The Western Magpies host 2014 QAFL runners-up Labrador Tigers at Chelmer on Saturday and will be looking to improve on their good early season form.
The Pies will need to bring their "A" game against the Tigers who were pushed by a resurgent Sandgate last week before winning by 30 points on the Gold Coast.
Labrador will be stronger with several inclusions and the Magpies will have to continue to apply the pressure at the contest for the full 120 minutes that they showed against Morningside in Round 1.
20 year old CHB Doug Lawrence won the QAFL Rising Star Award for his round 1 performance as he kept key Panther centre half-forward Ryan Johnson to 2 goals. He received good support from fullback Hayden Thick who also held star full forward Kent Abey to 2 goals. These feats went a long way to keeping the Pies in the contest last week.
Lawrence shows maturity and toughness far greater than his age and will be a key player for the Pies for years to come.
Western Magpies were forced to make 2 changes to last week's team with Jake Goodall called up by Redlands after his best game for the Pies last week and Aaron Maricic playing for Queensland U18s. In comes promising Under 17 player Sam Copeland for his Senior debut and he will play across half back and Joel Workman also will make is official Senior debut after impressive practice match form.
Joel distinguished himself by going to Melbourne and doing the pre-season with Hawthorn Reserves affiliate Box Hill in the VFL and from all reports his determination to improve his skills and fitness impressed all and he just missed out on being rookie listed at the VFL club. This effort has been rewarded with improved performances for the Magpies in the pre-season that has lead to his selection for Saturday's match.
The return of Tim McEvoy has added steel and experience to the Pies midfield and with Callum Carseldine returning from a knee reconstruction, he is only going to improve as he gets match fitness under his belt. The rejuvenated Pies midfield brigade with their relentless pressure from last week looks good to match the Tigers. This has been an aspect of the Magpies game that has improved markedly compared to 2014 and has allowed the Pies to get a fair share of the ball to provide their forwards with goal kicking opportunities.
Alex Dickfos kicked 2 goals last week and could have bagged a few more. Pleasingly he worked hard up forward and will only get better with more matches, while Matt Davis as a lead up forward had his best game for the club in over a year last week.
Matt Thompson's experience and footy nous up forward created goal kicking opportunities and his disposal is usually spot on whether passing or kicking for goal (although the short arm handball was too slick on one occasion for one umpire!!).
Dom Beer in ruck is irrepressible and always works hard around ground and his skills below the knee are excellent for a big man.
Tom Ielasi will likely get a run-with role, Redlands listed Tyler Jones was impressive last week at ground level and Co-captain Lachlan Woods was tough at the contest as usual but needs to temper some of his aggression to ensure he does not give away any free-kicks.
The Pies need to back up with another big performance and a win against one of the QAFL's big guns will give the side further confidence they can be a real force in the QAFL this year.
The Pies will likely welcome back key recruit Luke Scott next match and several other players are returning from injury next round including midfielders Mitch Stallard and Brodie Easton and key defender Chris Hunt is about 2-3 weeks away.
Western Magpies vs Labrador Tigers - Chelmer 2pm - Saturday 18 April
B: Luke Mitchell - Hayden Thick - Sean McEvoy
HB: Tyler Jones (R) - Doug Lawrence - Sam Copeland
C: Joel Workman - Ben Jaenke-Cain - Sonny Aneet
HF: Tom Ielasi - Matt Davis - Val Pope
F: Matt Thompson - Alex Dickfos - Jack Williams (R)
Foll: Dom Beer - Tim McEvoy - Callum Carseldine (Co-Capt)
Int: Lachlan Woods (Co-Capt) - Richard Wenham - Drew Mitchell - Laim Dwyer (R)