SWANS DECLAW LEOS, TAKE FLAG; 112-63
A high-octane attack – fueled by a single-game record five supergoals – lifted the St. Petersburg Swans (10-1, 40 points) to a 112-63 victory over a resilient Florida Lions side in the 2018-19 Major League Footy Championship flag, Saturday in Largo, Florida.
After an inaccurate Swans start saw the Lions take an early 6-3 lead, St. Petersburg righted the ship to a 220.127.116.11 – 1.0.6 advantage at the first break.
That relatively quiet first stanza would quickly be overshadowed, as the floodgates opened for the Bloods’ attack in the second frame.
Paced by a precise point-to-point attack that saw Sydney native Clint Jones able to collect a basket while patrolling unimpeded in forward, the Swans blitzed to 71-27 lead at the big break.
The second half, played in intermittent rain that seemed to turn on and off like a faucet, also saw the Lions’ offense begin to flow.
With veterans Jeff Grubb and Tom Mathew spearheading the comeback, Florida showed flashes of the prolific scoring side that put up a stunning 186 points in the MLF Preliminary Final, as the Lions bounced back to outscore St. Petersburg 33-24 in the third quarter.
That success proved fleeting, however, as the Swans held the Florida attack to just three behinds in the final frame, en route to the 112-63 final.
While the result puts the damper on the season finish for the Lions, the side – outfitted with AFL Queensland’s Palm Beach Currumbin’s 2017 Grand Finals jumpers – saw the new MLF side finish 6-6, 24 points, knocking out the Lakeland Tigers in the Preliminiary Final.
For the St. Petersburg Swans, the win caps a league-leading 10-1 season, avenging a 2018 Summer Championship loss to Starfish FC.
The Swans will now pivot to the 2019 Florida Derby Series against cross-state brethren the Miami Saints, when Derby play begins May 11.