On Thursday August 3rd, a number of University Blacks players gathered at Gosch’s Paddock for a mid-afternoon match against the Irish Warriors to give them some serious match practice on a full-sized oval before the start of their AFL International Cup campaign during the month of August.
Six players from the University Blacks - Billy Peters (U19s), Nick Ziemkiewicz (U19s), Sean Fraser (Phoenix), Dom Fischer (Phoenix), Karl Trounson (Club Strength & Conditioning Coach) and Peter Bertoncini (Club Football Operations Manager) - chucked on the famous Blacks jumper and took to the field to represent club and country, under the measured tutelage of head coach Hamish Rowlands (U19s player). A number of Irish Warriors and Powerhouse (VAFA Division 3 side) players also put on the Blacks jumper to create a full squad ready to give the Irish Warriors a good hit out.
Billy Peters represented the University Blacks as captain during the game and stood up as the team’s best player, playing a key role wherever the team required him. Sean Fraser gave the Irish a lesson in the ‘don’t argue’ move, whilst Nick Ziemkiewicz picked up plenty of the ball around the packs. Dom Fischer was providing an excellent target up forward and was rewarded for his efforts with two goals while Peter Bertoncini put his head over the ball knowing all too well that a big Irish hip and shoulder was heading his way! Karl Trounson was an important utility player who did an excellent job of pushing out wide and getting plenty of the ball.
The Irish Warriors showed that they have an excellent chance of taking out the AFL International Cup, displaying a love for winning the hard ball and backing that up with some silky skills when transitioning the ball from defence to forward. Look out for Muiris Bartley who absolutely tore the practice match apart and could have finished with an absolute bag of goals had he kicked straighter.
Overall the University Blacks players had a great time and loved the opportunity to play the Irish Warriors. As a club we were honoured to have been asked to take part in the preparations for the Irish Warriors International Cup campaign and we wish them the very best in their attempt to win the International Cup in 2017 (even though our own David 'Tex' Restrepo is playing in the American side).
The Irish Warriors have won their first two matches and will play Round 3 Saturday the 12th of August.