The Western Magpies have won a season defining contest overcoming defending Premiers Labrador by one point in a thrilling finish on Saturday afternoon at Labrador. The Pies came from 11 points down with 3 minutes to play to kick 2 goals to steal a magnificent victory against a side that the Pies have found difficult to beat.
In fact this was the Magpies first win over Labrador at this level, and completes the full set as the Magpies have now defeated every side in the QAFL since their their admission in 2009-10 and re-admission from 2014 onwards.
The win was vital in the context of a congested QAFL ladder and a very even competition, with the Pies sitting mid table at 3-3.
The match was an arm wrestle from the first bounce to the final siren with the greatest margin being the Pies 15 point lead at the 10 minute mark of the second quarter.
The Pies were lifted by the inclusion of Brent Staker and he did not let down on his debut with 3 important goals and being a strong target across half forward.
The Pies were rocked before that match with the withdrawal of key player Luke Scott with illness and were also missing Chris Hunt and Drew Mitchell with concussion. Todd Billing was called into the side after impressive Reserves form and did not let his team down with a solid match in defence against his old team where he was a regular senior player.
The match was a seesawing affair with the Pies getting on top in the second quarter only for the Tigers to fight back. The third quarter was again goal for goal then in the final quarter it looked like Labrador would run away with it, but the Pies dug in and refused to go away and with 3 minutes to play David Lewis was felled by a stray elbow across half forward and had to leave the field with a nasty head gash so Ben Jaenke-Cain stepped up and drilled a 40 metre goal to give the Pies hope.
A quick centre clearance resulted with the ball in the ever reliable Val Pope's hands and he kicked truly to give the Pies a 1 point lead. The Pies were able to hold on in a tense final 90 seconds for a memorable victory.
Midfield hard nut Gareth Crawford continues to get better each match to show why he is a multiple B & F winner in Victoria and was strong in the clinches all day, Cal Carseldine was back to his Grogan Medal winning best with a non stop display of contested football, Mitch Stallard showed why he is highly rated in midfield and across half forward and Brady Allen was good on a wing and is starting to be a consistent performer to the delight of his coaches who know what he is capable of.
Dom Beer gave his usual sterling effort for 120 minutes in ruck and around the ground and Redlands based Matt Sondergeld was again busy around the contests and up forward. Young high flyer Sam Copland was also lively up forward on his return to the side.
Brent Staker's inclusion gave the Magpies a big lift in confidence and they victory will be vital as the Pies get their season back on track. The Magpies host the winless, but improving UQ next Saturday before playing Morningside at Chelmer the following Sunday. The previously undefeated Morningside were surprisingly defeated by Surfers Paradise by 90 points on Saturday to throw the QAFL season wide open.
Labrador Tigers 3.1-19 | 8.3 - 51 | 10.5 - 65 | 12.9 - 81
Western Magpies 3.4 - 22 | 7.6 - 48 | 9.8 - 62 | 12.10 - 82
Best: G.Crawford, C.Carseldine, M.Stallard, B.Allen, D.Beer, M.Sondergeld
Goals: B.Staker 3, D.Lewis, V.Pope 2, M.Sondergeld, B.Jeanke-Cain, D.Beer, J.Goodall, S.Copland