THE SECOND GOLDEN ERA
The Western Magpies have had a second Golden Era with 3 premierships from 2006 to 2014. There was a period between the Golden Eras of the 1970s/80s and the 2006-14 era when Sherwood/Western Magpies had had a rocky road with few successes but were also treated poorly by the administrators of AFL in Queensland.
To lay the foundation of the second Golden Era the period between the Eras needs to be told to set the background for the clubs recent successes.
BETWEEN THE GOLDEN ERAS
The Western Magpies reformed as a Senior Club in their own right 1999 after Sherwood, promoted to the QAFL in 1982, had been shifted from the QAFL after 5 years in the bottom half of the ladder (the Reserves were regular finalists) to the Gold Coast League in 1988 then after 2 years in that league moved to the State Association for one year before the QAFL insisted that Sherwood and QAF club Western District amalgamate to form West Brisbane in 1991. West Brisbane competed for another five years, with many Sherwood juniors playing for the club which won the QAFL flag in 1996 then due to financial pressure withdrew. Sherwood junior Corey Lambert won the Grogan Medal in 1996.
There was no senior club based at Chelmer until the Western Magpies were born in 1999 (see Paul Grentell’s recent story on the birth of the Western Magpies). The QAFL insisted that the club be named the Western Magpies in order to encompass all the western suburbs of Brisbane and the old Western Districts club, but Sherwood’s black and white colours were adopted.
The Magpies played for 2 years in the South Queensland Association, under coaches Kevin Kluver and ex-Footscray rover Geoff Jennings, finishing fifth both times, before being promoted to the newly named Queensland State League, the top tier of football in Queensland. Geoff Jennings coached the side for several years, then Damien Carroll.
The club struggled in the bottom half of the ladder but had some memorable victories, most notably defeating the Brisbane Lions Reserves in 2002 before a huge crowd at Chelmer, with a young Peter Kilroy among the best players in that victory. Players of note in this era were Dean Parkin, Michael Blackmore, Tyson Kenny and two youngsters who would be instrumental in the resurgence of the Magpies inAdam Gillespie and Chris Mihalopoulos, who would go on to be a 10 year captain and 3-time premiership player.
Despite the club improving in each year in the State league, being better performed than some other clubs (Reserves and under 18s regular finalists), being financially sound and producing 3 players who were drafted to AFL clubs in 2004 (Pat Garner and Marty Pask to the Lions and Ed McDonnell to St Kilda), the AFLQ relegated the Magpies to Division 2 at the end of 2004. The reasons for this have yet to be fully explained!!!
In Division 2 the club quickly found its feet again with a final appearance in 2005, and Reserves and Under 18 premierships, to lay the foundation for the next period of the club’s success.
THREE FLAGS IN SIX YEARS—SECOND GOLDEN ERA
The run of three flags in 6 years commenced in 2006 when Western Magpies and Noosa were the two best teams in the league and inevitably played off for the premiership at Carrara. The Pies were coached by Paul Grentell who instilled a great belief in the side and had them playing a disciplined brand of football. The match was tightfor three quarters but the Magpies held a slender lead going into the last quarter and took control to kick 5 unanswered goals to win quite comfortably in the end, 19.13-127 to Noosa 11.10-76.
Reid Dobson was named Best on Ground and he kicked a couple of long 50 metre goals on the run during the match, one in the last quarter which sealed the flag for the Magpies. Others to stand out were Luke Scott, Tim McEvoy, Jim Rozynski, Ian Carroll and Brett Gwyther. Little did the team know but Brett Gwyther was soon diagnosed with cancer and passed away 5 months after the Grand Final—the club instituted the BG Award in recognition of his determination and never say die attitude and it is still a most treasured award at the football club.
The Pies lost the Grand Final to Palm Beach-Currumbin at Carrara in 2007 in windy conditions—kicking against the wind in the first quarter the Pies were 7 goals down and virtually out of the contest at half time when held kicking with the wind in the second quarter.
The 2008 flag is arguably the best flag because the Magpies were underdogs and were 40 points behind early in the third quarter against now bitter rivals Palm Beach-Currumbin. The Magpies had ended PBC’s 39 match winning streak about 3 rounds out from the finals but limped into the finals and won their way into the decider the hard way, winning two knockout semi finals on the way.
On the big Broadbeach ground Palm Beach-Currumbin controlled the first half to lead by 28 points at half time and when they kicked the first 2 goals of the third term the Pies were 40 points behind. A simple missed goal from a Palm Beach player who arrogantly decided to roll the ball to the goals from 15 metres out which did a “Warney” and turned at right angles to hit the post each was the reprieve the Pies needed.
Spurred on by CHF Josh Barton, who kicked 2 telling goals, then a 60 metre bomb from Sean Mewing had the Pies sensing a famous victory. PBC decided to defend their 23 point three quarter time lead with extra players in defence and this allowed the Magpies to control the midfield and launch attack after attack. The Pies whittled the lead down and early in time on Luke Scott took a strong mark and then missed a goal that would put the Pies in front. PBC missed 2 simple opportunities to seal the game and then a Luke Scott snap out of the pack put the Pies in front for the first time at the 30 minute mark of the last quarter.
The siren sounded as PBC were streaming toward goal and the jubilant Magpie supporters engulfed their team in scenes of jubilation. Final scores were Pies 16.8-104 to PBC 14.17-101.
Best players were Jim Rozynskion ball, CHF Josh Barton, 16 year old ruckman Gerard Moore, half forwards Luke Scott and Val Pope, winger Ben Heffernan-Roper and defenders Sean Mewing, Hayden Dowley, Todd Dunn and skipper Chris Mihalopoulos.
Following the 2008 Premiership, the Western Magpies were promoted to the AFLQ top flight but with several key player losses the Pies again found the going tough. In 2 years the Pies did not win a game and suffered some big defeats but in reality should have won about 6 of those matches. The Magpies heirachy decided to build for the future and blood young players, but this meant a number of large losses which resulted in Paul Grentell being moved on.
However, at the end of 2010, the goalposts were shifted again with the formation of the NEAFL.
The Magpies decided to drop down a level to QLD Division 1 (Pineapple Hotel Cup) to ensure the survival of the football club and with some prescience had the view that the landscape in south-east Queensland would change within 5 years. This has come true, only it took 3 years for the changes to occur to the formation of the current QAFL.
With new senior coach Peter McClennan at the helm after 2 years guiding a very competitive Reserves team in the AFLQ, the Magpies bowed out of the finals in straight sets in 2011.
But the Pies were the team to beat in 2012 and duly reached the Grand Final, again against Palm Beach Currumbin, who had lost the 2011 decider to Noosa. PBC were also seething after several of their players were injured in a tough semi final between the clubs several weeks earlier.
PBC were a dangerous opponent in a number of respects, with some rough-house tactics expected from the Lions. However, it was the the Pies who attacked the football ferociously in the first quarter, led by hard nut Jim Rozynski, resilient onballer Tim McEvoy and skipper Chris Mihalopoulos in his last senior match for the club. The Magpies dominated the first three quarters, with small forwards Val Pope (5 goals) and Matt Thompson (4 goals) and key forward Alex Dickfos (3 goals) all kicking straight to have the Pies 10 goals up at three quarter time. The defence led by Ed McDonnell, Hayden Thick, Lachlan Woods, Conrad Hudghton and Will Fozard was miserly for the first three quarters and Dom Beer, Gerard Moore and Dylan McDonald were strong in ruck and around ground.
PBC finally blew up early in the last quarter with an unsavoury brawl with PBC players attempting to strike the magpies players, with Jim Rozynski and Chris Mihalopoulos the targets.
With the match in their keeping , the Pies eased off and PBC kicked some late goals to flatter the final margin, Pies winning 19.12 - 126 to 14.15-99.
During this era the Western Magpies also won Reserves premierships in 2005 (undefeated), 2006 and 2007 and were runners up in 2008, 2012 and 2013.
The Under 18s won premierships in AFLQ First Division in 2005 and 2010 and were runners up in 2009, and the 3rds won the 2007 Premiership before re-forming as the Woodsmen to win Premierships in 2009 and 2014.
The Western Magpies were re-admitted to a revamped QAFL under new coach Glenn Humphrey who had coached in the Northern Territory and after a promising start to the year fell away to finish with 5 victories.
The Pies enjoyed a finer season in 2015, finishing second on the ladder with 15 wins and 3 losses, 2 of those in the first 2 matches of the season
A highlight was the Magpies defeating Morningside for the first time in over 25 years. The Pies unfortunately had a disappointing exit from the finals with two straight losseswhen they had last quarter fade-outs. Other highlights were Captain Callum Carseldine winning the club’s second ever Grogan Medal and Carseldine, Val Pope, Doug Lawrence and Luke Scott being named in the QAFL Team of the Year.
Halfway through 2016, the Magpies sit 5th on the ladder and looking to build into a strong second half of the season - Go Pies!
Much of this information has been obtained from "In Black and White--A History of the Sherwood and Western Magpies Football Clubs 1956-2011" written by Tony and Geraldine Massey in 2011--copies still available--a good read!!