The Western Magpies Reserves will try to put an ordinary performance last week behind them and bounce back against an equally vulnerable Labrador at Labrador on Saturday.
The Pies have not met their pre-season expectations but neither have last year's Premiers Labrador who have quickly come back to the field this year--the Tigers are on 3 wins and the Pies are at 2-3 after 5 rounds. The third placed team on the ladder is only on 3 wins so the Pies can really kick start their season with a victory on Saturday.
The Pies have five big inclusions in ruckman/forward Jadan Morton back from the Seniors, key defender Todd Billing, half back Luke de Nys, midfielder Blake McClennan and speedy winger Sonny Aneet returns to the club. The outs are Alex Dickfos back to Seniors, Hunter Heath and Jesse Pukallus both injured and youngters Sam Donovan and Matt Davis omitted.
Morton will add grunt in the ruck and with de Nys and McClennan both class players and likely to join the midfield mix the Pies look stronger than in recent weeks. McClennan has had plenty of Senior experience but has had a delayed start to the season due to a niggling injury and will be jumping out of his skin to help lift the Pies.
Aneet provided plenty of leg speed to the Pie Seniors last year and it is good to see him back and he will give the midfield a boost.
It should have been a long week for the Magpies at training after an underwhelming performance last week and if there is any pride in the team they will bounce back hard to seek redemption and prove last week was an aberration.
Coach Quentin Johnson was bitterly disappointed in the effort from his side last week and will no doubt have laid down the law this week about what is required to be successful at this level.
There are a number of positional changes as well with the backline reorganised and it looks particularly strong with the return of Billing and the experienced Chris Devlin moving into defence. Ricky Dudley has been exceptional in his first year at the club and should continue his good form.
Joel Workman has been rewarded with solid form to start in the middle and the experienced Matt Hockley at CHF will marshall promising youngsters in Lachie Dennis, Dom Morrison and Charlie Pershouse to give the forward line a bit of youthful exuberence.
The Magpies season hangs in the balance and in a vital match must lift significantly to get the four points against a Labrador side that is not the same team as last year.
Western Magpies Reserves v Labrador at Labrador at 11.30 am on Saturday, May 14th
B: Chris DevlinSean McEvoy (VC) Gabe McKinnon (Co-Capt)
HB: Ricky Dudley Todd Billing Jae Humphrey
C: Sonny AneetJoel Workman Jamie Page
HF: Lachlan DennisMatt Hockley (Co-Capt.) Dom Morrison
F: Stuart HubbertCharlie Pershouse Blake McClennan
Rucks: Jadan Morton, Matt Mazarolle
Rover: Brodie Easton
I/c: Josh Burton, Trent Walker, Geoff Gibb, Luke de Nys
Emerg: Matt Davis, Michael Hyndman, Sam Donovan