The Thailand Tigers have defeated the China Reds continuing the AFL Anzac Cup tradition Saturday, competing in the 35 degree+ heat, entertainging a strong crowd in Kanchanaburi, near the famed Hellfire Pass in Thailand.
Fielding a strong 26 man team and new look, the Thaigers took to the field strong and conditioned to the heat - more so than the Reds who, low on numbners 12 strong - flew in from their cool climate. Still both teams looked eager for the win as they lined up before the game to honour the POW's of Hellfire Pass and the Bridge on the River Kwai. The Thai and Australian anthems were played to start the game, with onlookers more than 100 strong including expats, locals, the Quiet Lions and visitors for the Anzac Day memorial dawn service.
A light wind paid no real advantage to either side as the first ball bounced. As the pre game jitters wore off in the early minutes with some minor scores, both teams began to settle hungry for the ball and to kick the first goal. After the Reds scoring early the Thaigers responded and with some straighter kicking would have led the first quarter comfortably.
The Reds came out firing in the second with a strong forward line supported by talls in the backline that stopped a number of the Thaigers opportunities to score. Coming off for some much needed shade at half time the Reds up, leading by 7 with the score 28 to the Tigers 21.
With some tactical reshuffling for the 3rd by coach Noodles and playing coach Patto, a strong defensive line with lots of run stopped the Reds in their track with the Thaig's scoring several unanswered goals. Regular rotations paid advantage for the Tigers whilst the Reds with only a few on the bench started to suffer in the heat - but held up galantly in the last minutes to slow the Tigers run.
It was clear by the fourth that both teams were heading out to spend every last ounce of energy. Every player set to field with no thought to stop until the final siren. With three quarters away the skills only increased and both teams would have kept 100,000 bums on the edge of their seats under the lights of the MCG! It was legs in the end carrying a strong defense and midfiled feeding the Tigers forwards that held off the Reds until the final siren. The final score : Tigers - 10.11. 71 defeating the Reds 6.6.36.
Best players were for the Reds #7 ( Name needed?) and Nathan 'Kinky' Kincaid awarded best on ground.
A full update of goalkickers will be posted in the coming week.
The Thailand Tigers would like to thank all for attending the game, expecially the Quiet Lions who made the extra effort to attend two days before the Anzac Day memorial. Also all of the organisers, sponsors and volunteers on the day who without their help none of this would be possible.
We look forward to next year and our next international - 'Pattaya Cup' June 4 against Cambodia Cobras.