PIES FACE DANGER GAME AT SANDGATE
The Western Magpies face a dangerous opponent at Sandgate in Round 2 of the QAFL on Saturday. The Pies will be full of confidence after a resounding victory last week but cannot take the Hawks team lightly, who will be smarting after their Anzac Eve loss to Wilston Grange.
It is still a "feeling out" period for the season with Sandgate competitive against aGorillas outfit touted to be big improvers this year after heavy off-season recruiting.
So for the Pies, who struggled last year on the big Sandgate ground in windy conditions after having a large win the year before, it presents as a new challenge with a large ground potentially suiting the new Magpies gameplan that no longer relies purely on inside gruntwork.
There are three enforced changes with Mitch Stallard out injured, Charlie Pershouse on interstate duties after his Round 1 Rising star nomination and Lachie Dennis doing uni exams (when will unis learn Saturday arvo is no time for an exam?!). All are big outs after being among the best last week.
In for his first senior match is young Colt Ethan Sivijs, who plays across half back but will start on the bench, Matt Mazarolle to add height to the fullback line and Chris Hunt returns from illness to full back.
Jake De Winter and Joe Murphy will be chock full of confidence after excellent debuts last week for the Pies and young ruck man/forward Aaron Highlands was impressive on debut to be named the Pies best player last week.
Val Pope was dynamic as usual and David Lewis intercepted everything that came his way. This week the Pies have moved him forward (where he started his career as a junior) to cover for the absence of Pershouse.
Hunt's return is timely for the backline as the Hawks have some dangerous talls in the Rutledge brothers and ruck/forward Brendan Forbes.
In midfield the usual suspects in Drew Mitchell, Gareth Crawford and Ben Jaenke-Cain were industrious last week and with youngsters on the wings in Dom Misso and Rory Johnson to provide some outside run the Pies look to have a solid midfield. Sandgate's Overington, Stackelberg and Beaven are dangerous players so the Pies midfield will need to be at their best to keep the home team in check.
If the Magpies produce the style of football we saw last week then they should have too much class for Sandgate but they will need to be focused on the task at hand and not get ahead of themselves.
Coach Brydan Morgan will have stressed to his side the need to not get carried away with one win but continue to work hard to get the season off to a good start.
Western Magpies v Sandgate at Sandgate on Saturday, April 29th at 2pm
B: Matt Mazarolle, Chris Hunt, Luke Mitchell
HB: Joe Murphy, Liam Dwyer, Brenton Saunders
C; Dom Misso, Drew Mitchell (C), Rory Johnson
HF: Aaron Maricic, Aaron Highlands, Jake De Winter
F: Val Pope, David Lewis, Matt Davis (vc)
Foll: Harry Marshall, Ben Jaenke-Cain, Gareth Crawford
I/C: Brodie Easton, Tom Ielasi, Logan Murray, Ethan Sivijs