Philadelphia Hawks Go Back-to-Back at Eastern Regional Championships

In a massive day of footy in Raleigh, the Philadelphia Hawks repeated their efforts of 2018, following up their inaugural ERT Championship to bring home the cup once again. Here’s how the action unfolded.

Check out all of the Hawks matches and more on the USAFL’s ERC Playlist!

Game 1: Philadelphia Hawks v Baltimore Dockers

Starting off the morning against the Baltimore Dockers, the first five minutes saw plenty of back and forth, with John Hinchen finally breaking it loose with a right foot goal from the front pocket to open the Hawks account for the day. A flurry of activity across the middle of the ground saw a few threats at both ends, but long marking chains from the Dockers were repelled by a stout Hawks back line. The last few minutes of the half saw a quick series of goals, with Hinchen following up with a second goal while Damien Holland slotted his first. At the other end, Baltimore’s Ian Payne drained a long goal from a free kick to keep the Dockers within striking distance. After the first twenty minutes, Philadelphia held on to a 15-point lead.

Opening up the second half, Chris Gough dropped a long ball to the center square for a Hinchen mark, nailing a short-range kick for his third for the day. Working through the middle of the field, the Dockers looked to get something going, but good pursuit from the Hawks and rushed kicks turned goal opportunities into behinds, including Jon “Coach” Loring’s pressure turning a point-blank chance from the Dockers into a touched behind. Good rotation and hard work through the contests from the likes of Greg Glasgow and Mark Cannatelli resulted in the Hawks holding the ball in the front half, but failing to capitalize. Payne sank a second goal with under five minutes remaining, but that wouldn’t be enough, as the Hawks kept pushing back every attack, cruising home to a 14-point margin of victory.

3.4
4.8 (32)
1.1
2.6 (18)

Game 2: Philadelphia Hawks v. Columbus Cats

Going into the afternoon game, the Hawks got to face the Columbus Cats, who had defeated the New York Magpies to open the day. Smart kicks moved the Hawks up the field, and while Adham Makki’s goal attempt was repelled by Columbus, youngster Rohan Crawley corralled the loose ball to feed a long hand pass to center square, with Aleks Fedoriw nudging it through to open the scoring. The resulting center bounce saw tough nut Brett Hester rove a Columbus tap to start a chain, resulting in Fedoriw slotting his second goal in under a minute’s time. Ryan Henry’s hard work through the contest led to another Hinchen goal, and soon after helped kick start an around-the ground chain that dropped to Holland in front of the sticks. The Hawks continued to be quicker in the contest, with Gough and Ted Heron combining to feed Fedoriw his hat trick goal for the half, heading into halftime up by 26.

A flurry of behinds and intermittent stoppages kicked off the second half, until Hinchen collected a loose ball out and kicked into the forward 50 to Des Cairns, who played on and, following an inventive handball to himself, slotted it for a goal. This set off a landslide of goals, as the Hawks continued to provide superior clearance from stoppages. Hinchen added to his total for the day, while Crawley added one of his own. Columbus was game, with two goals from Eric Politz, but another goal from Holland and a capstone goal from Jay Sacci nailed the coffin shut on Columbus.

5.3
10.8 (68)
1.1
3.3 (21)

Game 3: Philadelphia Hawks v New York Magpies

With the ERC Cup on the line, the Hawks had to either beat their long-term nemesis in the New York Magpies, who were fresh of a win against the Hawks in Philly two weeks prior, or at least keep within shooting distance for a win on percentage.

Glasgow charged through and cleared the recalled bounce, sending it into the forward fifty, setting the table for the Hawks to take the offensive. New York tried to push it out, but every rebound was stopped before reaching midfield, until a long drive to the front line found Fedoriw. For the second game of the day, he opened up the goals for the Hawks from close range. And for the second time in the day, this was followed by a massive team goal, going from end-to-end with Fedoriw being the beneficiary and putting the Hawks up by two goals. Plenty of back-and-forth in the middle of the half saw neither team gain a solid foothold in their attacking half. Down back, the stingy Philly backmen continually deflected and repelled Magpie attacks, while up front the Hawks took advantage of Magpie inexperience, with Crawley picking up a free kick for incorrect disposal and sending it in for a major. Hinchen added to the first half tally, and Makki pounded a long-distance goal from outside 50 to wrap up the first period 30 points in front.

For the third time in the day, the Hawks came away from the bounce and moved it forward to the hands of Aleks Fedoriw, who once again split the sticks. Ben Naylor would finally get the Magpies in the left-hand column with a hooking dribble kick, angering Jason Dunstall and the football gods. A second goal would follow closely, but after that, the Hawks went in to lockdown mode, only allowing one more behind across the next twelve minutes while adding a goal from Gough and keeping the ball in the forward fifty with a barrage of behinds. The high defensive pressure of the Hawks helped them round out the day with a 36-point victory, holding the opponent under 20 points for the second game on the day.

5.2
7.9 (51)
0.2
2.3 (15)

Next Up:

June 29, the Magpies seek revenge on their home ground in Yonkers as the Hawks head north for a round robin tournament with New York and the DC Eagles.

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