Despite showing strong from in the opening rounds this year, the reality now is that the Magpies must win today against 4th placed Surfers Paradise to get their season on track. Honourable defeats simply don't cut it as the Magpies return home to McCarthy Homes Oval with their backs against the wall.
It's a long season, but the Pies are in danger of slipping out of finals contention without a win after 5 rounds and must turn close games into wins.
The Pies regain vital defender David Lewis this week, a huge inclusion and have also recalled livewire small forward Riley Easton. Key position player Jack Goodall is back from Redland and tall wingman/flanker Luke Brennan is promoted for his first match at Senior level for the Pies after a strong pre-season and good reserves form.
There are 3 forced changes with Mitch Stallard and Sam copland returning to Redland and Aspley aligned former Sherwood junior Luca Mason electing to walk out on the Pies and re-enter the mini draft, finding his way to Wilston Grange. Meanwhile, Harry Marshall has paid the price for an indifferent start to the year and and will return to the Reserves to regain the form he is certainly capable of.
With Copland out, the Pies will be looking to Anthony corrie and Jake De Winter to hit the scoreboard with Corrie keen to put his stamp on proceedings. At ground level Brenton Saunders has not been as productive as in the past and with Easton will be looking to clean up at ground level.
The Pies midfield were down a bit last week with the exception of Ryan Harwood and Ben Jaenke-Cain and a lift from Jono Macanawai, Drew Mitchell and Gareth Crawford is required for the Pies to gain the ascendancy.
Lewis returns to defence where Goodall and Aaron Highlands take the key posts and Tom Ielasi looks to lock down the demons small forwards.
The messaage from the Pies' heirarchy will be the need to get a good start and lead from the front rather than give the opposition a 2-3 goal lead and then try to catch up. The Pies will be desperate on their own turf to get on the board and be a springboard for the return to serious contenders in 2018.
QAFL Round 5: Western Magpies v Surfers Paradise at McCarthy Homes Oval, Chelmer on Saturday, May 19th at 2 pm.
B: Tom Ielasi Aaron Highlands Luca Winton
HB: David Lewis (vc) Jack Goodall Matt Davis
C: Lachie Dennis Ben Jaenke-Cain Luke Brennan
HF: Anthony Corrie Doug Lawrence Ryan Harwood
F: Brenton Saunders Jake De Winter Riley Easton
Ruck: Dylan Adkins
Drew Mitchell (Capt)
Rover: Jono Macanawai
I/C: Gareth Crawford, Kale Reed, Sam Hartog, Luke Mitchell
In: David Lewis, Jack Goodall, Riley Easton, Luke Brennan
Out: Mitchell Stallard, Sam Copland (both Redland), Luca Mason (unavail--Wilston Grange), Harry Marshall (Reserves)