Hawks, Magpies, Demons and Saints Hoist Cups in Carolina

In this, the fifth year of the Reigonal Championships Series, one thing that can be counted on is that the weather will be unforgiving.

However, by some divine providence of the Australian Football gods, it was a cool and breezy day at the Raleigh MAC Sports & Entertainment Complex.  It was a beautiful day, and for three clubs, the day was made even better by winning the first regional championships of the summer.

It was a day where the Hawks of Philadelphia won their third cup in a calendar year, the New York Magpies nested back on top of the women’s ladder, and good and evil came together for a common cause, and a premiership.

Click here for all scores, ladder, and replays of the matches.


For the first time in this competition’s history, it truly looked like a wide-open quartet.  Philadelphia and Baltimore traveling with a full complement of players, and both New York and Columbus with strong sides but light benches.

In game one, Philly and Baltimore met on one field while the Cats and Magpies dueled on the other.  The Hawks’ John Hinchen, who had emerged last season as his team’s primary target, was to step forward as such again.  His first goal of the game, an outside-of-the-foot, tight-angle shot, was one of the goals of the day.  Philly’s offensive pressure mounted, parried away by Jake Moyer and the Baltimore defense.  Ian Payne, who would become a dad following the tournament, helped lead his team’s pressure on Rob Hinchen and the Hawk defense.  Down 22-7 at the break, Baltimore drew things close through ruck Reece Garner, the combination of John Hinchen and Damien Holland was too much as Philadelphia held on to win by thirteen points.

While Philly was keeping the Dockers at wings’ length, the Declan Stimson and the Cats were doing something they had never done – getting full points over New York.  A 35-10 decision over the ‘Pies set them up against the Hawks in the sandwich game with control of the group on the line.   Alex Fedoriw, the hero of last year’s Grand Final, took control of this game early, pressuring the Cats into two turnovers in the first three minutes that led to goals.  Eric Politz was the prime mover for the Ohio side, but they had trouble getting the ball past the midfield, with Ryan Henry and Kyle Roun stepping in to make key intercepts.  Philly’s midfielders controlled the game, with Greg Glasgow finding targets and former Atlanta player Brett Hester winning tough balls.  Columbus fought valiantly, but they had no answers for the Hawks offense.

Over on field two, Baltimore and New York, losers in their first game, were now vying to stay alive for the D1 premiership with a win.  Karl Schoenmakers and Connor Delves paced the Gothamites to a 15-6 halftime edge, but Dockers clawed their way back over their tiring foes.  Bendigo native Thomas Waters paced the orange-and-black to a supreme return in the second stanza, as Baltimore outscored New York 16-1 in the last 20 minutes to scrape home by a goal.

While Philly awaited their final match with New York, Baltimore and Columbus duked it out for a second win, the victor putting pressure on the Hawks at the top.  Western Australian Bryn Hansen and stalwart Albert Kobe were dominant for the Dock Show in the finale.  Baltimore seemingly couldn’t miss, their kicks sailing through the sticks straighter than flatulent moths.  At 14.2, their most accurate forty minutes in their short history, and with a 55-point triumph over Columbus, put themselves in position for a win should the Magpies overcome Philadelphia.

By the time the weary Dockers wandered over to watch the second half of the day’s last game, however, Philadelphia was in complete control of their northern rivals.  That isn’t to say that the Magpies didn’t go down fighting, as “Shuey” Shoenmakers and Matt Djorjevic made the Hawks defense sweat bullets right to the very end.  But again it was John Hinchen, Fedoriw and the forwards that were having a day out.  A fortnight prior, in Philadelphia, it was a fully loaded New York who won the day.  But on this day in Raleigh, the day and the cup belonged to Jon Loring’s band from the Quaker City.

With the victory, the Hawks have now won three USAFL-sanctioned tournaments in a row, as this is their second D1 ERC title to go with their D3 National Championship last year.  There is still plenty of season to go, but there is already some buzz around Philly as contenders for the D2 championship in Florida come Nationals in October.

Columbus 5.5.35 def New York 1.4.10
Philadelphia 4.8.32 def Baltimore 2.6.18
Philadelphia 10.8.68 def Columbus 3.3.21
Baltimore 3.4.22 def New York 2.4.16
Philadelphia 7.9.51 def New York 2.3.15
Baltimore 14.2.86 def Columbus 4.7.31

1st: Philadelphia (3-0)
2nd: Baltimore (2-1)
3rd: Columbus (1-2)
4th: New York (0-3)


A year ago it was raining, muddy, and anything but sunny in Philadelphia.  It was New York, DC, and Columbus in a triangular battle that was ultimately won by the Eagles following a thrilling and emotional deciding match.

Those three teams met again in Raleigh on a much sunnier day, and by and large it was the same old song.  Except for one X-factor wearing black and white.

First thing was first, however.  The Eagles’ repeat attempt would have to go through a Cats team that, like last year, had the assistance of four women from Philadelphia.  But this year, they also carried with them four more players from Nashville and one each from Boston and Minnesota.  Quite the combo.  It would also have to go through a Magpies team that had the full complement of weaponry.

DC were playing alongside two players from Baltimore and two more from Atlanta, and all four would prove valuable assets during the day.

The first twenty minutes of the game was fast and furious but punctuated by great flights of defense.  The teams traded goals and were arm wrestling for the first ten minutes before hard-working Kendall Jennings punched home the go-ahead goal to give her team a 14-7 lead.

For Columbus, it was Nashville player Natalie Smith who stood up in the backline to parry away the quick Eagles attack, led by the fleet feet of Olivia Trischler and Molly Halberstadt.  Kristin Lough and Roxanne Alei, meanwhile, was busy taking marks and denying Cats attackers Katrina Scherer and Shannon Mahoney.  The Cats got their chances late but couldn’t capitalize, the Eagles maintained position and won out by three points.

Now it was New York’s turn, and unlike last year, the ‘Pies had Kim Hemenway patrolling the forward line.  The Freedom veteran and California native found herself with space to perform her magic, kicking the game’s first three major scores.  Natalie Wolff, another national teamer, added a fourth towards the end, and the Magpie machine was clicking to the tune of a four goal lead.  Eventual best-and-fairest Janie Green came from the midfield to push up and add her name to the scoresheet, and the engine room effort from Lucy McLeod, Aishlin Greig, and Danielle Gallagher continued to create opportunities and keep their hooped opponents at bay.  In the second half, they had run out to a 46-2 lead and were seemingly in control.

But the Cats made the last ten minutes of their own, with Smith and Nashville teammate Brooke Elias winning the ball more, Mahoney and Stephanie Shipley-Snyder throwing in shoulders, and Philly players Lindsey Turse and Barb Dempsey keeping pace.  This would lead to two goals off the foot of ten-year veteran Stephanie McKitrick, which allowed the Cats to finish their day on a high note.

And so once again the Eagle and Magpies would determine the regional winner.  And like 12 months ago, it was a tight game from the get go.  Hemenway got her fifth goal of the day to start, but soon it was Alei, Jennings, and Makensy Medlin chopping off chances.  That would lead to a scoring chance from Atlanta forward Megan Hils, she converted to tie the game at 7-7 at the main break.

The Eagles got the first point of the final twenty minutes and were on the front foot.  But there were some on Christina Licata’s team who remembered that rainy day in Philadelphia and led by Green, they turned the tide.  Taylor but the Magpies ahead to stay, and then Hemenway kicked her sixth of the day to salt the trophy away for the women from the Big Apple.

DC Eagles 2.5.17 def Columbus 1.1.7
New York 7.4.46 def Columbus 2.2.14
New York 3.1.19 def DC Eagles 1.2.8

1st: New York (2-0)
2nd: DC/Baltimore/Atlanta (1-1)
3rd: Columbus/Philly/Nashville (0-2)


The Boston Demons have been around since 1998.  The Jacksonville Saints were formed last year.  The four Floridians joined the New Englanders, both looking for their first ever regional title.  They faced three equally hungry teams, and history.

The Dees and Saints had a grand opening to their day, as forwards Matt Wood and Patrick Dean led the combo to a 52-7 victory over Atlanta.  The Hosts, meanwhile, were trying to keep the streak of hosts winning trophies going.  The Tigers had held sway over Michael Hoffman and the Eagles, in a game where ball movement was in nearly impeccable form.  Erik Hansen and midfielder Stu McKenzie moved the ball like butter, and North Carolina kicked things off with two-goal win over the game and ready DC outfit.

Onto the Sandwich games, and the Demons had a rollicking 54-point win over DC, with Dean and ruckman Geoff Hamshar dominating the Eagles despite a stout resistance from the capital boys.  On the other side of the giant net, the Tiges were attempting to keep pace, but Atlanta was throwing every little bit of great play at them and were running the skilled Carolinians off of their feet.  Jonathan Rosenfeld proved to be the fastest man on the track, kicking goals and creating chances for the likes of George Huntzicker and RVA Lions’ loanee Darren Green.  Defensive stalwart Braden Medders stood tallest, and the Kookas notched their second win over NC for the year, 34-24.

Boston was in the ol’ catbird seat for the final round, and there was the possibility of a three-way tie if the Tigers and Kookaburras would’ve won their third matches by good margins.  The Eagles would be one spoiler to that, as Hoffman and opportunistic forward Sammy Wloszczowski led the way in a 46-8 victory.

The Demons and Saints, however, were holding up their end of the bargain.  Yea, for Hansen was still his normal Revo superstar self en route to best-and-fairest.  But Boston shot out to an early lead, and though the kicking was not terrible accurate, Dean and company controlled the offense and they stomped home 28-2 winners, raising their first-ever regional title in the process.

North Carolina 5.4.34 def DC Eagles 3.4.22
Boston 7.10.52 def Atlanta 1.1.7
Atlanta 5.4.34 def North Carolina 3.6.24
Boston 8.7.55 def DC Eagles 0.1.1
DC Eagles 6.10.46 def Atlanta 1.2.8
Boston 3.11.28 def North Carolina 0.2.2

1st: Boston (3-0)
2nd: North Carolina (1-2, 71.4%)
3rd: DC Eagles (1-2, 71.1%)
4th: Atlanta (1-2, 40%)

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