After a weekend off for Memorial Day the New York Magpies travelled to Philadelphia on June 2nd to take on the Philadelphia Hawks in an Eastern USAFL clash. The Magpies had revenge on their minds having suffered the clubs first ever loss to the Hawks in the corresponding game last year. As has typically been the case this year the Magpies team for the game changed significantly from previous weeks with several players unavailable due to injury or other commitments, and the coaching staff wanting to blood new players. Â In a positive sign for the club, the American players significantly out-numbered the non-Americanâ€™s on the team.
The sun was well and truly shining as the game got underway and after some early back and forwards the Magpies got on the board first with a well roved goal by Dixon which was followed quickly by a second to acting captain, Kyle. The Hawks lifted their intensity however and with the aid of a moderate breeze managed to slot through few goals on the trot. Despite Mitchell adding another towards the end of the quarter the Hawks led at quarter time, 4.0 24 to 3.1 19.
With the aid of the breeze and the switch of Collins, Hocking and Fraietta into the center of the ground the Magpies pressed hard during the second quarter with Davis scoring 2 goals for the quarter and Kyle and Mitchell each adding another. The backline held strong to keep Philadelphia to 1 goal with strong rebounding and defense in particular from Clifford, Martin and Walker. At half time the Magpies had taken the lead and were up by 3 goals, 7.6 48 to 5.1 31.
The Magpies knew that Philadelphia would come out strong in the third quarter with the aid of the breeze and a deficit to makeup. The Magpies coaching staff instructed the team to work as hard as possible from the start of the quarter with plenty of reserves on the bench. The quarter turned into an arm wrestle with Magpies ruckmen Smiley and Collins giving their all on the dangerous Hawks ruckman, while Rattenbury, Murphy, Desai and Caine got on top of their opponents. Goals were traded between the two teams with Fraietta getting a couple, Mitchell and Kyle adding another each and Tornay also getting into the action. The injection of Keith, Caldwell, Danilo, Bennett, Scott and Melo added much needed fresh legs and the Magpies managed to outscore their opponents and increase their lead to 4 goals, taking a 12.8 80 to 9.2 56 advantage into the final term.
The players knew that the game was far from over and urged each other to give their all for another 25 minutes. Rattenbury opened the scoring for the quarter and after debutant Keith scored 2 goals in 2 minutes the Magpies had the game in control. The backline served well all day and remained resolute with veterans Thompson, Pezanko and Barlaz all working like well-oiled machine. The final siren blew with the Magpies scoring 4 goals to 1 for the quarter and running out winners by 40 points, 16.9 105 to 10.5 65.
Acting Captain Kyle was pleased with the result and particularly with the newer players saying â€œeveryone put in 100% today and stepped up to every challenge asked of them. The Hawks play a tough contested style of game and it was satisfying that we were able to match them in that areaâ€.
Best: Rattenbury, Kyle, Hocking, Mitchell, Dixon
Goals: Mitchell 3, Kyle 3, Fraietta 2, Davis 2, Rattenbury 2, Keith 2, Dixon 1, Tornay 1
Special thanks to Christina Licata, Michael Gluck and Myles Walkington their support efforts at the game and to the Caine family for the welcome after-match refreshments. Thanks also to the Philadelphia Hawks for the game and their welcome at the after-match function at Con Murphyâ€™s.