On June 23rd, the New York Magpies traveled down to Philadelphia to compete in the annual Eastern Regional Tournament. This year, the Magpies were the only club in the region that brought complete teams for both the men’s and women’s divisions, yet the day didn’t exactly go as planned.
New York Magpie Men’s Team
Game 1 vs North Carolina
With good weather for footy, a number of first gamers and the thought of a bus trip home there was some ‘yeh goodboy footy’ energies to be felt in the Pies camp. Taking 30+ players down to Philly and a 3 hour pre-game show (with entertainment provided by the Lady Pies and some of their teammates run around for Boston), the Magpie men were very ready to be out on the ground for the 2pm start.
10 Minutes prior to first bounce the heavens opened up, soaking the players while they were in warm-up, with the exception of Michael ‘Magic’ Murphy who was seen hiding underneath the tents furiously refreshing Accuweather, all while spluttering excuses such as “I am sweet like sugar, I melt in the rain”. Raeden ‘Richo’ Richardson had also mysteriously disappeared half an hour earlier with the excuse of “I’m going to buy a salad”. Well you don’t make friends with salad…. and ‘Richo’ didn’t earn himself any admirers for disappearing so close to game time.
For the tournament, the North Carolina Tigers struggled with numbers on the road, only managing to bring down 17 players. A big thank you to Alex ‘Chocolate Canole’ Canale, Isaac ‘Dusty’ Martin and Prakash ‘Kash’ Subramaniam for helping out the Tigers in the first half, with the salad-eating ‘Richo’ and Marcus ‘Janks’ Jankie doing the same in the second half.
After what felt like a lifetime on the day, the game started, and within 30 seconds the ball was down in the ‘Pies forward 50 where it stayed for the remainder of the game.
Fast ball movement and two way running put too much pressure on the Tigers as they were unable to get a score, taking the Magpies into the halftime break with a 4 goal lead.
Matt Djordjevic was strong down forward presenting with some big leads and marks, and managing to slot one through from just inside 50. This form continued for the male model well into the night. Pure strength and tackling pressure from Jack ‘Ozzie’ Osborn and ‘Harry’ Kane Pedler saw them snag 2 goals each.
The few times the ball came into the Magpies’ backline, Toby Tornay cleared it out with ease…. while Nick Bowman assisted across the half back line, showing he will be an asset for the US Revolution in Ireland at the tail end of July.
The second half was much like the first, with the ball rarely leaving the Magpies forward 50. More attacking pressure from the Black and White earned a further 5 goals on the board. Players were shifted around to give everyone a chance in different positions, which meant stalwart halfbacker James ‘Lurch’ Mirtschin made his way down to the half forward line where he managed to get a few touches, but not any goals. Shane ‘Pud’ Lowry, Cam ‘Binny’ Lockwood and Connor ‘ConMan’ Delves were strong in the center, while the return of Carson ‘Big Carss’ Olsheski to the ruck was much appreciated by the team.
The heavy hitting ‘Pies ran away victorious over the struggling Tigers, with a 59 point win, and a celebratory meat pie with sauce.
New York: 9.5 (59)
North Carolina: 0.0 (0)
Goals: Jack Osborn 2, Cameron Lockwood 2, Kane Pedler 2, Matt Djordjevic, Shane Lowry, Tim McCullagh.
Best: Jack Osborn, Kane Pedler, Eddie Heppt, Carson Olsheski, Connor Delves.
Game 2 vs Philadelphia
The final match of the day was pushed forward an hour to give everyone a chance to wrap up early. Unfortunately, this meant some tired legs from game 1 didn’t have time to completely recover, and the Magpies looked sluggish from the outset.
Coming off a superb performance filling in for the Boston team, Sean ‘The Difference’ Holmesby was placed at full forward, and looked to add to his 3 goals for the day. Some tactical positioning in the forward 50, multiple fast paced leads, and evasive prowess lead to the Magpies team manager snagging one of the opening goals for the game. Jack Osborn did the same with a superb soccer off the ground, and the Magpies were 2 goals up half way through the opening period.
‘Ringo’ returned for the Magpies… and with the Philly fields resembling the paddock he had been in for the last two years, there were questions about whether his fitness would hold up. Still, with the natural talent he brings to the game, there was some thought that the father-son veteran might actually provide some scores for the team. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, with the Boximus Maximus creator failing to trouble the scorers, and the Magpies not registering another major for the remainder of the game.
Meanwhile Philly’s recruiting over the off season had definitely paid off, with the Hawks proving to be a much better side in 2018. Toby Tornay continued the fight in the backline, but there was only so much the veteran could do as streams of Philly players piled on the goals. Eddie Heppt played well in the midfield, and Hampus Goransson was buoyant from Sweden’s respectable World Cup game earlier… but the ball couldn’t make it past New York’s forward 50, with the team going down by 17 points in the end.
The tournament loss comes as a big sting to the New York lineup, who travel to Baltimore in a couple of weeks looking to regain their superiority in the Eastern League. While the loss to the strong Philadelphia team was a tough pill to swallow, the Magpies will get another crack at the high flying Hawks in September later this year.
New York: 2.6 (18)
Philadelphia: 5.5 (35)
Goals: Jack Osborn, Sean Holmesby.
Best: Toby Tornay, Nick Bowman, Ojas Desai, Sean Holmesby, Hampus Goransson.
New York Magpie Women’s Team
Game 1 – New York vs. Columbus/Philadelphia
Missing some key players due to injuries in the Montreal tournament, the Pies knew the day ahead of them would not be easily won. Having been Eastern Regional Champions for the past three years, the Pies were no doubt up for the challenge. In what proved to be a slow start for the Magpies, Emma Kading and Grace Koplow commanded the center along with Wolff and Hargrave switching off on ruck duty. Ari Lockett, Drea Casillas, and Aishlin Greig worked well in the backline to keep the Cats to only behinds. Aussie implant Jani Boal played the wing with skill and had plenty of shots on goal. It was Wolff and Hargrave who won the day with 3 goals and a pair, respectively.
New York 5.5.35
Goals: Wolff 3, Hargrave 2
Game 2 – New York vs. Baltimore/Boston
The cup was up for grabs in the second game of the day with both New York and Baltimore/Boston winning against the combined Columbus/Philly side. Remaining goal-less in the first half of the game, both teams fought hard to pull ahead in the second half with the Pies up by just a point. Injuries plagued the Pies once again with the loss of Wolff and Koplow, two key players in the New York spine. In the closing minutes of the game, Baltimore/Boston scored one goal and then another putting the game just out of reach for New York.
New York 0.1.1