May 5th saw the first Rob Dollar Memorial AFLX Cup played at our home ground, Tempe Sports Complex. The Arizona Outlaws Australian Football Club was proud to have the strongest showing of players with three teams playing on the day, two men’s teams and a women’s team. It was amazing to see so many teams from around the country come out in support of the Rob Dollar Foundation.
It was a great tournament for the Arizona Outlaws “White” team and their first time to pay under their new Club name. In the first game, The “White” team defeated the Arizona Hawks by 38 points and it was really a coming out party for forward John King who kicked 5 goals in the game and couldn’t be contained. The Outlaws led from start to finish and the midfield led by Joey and Rob Luto who ran around tirelessly and were as elusive as a snake in hot butter. On the negative side Morgan Lee took a punch to the back of the head in the game but positive outcome was that it only seemed to make him smarter as he threw out the best shepherd of the day for the team and helped restrict the opposition forwards, Rob Luto’s was the most experienced player on the field having played 10 seasons of AFLX/Metro Footy and it showed as he directed traffic like a NYC policeman in the Club’s first win on the season.
Best on ground: John King, Joey Luto and Rob Luto.
Goal scorers: John King 4 goals, Ryan Luto 2 goals, Joey Luto 1 super goal 1 goal and Eric West 1 goal.
The Outlaws went on to play the Las Vegas Gamblers and while they scored the first 7 points of the game the injuries they sustained in the first game hurt them and with limited substitutions Las Vegas outplayed the team in the second half and had a well-deserved win. Phil Norris set his Fitbit alight running 97,000 steps in the game and big Man Wyatt Glaze had his best game of the day taking marks and running through the middle. Joey Luto never tired despite having to play in the middle, up front and in the backline and then ran water for the team, got some food from the Food truck and then hustled in the midfield again! The lack of fitness whoever wasn’t good and it showed the Outlaws coaching staff that everyone had better be prepared for the next training where fitness will be a priority.
Best on ground: Joey Luto, Phil Norris and John Luto.
Goal scorers: John King 1 super goal 1 goal, Rob Luto 1 goal, Joey Luto 1 goal.
With making it to the grand final out of their reach the Outlaws wanted to focus the last game against the toughest team in the group, the LA Dragons who were last years Division One National Champions and use this game to gain experience. The team started out slowly and the Dragons jumped to a half-time lead of 40 points. The Outlaws never gave up though. Team Coach Darren Toohey said “I was extremely proud of how the team played in the second half. At the end of the game we had no healthy substitutes left and everyone had to play their guts out, and they did.” The team was on fire for the second half of the game with some creative play putting injured defensive players Morgan Lee and Matthew Lambert up front where the duo kicked 3 goals between them (which is 3 more goals than the pair had ever scored in their footy careers) and were constantly fed the ball by Ryan Luto who had his best game of the day (not sure how he was fitter in the third game than the first though!). Matthew Lambert, was trying to claim another goal on the day after he poached one that was about to go over the goal line after a kick by Phil Norris but TV replays showed the ball had been touched so Matthew Lambert’s diving lunge on the goal line secured the 6 points (much to Phil’s disgust who was calling the sheriff as he felt he was robbed). Eric West played shut down defense and Rylee Luto who sustained a knee injury in the first game was forced to play and did well against much bigger players than himself proving this little dog has a big bite. While the Outlaws lost to the best team in the group by three goals their play in the second half (Hey #2 for the Dragons – We can offer you $5,000 a game if you want to play for us) they outscored the Dragons which was proof that the club is building a winning culture and setting itself up for success in 2018 and beyond.
Best on ground: Phil Norris, Joey Luto and Ryan Luto.
Goal Scorers: Morgan Lee 2 goals, Phil Norris 2 goals, Matthew Lambert 1 goals, Duy Hua 1 goal.
Arizona Outlaws Red
The Arizona Outlaws Red Team made up of a mix of experienced and amateur players (many of who were playing their first games) The Outlaws Red side had a tough challenge for the day facing up against the only two USAFL Division 1 teams in the tournament, The Austin Crows (who went on to win the tournament) and the LA Dragons along with the Oklahoma City Flyers. Whilst the team did not get a win on the day the experience was unforgettable for all of those who played. I think it’s safe to say that Ryan “Barkley” Magee [5ft nothing and 160lbs] surprised us all when he came flying through a pack of 3 6ft + Austin Crows to take the mark of the day! Other notable mentions go to Ronnie Luto who worked as a powerhouse through the center with Jim “Lightening” Grimley who moved the ball through the center like a bolt of lightening.
Goal Scorers: Mental 2 goals and Jim Grimley 1 goal.
Arizona Outlaws Womens
The Arizona Outlaws were proud to be represented by our women’s team who were joined by members of the New York Magpies. With the Arizona Hawks were joined by players from the LA Dragons. The two teams had 3 games scheduled, the first game well fought by both teams was taken out by the Hawks. It was great to see senior players Drea Placencio and Audi Woodward lead through the midfield. The second of the three games was a true battle fought hard by both sides only to end up in a draw at one point apiece. It was great to see so many of our junior players like Taylor Luto, Maddie Kinzer, and Sydney Glaze step up in the game playing a key role in shutting down the Hawks forward line. Unfortunately, the Arizona Hawks were not able to field a team for the third game and ultimately had to forfeit the game. The Arizona Outlaws Women’s team are growing as a team each and every week, they will definitely hold their own as the season progresses.