Baton Rouge Tigers Australian Rules Football Club

To Houston and back… and Houston and back

Last month, the Tigers travelled to Houston to take on the Lonestars in the annual Ruggles Cup. All in all, eight Tigers took the field that weekend. Veterans Tom Gillespie, Mitch Gray, Brady Moran, Garrett Remson, and Neil Stebbing played alongside newcomer Ryan Hicks and Billy “Deebo” France dusted off his cleats as well under the leadership of coach Matt Heintze.

Despite some bizarre weather (sunshine, wind, rain, and even hail), the Tigers held serve for most of the day in a tightly contested match. Eventually, however, the home team pulled away with a 15.15.105 to 8.9.57 victory.

Then two weekends ago, The Tigers returned to Houston for the 2nd Annual South Central Regional Tournament. The day was eventful from the very beginning as the ever-reliable team bus parked on the side of the road for several hours after a blowout. Despite that setback, the bus eventually got moving and arrived in Houston at about 4:00 a.m.

Making their second appearance in as many months, Tom Gillespie, Ryan Hicks, Neil Stebbing, Mitch Gray, and Coach Heintze were this time joined by Josh Cartmill, Caleb Covington, Cole Hilgenkamp, Chase Rawson, Christian Roubique, John Zimmerman, Rob Montanaro and another newcomer, Tim Cannon.

Although expectations were high coming into the game, the injury bug struck early and often. After dropping the opening match against the Austin Crows by a score of 5.6.36 to 1.5.11, the Tigers played their next two games without a bench, falling to the Houston Lonestars 10.14.74 to 3.7.25 and a nail-biter to the Dallas Dingoes to 7.4.46 to 5.3.33.

Despite coming away from the tournament without a win, the team left in high spirits after having shown marked improvement in each game and looks forward to the rest of the USAFL slate:


Next Up:
June 1st – Baton Rouge Family Day Event sponsored by Fred’s in Tigerland
June 15th – Eastern Regional Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina

Central Regional Tournament

The Tigers travelled to Nashville earlier this month to pair up with the Des Moines Roosters as the two clubs took to the field in some USAFL action, hoping to improve on last year’s disappointing 0-3 performance in Little Rock.

The first match of the day pit the “Tiger-Cocks” against the Oklahoma Footy Club, a combination of the Oklahoma City Flyers and Tulsa Buffaloes (whom the Tigers played in Houston in the spring). It was a hotly contested first half with plenty of field changes and scarce scoring, but at the intermission, our squad led 2.2.14 to 1.1.7. Fresh legs and fitness proved to be the difference in the second half, as the home team pulled away to the tune of 7.4.46 1.4.10.

The second match did not go quite so well. Playing against a dangerous and decorated Ohio Valley club, the Tiger-Cocks just couldn’t keep up. Although the Tigers only trailed 3.2.20 to 1.2.8 at the half, they were never able to close that gap and kicking inaccuracy cost them down the stretch, as they lost 8.6.54 to 2.8.20.

After a brief pause to grab some lunch, the players jumped back into their third match of the day against Atlanta, whose club featured a plethora of new faces thanks to their AFLS movement. Unfortunately for their squad, youth played a huge factor in the outcome, as the Tiger-Cocks cruised by 12.19.91 to 0.1.1.


The Tigers were represented by:
#3 – Ryan Moran
#18 – Josh Cartmill
#27 – Rob Montanaro
#37 – Brady Moran
#41 – Stuart Johnson
#43 – Lachlan McQueen
#63 – Cole Hilgenkamp

***Check back in for additional footage of the tournament as it becomes available.



2018 Central Regional Tournament Preview

Good morning, folks!

It’s time for another exciting round of footy as the Baton Rouge Tigers paid up with the Des Moines Roosters once again in this year’s Central Regional Tournament in Music City.

The Tigers are 2-4 on the season thus far after splitting the Ruggles Cup with a victory over the Tulsa Buffaloes and losing to the Houston Lonestars. In the South Central Tournament earlier this summer, they also posted a victory over the a squad of Houston Lonestars while falling to the Dallas Magpies, Austin Crows, another group of Lonestars.

The Tigers hope to improve upon their performance in last year’s tournament, where they were sent home without a win. Led by veterans Josh Cartmill, Lachlan McQueen, and Ryan Moran, they are determined not to do so again this year.

The Tigers take the field against the Oklahoma Footy Club at 10:00 CST, Ohio Valley at 12:00 CST, and Atlanta at 3:00 CST. You can Follow the Action Live through the USAFL’s official Facebook page. The full schedule is listed below:

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Baton Rouge Tigers: the other tigers in town

Members of the Baton Rouge Tigers Australian Rules Football Club pose after a full day of tournament play in the inaugural South Central Metro Tournament. Back row, from left, are Stuart Johnson, Adam Mullavey, Loren Klein, Neil Stebbing, Luke Sexton, Lachlan Mcqueen-Miscamble, Matthew Heintze, Robert Montanaro, John Zimmerman, Garrett Remson and Brett Thomas; and front row, from left, Joe McDonald, Christian Robique, Mitch Gray, Brookes Guay, Ryan Moran, Matt Smith and Cole Hilgenkamp. Club President Josh Cartmill said the team hopes to make the tournament an annual event.

If there’s one thing Australian expatriates love more than their Australian Rules Football games, it’s winning over new converts.

The Baton Rouge Tigers Australian Rules Football Club found a taker in Josh Cartmill, who was introduced to the sport through a friend in the spring of 2011, and hasn’t stopped since. Cartmill, current president of the club, led the effort to organize the Tigers’ inaugural South Central Metro Tournament on Saturday, inviting United States Australian Football-affiliated teams from Austin, Dallas and Houston for a full day of matchups.

All four clubs play as part of the Southern Region of the USAFL, an organization dedicated to expanding the sport in America. Nationwide, the league has expanded to include 40 clubs as of 2018.

Australian culture is sports-saturated, not unlike the United States, said Robert Montanaro, who was among the original members of the Tigers when the club was created in 2004.

But they don’t just observe, he said — they participate, long after they’ve left school teams and entered the workforce.

“In Australia, the sports culture is different and every little town has a football team that plays every weekend. By being part of the club is how one socializes within the community. Even the college team sports is completely different. Unlike the big tailgating events that occur in U.S. college football games, Australian rules football games typically don’t have large crowds in the stands,” said Matt Heintze, player/coach of the Tigers. “Because everyone’s on a team, themselves; they’re either at their own games or at practice.”

Whatever the love of the game is, it’s something the Baton Rouge Tigers are eager to pass on to anyone who wants to learn more about this fast-paced, multiskilled, no-pads tackle version of football.

The tackling is different, Montanaro is quick to point out — more of a bear hug takedown than the full contact hits of American football and rugby, and that makes it somewhat safer for all ages.

“It’s addictive,” Cartmill said. The ball moves quickly and must be either passed, kicked or touched to the ground every 15 meters. The pace is so fast that it becomes a good antidote to every day stressors. “You’re focused on the ball. You don’t really have time to think about it, you have to react to what’s happening right in front of you,” he said.

It’s also a great way to stay in shape and satisfy the accomplishment that comes with team sports, he said.

The sport is akin to Little League Baseball in the United States, Cartmill said, in that everyone grows up playing it in Australia. One of the objectives is to grow the sport in America, and that’s one reason that League-sanctioned games only allow a maximum of 50 percent Australian expatriates to Americans on the playing field.

While there’s certainly a learning curve, he said, that is mitigated by the free-flowing nature of the game. Players are encouraged to offer each other advice at the tops of their lungs.

Due to the nonstop nature of the game, there are no set plays, and no huddles while the game is in progress, therefore the plan is created second by second, he said. Teammates make it up as they go along by talking to each other on the field — and from the sidelines — as the game progresses.

The sport has expanded in Australia to include women’s leagues in the past few years, Heintze added, and that has caught on in the U.S., as well.

“The USAFL is following in those footsteps and encouraging women to come out to a practice or a game to try the game out. We welcome anyone to a practice,” Heintze said.

For more information, visit the Tigers’ Facebook page,, or email

Next Up: St. Petersburg Swans/Tampa Bay ARFC

The Tigers enter this weekend’s contest brimming with confidence, having notched a neutral/road victory in Houston two weeks ago; a feat they failed to accomplish in 2016. They hope to build on that success against the visiting Swans and protect their home turf, where they were undefeated last year.

The St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay will be looking to go home from Baton Rouge with a better outcome than last year, where Baton Rouge defeated then 12.9.81 to 9.4.58. The Swans, who are consistently a good traveling club, will bring a strong and determined side with something to prove, having made the Division IV Finals at the 2016 Nationals, whereas the Tigers finished 5th.

Both sides are poised to make a lot of noise in 2017 and this match is setting itself up to be a great contest. So, if you like tough, hard-nosed football then you need to be at Clark Park on Saturday, May 6th at 2:00 p.m.!

Following the match, we are “happy” to welcome anyone and everyone to join us for the afterparty starting at 5:00 p.m. at Happy’s Downtown in downtown Baton Rouge. A special thanks to them for agreeing to hosting the event.