The Western Magpies will need to bounce back if they are to reach the QAFL Grand Final when they meet old foe Palm Beach-Currumbin in the Preliminary Final at Aspley on Saturday.
Coach Nathan Clarke and his selection panel made one change to the side from last week with young half-back Will Fletcher coming back into the side for the injured Richard Wenham. Wenham's wretched run of injuries during finals continues --he missed the 2012 Premiership with injury--but his injury is low grade and should the Pies win he should be available for selection for the Grand Final.
Clarke resisted the temptation of bringing back key defender Chris Hunt and Co Captain Lachlan Woods has been named as an emergency but both may not have got through Thursday training at 100%. Woods could play if there is a late withdrawal but another weekwill have him fully fit for a Grand Final challenge should the Pies prevail on Saturday.
Ruckman Nick Barling must have been close to a recall but Clarke decided to go with Alex Dickfos and Charlie Pershouse as his pinch-hit ruckmen, a tactic that seemed to work in the win over the Lions 2 weeks ago. Luke Mitchell stays in the back pocket after coming into the side for Woods, who was a late withdrawal last week.
The Pies will be keen to get a good start to then have control of the agenda. Last week they started well but by quarter time were playing catch up football vs the Tigers.
The midfield will want to establish early supremacy and how does a centreline of Pope, Carseldine and Scott sound as a good starting point? Jadan Morton has been a fine player in ruck and his around ground work is a vital component if the Pies are to gain midfield ascendancy. Ben Jaenke-Cain has been his consistent self, and Gareth Crawford and Matt Davis will add to the Pies firepower.
Up forward Brent Staker has been good for the Pies and he troubled the Lions defenders a fortnight ago and he allows the likes of Sam Copland and Drew Mitchell to get off the leash to give the Pies more scoring options. Val Pope was relatively quiet last week but he is a hard man to keep down and no doubt he will drift forward to provide another avenue to goal.
The versatile Brady Allen has been named at fullback but Clarke will have his options anddon't expect Allen to remain in the last line of defence all match. David Lewis and Tyler Jones were both good players across half back last week and will again be key players to hold up the PBC forwards. Jones and Sean Mewing both provide attacking run out of half back and with Luke Mitchell set up many of the the Pies attacking raids.
The narrow Aspley ground will suit the tough, hard contested football the Pies revel in and which wins finals matches.
The Pies again need to control the midfield football to stop the Lions outside run and if they do that are well on the way to the QAFL Grand Final.
Western Magpies vs Palm Beach Currumbin Lions - Graham Road, Aspley - Sat Sep 10 @ 2pm
B: Tim McEvoy - Brady Allen - Luke Mitchell
HB: Sean Mewing - David Lewis - Tyler Jones
C: Val Pope - Cal Carseldine (C) - Luke Scott
HF: Drew Mitchell - Alex Dickfos - Brenton Saunders
F: Sam Copland - Brent Staker - Matt Sondergeld
Foll: Jadan Morton - Ben Jaenke-Cain - Gareth Crawford
INT: Matt Davis - Will Fletcher - Charlie Pershouse - Brodie Easton
EMG: Nick Barling - Lachlan Woods - Luke De Nys - Dom Beer
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