MAGPIES HOLD ON TO WIN THE "BATTLE OF THE BUSH" IN A NAILBITER.
The Western Magpies nearly squandered a 10 goal half time lead to hang on in a tense and thrilling last quarter to win by 2 goals over a fast finishing Surfers Paradise in the "Battle of the Bush" at Toowoomba on Saturday.
In a game of two halves , the Pies dominated in the first half to kick 11 goals to one with a run of 10 unanswered goals in a row from late in the first quarter into the second.
They then stopped doing all the things that had allowed them to dominate and with half a sniff the Demons were able to mount a spirited comeback. For Magpie supporters the last 15 minutes of the match was like watching a slow train wreck with visions of a loss after leading by 60 points causing the faithful to start having nightmares.
It was akin to 15 minutes of fingernails scratching the blackboard—excruciating!!. The clock seemed to stop for the Pies as Surfers Paradise closed to 6 points then looked to have leveled the scores at the 30 minute mark with a scrambled goal which was signaled as a goal by the goal umpire before the goal was deemed to be touched off the boot in a desperate dive from Billy Johnson. With a 5 point lead it was anyone’s game but Joe Murphy won a couple of crucial possessions in midfield and the ball landed in Liam Dwyer’s arms and he kicked truly from 40 metres on a 45 degree angle to give the Pies breathing space. The siren sounded at the 33 minute mark to the relief of the Magpies as they held on for a 12 point victory, 14.13-97 to 12.13-85.
The emotions of the game are interesting –a 12 point win in a seesawing tussle would be celebrated wildly while this win was greeted with a big sigh of relief!! Still the four points are in the bag and the Pies sit in fourth place on the ladder with another big match on Saturday at Chelmer against the third placed and in form Broadbeach.
The Pies small and medium forwards ran riot in the first half, fed by a winning midfield who delivered the ball well into the forward line. With Gareth Crawford, Lachie Dennis and Logan Murray well on top in the middle, the likes of Brenton Saunders (4 goals), Sam Copland and Jake De Winter ( 3 goals each) fed on the ample supply of football.
The Magpies were probably a bit too cock-a-hoop at the long interval as they stopped running and chasing and this allowed the Demons to re-group and mount a comeback. The Pies were kept goalless and Surfers booted 5 goals to give their supporters faint hope.
34 points in front at three quarter time should have been a big enough buffer for the Magpies and two goals apiece early in the quarter still had the Pies with plenty of breathing space. From then on the Pies just could not get their hands on the football and when they did go forward it rebounded quickly.
The last five minutes were agonising before Dwyer iced the game with 90 seconds left.
Sam Copland enjoyed his return to the black and whites in his home town and Harry Marshall contributed all match across half back –he is yet to play a bad game.
It was certainly a relieved group of players who enjoyed the hospitality at the Spotted Cow on Saturday night before heading home!
With the Pies 3 and 2 next week’s clash is almost an 8 point game and coach Brydan Morgan will have his players now focused on the match ahead.
Western Magpies 4-0 11-5 11-11 14-13-97
Surfers Paradise 1-3 1-5 6-7 12-13-85
Goals: B. Saunders 4, S. Copland 3, J. De Winter 3, L. Dennis, L. Dwyer, D. Misso, C. Pershouse
Best: G. Crawford, L. Murray, L. Dennis, H. Marshall, S. Copland, B. Saunders
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