The NY Magpies began their historic 20th year of AFL in the big apple at home against a very determined, physical and chirpy Baltimore/Washington team who were looking to defeat the Magpies after a big off-season with recruitment.
Unfortunately, conditions for the game were as wet as a young kid’s hanky which made handling the pill extremely difficult especially for the likes of Toby “Butters” Carrington.
From the first bounce it was very evident the Magpies have picked up an absolute gem in midfielder Cameron Lockwood who was donning the black & white for the first time. Despite players from both sides struggling to keep their feet and fumbling the footy, “Cam the Man” relished the wet conditions and racked up more touches than a first date on Tinder! Working with assistance from another new recruit, Connor Delves, the Magpie midfield urged the ball forward at every opportunity.
Baltimore/Washington appeared to handle the wet conditions better than the Magpies early on, and their tackling across the board was tough and bruising, however the Magpies soon found their duck feet and took control of the game with a nice early goal from power-forward Matt “Never leaves the forward 50” Lovell giving the Pies the lead which they didn’t surrender for the remainder of the game.
In concert with Cam in the midfield were some great contributions from Shane “Pud” Lowry and Dave “hit recording artist” Young aka “Youngy”. Pud used his “robust” physique to bulldog his way into contests, continually bustling out with the footy and belting the ball forward with long, forward entries. Despite most of Pud’s kicks spinning like helicopters (if they spun at all!) they were able to put the Baltimore/Washington defense under constant pressure and resulted in clever goals to the likes of Toby “Butters” Carrington and Michael “Magic”* Murphy (*Self-anointed nickname). The ever-courageous Youngy repeatedly put himself in harms way and by the end of the game had more hits than Elvis but never blinked an eye from the contest and inspired the Pies troops to get in and under and pump the ball forward which resulted in further goals to “Magic” and Matt Lovell that kept Baltimore/Washington at distance on the scoreboard.
Whilst the midfield and forwards were taking control of the game forward of center, the Pies backline was well served by strong performances from James “Mirch” Mirtschin and Jimmy “I have an eating disorder” Polulach. Both Mirch and Jimmy controlled the backline, intercepting opposition entries and ensuring Washington couldn’t get close on the scoreboard.
In the second game of the day, recruits Simon “Simmo” Hargraves, Shane “The good Shane” O’Connor and Isaac “Dusty” Martin showed off the skills they’d learnt from back home. The struggle in the midfield again proved difficult in the poor conditions, but the hard working Magpies managed to get the ball forward again, and dominate the game.
Both Shanes managed goals…. Big Benny Niergarth snagged his first for the club…. but the highlight of the day was the ‘goal of the century’ kicked by Troy “The Human Ragdoll” Danilo. In conditions that were more slippery than a bar of soap, Danilo grabbed the ball cleanly in the forward pocket, shook off two opponents, then skidded the ball through the big sticks from an impossible angle. There was absolutely no daylight from his position….but an incredible final bounce ensured him this year’s goal of the year award, only 1 game into the season.
Next up for the Magpies is the Eastern Regional tournament in North Carolina on the 24th of June. The Magpies will meet Baltimore/Washington again in the Div 1 competition, while also facing off against long-time rivals, the Boston Demons.
NY Magpies: 13.7 (85)
Goals: Lovell 3, Lockwood 2, Murphy 2, Hocking 2, Shoen, Lowry, Jankie, Young.
Best: Lowry, Lockwood, Jankie, Olsheski, Hiebl.
Washington Baltimore Eagles: 7.7 (49)