The Western Magpies had an encouraging 40 point win over 2017 QAFL Premiers Palm Beach-Currumbin at McCarthy Homes Oval at Chelmer on Saturday.
After a slow start the Pies dominated the second half to run out 14.10-94 to 8.6-54 winners.
While this was a practice match and both sides likely not at full strength, PBC still fielded most of their key players who starred in their Premiership last year. The match was played in perfect conditions and one of the stars of the day was the new look surface of McCarthy Homes Oval, which the players all enjoyed--the ground looked a picture!.
For a practice match with nothing really riding on it, it was played with an intensity of a round 1 match with 4 points and bragging rights at stake. The Pies will take a lot of confidence from the match and with added depth due to several key inclusions to the playing list the Pies will be looking to return to finals action this season.
PBC led by 7.2-44 to 4.6-20 at halftime and 5 of their goals came from rebound football with the ball getting in behind the Pies defenders after the Magpies experimented with a full press, while PBC are well known for their fast paced transition.
The Magpies tightened up after half time, got on top in the midfield and their pressure at the contest lifted and improved tackling was a feature. So dominant after half time were the Pies they restricted the Lions to 1.4 while booting 10 goals themselves.
Another couple of aspects of the Magpies' game that pleased coach Brydan Morgan was the hand and foot skills, especially by hand in close and under pressure, and the hard running backwards to help out in the back half--one of the hardest skills to master as it takes a positive team mindset to do it all the time.
David Lewis picked up where he left off last year before injury to read the play beautifully across halfback with intercept marks to be a rebounding defender. Other than a couple of kicking errors, fellow half back Lachie Dennis was solid with intercept marks and has taken further steps forward as a developing senior player.
Midfield recruit Jono Macanawai impressed with his work in close and his second efforts and his ball skills in traffic were exceptional. Another new player in Luca Winton, (ex-Sherwood junior) also impressed and his leg speed through the middle of the ground was what the Pies have been looking for in recent seasons.
Anthony Corrie showed he has lost none of his footy nous and booted a couple of goals. He always drags a good defender which opens it up for the Pies and he looked to be enjoying himself, although he did comment that the game " was pretty quick" --he picked up the pace soon enough and relished his return to the Black and White colours.
Ryan Harwood was a slow starter as he adjusted to QAFL football but soon worked his way into the game to be a solid contributor. Ben Jaenke-Cain worked hard all match as usual as did ruckman/forward Liam Dwyer.
No accurate goalkickers were recorded but Jake de Winter got off the leash a few times in a pleasing display.
One of the highlights of the day was an absolute screamer to young 17 yo tall forward Jack Austin in the last quarter right in front of the coach’s box and video camera—expect to see plenty of vision of this mark in the next few weeks--he was up high and it was a one grab mark!! And he showed enough to suggest he will be one of the finds of the season in 2018.
With Brady Allen a late withdrawal, Aaron Maricic missing with a virus, Dylan Adkins and Chris Hunt out with soreness, Brenton Saunders, Gerard Moore and Kale Reed unavailable , Val Pope, Lachlan Woods and Logan Murray all blowing off the cobwebs in the Reserves and Brodie Easton a late starter, the Pies depth looks much improved in 2018.
The Magpies have a weekend off next week before travelling to Mt Gravatt for the season opener against old rivals the Vultures on Saturday, 21st April.
Western Magpies 14.10-94 def PBC 8.6-54
Best: David Lewis, Jono Macanawai, Luca Winton, Anthony Corrie, Ben Jaenke-Cain, Lachie Dennis, Liam Dwyer