The Western Magpies were given an early wake-up call when they were comprehensively beaten by Morningside in their second pre-season hitout at Yeronga on Saturday.
Forced to play on the very small No 2 oval at Yeronga due to overnight rain forcing the closure of the main oval, the match was again played in windy conditions with several wet, slippery patches on the ground.
The Pies were in the game for a quarter and a half before the Panthers took control late in the second quarter with a flurry of goals to set up a handy lead. The Magpies trailed by over 8 goals at one stage early in the third quarter before staging a comeback late in the third quarter and lifted further in the final quarter to match their opponents but the damage had been done. Final scores were Morningside 14-4-88 to Western Magpies 7-7-49
The Panthers had several tall marking options and the Pies smaller defenders were always under the pump with the ball coming in long and direct from the Panthers midfield - giving the Pies undersized defenders little chance.
The Magpies were guilty of overusing the ball and were far too indirect which resulted in a crowded forward line and numerous turnovers which proved costly. Problems with this sort of indirect football is always magnified on a small ground, and the Panthers worked hard defensively to fill space.
Morningside gave the Pies a lesson in direct football which enabled their key forwards to compete one out against their smaller opponents.
Coach Glenn Humphrey lamented his side's poor decision making and poor disposal and will look to rectify this in coming weeks. He said some valuable lessons were still learnt from the match with several players tried in new positions and new players given extended time on the ground.
One pleasing aspect was the form of youngster Brodie Easton who was a fringe senior player last year but gained plenty of the football from a wing to stake his claim to a more permanent position in the side. New midfielder Gareth Crawford was also busy as was Tim McEvoy around ground as he tried to lift his teammates.
Brent Staker did some good things in his first game for the Pies and was rested in the second half.
The Pies were without key tall Nick Barling (wedding) co captains Callum Carseldine (virus) and Lachlan Woods (unavailable) and the experienced Sean Mewing was also unavailable.
The Magpies have one more pre-season match this weekend against an as yet unnamed opponent at a venue to be announced.
After a week off for the Easter break, Round 1 at Mt Gravatt is just around the corner on April 2nd.