The Western Magpies will encounter a dangerous Broadbeach Cats outfit on Saturday when they travel to the Gold Coast for their crucial Round 15 clash on Saturday.
The Pies tumbled from second to fifth on the back of a narrow loss 2 weeks ago against Labrador and are in a bunfight for a finals place, let alone a top three finish. Six into five does not go and there are several crucial matches in coming weeks between the top sides that will determine the make up of the final five. With Palm Beach taking on Mt Gravatt in a 1 v 2 battle and Labrador and Surfers meeting in a 3 v 4 clash, the QAFL competition will resemble a game of snakes and ladders with the losers slipping big time, and winners jumping multiple places.
A win for the Pies should push them to 3rd on the ladder, while a loss will see them likely tumble out of the 5 altogether at the conclusion of this round.
The QAFL flag is there for the taking by the side that hits its stride at the right time of the season and any slip can prove costly--a top three finish must be the aim for the Pies.
The Pies selectors had three forced changes with Brent Staker and Richard Wenham missing with injury and Sam Copland getting a call up to the Brisbane Lions NEAFL team. Jake Heard goes back to bolster the Reserves.
In comes Redland duo of Tyler Jones, who returns after missing a few matches with injury, and Matt Sondergeld, who was in fine form before a recall to the Redland side. Alex Dickfos also returns after one week out with injury and youngster Lachie Dennis makes his Senior debut after good Reserves form.
Staker is a big out as he straightens the Pies and his leadership is vital. He also takes the best defender each week which frees up other forwards. Alex Dickfos returns and will need to be the main forward target in Staker's absence, a role we know he is capable of.
Brady Allen was the catalyst for the Pies second half comeback 2 weeks ago when moved to CHF and he will need to again be a presence up forward. With Luke Scott likely to be pushed forward and Val Pope always a dangerous forward the Pies still have the firepower to kick a winning score.
The Pies midfield of Callum Carseldine, Gareth Crawford, Lachlan Woods and Ben Jaenke-Cain have been excellent through the middle of the year and will again be needed to kick-start the Pies--hopefully a bit earlier than last match!
Matt Davis has been good on a wing and in defence Tyler Jones was on fire earlier in the year, Tim McEvoy is always in control across half-back and Chris Hunt and Luke Mitchell have been the models of consistency in the last line of defence.
The Pies will be wary of the dangerous Cats and will be keen to avenge their loss early in the season which is still raw for the Pies after seemingly having the game in control for most of the day. The Pies cannot afford a slip up in this match and will be fired up for a big effort to reverse the home loss from earlier in the season.
Western Magpies v Broadbeach Cats - Saturday July 30, 2pm @ Broadbeach
B: Mitchell Stallard - Chris Hunt - Luke Mitchell
HB: Tim McEvoy - David Lewis - Tyler Jones
C: Matt Davis - Callum Carseldine (C) - Luke Scott
HF: Drew Mitchell - Brady Allen - Lachlan Woods (C)
F: Gareth Crawford - Alex Dickfos - Val Pope
Foll: Dom Beer - Ben Jeanke-Cain - Matt Sondergeld
INT: Jadan Morton - Aaron Maricic - Brodie Easton - Lachie Dennis