Match Report - N. Carolina Tigers v Baltimore Wash

EVENT: EAFL 2006 Regular Season Round 1
DATE: April 22, 2006.
LOCATION:  Old Farm Road Park, Durham NC
RESULT: North Carolina Tigers 13.13.(91) defeated Baltimore/Washington Eagles 4.4.(28)

Durham NC - April 23rd 2006  - The North Carolina Tigers become the first winners of EAFL Season 2006, in a convincing victory over the fancied Baltimore-Washington Eagles yesterday in Durham.  From the opening bounce, the Eagles fell victim to hard running and pressure, and had no answer to the enthusiasm of the younger Tigers.
Both sides had come to Durham really looking to begin the season well.    The Eagles had narrowly missed out on a finals berth at the USAFL Nationals in 2005, and the Tigers were fielding some exciting new recruits.    After pre-game rainstorms, as the 2pm bounce started, the two sides were clearly separate and apart as to how to approach the first big game.   After a scrambly few opening minutes, the Tigers goaled first and then began to dominate the centre square and the play around the packs.  Tigers Ruckman Michael Coysh created options, all of which gave the Tigers running players, led by Jon Perrett chances upfield.  With the ball and the ground still very wet, the Tigers went into the break with the early lead.
1Q: Tigers 2.5(17) to Eagles 1.0.(6)
The second quarter saw a re-set Eagles centre as they now lined up in numbers at the centre bounce and charged the centre.    Scrambly play again ensued, but within minutes the Tigers had put another score on the board thanks to the play of Perrett and veteran Wes McCallister.     Denis Ryan of the Eagles tried to create options, but fast tagging work by Tigers rover Matt Gordan interceded and again the Tigers goaled downfield. 
Half Time:  Tigers 5.8(38) to Eagles 2.1(13)
Half time gave both sides a chance to reflect on their position.  With the Third quarter being known in footy as the match winning quarter – the game was still in the balance as the now dry field became the battlefield for the team that wanted to win.   The Tigers forwards were re-set for the third quarter and with options aplenty, the ball winning of Perrett, Crilly and Gordan now very much in charge – it rained goals, including two from solid marks from Tiger newcomer Rob Syre-McCord.   As often happens in the game of footy, the team who wants it more, wins.   The Tigers lifted to new heights – with often 3 and 4 Tigers against one Eagle, the Tigers running game and handball ran circles around the hapless Eagles.     The Tigers backs led by the Tigers Captain Sean Doorhy and the experienced James Carter once again proved that they have learnt this game well and inspired all as they seemed to make selfless clearances out of defense.    When the 3rd quarter ended, the Tigers had completed a 6 goal demolition of the Eagles in 20 minutes. 
3Q  Tigers11.9(75) to Eagles 3.2(20)
It was to get worse for Baltimore.  After being 55 points behind at the last break, the final quarter began with another goal to Tigers forward Syre-McCord, and with Coysh dominating in the ruck, the Eagles were finding it hard not to look slow.   As the quarter continued, with the Tigers relentlessly making the Eagles look like it should have been time to leave, then McCallisters backline shepherd resulted in another goal to the Tigers.    The Tigers had drawn first blood, and despite all the critics had produced a brand of football that when played by experts is a thing of beauty.  Congratulations to the Tigers young players, who proved to themselves that they can indeed be winners.   Tigers fans at the game and around the world, got to see how far they had come since 2005.   But its game 1 of the new season – so maybe we should watch for something very interesting this year.
FINAL  Tigers 13.13.(91) to Eagles 4.4(28)
After the match, Tigers Coach Adam Coleman commented - “Being a part of a Footy team means every player must be part of a grand plan, and they must complete their role in the plan”  Coleman added that he was very pleased with the efforts of the newer Tigers players who all contributed.  He said -  “In particular, the choice of Tigers veteran Shaun Doorhy as Captain has a good move.  His passion for the team is always infectious, and at the half time break his words and leadership were mature and inspirational.”   “It’s the little things that always make the difference”,  said Coleman.
Tigers Best: A great team effort with Perrett,  and Syre-McCord outstanding.

Tigers:   Syre-McCord (4), Perrett (4), Harvey (2), McCallister (2), Gordan.
Eagles:  Boyd (2), Horsey, Goodman

Injuries: None.

- Wes McCallister

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