The Western Magpies will be looking to hand the Morningside Panthers their third straight QAFL defeat when they meet at the Nest on Sunday at 2pm. With the Panthers and Magpies sitting 4th and 5th on the ladder respectively, this week shapes as a crucial outing for both sides, who have experienced mixed fortunes in 2016 to date, and a win could secure a Top 5 spot with 1 game to come before the mid point of the season.
The Magpies got off to a slow start in 2016 with an opening loss to the Vultures, and also letting one slip against the Cats - while the Panthers started beautifully with a 5-0 stretch to start the year. However, recent weeks have seen a contrast in form as the Pies have bounced back with 2 wins on the trot, whilst the Panthers will be licking their wounds after consecutive heavy losses.
While it goes without saying 'beware the wounded Panther' - the Magpies have looked up and about on the track this week and and 'beware the resurgent Magpies' is also a worthy cliche in this instance!
Into the side comes speedster Sonny Aneet after two quality games in the reserves, Drew Mitchell returning from injury to add a quality goalkicking mid-fielder to the mix and Chris Hunt to fill a key defensive post, also in his return from injury. After an excellent display in the reserves last week, Cory Hopkins also comes into the side adding some outside class and speed to the mix in a side known to have plenty of grunt in the engine room.
Out of the side go Val Pope and Mitch Stallard due to unavailability, Brodie Easton back to the Reserves and Brent Staker due to another hamstring niggle that continues to frustrate the big man, who has been putting plenty of work in on the track.
There is a bit of a new look to the lineup this week, not just with new or returning faces - but also with how the Pies will line up. Regular defender and Round 6 Rising Star Nominee, Ryhs Bridge has been moved onto the wing to exploit his run, carry and excellent disposal - while the bigger body of Brady Allen fills a key defensive post at Centre Half Back, where he offers size, strength, aggression and a potent left foot to launch an attack from the back half.
Drew Mitchell comes into the side on a flank, but will no doubt find himself part of the midfield mix, while Luke Scott will look to start where he finished last week by hitting the scoreboard regularly from Centre Half Forward.
Up front, Dickfos will be looking for another strong showing this week after good signs vs UQ, and will hope to finish off his hard work in front of goal this week to apply scoreboard pressure to the Panthers.
The Magpies this boast a host of on-ball options, so the starting on-ball division of Carseldine, Crawford and Sondergeld will be looking to work hard early to establish ascendancy before taking a well earned break while the likes of Mitchell, McEvoy, Hopkins, Jeanke-Cain et al push through to maintain the run needed to outwork their opposition.
Tackling machine Richard Wenham lines up on the wing and will be looking to make an impact around the stoppage exits with his superb pressure game, while Doc Davis lines up in the familiar half back role where his form has been consistent for an extended period.
The bench is a mix of speed and size with Aneet and Hopkins balancing Billing and Barling, offering versatility to the side. Barling can offer a much needed chop out to Beer in the ruck, and also offer a marking option up forward while Aneet will be looking to light up Chelmer with his speed in his return to the senior lineup.
It promises to be a cracking contest on Sunday afternoon in front of a big home crowd with plenty of junior support expected to be down at the groundand an U/6's game to be played at half-time.
To celebrate AFL's Indigenous Round., former Sherwood Magpie star, Greg Butler will toss the coin for the Seniors match. Greg was the eldest of seven boys who all played with Sherwood. He was a talented indigenous player who represented Queensland at all junior levels and played in four premiership sides with the Club before going to Kedron. There he played in the 1980 premiership side and totalled over two hundred QAFL games.
Current indigenous players Chris Hunt and Aaron Maricic will also lead the side onto the ground.
Western Magpies vs Morningside Panthers Sunday 29 May - 2pm @ Chelmer
B: Maricic - Hunt - L.Mitchell
HB: Davis - Allen - McEvoy
C: Bridge - Carseldine (C) - Wenham
HF: D.Mitchell - Scott - Woods (C)
F: Jeanke-Cain - Dickfos - Lewis
Foll: Beer - Crawford - Sondergeld
Int: Aneet - Barling - Billing - Hopkins