After 6 months of training and games in Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta and New York the time has come for the biggest weekend of the year in the USAFL, as the New York Magpies travel to Mason, Ohio for the National Championships. The Magpies will again take three teams to the competition with menâ€™s teams in Division 1 and Division 3 and the Lady Pies entering the womenâ€™s tournament. All the New York players have been training hard and will no doubt put everything they have on the line in the clubâ€™s quest to bring 3 championships back to the Big Apple.
Magpies scores will be posted via Twitter (twitter.com/newyorkmagpies) to the Magpies website (nyfooty.com) and Facebook page (facebook.com/newyorkmagpies) and full tournament scores will be available on the USAFL website (usafl.com).
Some games will also be broadcast via Ohio Sports Radio. Keep an eye on their website for program information (ohiosportsradionetwork.net).
In Division 1 the Magpies have been placed in Pool A along with the reigning Division 1 National Champion Denver Bulldogs, the Nashville Kangaroos and the Orange County Bombers.
- New York Magpies vs Nashville Kangaroos â€“ 9am Saturday October 13th
- New York Magpies vs Orange County Bombers â€“ 3pm Saturday October 13th
- New York Magpies vs Denver Bulldogs â€“ 11am Sunday October 14th
Little is known about the form line of the Bulldogs leading into the tournament as they played just five games against other teams during the season, achieving a 3-2 record. The Bulldogs split two tournament games in June in Texas, going down to the Dallas Magpies and beating the Austin Crows before again splitting tournament games in Sacramento in August, beating the Sacramento Suns but losing to the Golden Gate Roos.Â Finally at the end of September, the Bulldogs beat the Kansas City Power. Winning eight National Championships grants a team instant respect, and the Bulldogs will no doubt be as tough as usual in Mason.
In contrast to the Bulldogsâ€™ season, the Nashville Kangaroos have been one of the busiest teams in the US, playing a total of 14 games over the season for a record of 12-2. Including victories over the Columbus Jackaroos (twice), Baltimore-Washington Eagles (twice), Atlanta Kookaburras (twice), North Carolina Tigers, Chicago Swans and Austin Crows, the Kangaroos will likely be a tight knitted team given their experience playing together this season.
Finally in Pool A, the Orange County Bombers, with a record of 5-1 are always a tough challenge in Division 1. Pulling players from the 12-week Southern California AFL season, which runs to the middle of June, the Bombers beat the Las Vegas Gamblers comfortably in their season opener in June and also recorded victories over the LA Dragons, San Diego Lions (twice) and Dallas Magpies, losing only to the Lions in a close game. With plenty of players to pick from and a long season of games including the SCAFL, the Bombers will be right up in the thick of things.
Pool B involves the Seattle Grizzlies, reigning Division 2 National Champions the Dallas Magpies, the Golden Gate Roos and the Calgary Kangaroos who were runner-up to Denver in 2011. The Canadian team is the real mystery of the tournament with only the barest details known about their schedule. The Kangaroos were successful in winning the Capital Cup in Edmonton and also travelling to Vancouver. New Yorkâ€™s namesakes from Dallas have been active this season with victories over the Austin Crows, the Houston Lonestars, the Denver Bulldogs, the Kansas City Power and the San Diego Lions amongst their 15+ games.
The Seattle Grizzlies competed in a 6-round metro footy league during 2012, but struggled during the regular season recording a victory over local rivals the Portland Steelheads, while going down to the LA Dragons and San Diego Lions away from home. The Grizzlies are an experienced Division 1 team, however, and can never be counted out. Finally, the Golden Gate Roos are also perennial Division 1 participants and have the benefit of pulling players from the local Golden Gate AFL competition, which runs over eight rounds. As a representative team, the Roos recorded victories over the Denver Bulldogs and the Sacramento Suns, while also going down to Sacramento in 2012 and will only benefit from having plenty of hit-outs as a team and in competition in Mason.
In Division 3, the Magpiesâ€™ second team has been placed in Pool A along with the Florida Redbacks, the Chicago Swans and the Sacramento Suns.
- New York Magpies vs Chicago Swansâ€“ 11am Saturday October 13th
- New York Magpies vs Florida Redbacks â€“ 2pm Saturday October 13th
- New York Magpies vs Sacramento Suns â€“ 9am Sunday October 14th
New York visited Chicago in early May and took home the points. Since then Chicago has racked up a record of 2 wins and 8 losses. Wins have come over the Kansas City Power and the Milwaukee Bombers (via forfeit) while losses have been to the Columbus Jackaroos (twice), Cincinnati Dockers, Minnesota Freeze (twice) and the Nashville Kangaroos. Like their namesakes in the AFL, Chicago never say die and are a well-coached outfit that always puts in a strong effort.
The Florida Redbacks are another team that New York has played during the year as the Redbacks visited Yonkers and combined with players from North Carolina and Philadelphia. Florida only played a limited number of games during 2012, but won over the Atlanta Kookaburras and the Houston Lonestars at home. Florida are a fit, quick team and benefit from training in the Floridian heat and humidity, meaning the Magpies will need to run hard to stay with their opponents.
The Sacramento Suns have faced some quality opposition over the 2012 regular season including Division 1 teams Denver and the Golden Gate Roos. Amassing a record of 2 wins and 2 losses, Sacramento beat Las Vegas and Golden Gate and went down to a combined Denver/Las Vegas team and Golden Gate.Â The Sacramento team is a representative team of the Sacramento Australian Football League which features 4 menâ€™s teams playing across 10 rounds. The Suns also boast Matt Bishop, the US Revolution head coach as their coach, so will benefit from his experience at recent Parallel and International Cups.
Pool B in Division 3 involves the North Carolina Tigers, Atlanta Kookaburras, Kansas City Power and Columbus Jackaroos.Â The Tigers have recorded a 1 and 4 record for 2012 including a loss to the Magpies as part of a combined squad with Florida and Philadelphia. In other games they beat the Philadelphia Hawks but lost to pool rivals Columbus and Atlanta as well as the Nashville Kangaroos.
Atlanta was a busy team in 2012, amassing a record of 7 wins and 4 losses including a victory over the visiting New York squad in September. As part of the DUFFA Cup the Kookaburras beat a combined Charleston Saints/Baton Rouge Tigers team (twice) and the Baltimore-Washington Eagles before going down to Nashville in the final. In other games, Atlanta beat North Carolina, Baton Rouge and Houston, losing to Florida and Nashville.
Kansas City played 10 times during 2012 for 5 wins, 4 losses and a draw. The club racked up wins against the Des Moines Roosters and the Tulsa Buffaloes among others while losing to the Dallas Magpies, the Chicago Swans, the Denver Bulldogs and the Minnesota Freeze. The draw came against the Columbus Jackaroos in late July. The Jackaroos also had a busy season amassing 6 wins, 3 losses and a draw against Kansas City. Wins over Chicago (twice), North Carolina, the Cincinnati Dockers and the Ohio Valley River Rats were balanced by losses to Division 1 side Nashville and the Minnesota Freeze.
Â The New York Lady Pies have been placed in Pool B of the womenâ€™s division where they will compete against the Minnesota Freeze and the Calgary Kookaburras (including various players from Arizona, Columbus, Toronto and parts of Southern California).
- New York Lady Pies vs Calgary Kookaburras – 10am Saturday October 13th
- New York Lady Pies vs Minnesota Freeze – 5pm Saturday October 13th
The Women’s competition then features 2 semi-finals on Sunday morning and a consolation game for the teams finishing third in their pools.
Both the teams included in the Lady Pies pool are surrounded by mystery with little information available about their 2012 seasons. At the 2011 Nationals, the Calgary Kookaburras teamed with Arizona to beat a combined Boston/Columbus team and lose to Minnesota in the first round, then lost to the Lady Pies/Montreal combination in Semi Final 1. Minnesota lost to Boston/Columbus before beating the Kookaburras/Arizona team in their pool rounds at the 2011 USAFL National Championships. During the 2012 season Minnesota did comprehensively defeat the Columbus Jillaroos, and will have plenty of fresh legs with 22 players attending. The lack of information will make both teams dangerous and the Lady Pies will need to get out to a good start in both their pool games.
The other pool will feature a combined Boston Demons/Baltimore Washington Lady Eagles side, a combined San Francisco Iron Maidens/Sacramento Suns team and the reigning Women’s champions, the Denver Lady Bulldogs. Boston and Baltimore/Washington have both been undefeated for the year including a couple of wins over the Lady Pies and a successful trip to Montreal to play in a tournament also featuring the Montreal Angels and Lady Pies. San Francisco has beaten the Sacramento Lady Suns three times this season (although teams were mixed on each occasion), proving themselves a tough foe for any team. The Bulldogs team has not played against opposition teams over the 2012 season, but a birdy has reported that the team is training strongly and will again have to be considered the favorites for the title.