To paraphrase Steve Waugh, "an ugly win is better than a good loss".
The Western Magpies were made to work hard by an exuberant Sandgate who had come to play in their clash at Chelmer on Saturday.
The Pies extra class won the day as they had a hard fought 28 point victory, winning 14.13-97 to 11.3-69.
The home tweak were out of the blocks early to post the first three goals of the match but the Hawks steadied with 3 of their own to narrow the gap. In the second quarter the Pies struggled to get the ball through the Sandgate flood as the Hawks used a loose man in defence. In fact the Pies were held goalless for the quarter as Sandgate went into the long break with 9 point lead.
The Pies were making uncharacteristic errors as they tried to maintain possession to break through the visitors defensive wall.
Normal transmission was restored in the third quarter as the Pies booted five goals while keeping Sandgate scoreless in perfect football conditions. The Pies had a scare early in the final quarter - after kicking the first goal of the quarter to go what seemed like a comfortable 29 point lead, Sandgate played some scintillating football to boot three quick goals to trail by 11 points before the Pies steadied and then took control again to run out comfortable, if not convincing, 28 point victors.
Ben Jaenke-Cain was back to his best with a non-stop display all over the ground and had good support from Brodie Easton and Matt Davis on the wings. All three won plenty of possessions in midfield and pushing back to help out the defence. Easton keeps getting better with each game and Davis is recapturing his brilliant form from 2015.
David Lewis also played well in several positions forward and back and has also been a consistent player and ever reliable Luke Scott marshalled the defence as usual.
Luke Mitchell continues his fine season and must be in the reckoning in best and fairest voting as he has not had a bad game and keeps on mopping up and being creative out of defence.
Up forward Brent Staker often competed with 2 or 3 defenders but managed 3 goals and Sam Copland booted 3 important goals as well, 2 in the last quarter when Sandgate were threatening which gave the Pies breathing space.
Alex Dickfos kicked 2 goals but missed another 5 gettable goals and when he clicks he will boot the Pies to an important win in the near future.
Senior Coach Nathan Clarke had this to say:
“It was a really good win for us, we were pleased with it.
“I don’t think we played our best, but that is a credit to Sandgate, I’m surprised they haven’t won more games, our boys will definitely take a lot out of it.
“We nearly doubled their scoring shots, but it was just one of those games.
“We moved the ball a bit better in that third quarter. In the second quarter we got a bit spooked when they had a few numbers in front of the footy, which we rectified.”
The win coupled with Morningside's loss to Labrador moves the Pies to second on the ladder and seriously eyeing off top spot after Palm Beach-Currumbin were defeated by Surfers Paradise and are now only 4 points clear of the Pies.
Top spot will be in reach if the Pies can overcome a resurgent Labrador in what will an absolute cracker of a game at Chelmer next Saturday between arguably the two form sides of the competition with the Pies in a 5 win streak and the Tigers enjoying a 4 match winning streak.
Western Magpies 5.2 - 32 | 5.5 - 35 | 10.7 - 67 | 14.13 - 97
Sandgate Hawks 3.2 - 20 | 7.2 - 44 | 7.2 - 44 | 11.3 - 69
Best: Jeanke-Cain, Lewis, L.Mitchell, Easton, Scott, Davis
Goals: Staker, Copland 3, Dickfos, Jeanke-Cain 2, Saunders, Pope, Lewis, Allen 1