WASHINGTON, DC – Over 100 Washingtonians came out to see the Baltimore-Washington Eagles men’s and women’s teams at Anacostia Park on Saturday, as they played host to the Boston Demons and North Carolina Tigers.
It was a sunny day of Australian football in the nation’s capital, with canopies and picnic blankets decorating the boundary line, and the BBQ grilling all day as spectators watched the Eagles men’s and women’s teams compete in the first USAFL games held in DC this year.
The game even received a visit from three US military Osprey Planes, who decided to fly overhead as the Men’s A team did battle against Boston.
WOMEN’S EAST COAST BATTLE
The day started with the Lady Eagles and Lady Demons, both sides boosted by supporting numbers from across the east coast. The locals started on fire, and maintained dominance throughout the game, demolishing Boston by 61 points.
The Lady Eagles won the contested ball, and maintained possession for most of the match, preventing Boston from ever posing a threat.
Head of Lady Eagles, Molly Halberstadt, was impressed with the skill use of the ball, and the clean ball movement.
“We had really good passing and I think used the space really well, also I think our communication was better and we were a bit faster to the ball,” she said.
BW EAGLES MEN’S B v NORTH CAROLINA
In the closest match of the day, the Eagles’ B team went down to the Tigers by 12 points. The match was a stark difference to their previous encounter in June at the Eastern Regional Tournament in Raleigh, when North Carolina won convincingly against the Eagles’ B team.
The game this time was anyone’s guess, with both sides neck and neck throughout the day. The Tigers were able to stretch their lead to 20 points in the second quarter — the biggest margin of the game — but a third quarter revival by the Eagles brought the margin back to 4 points.
Momentum seemed to have swung in the Eagles’ direction heading into the final term, but the Tigers were able to steady the ship and hold off Baltimore-Washington to win by two goals.
“It was a close game the whole day, only a few points the difference in every quarter. We know DC like to beat us, so this was extra special,” Tigers coach, Shane Bradley, said.
“DC were getting away a little bit, and were getting out wide, and broke the game open a few times,” Bradley said, adding his team’s message at 3/4 time was to “not leave this field unless we’re going to win.”
It’s the Tigers’ sixth win on a trot this year, and a confidence booster heading into the National Tournament in San Diego in October, where these two sides will likely meet again in Division III.
Eagles coach Dean Vigus took the positives out of the loss, and noted the development of the new B side in just a few months.
“The Tigers smashed us at Regionals, so to lose by only two goals shows how much progress we’ve made and how much work everyone is putting in behind the scenes.”
Vigus pointed to the missed opportunities to convert the domination of play into scoreboard pressure.
“We controlled the game, we just couldn’t convert, we overused the ball a few times. We need a little more structure.”
BW EAGLES MEN’S A v BOSTON
The B team’s frustrations were not the case for the A team, which, in perhaps its best display yet, obliterated Boston by a whopping 139 points.
Controlling the game from the opening bounce, the Eagles ran, spread, won the contested footy, and were clean with possession for all four quarters.
The result was a one-sided affair, and the biggest winning margin yet for the Eagles this year, and indeed for many years.
“It’s the best side we’ve had all year coming into the game. As soon we got two or three early, I knew we were on,” Vigus said.
THE CLASH OF THE EAST COAST TITANS
Does this mean the Eagles are the new powerhouse of the east coast? Some appear to think so.
“Some of the Boston guys said that they think we’re now the powerhouse of the east coast,” Vigus said, which may be a title traditional east coast heavyweights, the New York Magpies, might dispute.
And they’ll get a chance to dispute that claim in two weeks, when New York travel to Baltimore to decide who are the kings of the east for 2017.
New York defeated Philadelphia on Saturday, gathering momentum ahead of the ‘match of the year’ in a fortnight.
The win-loss standing between the Eagles and Magpies is 1-1 in 2017, with the Eagles stripping New York of the Eastern Regional trophy in June.
Vigus raised the challenge to New York, saying they’re going to need their best to defeat the Eagles at home.
“Hopefully they bring their A game, because they’re gonna need to.”
Lady Eagles – 10.7. 67
Lady Demons – 1.0. 6
Baltimore-Washington B – 7.5. 47
North Carolina – 8.11. – 59
Baltimore-Washington A – 25.10. 160
Boston – 3.3. 21
A day of footy comes to Baltimore on September 23, with the Men’s B team hosting Philadelphia, while the A team play in the match of the year against arch-rivals, the New York Magpies.