Round 1 2021: Toronto Rebels vs Toronto Dingos
After 1000 lockdown beers, 100s of awkward zoom calls, dozens of drunk stories to the missus remembering the time I almost took a specky on some 5”2 guys shoulders in Under 16s…..FOOTY IS BACK!!! 2 years since the last official Rebels game in August 2019, we could not be more excited to rub shoulders with the Rebels brethren of new and old.
It was a tough start back to OAFL with the narrowest of losses to the Toronto Dingos with the Rebels eventually going down 6.2 (38) to 4.9 (33). Despite the loss the Rebels have plenty to take away as they dive head first into the interim summer league and build towards another crack at the premiership in 2022.
Playing 16v16 the Rebels blooded 6 new debutants. Welcome to the club: Alex, Gator, Keegan (much better looking than OG Keegan), Andre, Satty, Neon. Despite the decrease in international arrivals, the Rebels were able to recruit 6 exciting new players for their first game with a few in the wings for the upcoming matches. By Rebels, I do mean Udai walking around to random people on Bloor street and sussing if they had any athletic capacity at all.
Even with a 2 year gap between games our senior rebels Kid and Wiz reminded the rookies how precious they were and ensured that the squad knew that the number 16 and 33 were off limits – “If it’s tattooed on your body, then you can have the number”.
Q1 Dingos 2.0 Rebels 0.2
The Rebels were slow out of the gates in the first quarter with the Dingos kicking the first two goals of the match. The new look backline worked relentlessly against the repeat forward 50 entries and small and skillful Dingo midfielders flooding the attacking half. After the first half of the quarter the Rebels were able to swing the momentum and get their hands on the ball to register inside 50 marks by key forwards and precious number protectors Robert and Keegan. New Rebel Neon Leon accumulated plenty of the footy in the first quarter in the middle with Udai. Special mention to former rugby player and now AFL convert and Rebels debutant Alex forgetting about the tackling masterclass that was provided at training and did a WWE power-bomb to a Dingos player and looked puzzled as to why there was a free-kick.
Q2 5.1 to 0.5
Another frustrating quarter to the Rebels as they trail by only one scoring shot and lead the inside 50 count for the quarter but still end up trailing the Dingos by 5 goals. Rebels were dominating in positions around the ground but didn’t capitalise on chances. The Dingos ruck was nullified completely in the second quarter (and the whole match!) by Rebels ruck duo Spencer and new debutant Gator who rotated between forward and ruck. The Rebels had long periods of possession where they were able to transition smoothly from the D50 to F50, the new look Rebels were linking together very nicely. Returning Rebel Behie kept providing a key target and hitting contests for the crumbing forwards and midfielders. New recruit Andre the giant channeled his anger from the 2 hour warm-up into the match and was hard as nails in the backline making his presence known.
Q3 Dingos 6.1 to Rebels 2.7
The first game back was definitely a tale of two halves. After the half-time break and inspiring words from Coach Fabs and Captain Scuba, the Rebels finally arrived on the scoreboard! From the first bounce of the third quarter the newest and exciting ruck to rover duo emerged and were chanted amongst the dozens of fans at Humber Park – “Spencer to Udai – you beauty!!”. The cleanest tap out of the middle to the slickest hands and precision kick and inside 50 mark, the Rebels had finally risen! Kid registered the first goal of the match and lifted the Rebels brethren. As the rebels structure held strong, the lads dominated the third quarter. The backline and midfield cheering all the goals were louder than Paps yelling at rookies at his pool party for bringing glass. The Dingos were scared that the Rebels were coming! A rare inside 50 handball from Wiz led to new Canadian/British recruit Alex dribble kicking through the goal posts and delivering what seemed to be a choreographed goal celebration. This massive high and team celebration was met quickly with a low as the goal umpire labeled it as a behind.
The quarter finished with a set-shot on goal after the siren from Kid, a long bomb 50m torp faded at the end to just miss a goal and register a point. Unfortunately for all Rebels players this ended up being a new story in his back pocket to match his other stories of: 1 – “Did you know that I used to be a QB”, 2 – “Did you know that I lived in Australia?”
Q4 Dingos 6.2 to Rebels 4.9
The Rebels definitely dominated the fourth quarter across all key areas. The Rebel defenders led by Scuba, Wadeo, Rhonan held the Dingos to only one behind for the quarter and 1 goal for the whole second half. Despite the Rebels missing set shots across the match, Wiz and Fabs kicked top quality snaps in the forward line to give the Rebels a sniff of victory. It wasn’t enough in the end as the Rebels fell by 5 points.
Congrats to Spencer for best on Australian and debutant Alex for best on Canadian and top notch drinking rule for a night at Sneakys. HOWZAT!!