The Western Magpies have tuned up for a big couple of weeks which can define their season with a comfortable 88 point victory over UQ at St Lucia on Saturday.
With matches to come against fellow finals contenders Morningside and Surfers Paradise, the Pies can finish as high as first or miss out on the finals altogether.
The Pies did what they had to do against the struggling Red Lions as they now go into a mini-finals series in the next two matches.
Led by the brilliance of Val Pope and the hard yakka of Ben Jaenke-Cain, Lachlan Woods, Drew Mitchell and Matt Sondergeld, the Pies got on top early and then in a second quarter shoot out booted 9 goals to the students 6 goals to lead by 39 points at half time.
The Pies were on top after half time with 9 goals to 3 to run out emphatic victors.
Pope was irrepressible with a 7 goal haul and Alex Dickfos finally delivered on the promise of a bagful in recent weeks with 6 goals. Sam Copland complimented these two with 4 goals himself as the trio shared 17 of the Pies 22 goals between them.
Matt Sondergeld was his usual busy self around the packs and is enjoying a fine second half of the season and Jaenke-Cain and Mitchell have also been solid in recent matches. Woods also had a strong game with more four quarter consistency and better use of the football to be a good player and capped it with 2 goals.
Youngster Billy Johnson on debut was not out of place and he capped a solid game with a goal and will be a fine player for the Pies in the future to continue the family association with western suburbs football. Another youngster in Charlie Pershouse also played well, this time in defence to underline his versatility.
The Pies back half was solid with Tyler Jones, David Lewis and Luke Scott again prominent.
The Pies travel to Hawthorne next Saturday to meet Morningside in a crunch game for both sides- a Pies win will cement a top three finish while a loss will put them back in the bun fight just to make the finals. Morningside will be ready to play as a loss for the Panthers will put the them on the precipice of missing the finals. A big match in the context of the season.
With Brent Staker, Richard Wenham, Chris Hunt, Luke Mitchell, Will Fletcher and Jadan Morton all available in coming weeks and regular Senior player Sean Mewing resuming in the Reserves after a long injury lay off the Pies depth is looking strong.
Senior Coach - Nathan Clarke had this to say:
“The thing about the comp is there is no easy game, and the score didn’t do UQ justice, but it was a good day.
“They were depleted, we had a few down as well, but they tested us out in their own way.
“I’m never comfortable, so it wasn’t until very late in the game we could relax a little bit.
“The nine goal to six second quarter made me uncomfortable. It became a bit freewheeling, and that’s not what we wanted to happen, or how we wanted them to play.”
Western Magpies 4.8 - 32 | 13.10 - 88 | 18.14 - 122 | 22.18 - 150
UQ Red Lions 1.3 - 9 | 7.7 - 49 | 9.8 - 62 | 10.12 - 72
Best: Pope, Sondergeld, Jeanke-Cain, Woods, D.Mitchell, Dickfos
Goals: Pope 7, Dickfos 6, Copland 4, Woods, D.Mitchell 2, W.Johnson