A strong first half resulted in the Western Magpies having a solid victory over Broadbeach Cats at Broadbeach on Saturday.
The 49 point victory sees the Pies move into third place behind Labrador on percentage but 2 games behind ladder leader Palm Beach-Currumbin.
The Pies withstood an early assault from the Cats and then made the most of their chances in the first quarter to boot 7 goals and go into the first break with a 4 goal lead.
The Pies had obviously learnt their lesson from their earlier clash this year when in that match they dominated the first half but were wasteful and then had to endure the ignominy of coughing up a 6 goal lead to be defeated in a soul-destroying loss in the dying stages of a match they dominated.
That the Pies have recovered to be a Premiership threat is testimony to their resilience and self-belief.
The win was soured by serious injuries to Mitchell Stallard, whose wretched luck with injuries continued when he landed awkwardly late in the second quarter and looks to have ruptured his posterior cruciate ligament, and debutante Lachie Dennis, who sprained an ankle in the third quarter soon after booting his first senior goal for the Magpies.
The Pies only booted a further 5 goals in the second half as they attempted to slow down play due to two rotations down off the bench. As a result, they were guilty of overusing the ball in the second half but were always in control and never threatened on the scoreboard after quarter time.
Val Pope and Matt Sondergeld were up and about early and both had 2 goals in the first quarter with Sondergeld's two goals coming from pressure-generated turn-overs. Both featured in the best players list
The Pies booted a further 5 goals to 2 in then second quarter to be well on top at the half way mark, leading by 43 points.
Chris Hunt had a superb match in defence, handsomely beating several opponents then generating drive with run and carry. His endeavours were never better illustrated when late in the third quarter he chased down a Cats player running into an open goal and laid a desperate tackle after giving him a 6 metre head start. He was well supported by David Lewis, who is now playing at half back and is becoming an attacking defender, and Tim McEvoy kept mopping up as he has done so well this year.
Luke Scott across half back then drifting forward again showed his class and versatility, taking many telling marks in defence then also kicking 2 goals when slipping forward. He had a willing partner in crime in Tyler Jones who slotted back into the Pies side seamlessly to be a fine player with excellent reading of the play and strong rebound football.
Others to play well in a solid team effort were midfielders Gareth Crawford, Drew Mitchell and Brodie Easton. Alex Dickfos worked hard at full forward and deserved a few more goals than the three he kicked, missing a few chances he would often kick.
Senior Coach Nathan Clarke had this to say post win:
“They were on top early, played like they had nothing to lose.
“They could have been three goals up, but then we found our rhythm and went on with it.
“At half time it was about how we manage it after losing those blokes.
“When they win those clearances they are dangerous. We needed to test them out with our ball movement.
“The guys are pretty disciplined, so were able to settle early.”
The Pies travel across the river to meet UQ at University on Saturday August 6, in a match they can't afford to take for granted - before season defining matches in the final two rounds against Morningside and Surfers Paradise.
Western Magpies 7.4 - 46 | 12.7 - 79 | 15.10 - 100 | 17.15 - 117
Broadbeach Cats 3.4 - 22 | 5.6 - 36 | 7.8 - 50 | 10.8 - 68
Best: Scott, Hunt, Lewis, Jones, Pope, Sondergeld
Goals: Pope, Dickfos 3, Sondergeld, Scott, Morton 2, Dennis, D.Mitchell, Crawford, Carseldine, Easton 1