PIES TAKE ON 2017 PREMIERS
The Western Magpies will have their final practice match hit-out when they host 2017 QAFL Premiers and modern rival Palm Beach-Currumbin at McCarthy Homes Oval, Chelmer on Saturday.
After two practice matches in the past 3 weeks the season starts to get closer with the Pies to get a bench-mark of where they sit in the QAFL continuum against the 2017 Premiers. While still a pre-season practice match, this is the final hit-out for the Pies before a break next week then a round 1 clash with another old rival in Mt Gravatt in a fortnight on April 21st. So expect a higher intensity contest compared to the practice matches already played to date.
The Pies had a mixed Senior and Colts 6 period hit out against Park Ridge 3 weeks ago then Senior and Reserves matches against Sandgate 2 weeks ago to throw off the cobwebs and coach Brydan Morgan was pleased with the hit outs. The Pies did well in both clashes.
The Pies welcome back Anthony Corrie to the fold but will be without other returnees Gerard Moore (Police duties at Commonwealth Games) and Kale Reed (unavailable) while Brenton Saunders, now fully bound to the Pies, is also unavailable due to overseas travel.
Running around in the Reserves after late starts to the season are experienced senior players Val Pope, Lachlan Woods (returning after a year away from senior football), Logan Murray and Aaron Maricic, which is a good sign for the Pies depth this season. Also in the Reserves is Lions Academy player Caleb Franks, who showed promise in his senior debut last year and club perennial favourite Peter Kilroy, who returns after playing in a premiership with UTS Bats in Sydney last year.
New recruit from the Brisbane Lions Ryan Harwood will play his first full match for the Pies, starting at half forward but likely to rotate through the middle and the Pies also included NEAFL aligned players in ex-Sherwood juniors Will Fletcher and mid-fielder Luca Mason (both Aspley) and Liam Dwyer and Jack Goodall (both Redland but familiar to the Pies with many matches in recent seasons). Also new to the club are another ex-junior in half back Luca Winton, strong UQ midfielder Jono Macanawai (UQ Best & Fairest in 2017), while 2017 Colts players in strong 17 year old key forward Jack Austin and back pocket Sam Hartog get a chance to show their ability in senior football. David Lewis returns after missing the second half of the season last year with a knee injury.
With the midfield hard nuts in skipper Drew Mitchell, Gareth Crawford (joint Bill Peirce medal winners in 2017), Ben Jaenke-Cain and B & F runner-up Tom Ielasi in the mix the pies are feeling confident going into the season.
The unsung Harry Marshall anchors the defence, while Matt Davis looks fit and Lachie Dennis will be a better player with a season under his belt. Rory Johnson has been good in the two hitouts to date and a fit Riley Easton adds some bite at ground level up forward. Luke Mitchell gets his chance up forward and Aaron Highlands, a revelation in ruck last year, will go up a level this year. Another big man in recruit Dylan Atkins from Redland is unavailable this week.
It appears the exciting times might be returning to Chelmer with increased depth across the board—the Reserves appear stronger and the Colts are tracking well-- and Coaching Director Paul Grentell says the vibes around the club are good and expect a good showing on Saturday as the club prepares for its round 1 showdown with the Vultures in a fortnight.
Practice match-- Western Magpies v Palm Beach-Currumbin at McCarthy Homes Oval, Chelmer on Saturday, April 7th at 2.00 pm
B: Sam Hartog Harry Marshall Will Fletcher
HB: Brady Allen Jack Goodall David Lewis
C: Matt Davis Ben Jaenke-Cain Lachie Dennis
HF: Tom Ielasi Liam Dwyer Ryan Harwood
F: Jake de Winter Anthony Corrie Luke Miitchell
Rucks: Aaron Highlands Drew Mitchell (Capt)
Rover: Jono Macanawai
I/c: Jack Austin, Riley Easton Gareth Crawford, Luca Mason Luca Winton Rory Johnson