In glorious September sunshine, Amsterdam hosted teams from The Hague and Belgiumon Saturday Sept. 29 to contest the inaugural Benelux Cup. The day marked the first appearance by Belgium at the picturesque VVV sports ground, the home ground of the Amsterdam Devils. It was also the first time they had pulled on their new national jumper!
So with an air of expectation, Belgium emerged from the clubrooms first, and then proceeded to quickly take an early lead against the slow-footed Devils in the first match of the day. Having watched Sydney defeat Hawthorn in the AFL grand final just hours earlier at Coco’s Outback Bar inAmsterdam, the Devils looked lethargic and took a while to swing into action.
But the Devils soon found their feet to create plenty of scoring chances from the middle of the ground and soon closed the gap, before piling on the pressure in the second half to run out convincing 66-point winners.
Up next was The Hague v Belgium, in what proved to be tightly contested, see-sawing match. Belgium led for much of the game, but after playing two matches in a row, were eventually overwhelmed by the strong-finishing The Hague Storks in the dying moments of the match. After squeezing through the last goal of the match, The Hague won by just 3 points.
That victory by the Storks set up a do-or-die final against Amsterdam, with The Hague keen to repeat their first-ever victory against the Devils in August, also at the VVV.
The Devils, Dutch Australian Football Association (DAFA) premiers in 2010 and 2011, were ready for the challenge though and slammed on several early goals against the stiff wind to take an early lead. The Storks were not to be denied, however, and bounced back to narrow the lead and head into the half-time break with their tails up and full of confidence.
The Storks threw everything against the Devils in the final half, but to no avail, as Amsterdam stood firm and foiled every attack to rebound and score crucial goals at crucial moments. The Devils eventually won by 4 goals.
A BBQ and a few social drinks after the matches ended what was a fantastic way to end the 2012 season. Plans are underway for a repeat in the 2013 season.
The stage was set for a classically Dutch wet and wild showdown between the Amsterdam Devils and The Hague Storks after heavy rain was dumped on the VVV pitch before the skies finally cleared ahead of the August 25 match.
The first quarter showed The Hague’s intent to finally break its drought of wins, as it kicked with arguably a 5 goal breeze. The Storks put on a solid performance of fast, efficient footy, booting 6 goals to the Devils’ 1. Though the first quarter wasn’t without controversy as for the first time ever in Dutch-Aussie footy history the quarter was actually timed to include stoppage play – bit too serious!?
Five goals down entering the second quarter, the Devils knew they were up against it and had to react strongly kicking with the wind – enter Aaron ‘Azza’ Gray-Block (the referee-turned-rover), who put on a master-class of hard running, skillful footy to lift the Devils. Though The Hague returned fire with young full-forward Joe Durling proving a handful on the lead and kicking accurately to keep his team’s 5-goal buffer intact.
After a heavy half-time downpour, the skies were again clear and Amsterdam started strongly, kicking the first goal of the new half with a superb end-to-end play with Dave Koh moving into attack and slotting home a scintillating team goal. Again The Hague responded by slamming home a quick fire goal. Devils’ first-gamer Rutger started to find his Australian rhythm with his constant tackling and link-up play in the centre of the park creating a second goal for the Devils and lead his team into the final quarter with a glimmer of hope at retaining their dominance over The Hague.
The final quarter started with a bang as the Devils’ midfield of Scotty, Pete and Damo starting to win the ball out of the centre square and bomb it long to the waiting forwards. Three quick goals in succession and the Devils were starting to believe in the comeback, only 2 goals down and they had the breeze! But the Storks were not going to let history pass them by and, as they had done all game, responded quickly with some fast running and long passing across the park to fire through 3 goals straight to finish off the match. Amsterdam Devils 9.12.66 to The Hague’s 15.10.100.
The Amsterdam Devils kicked off the 2012 DAFA season with a hard-fought win over The Hague on Sunday April 15 in The Hague.
The Hague started the match well and dominated early, kicking the first goal and dominating possession of the pill but inaccuracy in front of the sticks meant they did not turn early possession into points.
The Devils, getting into gear, then piled on five goals to finish the quarter with a solid lead.
That set the trend for the match with The Hague playing well and sharing possession, but just having difficulty getting the scores on the board to bridge the gap from the first quarter.
The Devils finally ran out easy winners, defeating The Hague by 50 points.
Sunday April 15
|The Hague||6. 8. (44)|
|Location: The Hague||Amsterdam||14. 10. (94)|