With the second round of the 2021 AFL Ontario season, the Rebels found themselves traveling down the QEW to face a combined side of Cats and Gargoyles where they were able to field a formidable side of experienced players. Would they be called “The Cargs?” “The Grats?” “The Garcats?” Regardless we understand their mascot to be some sort of weird hairy flying hybrid that still likes to poop in your garden and licks your face in the morning with the same tongue it uses to clean itself. Thankfully due to Covid, there was no licking involved this past Saturday. This matchup would also see a 14 v 14 with the Rebels loaning a couple of their own to the opposing side.
Round 2 also saw the return of veteran Rebels with Duffy and Bull (who is finally back after a few seasons away from the club) and the debut of more new Rebels in the likes of Jello and Jedi, and a new Joshy 3.0, or is it 4.0? If the name holds the same promise we saw in previous years, this Joshy is sure to please both on and off the field.
The first quarter was a slow start for the Rebels. With 38 degree heat, and a 90 minute car ride, loosening up those stiff joints seemed a little more challenging than usual. The backline composed of Squiddy, Bull, Rhonan, and Wadeo was busy. Hamilton managed 6 scoring opportunities, kicking 3 goals keeping the backs on their toes at all times. A new look midfield of Spence in the ruck, followed by Udai, Scuba and Behie, were challenged to get many clearances. This left the forward line looking for action for most of the quarter.
By the second quarter, the Rebels were searching for answers. With the injection of Jello up front, we got to see just what he was capable of doing, using the body well and boxing out opponents in contests. As well, Jedi demonstrated his own use of the force in tracking down a loose footy and creating some more forward movement. Anyone could see that the Rebels, although slow warming up, weren’t going to let the rest of this contest go without a fight. With Fabs playing a half forward role, he would often be seen streaking (no, not through the quad and into the gymnasium) from the forward line to the backline to increase support. Along with Fabs, we saw Jordo take some strong marks and Wadeo and Rhonan begin to lock things down in the backline. Maybe this was the start of an inspirational second half?
Into the the third quarter, coach Fabs, continued to make the most of this season, shuffling some line groups around giving some new looks to the opposing side and building depth in the playing group. This saw Duffy move down back where he never lost out on a contest, Wizza move to the middle as a man on a mission and Scuba move up front to take some marks and keep the defenders from out marking the forwards. This seemed to be a step in the right direction with the Rebels quickly scoring their first goal of the game and seemingly waking up from that long car ride. As well, they were able to increase their bench size with returning loaned players of Aubs and Joshy now in the mix. Apparently the Cargs had some extra players show up and forgot to let us know… Spencer continued to be dominant in the ruck and second gamer Andre the Giant began to find a rhythm making key tackles and creating more forward ball movement.
The final quarter seemed like a deja vu from the week previous. This was a Rebels team that just continued to get stronger as the game went on. Within the first 5 minutes the Rebels were back on the board. After two quick goals from Fabs, Hamilton began to take notice. But it wasn’t enough to stop the bleeding. Just as the Hamilton defenders were crying out, “How do we stop it?” we saw the trademark laser show from Wizza kicking one of his own followed by another one from Aubs. Duffy continued to shut things down in the back, halting the scoring chances for Hamilton at one, allowing the Rebels to dominate with four scoring shots. Unfortunately the Rebels would ultimately drop this game as the second in two weeks.
The Rebels look forward to bouncing back this coming weekend against the Demons with a 10:30am start at Humber College South (Colonel Sam Smith Park)