The New York Magpies travelled to North Carolina looking to continue their winning form, however the teamâ€™s travel plans were thrown into disarray by a lightening storm leaving NYC. With half the team arriving in North Carolina only hours before the game, a few key players unable to make the trip and the blistering heat of the south, the Magpies experienced a less than ideal preparation.
However, all that was forgotten as the umpire bounced the ball and it was game on. New York pulled a few surprises early starting Mitchell at Full Forward. It paid immediate dividends though as he kicked the opening 2 goals of the match. New York kicked another through Blandford and opened up a handy lead. However, North Carolina stormed back into the game winning the centre clearances and kicking the next 3 goals. Keating then marked strongly and goaled from long range to see NY lead by that goal at quarter time.
The second quarter was a tough contest. Both teams fought hard to gain ascendancy in the clearances. Mantzaris started to work his way into the game allowing Buxton, Taylor and Lin to all accumulate plenty of the ball. Mitchell was lost to injury, however Brennan lifted his work rate and the NY forwards got on top. McMaster and Norman controlled the backline, allowing first gamer Pezanko and Kyle to gather plenty of the ball and goals to Brennan, Blandford, Keating and Buxton saw NY take a 6 goal lead into half time, whilst not conceding a goal in the quarter.
After the halftime break McCormick was moved to a wing, Vanasek was pushed forward and with Buckingham, Loader and Kerr all making an impact on the contest the ball was kept in the Magpies attacking half of the ground. Donner continued to be a presence in the goal square and Walkington added a touch of class to the forward line with his quick hands and football nous. When the North Carolina crowd favorite, Ben Squires, marked and kicked truly the Magpies opened up a comfortable 8 goal lead at the last change.
The fourth quarter saw the Magpies continue to play well as a team, however Spataro, having one of his best games for the club, unfortunately went down with a serious knee injury. The Magpies rallied and were able to cover his loss through Norman and Baskett, while Nick Walker relished his time across the half forward line, kicking a tremendous solo goal and perhaps a contender for the goal of the year.
In the end the Magpies had too much class and won by 56 points taking their season standings to 6 wins and 1 loss.
After the match Assistant Coach Adam Overell said â€œNorth Carolina are a tough opponent and we knew coming down here weâ€™d have to play at or near our best to get the result. I was pleased with the way the boys stuck to the game plan and played team football. We didnâ€™t have any standouts today, which was illustrated with our even spread of goal kickers, just a good, solid team effort. I was also wrapped with the performances of Pezanko, who played his first game of AFL ever, and Vanasek, who was coming off 2 years out with a knee reconstruction.
NY Magpies 14.5.89Â defÂ North Carolina Tigers 5.3.33
NY Best: Kyle, Keating, Brennan, Buxton, Lin
NY Goals: Blandford 3, Brennan 3, Keating 2, Mitchell 2, Walker, Buxton, Lin, Squires