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Sports & Recreation

Swans Drop Men’s, Women’s Games At Polo Grounds

By Ali Boty

The Ottawa Swans Australian Football Club had a challenging weekend as both the men’s and women’s teams faced formidable opponents at the Manotick Polo Grounds, located just east of “Richmond at the 416-Bankfield-Brophy interchange. The men’s team competed against the Toronto Dingos, while the women’s team took on the Etobicoke Kangaroos. Despite their best efforts, both teams fell short in their Ontario Australian Football League matches.

In the men’s game, the Swans encountered a tough battle against the Dingos. Coach Jordan Harcombe expressed disappointment but acknowledged the skill and dominance of their opponents. “It started off closely, but as the game progressed, the Dingos pulled ahead, and we couldn’t catch up,” said Harcombe.

The Swans faced injuries, with half the team carrying knocks, and two key veterans getting injured during the match. However, Harcombe emphasized that the loss couldn’t be solely attributed to injuries, recognizing the exceptional performance of the Dingos. He highlighted the need for the Swans to improve their commitment and cited the loss of experienced players in recent years as a challenge they must overcome.

Despite the setbacks, the Swans’ young players showed promise, impressing with their determination and competitiveness. Harcombe praised their improvement and commitment to the game, emphasizing their contribution to the team’s overall progress. The coach also identified areas for improvement, particularly in forward entry, urging the team to be more strategic and avoid aimless kicks that allowed opponents to counterattack.

Geoff Daniel of the Swans stretches out for a loose ball. Stephen J. Thorne photos

Looking ahead, Harcombe expressed confidence in his team’s resilience and their ability to compete against the defending premiers in their upcoming match. He emphasized the Swans’ commitment to giving their all on the field and their belief in their talent to compete at the highest level.

In the women’s match, the Swans faced a formidable challenge against the Etobicoke Kangaroos. Coach Yaser Abou Elenein acknowledged the Roos’ strong start, which ultimately determined the outcome of the game. He attributed the difference in experience between the two teams as a contributing factor but highlighted the Swans’ improved performance as the match progressed.

Adjusting their midfield setup and defensive structures helped the Swans contain the Roos’ scoring and limit their opportunities. The coach stressed the need for more team practice, emphasizing that increased game time and strategic training would enhance their experience and game-day performance.

The Swans’ defensive structures and their ability to effectively kick into the forward line were areas identified for improvement. Yaser noted missed opportunities to capitalize on scoring chances, highlighting the need for the team to work on converting these opportunities into goals.

Evaline Harmsen (left) and Kyla Borden (centre) play defence for the Swans

It’s also important to note that the Kangaroos did not field their usual roster. Due to many of their players being absent, the Kangaroos had five of their own players, while the rest of the players were from other teams in the league. Players from High Park Demons, Toronto Central Blues, and Hamilton Wildcats were used to represent the Kangaroos.

Despite the loss, there were positive aspects to take away from the game. The return of Vivian Nguyen after years away from the sport was a notable highlight, as the team’s resilience shone through the 14 players on the field. To recognize their performance, the Swans’ women’s team selected Kyla Borden as Players’ Player and the men’s team selected Dominic Dumond and Yaser Abou Elenein.

Both the men’s and women’s teams remain determined to bounce back from their recent defeats. The Ottawa Swans are eager to overcome their injuries and lack of experience, confident in their ability to compete in the league. As the season progresses, the Swans aim to demonstrate their talent and make significant strides towards achieving their goals.

The road ahead may be challenging, but the Ottawa Swans are ready to face any obstacles head-on and showcase their unwavering dedication to their team.

Featured image: James Clock of the Swans shields the ball. (Stephen J Thorne photos)