We started the season in superb form, playing all of our opening five games in June, and walking away victorious in all of them. We witnessed some fantastic new talent to our lineup in those initial games, with experienced footballers Angus Twopeny, Harry O’Sullivan, Jason Maggs and James Mirtschin joining the Magpies in 2016. Also on display in those games were the natural talents of our American rookies Eddie Heppt, Rob Chapruet and Ben Niergarth, who provided fresh enthusiasm to the team.
While we gained some new faces throughout the season, we also lost some big names from the team that played firsts at Nationals in 2015. Much of the spine was replaced, and a couple of notable omissions from our 2016 season lineup couldn’t make it to Florida for this year’s Nationals campaign.
Regardless, we still had a quality lineup, boosted by the return of big ruckman, Alex Aurrichio, and the introduction of newcomers Sam Jess, Dave Abernethy and James Andreozzi. We dominated our first two games against Dallas and Orange County, but fell short in our ‘qualifying’ third game against Golden Gate, having more than our fair share of unlucky bounces, decisions and injuries. The players fought well, and we were unlucky not to progress to the Grand Final, but the hope is that this will motivate everyone to go further in 2017. This year we will continue to build our American contingent, and increase our fitness and skills in what’s already shaping up to be a fantastic season.