MAGPIES WITHSTAND THE PRESSURE TO TAKE THE FLAG
The Western Magpies Colts were superb in winning the QAFL Colts Premiership with a hard fought win full of character and self belief.
The Magpies were challenged by Palm Beach-Currumbin three times during the match but on each occasion stuck to the task, going on to win by 22 points, 12.19-91 to 9.15-69.
The Magpies deservedly finished as Minor Premiers with only 2 losses throughout the year and with two solid wins against PBC in the latter half of the season started the match as warm favourites. However, if they thought it was matter Of just turning up to win the Premiership, the Lions soon put those thoughts to bed with a strong start to put the Pies under pressure with a three goals to one quarter. In warm weather and a slightly fluky breeze at Yeronga, PBC were up and about early and signalled this was going to be a typical Grand Final with no quarter asked and none given.
The Pies lifted their intensity in the second quarter and started to match their opponents in midfield and with more opportunities the Pies booted four unanswered goals to go in at halftime with a handy 14 point lead at the long break. One of the goals was a 55 metre bomb from Jacob Sheath which lifted the Pies supporters out of their seats.
There was plenty of work still to be done as at half time coach Jake Fuentes stressed to his players to keep playing as a team and to lift their intensity by another 5 percent.
The Pies booted the first 2 goals of the third quarter after a strong Jayden Johnson pack mark and a Finn Collison goal from point blank range after a high shepherd against him. The Pies went to a 26 point lead and looked to have one hand on the Premiership Cup having now kicked 6 unanswered goals.
At this stage the Pies had kicked 6 goals in a row but PBC were stirred into life and hit back to be 12 points down at the final change and PBC went into the huddle with the momentum and they soon hit the front to lead by a point at the 10 minute mark of the final quarter after kicking 2 early goals to make it 6 of the last 8.
This was the third time the young Magpies had been challenged but despite a number of players cramping in the warm conditions, they went up another notch and peppered the goals but were only able to record a succession of 6 behinds in a row. It was stated on the sidelines that the Pies were giving a lesson on how to lose a Grand Final but after some nervous moments when the Lions had the ball in their forward line for a number of minutes big Cam Ferguson managed a remarkable goal for a 200cm big man carrying a bung knee when he gathered a ground ball and snapped truly to put the Pies 11 points clear.
After more pressure from PBC, Ryan Cherry was able to break through the middle of the ground and with a bursting run and bounce was able to kick from inside the centre square to an open goal and watch the ball wobble and bounce through the middle to give the Pies further breathing space. The Pies faithful roared with relief as much as delight as this goal was the clincher.
A late goal to Dan Edwards iced the game but not before some unsavoury acts from some PBC players soured the last few minutes of the game.
Speedster Sam Mehari was named Best on Ground and with Deng Arok on a wing they both were up and about early and brought the energy the Pies needed to withstand the Lions early onslaught. Both applied plenty of pressure on the ball carrier and were able to use their pace to launch Pies attacks.
Samson Ryan in ruck was tireless and ran all day, skipper Noah Resuggan was hard at the contest up forward, Bruce Reville showed his class when the game was in the balance with several telling possessions despite a heavy tag, Dan Edwards was busy in midfield, Ryan Cherry was strong across half back with Ethan Sivijs and Chris Moloney also solid down back and Jacob Sheath was able to shake a close tag to win some influential possessions.
The spirit of the Pies was epitomised by ruck-rover Zane Lovell, who hurt an ankle early but returned to the fray in pain but he laid several big tackles in the second half to keep the PBC defenders on their toes.
Coaches Jake Fuentes and Kiran Verma have moulded together a Premiership team with a mix of players from Sherwood, Kenmore, Jindalee, Springfield, Toowoomba, Dalby, Warwick and Yeronga. It only emphasises that the Western Magpies is the destination club for players from the western suburbs and Darling Downs who wish to play at the highest level in the QAFL.
This was the Magpies seventh flag in highest level Colts competition available in the past 22 years which underlines the strength of the Western Magpies development program over that time.