VIXENSPORTS AND GRIDIRON
Join VixenSports as Aynslee Rodger shares all of the action packed stories about Gridiron right here!!ABOUT AYNSLEE RODGER
I’m now half way through my adventure in the USA. Timing it perfectly as we come up to the mid-point in our season. These last three months have been crazy, and awesome and filled with the most amazing people. The Chicago Force girls and coaches have become family and it will be hard to leave them come the end of August.
Currently we are sitting at the top of our division, 5-0, with 60+ point wins in all our games so far. I’ve ended up changing positions, as I came into Chicago with the intention to play linebacker, however they have moved me into the Offense and I’m now a running back. Changes like these were to be expected, however I didn’t quite imagine the shift from Defense to Offense. I currently have two touchdowns (unofficially the first player from Down under to score in the WFA). I’ve also had opportunities to play in the special teams, in particular Kick off, which is a lot of fun, and given a few tackles to my stats.
Here is the video of our last two games at Home against Indy Crash and Kansas City Titans.
As well as playing and training with Football, being here have given me many off field opportunities to do some awesome things! With the NFL Draft being in Chicago this year, I got to coach at the USA Football Play 60 Event. We were teaching kids the main skills of playing football assisted by Past NFL Legends, Current NFL players and the 2015 draft prospects. Meeting these guys and working along side them was incredible as they shared their experiences in the NFL and college, giving skill tips to kids and coaches.
I’ve also been able to volunteer for an afternoon of coaching with Girls in the Game back in April teaching them football basics. They are an awesome organisation that provide and promotes sports and fitness opportunities, nutrition, health education and leadership development to enhance the overall health and well-being of girls around the States. The Chicago Force got to help with the Chicago chapter and it was awesome to see the amount of girls keen to play, particularly as quite a few of them came to do the coaching clinics provided at Draft week too.
I’ve also been able to attend a few baseball games (Go Cubs!) as well as Hockey, and Big Ten Championship Basketball games. I’ve toured around quite a few different Universities and Soldier Field as well as getting a small glimpse of the Chicago Bears home of Halas Hall (security wouldn’t let us pass).
This coming weekend we have a big test against current Champs- Boston Renegades then the finals two weeks of the regular round away against Indy Crash and home against St Louis Slam.
Preston Tewell (Game 1 (3) &(4))
Dawn Pederson (Ahman Green)
Duane Starks (DS and CJ Play 60)
Anke Kutzscher (11061191)
Liz Okey (coaching & girls)
Last week was the beginning of our last round of games for the season. Taking on UTS we were tied with a 1-1 record. (1 win 1 loss). The result of that game would either increase our play off chances and halt theirs or pretty much let us say bye to any post season games.
I would have to say it was one of the best games we played as a unit. While UTS struggled with numbers, we were finally back to (almost) full strength after having many injury setbacks at the beginning of the season. Our offense dominated play scoring Touchdown after touchdown and the defense supplemented the offense play by stopping them with very little movement up the field.
Here is the highlight reel from the game
Raiders won 54-6
We travelled to Newcastle for potentially our last game against these guys as it was a must win game for us to make finals. It’s the first time we have played up here so it was definitely an exciting game. We won 24-22 in a very close and intense fought game.
A lot has happened since the end of April. The inaugural Australian Womens Gridiron League was won by Queensland in a close fought game against ACT.
It was a pretty exciting game, with the NSW team watching from the comfort of the couch sadly, as we all had hoped to have suited up on that scorching day in Queensland.
From then most of us State players had a month off to look after any niggles and sort out injuries obtained through the state season before club pre-season began.
To say that the pre-season was an extremely difficult one would of been an understatement. During a training session in June I suffered an injury to my hand with a torn UCL in the thumb. I was in various casts for 8 weeks, having gone through surgery during this, and then in a brace for the next 6, finally being cleared for contact and to play a day before our first game.
The mental struggle with being physically fit, but unable to participate in team training was frustrating at the best of times. It is amazing what losing the capabilities of grip in one hand adjusts what you can and can’t do. The different restrictions people place on you without asking what you can do was one of the big things I was challenged with during the 3 and a half months I was out. I also found it was the preface for every conversation. It started and stopped with the hand. Although I’m fighting fit, I’m still at odds with the mind on certain plays and different manoeuvres. I am fearful that I will reinjure my hand and that fear feeds the doubt and anxiety in the mind.
Now we are playing our fifth game of the season on the 7/11. The Raiders are 1-3 having a successful start to our 2014 campaign, but then losing players to injuries in quick succession over the last 3 games. This means a lot of our team is playing both sides of the ball, Offence and Defence. The competition is stronger this year as teams are entering their second year together so a lot of the games have been closely fought. At the moment the aim is to try and take down Newcastle who are sitting atop of the ladder with a 4-0 record. UTS sits behind them at 2-2 and the North Western Phoenix join the Raiders with 1-3.
These are our highlights from our last game against UTS where I recorded my first completion (in other words I caught the ball!) on Offence. There is also some pretty stellar work by our Defence, but in the end we lost 26-6.
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Our game on the 12th against ACT was a bit of a nail biter; at least for our coaches. Due to disorganisation and a lack of pep from the players, our road trip to Canberra ended with a disasterous 32-0 loss. We did have some defining moments, particularly towards the end of the game once we got into the swing of things. My highlight had to be one of our kickers with a 16 yard fake punt which let our offense back on for another drive. Unfortunately a lot of us let our nerves get to us, and performance-wise it was not too impressive.
Countdown until the NSW Coyotes kick off for their first game of the National season; 7 days. Feelings in the camp are a range from slight nerves to mad excitement. Our first game was against ACT Monarchs looking to come back from their first hit out and loss of the season opener on Saturday, March 29, against the Queensland Sundevils. The score at full time, 42-0. The Coyotes are ready and raring to have a go against both teams and hit the Capital on April 12, and then host Queensland on April 26.
Fortunately, we got March 29 off from physical training but were required to participate in another type, game film analysis. This means we all take lunch to a coach’s house and watch the game picking out key players, favoured plays from the offence, and preferred coverage schemes from the defence.
In the last few weeks, I’ve also been involved in promoting my club at UNSW O Week and assisting in running our Train like a Titan afternoon during ARC Sports Festival of Sport. The event began with combine drills, passing routes and quarterback sack, and finished with a game of end zone. It was awesome to see people experience gridiron for the first time and see them again at other events.
Photos thanks to Naomi Krill Photography