The Western Magpies are officially back in town and made a statement to the rest of the QAFL clubs with an emphatic victory over ladder leader Palm Beach-Currumbin at Palm Beach on Saturday. The dominant 53 point victory moved the Pies to third on the ladder and inflicted by far the biggest defeat of the year on the previous high flying Lions, whose only previous loss was a narrow defeat at Morningside.
The 19.12-126 to 10.13-73 victory was a 91 point turnaround from the round 5 clash when the Lions carved up the Pies to the tune of a 38 point victory.
It was the Lions outside run and pace that troubled the Pies in their first clash but on Saturday the Magpies closed down the Lions' runners and gave them no space and applied constant pressure to comprehensively win the midfield battles and contested ball.
Whenever the Lions gained possession the Magpies rolled up to the ball carrier and then manned up quickly to deny their opponents space and time.
Then when the Pies gained possession they moved the ball quickly and were prepared to run to space and overlap and it was the PBC defenders who were powerless to stop the onslaught.
The Pies fought their way to a valuable 21 point lead at half time then in a display of hard contested football and hard running booted 7 goals to the Lions 3 to have a match winning 46 point lead at the last change.
It was an even more meritorious victory when the Pies team was disrupted with the late withdrawals of Richard Wenham and Nick Barling, with hamstring tightness and back spasms respectively. In came regular Senior player Aaron Maricic and young tall Charlie Pershouse for his first game in the Seniors.
Both did their job and Pershouse in particular did a fine job when thrust into the role of pinch hitting ruckman to help out Jadan Morton, who rucked for long periods in another tireless performance. That Pershouse has not played in that role in Reserves this year speaks volumes for his potential as a key player for the Magpies in coming years.
Livewire rover Matt Sondergeld continues his good recent form with another fine game on ball and will have come under the notice of the Redland selectors with recent good games for the Pies, hitting the scoreboard and tackling ferociously.
Brodie Easton showed what he is capable of with plenty of possessions on a wing and was a conduit from defence to the forwards.
Up forward the imposing figure of Brent Staker gave the Pies a focal point and his presence lifts the Pies whenever he plays--he finished with five goals-- and the recalled Sam Copland made the most of his opportunities to boot 4 goals, including 2 exceptional finishes from the sideline to replicate his 4 goal haul at the same venue last year.
In midfield Ben Jaenke-Cain and Co-captain Lachlan Woods won plenty of hard football and Woods past few matches have been his best and most consistent for some time as he relished his renewed confidence and enjoyment of the game.
The back line was back to its uncompromising best of 2015 with fullback Chris Hunt, CHB Brady Allen and the evergreen Tim McEvoy at half-back shutting down the dangerous Lions forwards, with Allen's penetrating kicks to set up attack a highlight.
The Magpies will need to re-focus quickly as they face a dangerous opponent in traditional rival Wilston Grange at Stafford on Saturday and a win will consolidate the Pies in the top three on the ladder.
Senior Coach Nathan Clarke had this to say to the QAFL Media:
“We certainly played well, which is pretty exciting for us, but I think we have been lucky as well, in that Mt Gravatt and Palm Beach have both been missing some key players.
“Yeah so far it is [the best win I have coached]. You go down there, and you really go after them, which they have probably been facing for five or six weeks now.
“The boys got on top in the stoppages, especially in the third quarter. They are a hard running side, and our guys are a pretty determined bunch, and were able to make it difficult for them to move the footy. It was a really good team effort.
“You only have to be five per cent off in this comp, everyone is beating everyone.”
Western Magpies 5.3 - 33 | 8.8 - 56 | 15.10 - 110 | 19.12 - 126
Palm Beach Currumbin Lions3.0 - 18 | 5.5 - 35 | 8.6 - 54 | 10.13 - 73
Best: Sondergeld, Easton, Hunt, Jeanke-Cain, Copland, Woods
Goals: Staker 5, Copland 4, Sondergeld, Woods, Saunders 2, Lewis, D.Mitchell, Dickfos, Jeanke-Cain 1