The Battle of the West

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Updated: May 28, 2013
Battle of the West 2

Indigenous Round saw Blacktown Magic take on Penrith Rams for the Battle of the West and it definitely lived up to all expectations.

AFL Indigenous Round is a celebration of the contribution players, participants, fans and Indigenous communities bring to the game and it is a chance for Indigenous community to show they are proud of their heritage and acknowledge it both in their playing lives and their culture. The Magic have strong ties to the Indigenous community in the area the club proudly wear the Indigenous designs on our Guernsey as a sign of this relationship. This round saw both Blacktown teams sporting the new clash Guernsey design for the first time together this year.

The first bounce of the day was between the two Division Five teams in what was going to be a tug of war for the majority of the match. The Magic started the stronger of the two sides kicking the first two goals of the match, with what looked like was going to be their first win four games, however the Rams replied with two goals of their own in quick succession. The quarter ended only a point difference with the Magic ahead and looking the stronger side. Blacktown players Aaron Hill and Alex Robertson were dangerous upfront causing headaches for the Rams being backed by the tall timbers Shannon Deusson, Jared Clifford and debutant Tim Baracz.

The second quarter was a low scoring affair but the Magic were able to push slightly ahead with a five point lead at the break. Credit must go to the Magic defenders who kept the Rams goalless for this quarter led by Iain Freeman, Mike O’Grady and David Lau Young. Another debutant in the match was an old Magician, Rowan Theel, who has returned from Melbourne, to add some much needed composure through the middle of the park. Theel combined well with Mbimbi Mbimbi both who dictated much of the play and flow of the game with their hard tackling and ball distribution. Half time saw both teams head to the sheds and respective coaches inject their thoughts on how the first half of the game went.

It was Penrith who started the better of the two teams in the second half, dominating the 3rd quarter with seven scoring shots to the Magic’s four. It was a wakeup call to the Magicians who seemed to not expect the intensity which the Rams brought. The Rams were coming off a strong win against Moorebank last week and carried this confidence into the second half of the match. The Magicians replied with goals to Hill and Mbimbi but the Rams finished the quarter 8 points ahead. Disaster struck the Magic with injuries to a few players and this left them with a limited interchange bench for the last quarter.

Credit must go to the Magicians, they never gave up and battled to the very end. This, if anything, is most important thing to take from the match. In their first season as a team, the Magicians have achieved great things thus far and getting back on the winners list is within sight. As the season progresses, the Division Five Magicians will reap dividends as long as the players work together and maintain their fighting attitude, something which coach Ben Grey is confident will be the case.

Unfortunately it was a tale of two halves. The Magic strongly won the first but the Rams replied with a dominating second half performance of football and outscored the Magic 56-41.

Division 5

Division Three battle of the West saw for the first time the two teams compete and it was very much a one sided affair.

From the get go, the Magic dominated and dictated play with a first quarter performance up there with their best to date. Forwards Ejay Barclay and Ash Moeller combined well with the services from the middlemen of Andrew Polkinghorne, Matt Hinchcliffe and Division Three debutant Andy Pyman. Pyman has been outstanding with his performances in the seconds team and left Head Coach, Dean Connors, little choice but to give him a start this week against the Rams. The best of the bunch was EJ with four goals in quick succession. Another highlight of the quarter was from debutant and returning ruckman, Sam Low. Low punted a 65m ball from the defensive box of the Magic to Moeller through the corridor who in turn hit the chest of EJ, with EJ calming slotting home the goal to finish off a spectacular transition of play. The first quarter ended, with much relief to the Rams who were held goalless.

The Rams entered the second quarter more determined and more focused and this resulted in a tied score line for the second quarter. The Magic definitely took their foot off the gas, something which Connors was not impressed with judging by the half time talk in the sheds. The result could have been worse for the Magic if not for the ever reliable backline of Ben Molyneaux, Captain Mark Burger and Daniel Clifford. These three kept the pressure on the Rams forwards and consequently kept the score line favourable to the Magic with a 45 point lead at the break.

The sun was shining on the Magic this day and they entered the third quarter revived and refocused, something which can be contributed to Connors half time discussion. The forward combination of EJ and Pat Barclay caused havoc for the Rams defenders with the brothers being able to read one another’s game perfectly. The Barclay brothers kicked a further 3 goals between them in the third quarter and ensured the Magic dictated terms. Ex-Rams player Hamish Mulligan, made his debut for the Division Three side and contributed well on the wing with Todd Darvas and Jay Roughley ensuring service to the forwards was consistent for the entire quarter. The Magic restarted where they left off at the end of the first quarter and continued this dominance into the final term.

By the end of the match, the Magic had no interchange bench, evidence of a physical encounter between the two teams of the West, but it was the Magic who would be singing their lungs out today. It was a well-deserved win with a dominating performance handing the Rams their first 90+ scored defeat. The Magic have sent a message to the rest of the competition but have still got some work to do to improve all over the park.

Division 3

This week both teams will face Sydney University at Mahoney Oval at 12pm and 2pm respectively. It is a top of the table clash in Division Three, some tout as the Grand Final preview, and a much anticipated match between the two Division Five teams.

 

Indigenous Round Photo

From left to right Aaron Talbot, Joey Saunders, and Jeff Talbot.

Three of our Indigenous players who participated in the Division 3 Indigenous Round match were  Aaron Talbot, Jeff Talbot, and Joey Saunders.

Jeffy kicked 2 goals in a great performance and Joey was as solid as ever with his return from injury in the backline.

 

Our stats man Kelza was able to grab a photo with two of the Indigenous stars of the AFL this weekend as well.

Kelza with Liam Patrick

Kelza with Liam Patrick

Kelza with Shaun Edwards

Kelza with Shaun Edwards

 

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