NOWRA product Ben Dowdell’s sporting expertise has continued – this time all the way over in the United States.
The former Shoalhaven Tigers basketball star and Adelaide Crows listed player has recently helped the Golden Gate Roos win the United States Australian Football League – going undefeated for the entire season.
Dowdell’s journey in the US started back in February, when he moved from Australia to San Francisco.
“I signed up to play just after I arrived in the United States in February,” Dowdell said.
“I’d heard that there were leagues around the world and in the US, so I did some research and found their website – they seemed pretty happy to have someone who had played at a decent level in Australia.”
Dowdell, 29, who also attended Santa Clara University on a basketball scholarship, played against teams from Calgary, Dallas, Denver and Los Angeles, who they defeated in the final, in the nationals – where games had two 20 minute halves.
“In San Francisco, we have a local competition called the Golden Gate AFL (GGAFL), where we play against other teams in the Bay area and I played for the San Francisco Seals,” he said.
“There are slightly reduced numbers on a little smaller field which is good fun and usually involves meat pies and beers after games.
“But for nationals, we put a team together a team that was half United States players, half Australians.
“We've only lost one game in the past two years, which just happened to be the grand final of nationals last year.
“We were one of the favourites to take out nationals this year and managed to get through all of our pool games pretty convincingly.
“We played LA in the final – a team we'd played twice this year and managed to beat twice but only just.
“They were in great form heading into the final, so we certainly weren't overly confident.
“At half-time, after a nervous start, we were down for the first time all tournament 13-8, but ran out the gun to win quite comfortably in the end 40-13.”
Although the games were quite different to back in Australia, Dowdell, was still impressed with the overall quality of the play in the US.
“At local level, it was interesting, as we have some players who have experience at a decent state league level in Australia, playing with and against people who are playing their first game,” he said.
“So its a bit more casual but people still take it very seriously.
“At national level, it steps up quite a bit.
“I was very impressed by the skill level of a lot of American guys who never grew up with the game.”
The Roos’ female counterparts, the San Francisco Iron Maidens also won the national championship.