After a tough schedule in July, Saturday saw a weary New York Magpies team hit the road again. Facing the Philly Hawks without key position players Matt Lovell (ankle), Andrew Davis (bender) and Sam Jess (too handsome) was never going to be easy even though Philly also had some key players missing due to the International Cup in Australia. Also absent for the Magpies was the season’s gun recruit Cam Lockwood who had sore shoulders after carrying the team for the first half of the year. The team that lined up against Philly though was determined to put a stake in the ground that the Magpies are still the team to beat in the East despite some recent losses away from home.
Ojas “Juice” Desai was the stand in captain for the game with “Magic” Murphy in Australia and proceeded, totally inexplicably at the time, to win the toss and choose to kick into a four goal breeze. The opening quarter was a torrid affair with Philly having a lot of opportunities without being able to capitalize on the scoreboard. The inexperienced starting midfield brigade of Magpies held their own and with Andrew Senyszyn defending desperately and Toby Carrington winning a couple of key one on one battles up forward were able to kick the only goal of the opening quarter to give the Magpies a narrow lead at quarter time. Kicking with the wind in the second quarter the team made Juice look like a tactical genius as Dave Young and Brenton Hocking moved into the midfield and won plenty of clearances. Carrington got on the end of almost everything and the runner brought out a rubber duck and some soap to go with the bath the Philly backline were getting. The veteran Tobes kicked another 4 goals for the quarter in a clinic and new recruit Connor Delves chimed in with a lovely goal from the midfield to take the pies to a commanding lead.
In a typically motivating address to the players at half time, no doubt with extra sugar on it for the SBS film crew that was in attendance, coach Sean “Skeeta” Holmesby asked the players for an extra effort in defence. After his instructions to “build a wall, and make Philly pay for it” it was clear that a line in the sand had been drawn to make the 2017 version of the New York Magpies great again. Deciding he couldn’t leave things to words alone, Skeeta handed over coaching duties to club enforcer Troy “The Human Ragdoll” Danilo and put himself into the midfield. He and Shane “Pudding” Lowry continued the Magpies midfield dominance and big Canadian Carson Olsheski and veteran American Mike “Jersey” Fraietta came into the game with nice goals. When Olsheski tapped one to Carrington for his sixth goal the Magpies had clearly won the quarter and effectively ended the game.
It was party time in the last quarter as Dave Young was moved to full forward for his last ever game for the Magpies before he is deported. The team strategy became “get it to Youngy” but after him stuffing up about 5 attempts at goal in a row this seemed like a bad idea, especially to Tobes who had never handballed inside forward 50 before. Hocking, Mirtschin, Hargraves and even skipper Juice were slotting them straight through the middle to show Youngy the way to do it and finally he held onto the Sherrin and finished his decorated career at the Magpies in style with 2 goals. Gun newcomer to the game Hampus Goransson also managed his first goal late in the game to cap an excellent performance as the Magpies ran out comprehensive winners by 88 points. The game finished how it started in physical fashion with Eddy “Don’t argue” Heppt laying the best tackle of the game to stop the final Philly attack and set the tone for the rest of the season. An honourable mention to two debutants with big Michael “Stretch” Bolton delivering a few romantic hits and our new recruit Simon Varley being almost as quick on the ground as he was in the boat race afterwards. Just don’t ask our half Cypriot, half Welsh German where he’s originally from unless you’ve got at least half an hour.
The Magpies now have a month off to recover and start the heavy fitness preparation for Nationals with the help of a couple of our great sponsors F45 Flatiron (www.f45training.com/flatiron) and the Center for Spine Care and Mobilty (www.cscmgroup.com). Take care Youngy, you’ll be sorely missed at the club.
New York 1.2 6.5 9.6 16.12 (108)
Philadelphia 0.5 0.6 1.8 2.8 (20)
Goal Kickers: Carrington 6, Young 2, Delves, Fraietta, Hocking, Mirtschin, Desai, Goransson, Hargraves
Best: Young, Carrington, Hocking, Senyszyn, Goransson, Heppt, Delves