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Keeping Up With The Aussies

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 22, 2011 – 11:40 am

AP Image

When the Redskins and Cowboys took the field on Sunday, it was a reuniting of two Melbourne, Australia natives in punters Sav Rocca and Mat McBriar.

While Rocca went through the Aussie Rules Football League as a first career, McBriar went through the more traditional NCAA-to-NFL path.  He was a college standout at Hawaii, where he was the first Australian to make the Hula Bowl.  In 2006, he became just the second Australian to ever make the Pro Bowl.

But on Sunday, he was out-belted by the Redskins ‘Rocca of Stability.’  Here are their stat lines on the day:

Sav Rocca: 5 punts, 48.6 yards, long 63, 2 inside 20, zero touchbacks, 22 return yards.

Mat McBriar: 7 punts, 40.9 average, long 60, 2 inside 20, 1 touchback, 97 return yards.

An interesting note from each stat line, is that both players were credited with a special teams tackle.  McBriar’s came on the Brandon Banks 55 yard return early in the third quarter.  The most that McBriar could do on this play was to defend the Banks stiff arm and push the speedster out of bounds.

Rocca took a far more physical approach with his saving tackle in the second quarter against Akwasi Owusu-Ansah.  Running to cut him off at the sidelines, Rocca delivered an awkward shot to Owusu-Ansah, who he thought was headed out of bounds.

“Then he cut back inside and went low, so he caught me right in the ribs,” he said, who looked like he came up from the play in pain.  “It knocked the wind out of me, but I’m good.”

While Rocca is focused on continuing his dominance at the punter’s position in 2011, it was good to see a fellow Aussie and old neighbor.

“We keep in contact, here and there,” Rocca said.  “We’re from very close, y’know, maybe a 20 minute drive?”

It’s amazing that one geographic area can handle so much Down Under Thunder.

Rocca and McBriar are mates and NFC East rivals, they don’t really train together, given their respective marital statuses.  Rocca is happily married and lives in Australia during the offseason.  According to Rocca, McBriar stays stateside to be with his American girlfriend in San Diego during the offseason.

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