The Western Magpies have had a thrilling 4 point victory over Palm Beach-Currumbin at Currumbin in the QAFL Qualifying Final on Saturday. The Pies hung on in a nail-biting final few minutes to win 13.10-88 to 12.12-84 and book an appointment with Labrador at Labrador next Saturday with a spot in the 2016 QAFL Grand Final up for grabs.
The match was a high quality contest played in front of a big crowd and after the Pies had established a good quarter time lead and then PBC fought back to level the score at halftime it was a nail-biting contest for the entire second half. First one side would sneak a goal lead only to have the other side fight back to wrest the lead. The scores were again locked together at three-quarter time and then at the 24 minute mark of the final stanza, the scores remained level before a Brodie Easton snap put the Pies a goal up.
There was more drama to come in the final five minutes as the Pies supporters had their hearts in their mouth as the Lions attacked and attacked but their long range shots from tight angles failed to register the answering goal they needed to level the scores or take back the lead. The Magpies were on the attack as the siren sounded with the ball safely in Will Fletcher's hands whose after the siren shot from 30 metres missed but it didn't matter as the Pies celebrated their victory.
The Magpies were a player down from quarter time with Co-captain Lachlan Woods off with a leg strain so with a player down on the rotations the win was full of guts and merit.
The other Co-captain Cal Carseldine drove himself relentlessly at each contest and his side followed him in the tense last quarter and his 2 goals almost book-ended the Pies victory.
The Pies selectors elected to go in with a smaller team than in recent weeks to add pace to match the speedy Lions and they brought in Richard Wenham to mark the fast leading Lions full forward in Douglas but he was able to get off the leash a number of times.
This meant ruckman Nick Barling, who had been playing well, was rested and Luke Mitchell, missing the past 4 matches due to work commitments, could not squeeze back in ahead of Matt Sondergeld coming back from 1 week out. Charlie Pershouse did not shake off a virus and was spelled.
With Jadan Morton competing well in the ruck, the Pies were on top early. Ben Jaenke-Cain worked hard up and down the ground to be a good player and Brady Allen was solid all over the ground. Luke Scott was, well, Luke Scott--directing traffic, taking intercept marks and marshalling his players in the tough and tense affair.
David Lewis continues to be a fine defender holding down the key CHB post and his contested marking was a highlight and Brent Staker was solid at CHF despite being man-handled whenever he went near the ball without reward.
Coach Nathan Clarke praised his players for the their intensity all match and resilience and composure in the tense final quarter to ensure the win. He complimented the leadership group for how they marshalled all the players and continued to apply pressure all match.
With Nick Barling, Luke Mitchell, Dom Beer and Charlie Pershouse all available for selection, Chris Hunt recovering quickly from a less serious then first thought hamstring strain and Joe Murphy all in the wings, Nathan Clarke and the selectors have a wealth of talent to consider and an unenviable task picking the team for next Saturday's big clash at Labrador.
Western Magpies 5.1 - 31 | 7.4 - 46 | 10.8 - 68 | 13.10 - 88
Palm Beach Currumbin 1.4 - 10 | 7.4 - 46 | 10.8 - 68 | 12.12 - 84
Best: Carseldine, Morton, Scott, Lewis, Jaenke-Cain, Allen
Goals: Carseldine, Copland, Staker 2, D.Mitchell 2, Dickfos, Easton, Jones, Saunders, Morton 1