The Kookaburras Captain Ryan Downey capped off a great season winning his second Best & Fairest Award recently. The MVP and Mike Powers Medal recipient did so despite breaking his hand 4 weeks before the USAFL National Championships. Downey did play at the USAFL Nationals in Florida with the hand heavily padded, a true sign of his commitment to the game, his club and his teammates, however during the regular season he was able to accumulate 76 votes too hold off the fast finishing Seth Stokes with 68 votes, who took the runners-up trophy and Best 1st Year Player Award.
The Kookaburras celebrated the end of the 2019 season with a full count of the MVP voting meticulously organized as always by Life Member and club statistician Jim Batten, with other awards going to Will McDonald for Best Clubman, Kyler Johnson for Most Improved & Coaches Award. Jeff Whitlock received the Goal Umpire Appreciation award for continued efforts during the year despite not being able to play and Andrew Schoppe was awarded Top Volunteer.
Chase Trujillo who also tied for 3rd in the MVP voting with Braden Medders on 48 votes, picked up the Best at Nationals Award with some great games in Sarasota.
Leading goalkicker for the year was Tom Gultom who slotted through 33 goals from his 8 games.
The Kookaburras Annual General Meeting was also held on the night with Wayne Kraska re-elected as returning President, Ryan Downey moving into the Secretary's role and Braden Medders taking up the Treasurer position. We welcome new on the Board this year long time supporter of Aussie Rules football in Atlanta Sandy Lawrence, elected as VP and Jim Batten retained a Member at Large role. The Kookaburras continue to look for interested people in getting involved in the promotion or organization of Australian Rules Football in Atlanta. Contact us if you can help or know someone with some resources to help.
See the full MVP voting tallies here.
With the Kookaburras for the first time on a road trip but still within the state Georgia, a visit 80 minutes Nth West of Atlanta to take on the new Rome Redbacks for their first home game ever, was something very new.
The Redbacks although still small were able to present a great group of players eager to put the Kookaburras to the test in a rather humid and hot afternoon of Australian Rules Football in the river city.
Up forward Tom Gultom was too experienced for his Rome opponent and led him on merry chase posting a personal record 8 individual goals for the day. Jon 'Rosey' Rosenfield also enjoyed the open spaces and freedom to move around, kicking 6 goals himself, also a personal record.
The Rome team battled hard and certainly the Redbacks were very competitive at stoppages with their ruckman Stephen Taylor giving the Kookaburras Kyler Johnson some headaches. First year player Seth Stokes however made sure any advantage was short lived as he gathered many mid field possessions for the visiting Atlanta team.
Over the 4 x 20 minute quarters however the Kookaburras were too consistent and too skilled for the Rome team and ran out easy winners by 98 points. After the game the players and friends retreated to the River Dog Outpost a great summer Tiki style bar between the rivers downtown, for the first of many post game socials in the historic river town of Rome Georgia.
Best: Seth Stokes, Ryan Downey, Tom Gultom, John Rosenfield, Braden Medders.
Goals: Gultom 8, Rosenfield 6, Stokes 4, Downey 3, Schoppe 1, Johnson 1.
Decked out with new guernseys generously funded by donations from our major sponsor, Sandy Lawrence at Dorsey Alston Realtors, the new women of the Atlanta Kookaburras traveled to Nashville on May 4th to join forces with the Chicago Swans to face down an experienced Nashville side. Shortly before game time and exercising their powers as Hosts, Nashville secured the experienced Swans players to their side, and our intrepid newcomers to the sport faced their first trial by fire.
The combined Nashville-Chicago team started the game high-scoring and did not relent. Backline players Shaunna Chamlee (playing her first ever game) and Megan Hils worked tirelessly to keep them at bay. Gin Nugent (first game) and Kelsey Teets (first game) made superb efforts in the forward line with Kelsey pulling down multiple contested marks. But the clear standout of all players on the ground (Nash-Chi included) was our own Madison Longchamp (first game). Standing at a gargantuan 5 ft 2 inches, Madison dominated the center of the ground all game. Only skilled, experienced kicks away from her could reduce her thundering effectiveness.
Goal Kickers: Madison Longchamp 1, Kelsey Teets 1
The score did not turn out in favor of the Kookaburras, but Madison, Kelsey, Shaunna, Megan and Gin improved tremendously quarter after quarter. There is much to work with, and they'll get better. The coaches expect to see a big improvement when they turn out for the Eastern Regionals in Raleigh, NC on June 15th.
Many thanks to the supporters, especially club luminary Sandy Lawrence, who made the trek to Nashville to cheer on our burgeoning women’s team. A thank-you also goes out to the members of our men’s team who made the drive to serve as coach’s and water runners. Sponsors, supporters and volunteers are an integral part of our club’s success.