Monday, 14 November 2011

ABL Week 2 - vs Brisbane Bandits

I made my first roster for the season after being unavailable for the first week against Melbourne. I'm always excited to go on the road for the ABL and I especially love going to Brisbane. That is mainly because I am a huge Brisbane Broncos fan, so when I head up to Brisbane I feel like I belong for once when it comes to supporting a Rugby League team.

Tyler Collins and me had to travel to the airport on the train and everything was running smoothly up until we got to Auburn Station. That's when we went into a 15 minute delay and the train sat at the station for that time. It got quite hot in there and the last thing we needed was to be sweating before we get on a plane.

We arrived at the airport just before 10:00am after leaving Rooty Hill Station at 8:15am. That journey to the airport took longer then the actual plane ride to Brisbane. I'm glad I invested in an iPad because the plane didn't have any TV's so I was kept entertained by all the TV shows I had bought on my iPad. Made the flight go very quickly.

Once we got to Brisbane we all loaded our gear into the vans. In the Minor Leagues we travel everywhere on buses but in the ABL we travel in 12 seater vans. We had 2 12 seater vans, 1 van to put all the gear in and the coaches had a car to themselves. We headed off to the hotel once everything was loaded on but just our luck, we all got lost heading to our hotel. There were a lot of u-turns, back tracking and slowing down for the other vans to catch up but we finally got to our hotel. I was roomed with Josh Wells and Aiden Francis. When you have 3 people to a room you usually have a small room with little space. This wasn't the case this time. We had a kitchen, a bathroom, a washing machine and dryer, a lounge room and 2 bedrooms. One of the bedrooms had a double bed and the other bedroom that was upstairs had 2 single beds. I was the first one into the room and saw the double bed so I immediately took it, until I found out that the other 2 beds in the room were single beds. Now if you have ever met Josh Wells you would know that he is a very tall guy, 6"8 to be exact, so there was no way he was going to be able to fit on the single bed. I assessed the situation and I let Josh have the double bed, in exchange for him paying for my dinner one night. In my opinion, it was a good trade.

Game 1
We won this game 6-4 thanks to the hitters forcing the Brisbane Bandits starter out of the game after just 4 innings. Alex Johnson led the offense going 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI's while Trent D'Antonio, Boss Moanaroa and Shannon Pender each got 2 hits a piece. Just like Craig Anderson did on opening night, he gave us another quality start giving up 1 run in 7 complete innings. Todd Grattan took over in relief and ran into some trouble giving up 3 runs before Dae-Sung Koo came in to nail down the save.

After the game we headed back to the hotel and since my room had a washer and dryer my room mates and I had to do some of the teams laundry. There were 2 other rooms just like ours so we didn't have to do all of it. I didn't stay up all night to take the clothes out of the washer. That was Aiden Francis's job for the night.

I even organised their laundry, good room mate I am

Game 2
We lost 10-0. As you can tell by the scoreline we didn't do too much right. It ended up being a mercy rule loss which is the first for this years ABL. Not something I thought would happen to us. The Bandits pitcher Alex Maestri kept our bats quiet for 5 innings giving up only 5 hits while striking out 10. It just wasn't our night.

After the game we put the uniforms in the laundry and then I went out to try and find dinner with some of the boys. They found a place to eat and then all of a sudden I lost them and was by myself. So I just went to 7/11, bought a sandwich and a drink and walked back to the hotel. I didn't have my iPhone on me to help me on my way back so I was following my nose. It took me about 30 minutes to walk back and when I got into my room I took the washing out of the washer, threw it into the dryer and then went to bed.

On our 3rd day in Brisbane I decided that it was finally time for me to head to Suncorp Stadium which is the home of my favorite Rugby League team the Brisbane Broncos. Now I have been a huge Brisbane Broncos fan for the last 12 years and have never been to their home ground so it was quite exciting for me once I got there. I took a cab ride there by myself and walked around the stadium and went into the team store. I wasn't allowed access to inside the stadium but from inside the store I was able to see the grass and the seating. It was quite magical. I decided since it was a nice sunny day in Brisbane I may as well walk back to the hotel. It took my about 45 minutes but I didn't mind since the sun was out and I got to see most of Brisbane's city.

Game 3
We lost this game again 2-0. It was tough luck loss for starting pitcher Aiden Francis who only gave up 2 runs in 6 1/3 innings. The bats were only able to muster 1 hit for the entire game which came off the bat of Trent D'Antonio.

When we got back to the hotel Josh Wells and me couldn't be bothered going out to try and find food so we called nearly every restaurant in the area to see if they delivered. We found luck on our 4th try which was an Indian restaurant. We ended up buying $80 worth of food. Josh was planning on paying with his savings card but they said it didn't work, so he told them not to worry and that he would pay by cash. He ran downstairs to find an ATM but there was none there so he ran up the street to see if there was an ATM there. Once again no luck so he came back up to the room to call the restaurant if we could pay for our meal using my debit card. Luckily I know he's a good bloke and he will pay me back.

On our final morning in Brisbane my room mates and I went to breakfast then went for a relaxing session in the sauna. It was quite a small sauna so with 3 of us in there it was pretty full and then we were joined by 3 more of our team mates. Would of been awkward if anyone else wanted to come in. We went back up to the room to pack all of our stuff then boarded the bus for our 1:00pm game.

Game 4
Since it was an afternoon game we didn't take batting practice on the field. Instead the hitters took it in the cages. Since us pitchers don't have to stand in the outfield and field all the balls being hit, we went out onto the field and played a little bit of frisbee. If anyone has seen us after our training sessions or come to the games early enough you will notice that us pitchers love to toss the frisbee around. We lost this game again on a score of 2-1. Vaughan Harris started and threw 7 great innings giving up only 1 run. I came on to throw the 8th inning and gave up a lead off double. I was quite unlucky because the ball was popped up to center field and our center fielder lost the ball in the sun and the ball landed 2 metres away and since no one touched the ball it is technically a hit. I got the next guy to pop up to the catcher, struck out the 3rd hitter and then the 4th hitter lined out to shortstop to end the inning so personally, it was a good start to my year. It was also my first outing since I went to Panama for the World Cup and I was a little bit rusty. Struggled to find the strike zone a bit, but once I got the ball down in the zone everything felt fine. We tied the game up in the 9th thanks to a home run by Tyler Collins. He hit it at least 130 metres, which is around 420feet. Chris Oxspring came on in the 9th but was also very unlucky not to get out of the inning without giving up a run. With a runner on 2nd with 2 outs, the Brisbane hitter hit a ball down the right field line that bounced off 1st base out of the reach from our 1st basemen which allowed the run to score.

It was quite a disappointing end to what was a very rough series, but now we must look ahead to playing the undefeated Perth Heat at home.


  1. Can't thank you enough for your insight into the ABL! Your blogs give perspective and clarity to those looking in! Great blog! Thanks!

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