YOUNG ROOS RUN WILD, ROCK SWANS 158-71
On an absolutely pitch-perfect night for footy, the youth-laden Orlando AFC squad ran amok over St. Petersburg, running out big in the opener to the Swans 2017 pre-season, 24.14.158 – 10.11.71. But, while the final tally may have indicated otherwise, St. Pete senior coach Dustin Jones came away from the affair with a more balanced view.
‘We wanted to see the younger guys step it up, and it’s great to see them starting to gel,’ Jones said in an interview during the halftime break.
‘The pressure was good, and with experience, everyone’s starting to get into the flow better.’
One of those emerging players is certainly Jake Keglor, Saturday’s Best On Ground with an astounding 11 goal night – just short of half the Kangas’ majors.
While regular season contests generally see second-year man Keglor on the back line, Pre-season is a time of experimentation, and for the evening Keglor showed himself capable as a chaos-causing forward.
Scoring both on long bombs, but also a number of crumbs, Keglor notched the combined club’s best single game scoring output. That result was helped by superb evenings from Ben Walker – still recovering from hamstring issues, but able to control possession throughout – and Adham Makki. Making his first appearance since the 2016 USAFL National Championships last October, Makki was a notable presence up front, coming up with a number of solid marks.
Kyle Roun and Austen Kugler also had strong performances, while Jones and fellow veteran CJ Morton flashed throughout the night, highlight by Morton’s ace boot from 45 meters.
Morton’s major came in a tight first stanza that ended with Orlando up just nine, but a 7.4.46 – 1.2.8 second quarter turned the tide.
A rally to begin the proceedings after the big break saw the Bloods chip away at that deficit, as the won the 3rd quarter 5.3.33 – 4.5.29.
The final frame saw Orlando’s youth wear down the Swans’ veteran side, pulling away with a back-breaking 8.3.51 – 1.1.7 line in the fourth.
The St. Petersburg Swans continue their 2017 Pre-Season Series, Presented by Rollbotto, with the 2nd Annual International Rules Test Match vs. Tampa Bay GAA, Saturday, March 25 at 7pm. Admission to the International Rules Test at historic Richard ‘Dick’ Turner Field is free.