Following last weeks memorable win, The Western Magpies have another crucial QAFL clash when they travel to the Gold Coast to play the fourth placed Palm Beach-Currumbin Lions.
The fierce rivals from Pineapple Hotel Cup days resume battle on the Lions home turf in a match in which the victor will take another step towards a spot in the Top 5 at the business end of the year.
In a competition with two early runaway leaders, the fight for the remaining 3 finals places is a bun-fight at present with crucial games every week. After a difficult opening few rounds against ladder leaders, the Pies have winnable matches coming up and a victory on Saturday could set up their season and an assault on finals.
The Pies confidence will be boosted with their determined come from behind win last week but with six forced changes, the side will need to regroup for the clash. Out are key defenders Luke Scott (unavailable) and Chris Hunt (rolled ankle at training) *Late change - Update* - Chris Hunt now available as ankle has pulled up ok and speedy wingman Sonny Aneet with illness. Three Redlands listed players in CHF Tom Michael, small forward Jak Williams (recalls to the NEAFL) and young ruckman Liam Dwyer suffered a broken finger last Saturday.
Both Michael and Williams were good last week with Williams kicking a pressure last quarter goal.
The Pies will miss Scott and Hunt and with speedster Aaron Maricic still required for Lions Reserves duties the Pies will miss Aneet’s speed through the middle.
Into the side come full-back Hayden Thick and half backs Luke Mitchell and Sean Mewing, all returning from injury. Mitchell was good in the Reserves last week after a week off and Mewing returns after one match in the Reserves after recovering from long term injury. Ben Hooper will come onto one wing after good Reserves form Jai Humphrey also comes in for his first Senior game for the Magpies.
Coach Glenn Humphrey has yet to settle on his side and has only named a squad at present.
Thick will cover for Hunt in the backline and with Mewing likely to slot across the half back line it may free Matt Davis to go back to the half forward line to cover for the missing Michael after a good game across half back. The Pies had a good spread of goalkickers last week and will need a similar output from all forwards and midfielders if they are to kick a winning score.
PBC reportedly are a different side than in previous seasons , with a young team with pace. However, in the past the Magpies have done well at Palm Beach and on a smallish ground will need to win the midfield battles to be a chance of victory. Drew Mitchell has been versatile and can play in defence or in the middle and his 2 last quarter goals last week as a midfielder were crucial in the Pies overrunning Surfers Paradise. Co-captains Callum Carseldine and Lachlan Woods have been fierce at the contest in recent matches and will need to lead from the front for the Pies.
It's not quite be backs-to-the-wall for the Pies but with key players missing it gives other players a great opportunity in the seniors to put in a big effort to overcome the Lions on their home turf.
Western Magpies vs PBC Lions at Salk Oval, Saturday May 23 - 2pm
B: Jai Humphrey - Sean McEvoy - Richard Wenham
HB: Sean Mewing - Doug Lawrence - Matt Davis
C: Ben Hooper - Ben Jeanke-Cain - Luke Mitchell
HF: Val Pope - Alex Dickfos - Sam Copland
F: Matt Thompson - Brady Allen - Tom Ielasi
Foll: Dom Beer - Callum Carseldine (c) - Lachland Woods (c)
Int: Drew Mitchell - Tim McEvoy - Hayden Thick - Chris Hunt