After a hard fought 2012 NYCAFL season, the Suburban Tollmen (â€œTrashâ€) came out the winners, beating the previously undefeated Hudson River Rats to take the championship trophy. The Village Bohemians were also winners on Grand Final night, beating the Times Square Tourists by less than a goal to win the first pick in the 2013 NYCAFL draft.
On a beautiful evening for football the action got underway with the now standard mixed rec-footy game. Teams were selected and the Yellow team, led by the in-form Drea Casillas, and the Red team, led by Christina Licata, took the field. The game was played in tight to start with lots of clever hand passes and more running with the ball than had taken place in the other games. The yellow team got on the board first but Red answered quickly before the quarter locked down with defenders Lissette and Sophia for the Red team being matched by their Yellow compatriots in Melissa and new Lady Pie Janet. Eventually continued pressure resulted in an extra goal for each team before half-time and it was tied at 2 goals each at the break.
The Red team came out the stronger at the start of the second half with Autumn marking everything that went near her while Bryan and Magic got their team-mates involved. The game continued to be close though and the Yellow team responded to 2 goals from Red with a booming goal from Ciara and with a couple of minutes to go trailed by a straight kick. Despite the best efforts of Toby and Rebecca for the Yellow team, Red got the key takeaway and when Magic kicked truly from right in front, the game was all over with Red winning 5 goals to 3.
It had been a tough year for Boho and the Tourists with the team sharing 1 win and a draw between them over the first 3 weeks of the competition. Both teams had good turn-outs however, as they played for the second week in a row, this time with the first pick in the 2013 NYCAFL draft up for grabs. The number 1 pick in the 2012 draft for the Tourists, Alex Kwiatkowski started well for the Tourists giving them a significant advantage in the ruck and good service to his midfielders, Josh Auchetti, Chris Casey and Mike Fraietta. The Bohoâ€™s kept it close though with Nick Walker competing hard and Jack Taylor and Jordan McIntyre marshaling their teams. Both teams went goal for goal in the first half with all players putting in their best efforts, including 3 new American players who were involved in their first AFL games. At half time there was nothing in the game.
Both teams came out fired up in the second half and gradually Boho exploited their superior skill level to open up a 2 goal break. Dylan Martin, Paul Martin and Aaron Hawkins were key in building the lead and urged their team-mates to join them. Credit to the Tourists, they found another gear to stick with the Bohoâ€™s as acting captain Adam Overall and Ed McCormick started to find more of the ball and the Tourists managed to draw level with 2 goals of their own and then took the lead via a rare point. Boho realized they needed one last effort and Dylan Martin was the man of the moment kicking truly from about 30 metres out to give his team the win. In a low scoring contest Boho won by 5 points, 6.0 36 to 5.1 31.
Finally the main game of the night took place with both teams missing a few first choice players to other commitments. Unfortunately for the River Rats the combination of some early injuries and a well-executed game plan from the Trash proved difficult to overcome and the Trash took an early lead with goals to David Kyle, Nick Oâ€™Sullivan and Tristan Keefe. Despite being double teamed Rats spearhead Andy Bowen got his hand on the ball a couple of times and converted truly to put the Rats right back in the contest. Â Trash loose man in defense Jason Clifford was getting plenty of the ball however and continued to drive his team forward with Barry Dry and Duncan Schieb taking advantage. The River Rats got 1 more via Adam Routledge before the break but trailed 5.0 30 to 3.1 19 at half time.
The captains of both teams implored their players for extra effort in the second half and both made key changes at the break with Bowen and Routledge moving up the ground for the Rats and Hamish Keith being inserted into the midfield for the Trash. The Trash maintained their physical pressure on their opponents and despite the best efforts of Tom Burke and Brett Felsenthal the Trash added a couple of extra goals via Juice Desai and Keefe to stretch the lead. Bowen added another for the Rats but the Trash responded immediately and when the Rats sustained injuries to Adam Mantzaris and Felsenthal the game was beyond reach. The Trash controlled the tempo well and ultimately ran out comfortable winners, 9.1 55 to 4.1 25. For his excellent performance as the extra man in defense Jason Clifford was selected best on ground, winning a carton of Coopers and a bottle of wine from Magpies sponsor the Australian Bar & Restaurant.
After a highly successful season the 2012 NYCAFL was in the books and the players and supporters celebrated and commiserated at the Australian over a complimentary keg from proprietor Matt Astill. Special thanks go to departing Magpies legend and NYCAFL umpire Michael Payne, guest umpire for grand final night Rhys Ryan and everyone involved from the venues, Stevenâ€™s Institute in Hoboken and Pier 40 in Manhattan. The NYCAFL will return in 2013 bigger and better than ever!