PIES BRING IN DARLING DOWNS BOYS FOR TOOWOOMBA CLASH
The Western Magpies have included Darling Downs products Sam Copland (Coolaroo) and Riley Easton (Dalby) to their side for the big “Battle of the Bush” clash against Surfers Paradise at Toowoomba on Saturday.
They join the other local product in Brodie Easton (Dalby) to play for the Pies in a match that could go a long way to determining the fortunes of both sides this season.
A win to the Pies sets them up to be well entrenched in the five but a loss puts them way back in a chasing pack and could undo the good work put in early in the season.
The match has been given huge publicity in Toowoomba and a big crowd is expected to attend. Surfers Paradise have hit their straps in the past two matches after a slow start to the year and pose a real challenge for the black and whites.
Copland comes back into the Pies line-up after some good form for the Brisbane lions NEAFL team and he will add to the Magpies firepower up forward. The Pies lacked a focal point in the loss to Labrador and Copland will provide another option.
Riley Easton returns after a year out with an ACL reconstruction but has shown enough in his 2 Reserves appearances and 1 Woodies appearance to earn a recall, and his pace and ability to apply forward pressure will be valuable to the Pies. Also in is tough and skilful winger/half forward Joe Murphy who will add some flare to the Pies midfield and youngster Matt Mazarolleto give the defence some added height.
On the debit side the Pies lose classy forward Val Pope, who misses 2 weeks due to overseas travel for work, Aaron Maricic who is ill, Jack Goodall recalled to Redlands and Rory Johnson to the Reserves.
Luke Mitchell has not overcome an ankle sprain but Tom Ielasi passed his concussion test and will line-up on Saturday. Ielasi has been in good form and it was noticeable that the Pies lostthe midfield battle after he left the field early in the third quarter against Labrador.
The Pies should be refreshed after the bye last week and coach Brydan Morgan will be hoping for better returns from the forward entries than was the case last match.
The Pies will rely on rapid ball movement into the forward half to give the likes of Jake De Winter, Copland, Brenton Saunders and Easton the chance to use their pace to advantage.
Young ruckman Aaron Highlands has been robust and willing to take it up to his more experienced and often bigger opponents and with De Winter has been the find of the season.
David Lewis and Harry Marshall have been the key players in defence but Marshall was moved forward last match and obviously showed enough forward nous to start this week at centre half forward. Chris Hunt and Matt Davis have both found recent form to be key defenders for the Magpies.
If Highlands and Liam Dwyer can get their hands to the ball in the ruck contests then the likes of skipper Drew Mitchell, Gareth Crawford, Ben Jaenke-Cain and Murphy can set the Pies goalwards often enough for the Pies to kick a winning score.
With a lot at stake for both teams it is a big match for the Pies, the Demons and Toowoomba and if the Magpies can get on top in the midfield they will be well on the way to their third victory for the year.
Western Magpies v Surfers Paradise at Rockville Oval, Toowoomba on Saturday, May 27th at 230 pm
B: Matt Davis (VC), Chris Hunt, Tom Ielasi
HB: Matt Mazarolle, Charlie Pershouse, David Lewis
C: Lachie Dennis, Gareth Crawford, Brenton Saunders
HF: Brodie Easton, Harry Marshall, Sam Copland
F: Drew Mitchell (C), Jake De Winter, Riley Easton
Rucks: Liam Dwyer, Logan Murray
Rover: Ben Jaenke-Cain
I/C: Aaron Highlands , Dom Misso, Billy Johnson, Joe Murphy
The Pies and their supporters will retire to the Spotted Cow Hotel after the game for post match drinks and a meal. Huge thanks to this great Toowoomba institution for their support of the day!