After an even first quarter where the Magpies were wasteful, Morningside capitalised on three key lapses in concentration by the young Western Magpies team to take control of their match at Hawthorne on Saturday. The Pies went down 18.9-117 to 7.13-55.
In their final match of the year before a last round bye, out of finals contention and with a long injury list, the Pies started brightly kicking to the northern end favoured by a strong southerly cross wind. However a return of 0.7 when controlling play proved costly and after a further arm wrestle for the majority of the second quarter, a 5 goal burst in the final 5-6 minutes of the second quarter saw Morningside in control of a deflated Pies outfit at half time. The Magpies had 2 less scoring shots than the Panthers but trailed by 32 points at the long break.
The Panthers then kicked the first 3 goals immediately after half time before a late third quarter rally and 4 goals lifted the Pies, which was a more accurate reflection of a tight battle for long periods in the game.
The home team then booted four quick goals early in the last to ram home their advantage.
Morningside booted 12 of their 18 goals in three 5-6 minute periods in the match which probably indicated the young Magpies were physically and mentally tired after a tough season. But for long periods of the game it was a tough and tight contest.
Matt Dillon was superb in the last line of defence, keeping Morningside ace Kent Abey to one goal and he received good support from half back Mitchell Stallard who again showed his class and poise in traffic.
Tom Ielasi was busy in midfield and his clean ball handling and good disposal were a highlight and he will not be without a chance in the Bill Peirce Medal count in early October.
Luke Mitchell again relished the opportunity to play more of a midfield role on a wing and he won plenty of the ball.
Logan Murray had another productive match in midfield with tough footy in the clinches and was supported by a typically belligerent display from on-baller Gareth Crawford who has enjoyed a vintage season on-ball.
Val Pope worked hard all game but for little reward.
The Pies look forward to supporting the club's Colts team in the finals who are guaranteed a top 2 finish after a good win on Saturday and may yet finish on top if results in the final round of the season fall their way. The Woodsmen, U16 Div 1 and U12 sides also continue in finals this week, so please get out to support the boys in Black & White.
The club's Vote Count and Presentation Night is scheduled for Friday , October 6th.
Coach Brydan Morgan
"It has been a long season with a young team and it showed a bit today. Lapses in concentration proved costly but the final score does not truly reflect the effort the boys put in for most of the match. For long periods of the game we more than matched them.
I am very proud of this side and they have been resilient for most of the year. We did have a couple of bad games mid year but were pretty good in most games and several narrow early season losses proved costly in the end.
I have been told we had 6 players playing today from last year's Preliminary Final team and add about 8-10 regular senior players out with injury in recent weeks and to think we were still in the race for a finals spot until last week speaks volumes for the character of this side and our youth.
With a lot of young players getting an opportunity at this level we will be much better placed next year than we were this season."
Goal Kickers: V. Pope 2, L. Dwyer, W. Johnson, R. Easton, M. Davis, T. Ielasi
Best Players: T. Ielasi, L. Mitchell, L. Murray, M. Stallard, M. Dillon, V. Pope