NERIMBERA Magpies' player James Swaddling did his team no favours when they were defeated by Bluebirds 5-1 at Webber Park on Saturday night. Swaddling had a brain explosion just after the midway mark of the first half and was marched from the field.
It was hard to determine what had occurred but it seemed to involve Swaddling's annoyance at being penalised for kicking Bluebirds' goalkeeper, and coach, Andrew Poyser. Swaddling wasn't happy and his remonstrations with the referee resulted in a yellow card.
But Swaddling wasn't finished and was in the referee's face again not long after. His ongoing objections to the initial ruling left the referee no choice. He reached for the red and Swaddling was off.
It was a shame, because the Magpies were right in it. They started the game hard and fast and opened the scoring when a Poyser clearance went wrong and was hammered home by a grateful Magpies' striker.
A beautiful mid-range shot from just outside the box to beat the keeper high and in the corner by Lleyton Hawkes for Bluebirds a short time later evened the ledger.
Then the game settled, with Bluebirds largely controlling the pace and movement to continually find space and press the Magpies' goal. In one such attack, big striker Todd Batley was brought down in the box. Batley slammed the Bluebirds' penalty low and left into the net.
And that's how the first half finished, 2-1 to Bluebirds.
But in the second half, a man down, the Magpies were overrun. A second goal to Batley and then goals to Darren Holmes and Damien Rogers sealed the Bluebirds' victory.