The Western Magpies had a comprehensive and emphatic 126 point victory over Sandgate under lights at Sandgate on Saturday night.
In what many thought was a danger game for the Pies with the trifecta of the Hawks coming off a fantastic win last week, a night game and some rain about, the Pies came out on song and put the result to bed with a 6 goal first quarter and a brutal 10 minute period in the 2nd quarter where they banged home 6 straight goals, setting the scene which for the final 126 point margin 26.16-172 to 7.4-46
The Pies made a statement to the QAFL with the manner of the victory in that they put Sandgate to the sword with rapid ball movement, accurate disposal, a strong midfield presence, resolute defence and multiple scoring options up forward.
The Pies played more freely than in recent matches and their handball inside and disposal at the contest was a highlight. They were not afraid to attack through the middle and kick long although they forgot what got them 9 goals in the second quarter to be a little guilty of overusing the football in the third quarter, almost too eager to share the spoils of their dominance.
A simpler use of the football in the final quarter garnered a further 7 goals to finish with a percentage boosting win and fifth place on the QAFL ladder.
The Pies percentage received a boost from 105.8% to 138% to have the second best percentage in the competition which may prove vital at the end of the season.
Led by a Ryan Harwood masterclass, the Pies took control from the first bounce to stamp their authority on the match. Harwood kicked 6 goals, missed a handful of others and dished off 5 or 6 to be involved directly in 10+ goals while also gaining 40+ quality possessions in midfield and across half forward. His disposal by hand and foot, combined with his vision was, well it was AFL standard!
Not far behind was a "workmanlike performance" from Jono Macanawai but that description does not do him justice. He was hard at the contest, his tackling was ferocious, but he also won plenty of ball in tight contest and his vision under pressure to find a teammate with hand and foot was a highlight and gave the Pies midfield dominance. If you have time to watch the replay, I'd invite you to keep an eye on some of his work, absolute pure silk at times!
Not much further behind was Tom Ielasi, who keeps winning the hardball, finds space and his foot skills off both feet are top shelf. He topped his game off with 5 goals, several from 50 metres on both right and left foot.
Luca Winton, a former club junior, but unknown quantity at the start of the year at senior level was given an opportunity early in the season and has made every post a winner. Another composed match down back where his reading of the play, ability to spoil at the contest and then mop up and deliver to a teammate has been a revelation and a bonus recruit for the Pies. He has shown clean ball skills and as medium tall has good skills in the air and at ground level and a strong willingness to run and break the lines through sheer work-rate.
Riley Easton was very busy across half forward and he applied good pressure on the Sandgate defenders to force several turnovers and this game was his best this year but he had already started to find form in the past two matches.
Jack Goodall as pinch hitting ruckman was superb and with injury to Pies No 1 ruckman Dylan Adkins before halftime, he with Aaron Highlands took up the cudgels against two very tall opponents to nullify them at the ball ups to give the Pies an even chance at the football. Goodall's willingness and desire to compete 100% at every contest is why is fast becoming a Magpie favourite.
In reality the Pies did not have poor player and a 5 goal performance would usually get top billing but Jake De Winter does not figure on the best players list yet he was always a dangerous presence for the Hawks defenders to be good player and Kale Reed chipped in with 3 goals to also continue his strong form.
The injury to Adkins was the only dampener on the win and coach Brydan Morgan reminded his players that they need to prepare for another big game against a traditional rival in Wilston Grange at Stafford next Saturday.
Sandgate Hawks 3.3 - 21 | 3.4 - 22 | 7.4 - 46 | 7-4 - 46
Western Magpies 6.2 - 38 | 15.6 - 96 | 19.9 - 123 | 26.16 - 172
Best: R. Harwood, L. Winton, T. Ielasi, J. Macanawai, R. Easton, J. Goodall
Goals: R. Harwood 6, J. De Winter 5, T. Ielasi 5, K. Reed 3, A. Corrie 3, D. Mitchell, J. Goodall, B. Saunders, R. Easton