The New York Magpies have retained the ANZAC Plate with a strong performance against traditional rivals Boston to maintain their winning start to the 2011 season. With a large crowd in attendance at Tibbets Brook Park in Yonkers the Magpies had too much depth for the Demons and ran out convincing winners. The menâ€™s game followed a womenâ€™s match between composite sides containing players from the New York Lady Pies, Boston Angels and Baltimore-Washington Lady Eagles sides.
Perfect conditions greeted the players as they arrived at Tibbets Brook Park for the annual grudge match between New York and Boston which honors the ANZACâ€™s that have fought to ensure the freedom enjoyed in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The Magpies had the positive headache of a large squad to select from including several debutants. After a minutes silence to pay tribute to the ANZACâ€™s, the importance of the occasion was driven home in no uncertain terms by former captain and life member Bubba in a rousing speech to the playing group.
The game got off to a scrappy start with lots of loose possession and hard, physical tackling. Slowly but surely the Magpies midfield of Smiley, McIntyre, Lin and Taylor got on top of their opponents and consistently pushed the ball into the forward line. Heavy flooding by the Demons limited the ability of the Magpies to convert opportunities with key forward targets Brennan and Smith being well held by their opponents. The Magpies set up the wall across the middle of the ground and following continuous pressure were able to register their first goal. Later in the quarter Boston managed to successfully push the ball into their forward line however the Magpies defense led by Georgiou and McMaster held firm, keeping Boston goal-less in the first quarter.
The Coaching staff made a few positional changes to start the second quarter, most significantly inserting Mike â€˜Wolfmanâ€™ Speilman into the midfield to add some physical presence. The Magpies continued to retain the majority of possession but could not capitalize on the scoreboard due to some inaccurate kicking and strong pressure from the Demons backline and midfielders. Once again the Magpies established a wall across the middle of the ground and players such as Lehane, Davis and Spiteri continued to inject the ball into the Magpies forward line resulting in back to back goals to Thompson and Guarino. At half time the Magpies lead by 5 goals with Bostonâ€™s forwards continuing to be well held by the New York defence.
During the 3rd quarter Walkington, Blandord and Fowler pushed up the ground and an injury to Smiley late saw Weller moved into the ruck. Midfielders Kerr, Walsh and Miller continued the pressure around the ball and the defense of Norman, Flavel, Oestreicher, and Gluck provided strong rebound. Tempers flared midway through the quarter with players from both New York and Boston sent off, however the Magpies steadied through Lehane to take a 7 goal lead into 3 quarter time.
In the last quarter New York continued to run with Murphy, Guarino, Caldwell and Spataro running hard down the wings and providing the forwards with good service. Overall converted truly halfway through the quarter and ensured New York held a strong lead. Boston managed to kick a couple of goals which ensuried the scoreboard more accurately reflected the effort put in by the Demons over the game. Soon after, the makeshift vevuzela siren sounded to end the game which saw New York recording their second victory in as many games, 8.13 61 to Boston 2.5 17.
Assistant Coach Joel Daniher praised the New York players after the game, noting that â€˜the result was a real team effort with all the first gamers putting in strong performances that complemented our established playersâ€. Congratulations go to Weller, Spiteri, Miller, Murphy, Kerr, Blandford and Fowler on their first games for the club.
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of drinking team captain Walsh, the Magpies couldnâ€™t repeat their on-field performance in the pub, going down to Boston in the annual after match boat race.
New York Magpies 8.13 61 def Boston Demons 2.5 17
NYM Goals: Overall, Lehane, Brennan, Thompson, McIntyre, Spielman, Spiteri, Fowler
NYM Best Players: McIntyre, Smith, Lehane, Georgiou, McMaster