The Western Magpies travel down the highway to do battle with an old rival in Palm Beach-Currumbin in QAFL Round 4 action on Saturday.
The Pies have been close in their two losses to the teams who now sit 1-2 on top of the ladder with 3-0 records so they are close to the benchmark of the league. However, they will have another test of their credentials against the 2017 Premiers who flexed their muscles in downing Labrador and then put Sandgate to the sword in the past two weeks and now boast a % close to 300.
The Lions have added a couple of recruits to the team the Pies defeated in pre-season action so with 4 points on the line it will be a new challenge for the Pies. And it is looming as an 8 point game for the Magpies--the reality is that a loss will see the Pies with a 0-3 record despite strong early season form, but close losses don't deliver finals football or 4 points unfortunately and the Pies will be looking to close out the win when given the opportunities going forward.
The Pies made one change to their side with Redlands listed but ex-Magpie Mitchell Stallard replacing fellow Redlands player Stephen Mills. Stallard has silky skills and will be a handy inclusion for the Pies.
The Pies have had 10 minute lapses in both matches to date which resulted in three quick goals to their opponents so they must work to stop run-ons from opposition teams. They have also reaped the rewards of dominant periods in attack and a lot of work went into the forward line structure in the past two weeks.
Ryan Harwood showed his class last match as he warmed to the task and he will only get better and with Anthony Corrie on the other flank the Pies will look to open up the forward line and spread the scoring. Jake De Winter is the x-factor and given space can rip a game open.
The midfield has been solid for the Pies and ruckman Dylan Adkins was good last match as he also eases into QAFL football. Tom Ielasi and Drew Mitchell are consistent performers and Jono Macanawai will be better for his first match a fortnight ago, and will be looking fresh after a 2week break given his Magpie debut was his 3rd match in 7 days.
The Pies defence will need to be at their best as the Lions have some talented key forwards. Aaron Highlands moves to full-back and will need the likes of David Lewis and Harry Marshall to assist in taming the Lions forwards.
The pecking order in the QAFL is still to be established with so many variables at present, but the Lions credentials are clear to see, while the Pies have a good record at Salk Oval.
With backs to the wall the Pies will come out firing and are more than capable of a win to get their 2018 season on track.
QAFL Round 4: Western Magpies v Palm Beach-Currumbin at Salk Oval, Palm Beach on Saturday, May 12th at 2 pm.
B: Luca Mason Harry Marshall Luca Winton
HB: David Lewis (vc) Doug Lawrence Luke Mitchell
C: Matt Davis Ben Jaenke-Cain Tom Ielasi
HF: Anthony Corrie Aaron Highlands Drew Mitchell (C)
F: Brenton Saunders Jake De Winter Kale Reed
Ruck: Dylan Adkins
Rover: Jono Macanawai
I/C from: Mitchell Stallard, Lachie Dennis, Gareth Crawford, Sam Copland
In: Mitchell Stallard
Out: Stephen Mills (Redlands)