To quote Brian Taylor, "Oh boy, oh wowee!!"
The Western Magpies have hung on for a 2 point nailbiting win over Surfers Paradise Demons to secure third place and the double chance in the QAFL on Saturday.
"Who would have thunk it" as the QAFL final round script could not have been envisaged - the Pies and Demons both took the field thinking the loser of their match would miss out on finals but then Sandgate go and have a huge upset win over Morningside to knock the Panthers out of the finals and give Surfers a lifeline.
Mt Gravatt and Wilston Grange play their seconddraw of the season and on the back of that the Vultures climb from sixth to fourth--go figure!! Labrador thrash Palm Beach-Currumbin and take top spot for the first time this season and PBC drop to second and will host the Magpies next Saturday in the Qualifying Final.
A healthy crowd that had plenty of Sherwood juniors on hand to congratulate 200 gamer Tim McEvoy and also the attendees of the 1981 Sherwood Premierships were treated to a high quality match that was played with finals-like intensity-- for both sides it was a finals match a week earlier than scheduled!
Surfers Paradise were quick out of the blocks and had the first 3 goals on the board and were looking threatening whenever they went forward with quick movement of the ball and plenty of outside run. They capitalised on any Pies mistake and it took the home team 15 minutes to settle, tighten up and then start to win some midfield football. Two goals to Alex Dickfos, who took a couple of strong grabs to announce he is officially back as the spearhead, narrowed the gap to keep the Pies in it.
In a pulsating second quarter where each contest was fierce the Pies looked to wrest control but each time it looked like they were about to break away the Demons fought back with a goal to keep their noses in front at half time.
In the second quarter Magpies CHF Brent Staker was reported for striking in a marking contest and he will contest this at the Tribunal, claiming he collided with his opponent but did not strike him. The verdict will be eagerly awaited by the Pies faithful as he is critical to the Magpies assault on the flag.
Sam Copland booted 2 goals and Brenton Saunders was busy up forward and David Lewis and Tyler Jones were getting on top across half back with telling intercept marks. Luke Scott was back to his best in the unfamiliar position of wing and again used his experience to break up Demon attacks and also drive the Pies forward.
The Magpies came out firing in the premiership quarter to kick 6 goals to 2 to take a 19 point lead at the final break. It was here that the Pies midfield started to get on top with Lachlan Woods hardness at the contest setting a few opponents backwards, Cal Carseldine was in and under and Brodie Easton worked up and down the ground to gain numerous possessions as a link player. Up forward Dickfos booted another 3 goals and Brenton Saunders forward pressure netted him 2 goals to add to his second quarter goal. Ruckmen Nick Barling and Jadan Morton, both playing like old fashioned ruck rovers were able to negate their taller opponents then win plenty of the ball around the ground.
In the final quarter the Pies were keen to kick the first goal to put the contest to bed but Surfers were not done and booted 2 early goals to make all supporters nervous --the club is considering purchasing a defibrillator!! When Val Pope, who had been good all day, emulated Warnie with a vicious leg break after bursting through 50 and landing his kick right on the goal line, it looked like a sure goal and the would-be sealer, only to turn so sharply, it failed to even score. Saunders then missed a gimme for him, the door was still open for the visitors. The tough contested football of the second half went up a notch and at one point there 5 ball-ups on a row in the centre of the ground as the tackling went into overdrive.
With the Pies 8 points in front late in time-on a misfired switch kick resulted in a Surfers goal and it was nail biting time again. The Pies hung on for the final 90 seconds with tough football and when the siren sounded with the ball on the Pies half forward line the home supporters were elated as well as breathing a sigh of relief. 200 gamer Tim McEvoy had a solid match and was chaired from the field among his jubilant team-mates and Magpie supporters.
A lot can happen in a week in football-last week the Pies were dejected and Morningside elated and this week it was the polar opposite. For Surfers they fight another day and the Pies meet PBC at Currumbin next Saturday full of confidence as they defeated the Lions down there by 8 goals mid season.
Senior Coach, Nathan Clarke had this to say after the game:
“In the end, we were really pleased with that. Surfers played really well.
We butchered the ball a couple of times, which we need to fix up before next week.
They were very good in periods, but I think after quarter time, we can feel comfortable that we played really well.
One thing that was getting us is that they were getting a lot of easy ball because our forwards were getting too high, so once we forced them to defend us more, we got into the game."
Western Magpies 2.0 - 12 | 7.2 - 44 | 13.4 - 82 | 14.7 - 91
Surfers Paradise3.3 - 21 | 7.6 - 48 | 9.9 - 63 | 13.11 - 89
Best: Woods, Scott, Lewis, Jones, Dickfos, Easton
Goals: Dickfos 5, Saunders 3, Copland, Staker 2, D.Mitchell, Morton 1