2012 USAFL Nationals Match Reports – Division 3

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After a successful 2011 debut in Division 3 the New York Magpies second’s team was confident of another good showing despite being undermanned. The team couldn’t get going against a strong Chicago Swans team that ended up winning the division before rebounding on Saturday afternoon to beat a persistent Florida Redbacks team. Sunday was another story again as the Sacramento Suns came out more motivated for the early game and built an insurmountable lead with the wind in the first half to take the victory.

New York Magpies v Chicago Swans

When New York and Chicago met in Chicago during the regular season it was the Magpies that walked away with the points but unfortunately the result was switched at Nationals as the Swans were the better team. Right from the outset of the game the Pies had no answer to Chicago’s strong half back line despite the best efforts of ruckman Adam Mantzaris and midfielders Glenn Ormsby, Richard Marian and Tom Burke. A couple of early goals by the Swans put the Magpies backline under pressure and it was only inaccurate kicking that prevented the Swans from having a lead greater than the 5 goal advantage that they held at half time.

Following a rev up from coach Todd Smith the Magpies came out more motivated in the second half with a couple of scoring opportunities initiated from the backline of Chris Norman, Jon Melo, Nick Kerr and Matt Barlaz going close to registering the Magpies first score of the day. Unfortunately Chicago responded with another couple of goals and despite some good link up work down the wing from Jeremy Spiteri, Burke and Marian the Pies couldn’t record more than a solitary point.  When the whistle blew it was a big victory for the Swans, 6.12 48 to 0.1 1.

Best: Marian, Burke, Spataro

Coach Smith was rightfully disappointed with his charges who were outpointed by a better team in Chicago. ‘We just can’t allow teams to get off to the start that Chicago did and expect to stay in the game’ he said. ‘With only two 20 minute halves per game if you go down by two goals its just too hard to get back in the contest’.

New York Magpies v Florida Redbacks

After their disappointing result in the morning the Division 3 Magpies were keen to make amends against Florida and were not helped by a tournament ending injury to ruckman Mantzaris and the call-up of Jamie Spataro to the Division 1 team to replace the injured Glenn Caldwell. Luckily the Pies were able to call into service several players from Las Vegas and Nashville to make up the numbers and ensure a good contest.

The Magpies warmup was much more motivated and the positive attitude continued into the game as ruckman Adam Overall gave his midfielders first use and the Pies kicked the opening goal through some strong work from Marian. That goal was quickly followed by another to Rob Donner who boxed out his opponent before the Redbacks got on the score board with a goal of their own. Unlike the morning the Magpies remained committed and Myles Walkington, Troy Danilo and Ed McCormick got involved in possessions that saw Overall and Donner each add another goal. At halftime the Magpies had pulled ahead, leading 4.2 26 to 2.0 12.

Florida threw everything they had at the Magpies early in the second half and for a while the Magpies threatened to crack as the Redbacks added a goal and a couple of points. New York’s midfield lifted their work rate however and Ormsby added his first for the day before some good link up work saw the ball land in the safe hands of captain and centre half forward Brett Smiley who kicked truly to put the result beyond doubt. New York eventually ran out winners, 6.7 43 to Florida 3.4 22.

Goals: Donner 2, Marian 1, Overall 1, Ormsby 1, Smiley 1

Best: Burke, Overall, Donner

Captain Brett Smiley was impressed with his teammate’s endeavor to bounce back from the loss in the morning, and appreciative of the fill-ins from Vegas and Nashville saying ‘it really helped with a few extra players on the bench, and unlike the first game, we played the way we really knew how: a tough, committed, relentless and cohesive unit.’

New York Magpies v Sacramento Suns

The Division 3 team had the early start on Sunday morning and weren’t out of finals calculations but would need to beat their Sacramento opponents then rely on the Redbacks beating Chicago to make it. From the start of the game the Magpies were sluggish and the problems of the Saturday morning game returned, aided by the task of keeping the Suns from scoring with a very strong breeze. Before New York could blink the Suns had added 3 goals and the Pies hadn’t even looked like getting the ball into their forward half. With David Kyle and Kerr giving their all the Magpies gradually improved their standing but not before the Suns added another 2 goals to end the first half leading 5.1 31 to no score.

The Magpies huddle remained positive at half time however with the team confident it could reel in the Suns with some hard running and the aid of the breeze. Ormsby, Marian, Overall and the extra players from Las Vegas and Nashville led from the front and after a couple of off target shots the Magpies registered their first goal via Marian. However to their credit the Suns increased the pressure on the Magpies and limited their opponents to only a few more points for the half to record a 5.1 31 to 1.6 12 victory.

Goals: Marian 1

Best: Kyle, Marian, Ormsby

Goal scorer Marian was disappointed to end the tournament with only 1 win stating ‘we needed to put in better efforts right from the start of the games if we expected to record anymore victories. Ultimately we left it to too few players and that showed in the losses to Chicago and Sacramento’.

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