! This off season saw major player movement for the Rebels as well as the return of some veteran pillars of the club. Thirty years since the founding of the club, this year is significant in many ways, the biggest of which is the return of Coach Fabbs to the helm of the team. Round One at Hamilton was the first step on the 2019 road to Climb The Mountain and with challenging conditions, it was game on.
The footy was hot, contested and tough to keep out of the long grass. Hamilton, who have one of OAFL's premier Canadian rucks, hoped to have an advantage coming out the middle, but did not account for big boi Rexy. Hamilton gets the game's first shot on goal but are not able to convert. The Rebel's back line stood up tall with some veteran leadership as well as promising recruit Robbo making his long-anticipated comeback to footy. Hamilton come at us again. Stokesy holds his ground and takes a huge intercept mark at half back. He sees Fabbs frantic in the corridor and elects to switch the play. The field suddenly opens wide up for the Rebels as Fabbs finds a target in Heata. Heata looks up to see Kid leading and hits him on the dime. First set shot for the Rebels and BANG! We are up and away with Season 30.
2019 sees the return of Rob a.k.a the Kid a.k.a Kid a.k.a Kid Rob to the Rebels list. Alongside him, a refreshed forward line with Heata, Browny and rock steady Bridgy gave the Rebels several targets in scoring positions. The Rebs dominated the first quarter with double digit forward entries that resulted in a 2 goal advantage at the end of the first half hour.
The sun came out and the pace picked up. Promising 2018 Canadians Hands and Udai return in the mid field, joined by new recruits Jacko and Scotty. Together they tore through the midfield as first gamer Wade took a challenging shift in the ruck. The game tightened up as the Cats pulled back a few. With an emphasis on aggressive and attacking play this year, the Rebels pushed through the middle again to get a forward 50 clearance. Hands goes to ground, contest, overlap handball to Jacko who breaks through one, two tackles, kicks to Kid. Kid sells some candy, looks up to see a slashing rookie in Callum. Hand ball, step, kick, GOAL! Callum takes no time to open his goal tally in OAFL footy! Half time whistle and the Rebels up three, 5.4 – 2.4.
Tired legs from a wanting off season took the Rebs into the second half with a healthy lead. Coach Fabbs reasserted that the third quarter was a must win to bring us home. The response came from big efforts from first gamers Woz and Mark. Going into the last quarter, the margin spread to 6 goals with Kid, Browny and Rexy all cashing in. The Rebels pulled away again with goals coming from Fabs and Heata in open play, but Hamilton kept the pressure on. The ball was stuck in the Rebels defensive 50, and Phil Wild who had found his sweet spot all afternoon punching balls and denying marks, found himself on lonely Ruck Island. Reluctant to open his fist to bring the ball to ground, Philthy continued to show his disregard by spoiling throw-ins as far out of the circle as possible. Captain Scoooooba stood firm on the goal line to make consecutive stops and rush behinds to prevent a major score against in the final quarter. And as the cool Mohawk Park mist rolled over the field, the final whistle blew.
The final score stood Rebels 10.10 to Hamilton 2.11.