PREGAME: Australia v Finland play for 5th place

The last 18 days of Outback camp and IFAF Women’s World Championships (WWC) tournament has been a roller coaster journey for not only the players, but also the coaches and the support staff.

There isn’t one person who has been a part of this squad for the last 18 months who hasn’t been tested in one aspect or another, who hasn’t learnt something to take back home. For the US coaches, Welter, Konecki and Stone, learning the way the Australians work both from a coaching perspective and understanding the ‘digger mentality’.

The biggest hurdle for the girls in preparation for this competition was not being together, being scattered around the country. Struggling to form the bonds that ultimately make a team a ‘football family”, but since the Outback arrived at Simon Fraser University (SFU) two weeks ago, the trust and teamwork is finally showing through the hard work, preparation and learning to work as a unit.  Here in this team lie the foundations for the entire women’s program back home,  creating a unit and network of talented athletes to continue the work that Welter, Stone and Konecki have worked so hard to instil.

As the girls take the field for the final practice before facing Finland, battling for 5th placing in the 2017 WWC the energy is better than ever before. With some pressure of the team’s first international competition lifted slightly, you can see that the girls finally feel comfortable. Both with each other and with themselves. They look focused, and ready to finish the competition on a high note.

Watching the coaches reflect on what has been, and looking ahead to the next piece of business, Finland will be no easy opponent. But it’s the culture of the Aussie way that will make all the difference. Determined, underdogs, and lead by fiery US coaches – could this be the Outback Women’s greatest moment of the 2017 tournament?

As QB #14 Casey Cubis takes the starting snaps in practice, she is holding herself better than the previous few games. The offence looks back in rhythm, having the QB step up in control and to be given the chance to lead. This is the time to not hold anything back on offence, and given the opportunity each player could potentially provide something we haven’t seen yet, which makes the offence a much bigger threat.

The Outback defence is still standing strong being lead by #45 CJ Sims, and they have proven their worth in the past two games against Canada and Mexico. The score line for each game doesn’t reflect the game that was on the field. If Coach Stone’s staunch DL unit, and the much improved secondary can hold, the Outback will be in with a fighting chance against a run heavy Finland offence.

This will be THE game to watch for the Aussies, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, watch as the Outback come alive to finish out this tournament with everything that is left in the tank.

Australia v Finland (5th Place Final)

Friday 30th June – 11.30am PDT
Saturday 1st July – 4.30am AEST

Watch the stream here: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/tfsetv/portal.htm

By Stacey Speer.
Photographs by Andrew Wills

 

 

 

POST GAME – Outback losing out to Mexico

The lyrics to ‘You’re the Voice’ echo out of the Outback change room before heading out to the field to face the next opponent in the Women’s World Championship, Mexico who have been a surprise entry into the competition – holding the reigning champions USA to a 29-0 in their first game, the USA scoreless for the first 21 minutes of the first half.

The energy finally feels familiar among the Outback, the girls are settled, confident and singing, dancing, getting into the zone is key. But also running through their ears, songs from home, cheers from parents and supporters and this feels like it could be it. The first win for Australia in the series, and a win that would put them into bronze medal contention.
The first quarter was hard fought with the passing game getting the better of the Outback secondary resulting in a Mexico TD. But it was still anyone’s game.

Kristy Moran again took the field in at QB for the Outback, running the wildcat formation against the hard hitting Mexican defence. In the press conference, Mexico understood that the Outback personnel outweighed them in both stature and in power and had studied scout footage intensively to counter the heavy ‘Michigan’ set by the Outback which held strong while the offence was settling into QB #14 Casey Cubis being on the field and linking up with receivers for the passing game.

The Outback defence stood strong and the DL was again one of the strongest performing personnel groups on the field, #93 Jasmin Collins scored the game MVP with a huge sack in the backfield, scoring a safety for Team Australia and putting them on the board 7-2 at the half.

The girls returned at the half, still confident, still ready to go and as #6 RB Kristy Moran broke free for a 42yd run off the outside of the ‘Michigan’ formation resulting in a TD. The sideline, supporters and fans at home erupted, hoping this was the start of a rolling offensive unit.

QB #14 Casey Cubis followed up Moran’s triumphant run with a solid 2pt conversion to WR #89 Mel Kelly in the endzone, putting the Outback on the board again bringing the score to 10-13 chasing a unwavering Mexico unit.  
#4 Illiana Mulraney a rookie from South Australia took advantage of the Mexican QB, earning her first career interception, giving the Outback defence more fire early in the 3rd quarter.

Injuries started to take its toll on each side, Australia losing #54 OL Jess Johnson to an ankle injury and LB #63 Kristie Bridge with a facemask penalty resulting in a helmet to the chest ruling her out for the rest of the game. The Mexican offence continued to utilise the long passing game to get the best of the Outback secondary, using play action and their speed on the outside to eventually take the game at 31-10 at the final whistle.

Overall, the Outback felt the fire and haven’t been closer to a win and Welter expresses at the press conference “there isnt a game we have played so far where I didn’t feel as a coach that we couldn’t have won”. The score doesn’t reflect at all the game that was played on the field, and the stats of the QB’s #14 Cubis and #7 Evans aren’t at all reflective of their ability to continue to lead this offence.

Cubis has one of the strongest arms in this competition, and is also consistently accurate. She needs to air out her arm early, and settle into a rhythm with her receivers in order to execute the no huddle offence of Coach Konecki that has won many championships for his team’s Chicago Force and the 2010 and 2013 Team USA.

One of the critical factors of football is momentum, and unfortunately due to numerous penalty flags, incorrect down markers and injuries stalled the momentum the Outback had on offence leading into the second half, the officiating was definitely a talking point among the fans, coaches and players.

Head Coach Jen Welter was questioned at the press conference around the amount of flags and penalties that had been thrown during the game and mentioned “as the players develop and learn more, the game will become safer.”
Welter also spoke about the importance of taking the experience of the Outback program back to clubs to continue to develop players for future Outback selection; “I truly hope that the ladies who have experienced this (the WWC) will be the ones to carry the torch and fuel the fire of the clubs there (in Australia) – as coaches from the US, we see the potential and …we see flashes of brilliance”

Team Australia will take on Finland on the 30th for a 5th place finish in the 2017 Women’s World Cup tournament. Game details posted soon!

Written by: Stacey Speer
Photographs by: Elissa Manera

Pre-Game – The Outback Women take on Mexico

It’s the day after the Outback’s unfortunate loss to Canada and the girls are back at work doing walkthroughs and film review. The energy is strong among the girls, each of them looking to secure a starting spot on Tuesday when the Outback will take on Mexico.   

Having rested and recovered the coaches are now looking at how the Outback will approach the game and adjust to Mexico’s outside speed. Working on containing the run, and ensuring the secondary is solid against the pass option we saw in the Mexico v USA game.

A few on-field adjustments against Canada in key positions bolstered defence with more strength in the secondary. #10 Ella Briscoe was called up at Safety against Canada and made a big impact after #27 Jordan DiMizio was unfortunately injured – she looks to stay in that position (previously playing linebacker) while DiMizio is in recovery.

Game 1 MVP – #45 CJ Sims mentioned that the key to ensuring the Outback come up strong against Mexico is that “they play their game and the D-line have that covered”, being the standout group in the previous game.

With Sims and #99 Megan Wills stacking up on the ends, the Outback defence stands strong with linebackers #63 Kirstie Bridge and #22 Rachelle Ware and look to improve even more against Mexico.

The quarterbacks #14 Casey Cubis and #7 Lauren Evans look calm and settled in practice which is a good feeling to have after being rattled against Canada and will be looking to finally settle into a rhythm against Mexico.  Evans is strong and confident, her head is always in the game and she excels at the reading of the defence. If she can shake the nerves of the last game she will be a force to be reckoned with.

Cubis looks like an unassuming threat, towering over 6ft her eye for the field and strength of her arm has gotten her to this point. Once Casey gets into game mode her head clears and she throws consistently well placed and timed balls.

Each QB will be given a chance to take control of the offence against a strong defensive front that Mexico has displayed, but both Evans and Cubis are up to that task.

This team has a strong offence, given the chance to settle. A few key players to watch out for on offence #15 Kestra Triasmono, #28 Theresa Ealdama and of course the only score from the last game, #6 Kristy Moran.

Coach Jen Welter is confident that the Outback will be able to match up with Mexico and will lead the team out again on Tuesday 27th 11.30am PST/ Wednesday 28th 4.30am AEST.

Check out the livestream here-> https://portal.stretchinternet.com/tfsetv/

Written by: Stacey Speer
Photo by: Elissa Manera

The Aussie Women arrive at WWC 2017

Australian Women’s Outback Arrive in Langley!  The buzz around Trinity Western is electric. The Outback girls arrived today after a long week in camp at Simon Fraser University with 2-a-day practices, battling jet lag, cases of vertigo and lost luggage.

The last week at training camp has been an eye opening experience for many of the team. Being at a national competition with training’s that match the intensity that you would expect from a team that is representing Australia. The squad are also meeting together as a team for the first time since February, and getting familiar with each other again.

From a sideline perspective the team have finally come together, the offence under Coach Konecki’s guidance and defence being lead by Coach Stone, all being held together by Head Coach Jen Welter. The girls are displaying the kind of energy and fire one would expect from a national representative team.

The journey  for most of the girls since Outback selection started in 2016, has involved many sacrifices; some recovering from injuries sustained in club competition, others struggling with the financial side of competing in an unfunded sport, but it has all lead up to this moment.

Coach Welter was very clear that despite whathappens over the next nine days, “Team Australia has already won, just by getting this far”.  Many of the foundation players in this team are from the clubs that started the women’s competition in Australia over 5 years ago and are looking at this as the last opportunity to represent their country.

Women’s gridiron players across the country are faced with the same reasons that women stop playing sport in general, such as; family commitments, finances, age, injury recovery. It’s important that these players take this experience back to their clubs and states.

Armed with the connections and benefits of the WWC environment, coaching, and being among some of the alumni of women’s football from across the world. With an aim to develop the game from a club level and ensure sustainability for the next generation of Outback Women.

As young as the Women’s Outback team are in terms of international competition. Team Australia arent just here to participate. When the Outback face Canada on Saturday 24th 7.30PT it will be a hard fought battle until the end and but one thing for sure is, it’s not in the Aussie nature to go down without a fight.

Written By: Stacey Speer
Photographs by: Elissa Manera

GA to adopt USA football coaching accreditation framework

Gridiron Australia (GA), through its National Director Coaching Paul Manera, has conducted a full review of the existing coaching accreditation systems throughout its’ member states.  After this review, GA has decided to adopt the USA Football coaching accreditation framework. By adopting this framework GA can not only standardise the accreditation of coaches throughout Australia but also provide a career pathway for Australian coaches both here and overseas. GA is also working with the Australian Sports Commission on having the program recognised Nationally in conjunction with their Community Coaching Principles (previously known as level 1 general principles).

As part of the program GA will work with all existing accredited coaches on transitioning to the new framework. All coaches regardless of existing accreditation will be required to complete the USA Football level 1 youth tackle certification which focusses on the safety and wellbeing of players and covers the concept of Heads Up Football.

By becoming certified under the USA Football program, coaches will have ongoing access to the USA Football coaching resources portal as well as access to GA’s Coaching development HUDL site.

If you want further detail on the program or in fact want to become certified as a Gridiron Australia recognised coach please contact Paul Manera (NDC) via paul.manera@ga.org.au. Or visit http://gridironaustralia.org.au/education/coaching-accreditation

Gridiron Australia is strongly committed to development of its coaches and believes this program will better facilitate that development going forward.

Full Text Here

2018 U19 Junior Outback Coaching Staff Announced 

Head Coach Luke Chapman and the Board Of Gridiron Australia have great pleasure in announcing the coaching staff for the 2018 U19 Oceania Championships and World Championships Qualifier to be held in August 2017 at Runaway Bay, Gold Coast.
Offense

Eugene Crosby – US

Glen Bowes – NSW

John “Hollywood” Roe – Qld

Milos “Wolfie” Vrcelj – NSW

David Holmes – WA

Defence

Marc Wilson – US

Matt Noonan – Qld

Peter Tos Snr – NSW

Shane Salmon – Qld

Management

Michael Kerr – WA

Nathan Crookes – WA

Congratulations to all involved.

Gridiron Australia partner with Headsmart

Gridiron Australia is proud to announce that it has partnered with HeadSmart Sport Concussion Programme to provide an end to end sports concussion solution for all Gridiron Australia Members.  Gridiron Australia are the first National Sports Organisation (NSO) to partner with the HeadSmart program!

As part of the program all members will have access to Baseline screening, a computerised brain function assessment that is routinely used to establish normal thinking ability in an athlete or player. The results of a baseline screening can be compared to the results of an after-injury computerised brain function test to assist in the diagnosis of concussion and plan recovery.

In addition, all GA members will have access to the “first responder” app which assists in the immediate diagnosis and handling of concussion whilst awaiting professional medical intervention.

Gridiron Australia, is working with Headsmart to integrate the process into our existing membership portal as well as reviewing our existing concussion protocols and further details on this will be provided through your State Bodies.

Gridiron Australia is strongly committed to the health and safety of its members and believes this partnership will provide value to its members for many years to come.

Gridiron Australia (GA) is the governing body of American football (gridiron) in Australia. It is an approved sporting association under federal government regulations and is a member of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). Seven out of the eight Australian states and territories run leagues; comprising a total of 70 teams consisting of approximately 3000 players.

Gridiron Australia also oversees the country’s national teams, which have competed in several World Cups. It also manages the Junior (U19) National Championships and the Australian Gridiron League (AGL) for both Men and Women.

Further detail regarding this release can be provided by Kevin Wilson (GA Director) on kevin.wilson@ga.org.au

Uniform RFQ

Gridiron Australia is seeking a vendor to become the preferred supplier of Uniforms and associated ancillary items required as part of Gridiron Australia’s National Programs.

We are looking for interested suppliers to send us a proposal responding to our specific requirements as detailed in the RFQ Gridiron Australia – Uniforms.

Closing date is 9th June 2017.

Travel RFQ

Gridiron Australia is seeking a vendor to become the preferred supplier for the provision of Air travel management required as part of Gridiron Australia’s National Programs.

We are looking for interested suppliers to send us a proposal responding to our specific requirements as detailed in the RFQ Gridiron Australia – travel.

Closing date is 30th June 2017.