The Western Magpies travel down the M1 to meet the back to back Premiers of 15/16 at Labrador on Saturday.
The Magpies are up for the challenge, as the match pits the top two teams together in the QAFL match of the round with Labrador the only undefeated team after 3 rounds and the Pies 2-1 after a narrow loss last week.
The Pies welcome back exciting young forward Sam Copland from the Brisbane Lions NEAFL, youngster Billy Johnson from Lions Academy duties and Aaron Maricic returns after missing last week with illness. Luke Mitchell rolled an ankle at training on Thursday and Sean Mewing and Rory Johnson are the unlucky two to drop back to Reserves.
The Pies retain their young guns in Charlie Pershouse, Lachie Dennis and Dom Misso and it is worth mentioning that 17 of the Pies 22 are home grown talent.
Standout performers for the Pies so far this year have been David Lewis, Tom Ielasi, Jake De Winter and Charlie Pershouse and all four have been rewarded with selection in the QAFL squad to play WA Amateurs at Broadbeach in June.
Copland comes into the forward line to give the Pies another scoring option with De Winter keen to return to the goalkickers list. Liam Dwyer was good at CHF last week and Brenton Saunders added forward pressure but has been named on a wing --he will no doubt drift forward to sniff a goalkicking opportunity.
Young Aaron Highland in ruck has relished the challenge and skipper Drew Mitchell and the consistent Ben Jaenke-Cain & Gareth Crawford will need to be at their best to counter the strong Labrador midfield.
Jack Goodall was solid on his return last week , David Lewis has been in fine form and Harry Marshall has slotted into the backline nicely and they will need to continue their vein of good form to keep the Tigers at bay.
Coach Brydan Morgan will stress to his players to be on song from the first bounce--they cannot expect to win playing catch up football as was the case last week. The Pies won at Labradorlast year so will not be overawed and will be prepared for a tough contest after the two home and away games between these sides last year were decided by a total of just 4 points. The big Labrador ground will suit the Magpies style of play and this shapes as a cracking match worthy of 1 v 2.
Western Magpies v Labradorat Labrador on Saturday, May 13th at 2 pm
B: Matt Davis (VC), Charlie Pershouse, Lachie Dennis
HB: Tom Ielasi, Jack Goodall, Harry Marshall
C: David Lewis, Val Pope, Brenton Saunders
HF: Chris Hunt, Liam Dwyer, Aaron Maricic
F: Drew Mitchell (C), Sam Copland, Jake De Winter,
Rucks: Aaron Highlands, Gareth Crawford
Rover: Ben Jaenke-Cain
I/C: Brodie Easton, Dom Misso, Logan Murray, Billy Johnson