The Sandown Cobras hosted the Japan AFL Development Squad in a friendly match under lights at Edinburgh Reserve last Thursday, with the night proving to be a raging success.
A massive crowd was on hand last week to witness the Japan Warriors take on a Cobras outfit consisting of mainly reserve-grade players, with a handful of first 18 players to make up the numbers. And despite the vast difference in footy experience between the two sides, the Warriors surprised a few people (including themselves) and performed exceptionally well.
Following the conclusion of the match, the two teams stuck around and enjoyed the post-match festivities and few cold beverages with each other and a number of supporters until 11:30pm.
Last week's friendly was the second of two scheduled matches for the Warriors against SFNL opposition, following a match against Keysborough's Thirds the previous Sunday at Keysborough Reserve. For the record, the visitors pipped the Burras by a solitary point.
The Warriors have had a distinct Southern League connection, with East Brighton Football Club's Trent Beard coaching the team. Beard is himself of Japanese heritage and has lived in Japan for some time.
For many of the Warriors players it is their first trip outside of Japan and their first proper games of Aussie Rules, and by all accounts they are absolutely loving their experience.
Well done to both Keysborough and Sandown for their outstanding hospitality and congrats to the Warriors on their efforts!
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The Sandown Cobras and Japan Warriors line up before their game last Thursday.[/caption]
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The Warriors pose for a team photo on Thursday.[/caption]
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The Warriors and the Burras are all smiles after their match at Keysborough.[/caption]