Lehigh Valley Crocodiles vs.
New York Magpies
Played March 25, 2000 in Nazareth, Pa.
The first proper game of the season for the Lehigh Valley Crocodiles Australian Football Club was played at the Nazareth High School on Saturday afternoon, the 25th of March. The New York Magpies, fourth place finishers in the 1999 nationals, arrived to play what they thought would be an easy game. Sporting many Australians and an enormous amount of experience, they were certain that it would be a comfortable game and a decisive victory was inevitable. The crocodiles, however, had other plans! The Crocs, being much younger and much less experienced (this being only the second year of the club's existence) made up for any shortcomings with pure desire and toughness. The game commenced in slippery conditions after a brief and unexpected rain shower. Consequently, the game was a little sloppy at first, but the Crocs dominated the play around the field. Poor kicking, however, was making it difficult for the home team to create a lead. New York, with only four shots at goal for the quarter, found themselves in front - 2 goals, 2 behinds, 14 points to the Crocs 1 goal, 7 behinds, 13 points. It was clear that if the Lehigh Valley Crocs were going to be competitive that kicking for goal would have to be better. The sun came out in time for the second quarter to begin and New York started to raise their intensity. They started to control the aerial duels and with their ability to kick long and straight began to put a lot of pressure on the Crocs defense. If it were not for the tireless efforts of the Crocs midfielders who constantly ran the ball out of defense, New York would have led easily at the half. However, this was a close game and it was evident that the fitter team would win the game. The score at the half saw Lehigh Valley in front 6 goals, 9 behinds, a total of 47 points to New York 5 goals, 4 behinds, a total of 34 points. The third quarter began with quick goals kicked by both teams. New York then made some changes, which seemed to change the game dramatically, and they kicked three quick unanswered goals. Lehigh Valley made some changes, too, in an effort to stop the onslaught and as the team steadied, was able to kick a late goal. The score at the end of the third quarter saw New York in front 9 goals, 10 behinds, 64 points to Lehigh Valley 8 goals, 11 behinds, 59 points. With New York in front by five points, the fourth quarter looked set to be a cracking contest. Within two minutes the New Yorkers has scored a goal and it seemed for an instance that they would run away with the game. However, the Crocs had been challenged by their coach to play 20 minutes of tough, desperate football. The New York goal seemed to spark the Crocs into life and they began to run and run hard. The Valley team's defense started to get on top of their opponents and soon New York's defiance was under a lot of pressure. The New Yorkers became tired and consequently their skills dropped as the Crocs fired away at goal. In the end, the Crocs had won a thrilling match. The final score was Lehigh Valley 11 goals, 15 behinds, a total of 81 points to New York 11 goals, 10 behinds, a total of 76 points. Goalkickers for Lehigh were B. Meichur 2, R. Giabardo 2, Bobby Fehr 2 and 1 each to Jason Amstutz, John Schultheis, Nolan Berlew, Todd Messinger and Jason Fregar. Best players were Nolan Berlew, Dustin Jones, Jason Fregar, Butch Meichur, Todd Messinger, Jason Amstutz, John Shultheis, Josh Loring and Adam Roth.