The Western Magpies experienced a reality check by an impressive Labrador at Chelmer on Saturday when given a lesson in running and precision football by the Tigers. The Magpies were very disappointing in going down by 126 points, 25-15-165 to 5-9-39.
When the QAFL draw was released the Pies knew the the first 2 weeks of the season would let them know where they stood but not the way it has turned out. The Pies were very good last week against Premiers Morningside but were equally as bad against runners-up Labrador a week later in Round 2. The home team just could not muster the ability to apply constant pressure at the contest and were guilty of returning to bad old habits with poor decision making and disposal allowing the visitors to take control after the first 10 minutes of the match.
Signs were positive as the Magpies dominated the first 10 minutes with about 10 inside 50s and good pressure applied but could only add 3 behinds. The next 5 minutes saw the Tigers take advantage of several turnovers to bang on 4 goals and the Pies were unable to recover and were then blown away with the Tigers virtually sealing the match with a 10 goal opening term.
The Pies rallied briefly at the start of the second quarter to kick 3 unanswered goals to give some hope of a comeback but with midfield and ruck dominance Labrador were able to kick the next 5 goals to lead by 12 goals at halftime.
Coach Glenn Humphrey swung some positional changes at halftime with Hayden Thick into the ruck and some changes to the midfield rotations but it was to no avail as Labrador were well on top to gradually extend their lead in the second half.
Glenn Humphrey lamented the lack of effort and mental strength of his side who were warned before the match they needed to bring their A grade game to the contest.
“We didn’t put it on the scoreboard, we had that turnover at half forward where they went down and kicked the goal you could see them deflate then and there. They got on a bit of a roll and we did nothing to stop them.
“All the things we did to get the first three goals in the second quarter, we stopped again.
“It’s a attitude thing, it’s something these guys will have to learn.”
That said Labrador look to be the team to beat this year with a good mix of tall mobile players and smaller slick runners to complement a strong ruck division and solid goal to goal line.
The Tigers controlled the ruck and had first use of the football which had the Pies back-pedalling for the majority of the match. The majority of Labrador's goals came from their midfield brigade.
Val Pope was easily the Pies best with a non stop effort ranging up and down the ground, Callum Carseldine was in and under all day, Tyler Jones and Luke Mitchell worked hard across half back, Hayden Thick kept his opponent to 3 goals and then tried to lift his side in ruck and Matt Davis also kept presenting for most of the match across half forward.
The Magpies must re-group for another big match on Anzac Day against 2014 finalist Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, who snuck home against Mt Gravatt by a point on the weekend.
The Pies will gradually regain a number of key players over then next few weeks, with the club missing 16 players on the weekend through injury and unavailability (work, exams and wedding).