OH BOY, OH WOWEE!! PRECISE PIES IN SCINTILLATING FIRST UP WIN
The Western Magpies had a scintillating 74 point win over old rivals Mt Gravatt at Dittmer Park on Saturday
The Pies were precise on their ball movement in the 18.11-119 to 5.15 - 45 victory.
The nerves were apparent in the players and coaching staff on Saturday, with a new look side and a long pre-season with just one practice match, how the Pies would front up in Round 1 was a mystery to all. So while the coaches and players would have planned for a win, nobody saw really saw a dominant 13 goal win on the menu, but it was one to savour for the players, coaches and supporters alike!
New coach Brydan Morgan has put a huge amount of work into the team and it paid dividends as the Pies ball use with hand and foot was as good as any Pies' team in recent seasons.
Morgan was also very happy with the pressure the Pies applied and their tackling was a feature all match, with players still working hard until the final siren despite holding a big lead.
The back six worked well as a unit and were the springboard for many attacks and the forward half tackling pressure was also a highlight.
19 year old ruck man Aaron Highlands on his senior debut was particularly exctiing. The young ruckman could be dubbed the "baby faced assassin" as he relished the physical contest and was instrumental in giving the Pies midfield first use of the football. He was happy to engage his opponent early at ruck contests and took some telling marks around the ground. He would have to be in the reckoning for a QAFL Rising Star nomination this week!
The Pies had early ascendancy in a tricky wind but the Vultures kicked 2 late goals to be in the contest at quarter time. The first quarter was frenetic with rapid ball movement by both teams but the wind still made scoring difficult and with both defences on top. Charlie Pershouse was on fire early at full forward and his high leaping netted him strong marks and the first three Pies goals for the match
The second quarter was an arm wrestle and luckily for the Pies the Vultures were wayward in kicking for goal whereas the Pies were more accurate with 4 goals to hold a handy 4 goal lead at half time.
The Pies rapid and precise ball movement as well as the pressure at the contest saw the Pies blow the game open and dominate after halftime with 12 goals to 3 in the Pies favour.
New half forward Jake de Winter took about a quarter and half to find his feet up forward and when he did he looked quite at home as he kicked 5 goals, including 4 after half time. Brenton Saunders was his usual busy self to boot three goals and took a spectacular mark in the second quarter to goal and Val Pope was the usual Val Pope with another haul of 4 goals. The Vultures must hate the sight of the Pies No 4 as he has regularly bobbed up for handy contributions on the scoreboard against the Vultures in the past 4 seasons.
In the back half Mitchell Stallard returned to the Pies from Redland and slotted into full back in the absence of the ill Chris Hunt and he controlled proceedings with David Lewis and debutant Harry Marshall. Lewis marked everything in his path and his intercept marking was a highlight of the game and Marshall mopped up well. Luke Mitchell was given the task of shutting down the Vultures dangerous goalsneak Estall and kept him goalless in a terrific display of selfless football. He still had plenty of the ball himself to drive the Pies back into attack.
In midfield the engine room purred along with Ben Jaenke-Cain linking up all game, Gareth Crawford was in at the contest all game in a vintage display and provided some grunt, new skipper Drew Mitchell was hard at it as usual and another debutant in Joe Murphy also provided plenty of run and chase in an impressive display.
Youngster Rory Johnson made his senior debut and he kicked a classy 45 metre goal on the run in the third quarter after brilliantly roving the marking contest on the 50 metre arc--the goal was the first of several in a few minutes that saw the Pies blow the game apart. Another youngster in Lachie Dennis was also impressive with plenty of toe as was Liam Dwyer, whether up forward or in ruck, always giving a contest.
The Pies did not have bad player and their work rate with and without the ball was impressive and it was the best ball movement and clearest decision making seen from Magpies for some time. The Pies have found some outside pace and class to balance the trademark inside grunt and work ethic. Exciting times ahead!!
The Magpies again travel on Saturday to Sandgate--the Hawks play Wilston Grange on Monday night and as Grange are the Pies round 3 opponent it will be an interesting next 2 rounds. The Pies brains trust will be interested spectators on Monday night.
Western Magpies 2.3 - 15 | 6.6 - 42 | 12.9 - 81 | 18.11 - 119
Mt Gravatt Vultures 2.0 - 12 | 2.6 - 18 | 3.9 - 27 | 5.15 - 45
Best: Highlands, Lewis, Jeanke-Cain, Pershouse, Stallard, De Winter
Goals: De Winter 5, Pope 4, Pershouse 3, Saunders 3, Murphy, Mitchell, Johnson 1