by Jeremy Darke
The Swedish Elks’ strong second half comeback ensured that they will head into the 2014 International Cup high on confidence after beating the Stockholm Dynamite by 3 points, on a beautiful Australian like day for footy at Skarpnäck Fältet, on Saturday, May 17th.
The Elks showed that they had courage and fight within, coming back from an 18 point deficit at the main break to overpower the Dynamite 9.13.67 to 9.10.64, kicking four-goals-to-one in the final term to win the match.
The Elks came into the match seeking redemption from their meeting against Denmark three weeks earlier, where their rookie-filled team took a hiding from a well-drilled and very experience Danish team.
The drubbing from the Danes was just the spark that the young Swedish team needed to get their International Cup preparations back on track, using their embarrassment to fuel the fire when they took on the Stockholm Dynamite.
The Dynamite, which were made up of a combination of some of the best Australian players in Stockholm and a few Swedes that were looking to prove themselves in front of national coach Dan McClaer, came out of the blocks with intention in their eyes, outscoring the Elks 4.3.27 to 0.5.5 in the first quarter, taking advantage of a nervous start from the national team.
Dynamite captain Rob Young, controlled the play from his half-back position, feeding the midfield and forward line with quality ball and weathering any form of Elk attack with perfect defensive placement, giving his team a handy 3 goal lead at halftime.
Inaccuracy was a big reason why the Elks went in to the main break trailing, kicking only 1 goal and 9 behinds in the first half of football.
Although, the Elks began to get their act together in the third quarter, trading their wobbly boots for a pair that had sniper-like radar, kicking 4 goals in both the third and the fourth quarter.
They found a better balance in the second half of the game and displayed a much more dynamic style of football.
“We moved a few players around at halftime which gave us a much better balance on the pitch. It allowed us to play a more dynamic game and we started making wiser decisions out there,” explained Elks coach Dan McClaer.
The inspirational revival was led by Mick Larsson and Elks captain, Hampus Olsson, who kicked 3 of his team’s 9 goals. The pair consistently provided the outlet in the midfield, getting as many possessions as possible and dishing off the ball up-front to their forwards.
The Elks were able to transition rock solid defence, from Christopher Mårtensson and Jacob Nilsson, into attacking opportunities with some slick midfield movements which delivered the footy inside 40.
Two late goals from, 17 year-old Buster Sund and Björn ‘Jesus’ Sundqvist put the Elks in front and ensured a nail-biting finish for the Swedish fans, who cheered on their team while enjoying the luxury of the first summer sunshine in Stockholm.
After a little deliberation between the two goal umpires, the score was confirmed, giving the Elks their first win of 2014.
“It was great to pick up the win, but more important than the result was that we were able to achieve the goals that we set out before the match, objectives that had nothing to do with the score line, said coach McClaer.
“It will do our confidence a world of good. It is also great that the boys were able to learn to how to win together and get that ‘winning’ feeling as a group, as we build towards IC 14 in August.”