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Coopers Friday Night Footy - Woodsmen Preview

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Coopers Friday Night Footy - Woodsmen Preview

Andrew Thomson

Woodsmen looking for 3-0 start vs UQ

The Western Magpies 3rds (Woodsmen) are looking for the perfect 3-0 start to the season when they take on 2016 Grand Finalists UQ at UQ tonight at 7pm

Whilst not playing their best football, the Woodies have managed to get away with 2 wins the opening rounds as the side slowly ‘gels’ due to mass player turnover from last season, as well as in-between rounds.  This week is no different, with a further 5 forced changes from Round 2! (after 6 between Rounds 1 and 2!)  - welcome to Friday Night Footy!

Into the side for their Woodsmen debuts come Hunter Heath (after burning up the track in pre-season) and Magpie stalwart Scott ‘Burnsy’ Matthews to join younger brother Greg in the forwardline.  Also returning to the side is big Gerard Moore and CHF, Andrew Bell into fullback and U/16’s coach the livewire Jakey Fuentes.

UQ have traditionally played a fast paced brand of footy with their youthful nature  and fitness troubling the older Woodsmen side, however despite many close encounters a late season 4 point loss in 2016 has been the only game the Woodies have ever dropped vs the Red Lions and the Woodsmen will be looking to avenge this loss to complete a 3-0 start to 2017.

After 5 changes, the team has a new look forward line – with ‘Burnsy’ slotting into the goal square to ease himself back into football, and Jake Fuentes in the pocket – shaving close to 15 years from the average age of the full forward line in Round 2!

Hunter Heath will make his debut in the familiar wing position, Lachlan Woods remains in the centre – while the biggest positional change has seen gun fullback Paul Eaton shifted to a wing to use his size, pace and long kicking as more of an attacking weapon.

As a result, games record holder Kiran Verma pushes back to the half back line to form an experienced partnership with Tim Green in the key post and the vastly experienced Sam Long on the other flank.  Dylan Mudge has played solid footy in the opening 2 rounds in the unfamiliar back pocket, where his footy smarts, strength and composure have been a feature – while Andrew Bell returns to the side at fullback, perhaps a victim of his own versatility with several stints all over the ground in his opening 2 seasons at the Woodies.

The on-ball division appears formidable, with Sam Curtis leading the way at ground level, Chris Davis looking to hit the ground running and Andrew Thomson returning to the Ruck.

With so many changes week to week, to go with the year on year list turnover – the Woodies have found it hard to gel in the opening rounds.  However, there is a certain level of familiarity in this lineup tonight and coach Chris Mihalopoulos will be hoping the boys can improve their brand of footy, use the ball a little better and make good decisions through the middle of the ground when moving the ball forward.

Get on down to UQ to watch the Woodsmen take on UQ at 7pm tonight to whet your appetite for the first home game of the year for Seniors/Reserves/Colts at the Nest tomorrow.  Hopefully the club can repeat the Round 2 dose, with 4 wins from 4 starts for the senior footy program.