Round 2 of CAFL23 provided us with another two closely fought games, with the result of the Blues / Christchurch Bulldogs match not accurately reflecting the fact the outcome wasn’t clear cut until very late in the game.
The first game of the round saw the two winless teams from Round 1 take on one another – Mid Canterbury Eagles vs University Cougars. This game proved to be an enthralling contest in each quarter, with many leads changes throughout and the result only determined right at the end of the last term.
Both teams once again had many regulars missing and likewise, a number of first or second game players fronting up. These “new” players to CAFL very quickly showed however that even though they hadn’t played before this season, they were going to be very influential and beneficial for their respective teams.
The first half you could say went to the Eagles, with them being 15 pts up at the main break. The Cougars had plenty of the footy but when it mattered most in putting a score on the board, the Eagles were able to do that and as such, looked the goods going into the second half.
However they would not score another major for the game, with the Cougars ramping up their pressure, improving their ball efficiency and ultimately putting the footy through the middle of the sticks to take them level with and then past their opponents score. The game was in the balance right until the last 2-3 mins, when the Cougars skipper Read was able to slot the winning goal from a tight angle and get them home by that margin.
The Eagles were certainly not disgraced and can take heart that they were very competitive without their own skipper Howison, who is also the national mens team captain, and who will likely be back for their Rd 3 clash with the unbeaten Blues.
In the second game of the day, the two unbeaten teams took part and were aiming to keep a clean sheet in terms of win-loss results in tact. Both the Blues and the Bulldogs once more had familiar faces missing, but as with the first game, the new players to their teams did not let anyone down and provided plenty of highlights and exciting play.
The first half was tight, with neither team really getting ahead of the other as both sides had their fair share of possession and exerted a high level of pressure on the other. The contests were even, hard fought and very enjoyable to watch, with goals being kicked by both teams at critical and important times.
Into the second and it was clear we were in for a treat, even with it only being Round 2. But it was the Blues who started to gain an ascendancy and put a small gap between themselves and the ‘Dogs on the scoreboard leading into the last term. The ‘Dogs were still being very competitive however it wasn’t long before multiple goals in a row were kicked by the Blues and in turn, giving them a solid lead which they then went forward with to record a 7 goal win.
It is clear that the CAFL23 season will not be easy to pick a winner in any game, as all teams have many new faces who are integrating well with the experienced players, and when all teams are at full strength throughout the season, you wouldn’t be wanting to bet too heavily on any result, as all games will be up for grabs. It sets us up for another exciting round of games in Round 3 next weekend.