The LA Sharks and the LA Outlaws made their home debut on Saturday June 2nd at Westchester Park & Rec Center. The home opener also included a skills clinic for beginners, as well as a touch scrimmage hosted by the Dragons’ women.
After a hard-fought opening game between Riverside and Orange County, the Sharks and Outlaws played against each other for the first time this season. The Outlaws jumped out to an early lead courtesy of forwards Bill McGovern and Pat Nicholls, aided by some quality backline play from Paul Jackson and Andrew Loewen, who both amassed a number of early touches. However, the Sharks were undeterred, with Joe Silvio and Paul Ioakim moving the ball through the guts. Ioakim led the Sharks with three goals, while Silvio added one more, and they also received help from defenders Milo Albert, Rick Shaibani and Julien Mayeur.
Dennis Boyle and Donald Lee rotated between ruck and full-forward all afternoon, with Boyle collecting two goals, including an impressive one off the deck in the goal square. Young gun John Van Rosmalen also used some solid defensive pressure to influence the contest. In only his second game of Aussie rules, Max Melville made the most of his possessions for the Sharks.
In addition to Nicholls, Jackson, Loewen and McGovern, the Outlaws also got a great performance out of Aussie newcomer Blake Mansfield, who played both ruck and forward on the day, finishing with four goals. American debutant Donny Waechtner came off the bench throughout the game and collected a few valuable possessions too.
The game was competitive, despite a tough playing surface and a light breeze throughout the day. Ultimately the Outlaws prevailed, 16.9.105 to 7.7.49.
Both the Outlaws and Sharks are back in action next Saturday as they head down to San Diego to take on the hosting Lions and the OC Bombers, respectively.