The New York Magpies are flying after starting season 2016 off with a bang. Both the men’s and women’s teams have achieved early success during games at the start of the home and away season.
The men’s team launched their 2016 USAFL campaign on the weekend with a resounding win over the Baltimore/Washington Eagles at Bocek Park, Baltimore.
In hot and humid conditions, the Magpies battled it out against a physical Eagles outfit, who exerted a strong presence in the first quarter. Neither side could gain the upper hand early on, and there were troubling signs as Magpie star recruit, Antony Lockley, sustained a traumatic knee injury late in the first quarter. After leaving the ground, the Pies were left with only three on the bench, making rotations difficult in such hot weather.
The second term saw the game open up, as the experienced Magpie midfield started to win the majority of centre clearances. Pin-point passes from Shane Lowry and Luke Schoen gave leading Full Forward, Matt Lovell, every opportunity, with the big man slotting some much needed goals.
The Magpies proceeded to pile it on in the third and fourth quarters, with Adam Marr and James Mirtschin drifting forward to provide extra firepower. Brenton Hocking and Andrew Davis supplied the run through the middle, whilst first gamers Jay Whiting and Judd Kozikowski held their opponents well down back.
The Magpies fitness proved to be a key factor as the game went on, as New York’s two-way running resulted in a massive 96 point victory for the visiting side.
New Magpie coach, Sean Holmesby, said he was particularly impressed with the new players on the day.
“It was great to see some hard running from our first gamers. Benny Niergarth was fantastic in the ruck, while Eddy Heppt and James McLean made sure they influenced every contest possible.”
“Every player in the side played their role…but what I loved seeing was how the team really got around these new players. There was a lot of excitement and encouragement when one of them would put their body on the line, and we’re interested to see how much more these guys develop throughout the year.”
Holmesby said that the heat was tough to battle, so the rotations became more important than ever, especially when managing the new Americans in the side who had never played the game before.
“We started with our new Americans on the bench, allowing them to watch some of the game before diving right in. It worked well, as they came on once some of the sting had gone out of the game, and they were able to make an impact immediately.”
“We tried to give everyone lots of game time, and rotated our midfield as much as possible. It was fantastic to even get our new recruit, Angus Twopeny, into the middle and witness his ball-winning ability.”
The Magpies travel to North Carolina next week, where they look to continue their form on the field. Holmesby’s pushing to have more recruits join his team by having another 3 new players enter the side in Raleigh.
“We’ll continue to grow the game here in the US as much as possible. Our club has the best people, and the most welcoming players I’ve ever met.
It’s a fantastic club, and we have some exciting times ahead. More new players will debut next week, and we’ll continue to strengthen our lineup as we head towards nationals.”
New York: 18.13.121
Goals: Lovell 5, Hocking 3, Davis 2, Marr 2, Mirtschin, Lowry, Carrington, Twopeny, Fraietta, Lin.
The Lady Pies brought record numbers to Baltimore with 25 players total including 11 rookies playing their first season with the Pies. Andi Hargrave debuted as ruck for her first game with effective taps to a strong midfield composed of veteran attacker Siobhan McHale, 2015 Rookie of the Year and hard hitter Grace Koplow, and rookie KJ Russell, who proved to be a natural at the Center position in the Montreal Tournament.
Vice Captain Taylor Davidson and co. had an easy time of it in the backline with McHale, Russell, and rookie Joanne Remillard controlling the footy in the midfield. Natalie Wolff, another rookie standout on the day, had some booming kicks, and scored her first ever goal for the Pies, proving to be a force in the ruck as well as the forward line.
Midfielders cleared the footy forward with some fantastic marks on the other end. The forward line teemed with experience with the likes of Renee Coff, Janet Beyersdorf, and Lauren Skonieczny scoring majors on the day. With five different goal kickers and a near shut out, the Lady Pies are going into the Eastern Regional tournament energized with the great win.
New York: 7.5.47