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PLACE PREVIEW - PIES LOOK TO MAINTAIN MOMENTUM VS HAWKS

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PLACE PREVIEW - PIES LOOK TO MAINTAIN MOMENTUM VS HAWKS

Andrew Thomson

The third placed Western Magpies will be favoured to take the four points when they host ninth placed Sandgate at Chelmer on Saturday, but as this 2016 season has shown so far, nothing can be taken for granted.

The Pies will be keen for a good showing in front of the 2006 Senior and Reserves Premiership reunion crowd and for a number of players there is incentive to play well to hold their place in the side.

Into the team come defender Rhys Bridge and speedster Jake Heard after good Reserves form. Heard's last Senior match was against Sandgate in Round 3 when he sprained an ankle and he forced his way back into the side with several good Reserves matches in which his second and third efforts and forward pressure have been a feature.

Out are Lachlan Woods with bruised ribs and Matt Thomson gets a Redland recall after he played well last week for the Pies.

Sam Copland has captured his form of last year with an increased work rate and now doing the team things that were missing for a while and was rewarded with this week's QAFL Rising Star Award.  With Brent Staker next to him he can only continue to learn. These two with Alex Dickfos, who is ready to kick a bag after recent good form,  and the evergreen Val Pope form a formidable and multi dimensional forward line.

Pope's ability and durability is underlined by the fact he booted 5 goals in the 2006 Premiership and was the league's leading goalkicker with 80 goals in 2006- he reminded the Magpie faithful of his class with a 5 goal haul last week after missing 3 matches.  Also, the Pies recent forward pressure has pleased coach Nathan Clark.

The Magpies engine room is back with a V8 grunt as Callum Cardeldine, Drew Mitchell and Ben Jaenke-Cain have re-discovered their 2015 form and with the addition of the experienced hard nut Gareth Crawford the Pies are wresting midfield control allowing them to dictate terms. Dom beer's ruckwork last week was his best for some time and 2006 premiership player Jadan Morton has proved a revelation in the ruck and around the ground in support of Beer.

Down back another 2006 hero in Luke Scott just rolls along like a well oiled Rolls-Royceand Luke Mitchell continues to play a key role as an attacking back pocket. 

Matt Davis, 16 yo in the 2006 flag side, has regained some of his brilliant 2015 form to be a versatile option for the coaching staff --he can play both back and forward. Add Brady Allen and Chris Hunt, both consistent players recently, and the Pies have the defence to keep Sandgate to a low score.

Sandgate pushed the Magpies all the way in their first clash and the Pies need to be vigilant against a side that has also pushed the top teams for three-quarters in recent matches, with fast starts in several of their recent matches - Sandgate will be looking to put 4 quarters together.

The Pies should prove to be too good, but it will only be a 4 quarter effort that gets the job done and maintains the good work of the past month.

Western Magpies vs Sandgate Hawks at Chelmer on Sat July 9 @ 2pm

B: Luke Mitchell - Jadan Morton - Aaron Maricic

HB: Luke Scott - Chris Hunt - Richard Wenham

C: Matt Davis - Cal Carseldine (C) - Brady Allen

HF: Drew Mitchell - Brent Staker - Val Pope

F: Brenton Saunders - Alex Dickfos - Sam Copland

Foll: Dom Beer - Ben Jeanke-Cain - Gareth Crawford

INT: Rhys Bridge - David Lewis - Brodie Easton - Jake Heard