The Western Magpies have gone down by 5 points to a very good Wilston Grange outfit in a high class QAFL Round 3 thriller at Chelmer on Saturday. Grange fell over the line 15.7-97 to the Magpies 14.8-92.
The Gorillas had recruited well for this year under new coach Nathan Clarke, and with the Pies 2-0, a top class contest was expected and it lived up to pre match expectations as it was played at a high tempo with no let up in intensity all match. It must be said that it deserved to be played in front of a bigger crowd as the home crowd was a little disappointing for the first home match of the year in a game that promised so much and delivered all but the 4 points for the Pies.
The Magpies trailed all game and at times were over 4 goals in arrears and on struggle street but when all looked lost the Pies dug deep and found a way to fight back and always remain in striking distance. However, catch up footy, which the Pies were doing after conceding 2 goals in a blink of the eye at the start of the match, never usually ends well and despite looking like running over the top of the the Gorillas in the last quarter and a half, the Pies just could not get their noses in front.
Despite the loss, the match was affirmation that the Magpies are a serious contender again this year in the QAFL under new coach Brydan Morgan, who has his team playing the typical tough, never-say-die football the Pies have always prided themselves on with the addition of outside run and flare.
The Gorillas won the ball out of the centre early to hit the scoreboard twice in the blink of an eye. The Pies regathered themselves and fought back but several gettable goals were missed and the Pies had to be content to be two goals down at the first change. The gettable goals saga was to be repeated several times in the match and in reality cost the Pies dearly in the final analysis. The Pies trailled by 4 goals at half time and fought back to be a goal down but 2 late third quarter golas to the visitors gave them a 3 goal buffer at the last change.
The Pies dominated the last quarter but could not get their noses in front as Grange flooded the back half and then were able to get 2 goals on the rebound to hold on for the win.
The Pies were beaten out of the centre early in the match but tightened up as the game went on to even the honours by match’s end. Young ruckman Aaron Highlands came up against a much taller and heavier opponent but jumped and contested all day to make a good contest and at least give his ground level players a crack at the football.
In midfield Ben Jaenke-Cain knocked up getting possessions and Val Pope, while not as productive around goals, was able to break the shackles of a hard tag to win plenty of contested football. With Jake De Winter well held, it was up to tall half forward Liam Dwyer to step up and he booted 4 goals and took some strong marks and competed hard all day. Tom Ielasi was busy on a wing and laid dome important tackles and Drew Mitchell was at the contest all day.
Defenders Harry Marshall and David Lewis repelled many a Gorilla attack and Lewis’ marking, a feature of the first two matches, was again prominent. He took a “hanger” in the last quarter to get the crowd to their feet and at that time looked to be a catalyst for the Pies resurgence.
The Magpies remain second on the ladder and travel to Labrador next Saturday to meet the undefeated Tigers in another big match for the Pies. The Magpies do not fear the trip to Labrador as they had a magnificent win their last year and just 4 points in total seperated the 2 sides in home & away encounters in 2016.
Western Magpies 4.2 7.4 10.5 14.8 - 92
Wilston Grange 6.1 11.4 13.6 15.7 - 97
Goal Kickers: L. Dwyer 4, B. Jaenke-Cain 2, J. De Winter 2, B. Saunders 2, J. Goodall, D. Mitchell, D. Lewis, C. Pershouse
Best Players: B. Jaenke-Cain, V. Pope, H. Marshall, D. Mitchell, T. Ielasi, D. Lewis