Etobicoke Kangaroos Australian Football Club

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2022 Season  Etobicoke Kangaroos Recap

May 2, 2023

A look into the great accomplishments of the Etobicoke Kangaroos in first full season since lockdown

After being on hiatus for two years, the Ontario AFL announced that the 2022 would be the first full season since COVID 19 hit Canada.  And with that the Etobicoke Kangaroos dusted off their cleats, pumped up their footies and set off to prepare for a great season.  Prior to the season starting, nine members of the women’s squad (as well as Emile “Dragon” Studham as part of the National Team coaching staff) participated in the Northern Lights national training camp over the May long weekend.  The Roos represented well over the two days, including three rookies entering their first full season in footy.

At the beginning of the season, the Roos hosted both a mens and womens side, both hoping to fight for glory in the Premiership.  Unfortunately, due to lack of numbers, the men’s team played their second and last game of the season versus the Toronto Rebels, but some players did move on to assist teams like the Tor. Eagles and the High Park Demons with numbers.

With the women’s team left to represent the club, the 2022 on-field leadership consisted of Captain Amanda Irwin, Vice Captains Barb Lamb & Nicole Poupart with 3 time (2015, 2017, 2018) Etobicoke Lady Roos premiership coach Greg “Roo” Everett back as Head Coach.

The battle for the newly named 2022 Sherelle “Squirrel” Kelly Premiership Cup started on June 11(Round 3) with a re-match of the 2019 Grand Final against the Hamilton Wildcats, after having started the season with two bye rounds. Our first win of 12.8.80 vs 3.5.2 was led by the flashy and effortless kicking of Erin Loughnane leading the Roos with 4 goals, followed up by the Roo rookies: Carter Merrigan (3), Claire Warren (2), Amanda Smith (2) and Barbara Lamb (1). Best Players for the Roos were Erin Loughnane, Carter Merrigan, Amanda Irwin, Sarah MacArthur and Claire Warren.

For Round 4, the Roos traveled to Manotick to face the Ottawa Swans at their home field in a blustery day.  Despite the ever-changing winds, the Roos battled the determined Swans who eventually succumbed to the fabulous boot of the Roos’ captain Amanda Irwin, who scored a total of 6 goals in the 1.3.9 vs 11.6.72 win.  The rest of the goals were scored by Barbara Lamb (2), Lara Hilmi (2), and Claire Warren (1). Best Players were Amanda Irwin, Hillary Keyes, Lara Hilmi, Carter Merrigan and Claire Warren.

In round 5 the Pride round, the Roos were home to the feisty Central Blues with an extremely short bench, having only nine players to the Blues twelve.  Sporting flashy socks, face paint and laces, and with no concern regarding the numbers, the Roos captain gave a kicking clinic, kicking 8 goals and leading the Roos to a 13.7.85 vs 1.1.7 victory.  Carter Merrigan (3) and Sarah “Bulldog” MacArthur (2) finished up the goal scoring.  Best players were Amanda Irwin, Nicole “Pickle” Poupart, Hillary Keyes, Marta Janiszewska and Carter Merrigan.

Coming off a bye weekend after three tough battles, the Roos face the High Park Demons in round 7 on a sweltering hot July.  This marked the first game of yet another rookie Mabel Dunn, who not only had a great impact on the field but kicked her first 2 goals of the season to start an amazing season. Despite the heat, the Roos won 1.2.8 vs 20.4.124 The rest of the goals were by Amanda Irwin (7), Carter Merrigan (5), Erin Loughnane (2), Andrea Pinkos, Marta Janiszewska, Christina Tyrcz and Claire Warren each with 1 goal. Best players were Amanda Irwin, Mabel Dunn, Sarah MacArthur, Juness Rulloda and Carter Merrigan.

Round 8 saw the Ottawa Swans travel down to Humber South with a shortened team.  With Roo players swapping some Red and White jerseys, the two clubs battled on the sunny day.  The Swans, as always made the game tough, but the Roos came on top, once again led by our captain, clearly pushing for a league record on goals with a total of 10 in this game, the Roos win 21.13.139 vs 1.0.6. The rest of the goals were by Amanda “Baywatch” Smith 3, Barbara Lamb 3 , our flying full back Hillary Keyes 2, Carter Merrigan, Mabel Dunn and Juness Rulloda 1 each. Best players were Amanda Irwin, Sarah MacArthur, Jennifer Minchin, Hillary Keyes, Amanda Smith. This round also brought some huge Roo milestones: Juness Rulloda got her 50 games and Amanda Irwin kicking her 100th goal for the club.

Round 9 brings on the High Park Demons, with some Central Blues players to pump up the numbers in yet another sweltering heat.  Despite the heat, the Roos pushed through, with a familiar face back in the Blue and White, Nicola Kirwan kicking 2 goals, helping the Roos win 15.5.95 vs 2.2.14. Other scores were Amanda Irwin (7), Lara Hilmi (2) and Carter Merrigan, Marta Janiszewska, Mabel Dunn and Nicole Poupart 1 each. Best players were Lara Hilmi, Sarah MacArthur, Nicole Poupart, Amanda Irwin and Mabel Dunn.

Round 10 brings the curtain raiser for the Parallel Cup and the tenacious Central Blues.  With help from two AFL Quebec players, the Roos brought up their numbers, along with their determination to push through and represent AFL Ontario well in front of the growing crowd and be victorious over the Blues 2.2.14 vs 14.13.97.  Goals by Amanda Irwin (6), Mabel Dunn (4), Lara Hilmi (2), Claire Warren (1) Sarah MacArthur (1).Best Players were Amanda Irwin, Mabel Dunn, Lara Hilmi, Nicola Kirwan, Sarah MacArthur and Claire Warren.

Entering the final round of the season, the Roos faced the powerful Hamilton Wildcats on a hard Mohawk Sports field, with the possibility of an undefeated season and our Captain chasing the 50-goal mark.  With the sweltering heat, and the pressure on, the Roos took on the powerful and determined Wildcats.  After kicking two goals, our captain Amanda Irwin suffered a season ending injury, breaking her hand just 4 goals shy of the 50 goal mark.  With our captain rushed off to the hospital, the Blue and White dug deep to bring it home winning 2.4.16 vs 13.11.89.  Mabel Dunn (5), Claire Warren (3), Amanda Smith (2) and Nicole Poupart (1). Best players were Mabel Dunn, Claire Warren, Amanda Smith, Christina Tyrcz and Hillary Keyes.

Leaving Hamilton, the Roos prepared for the Ontario Awards night, with 15 players representing the club. 

Eight players were named to the All Ontario team:

Amanda Irwin (Capt.) Full Forward
Hillary Keyes – Full Back
Nicole Poupart – Half Back Flank
Sarah MacArthur – Half Back Flank                          
Barbara Lamb – Ruck
Mabel Dunn – Ruck Rover
Carter Merrigan – Rover
Juness Rulloda – Interchange
Greg Everett – Head Coach.

Other awards included:
Amanda Irwin Leading Goal Kicker (46) & AFLO League Best and Fairest
Carter Merrigan AFL League Rookie of the Year.
Greg Everett Coach of the Year & Umpire of the Year

With Captain Amanda Irwin in a cast, Vice Captain Nicole Poupart stepped up in the role as Captain of the squad facing the Hamilton Wildcats in the 2nd Semi-final.  Hosting at home, a win for the Roos would  put them straight into the 2023 Grand Final on Saturday September 17th.  Another tough battle against the Wildcats, the blue and white continued to push on winning 13.10.88 vs 0.2.2. Goals: Amanda Smith (4), Marta Janiszewska (3), Nicole Poupart (2) Carter Merrigan, Christina Tyrcz, Claire Warren, Juness Rulloda (1). Best Players were Amanda Smith, Jennifer Minchin, Hillary Keyes, Marta Janiszewska, and Carter Merrigan.

With the 2nd Semi Final over, the Roos  & Central Blues joined forces to create the  BlueRoos team to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia to face multiple teams from Canada and the United States in the first AFL Canada Cup. Facing off against difficult weather (typical BC rainy weather), the multitude of Cobra Chickens (Canadian Geese) the BlueRoos fought with tenacity, determination and flair through the regular scheduled games and playoffs, including two back to back games against a well-oiled Calgary team.  The BlueRoos faced off against the other east coast representative, the Wild Swaints representing Hamilton Wildcats, Montreal Saints and the Ottawa Swans. The battle of the east was a hard fought and close scoring game, with the Wild Swaints edging for the win.

Back in Toronto, the Roos set their sights on the AFL Ontario Premiership against the Hamilton Wildcats who defeated the Central Blues in the Preliminary Final.  With captain Amanda Irwin and Ontario Rookie of the Year Carter Merrigan in the team but restricted to the interchange with injury, the Roos pulled together to fight the Wildcats. The Hamilton Wildcats were determined to defend their crown and spoil the undefeated season of Etobicoke.

In front of a large crowd, the Roos begin their quest for their 5th AFL Ontario Women’s premiership. Prior to halftime, the formidable Amanda Smith was sidelined with a concussion not before leaving her mark on the game and kicking one goal.  Coach Everett had to make some positional changes to fill the hole left by the Injured Amanda Smith and keep the ever pressing Wildcats at bay.  Easily being the hardest match of the season, the Blue and White comes out victorious winning the grueling match 6.13.49 vs 1.5.11. Goal scorers Juness Rulloda (2) Mabel Dunn, Lara Hilmi, Claire Warren, Amanda Smith 1. 

With the win the Etobicoke Kangaroos lifted the newly named Sherelle “Squirrel” Kelly Premiership Cup for the 5th time. Captain Amanda Irwin & Coach Greg Everett left the 2022 Premiership Trophy and award the players their 2023 Premiership medals.  Mabel Dunn, continuing her amazing rookie season, was awarded the 2022 AFL Ontario Grand Final Most Valuable Player medal.