The Western Magpies will again rue missed chances in their 17 point loss to Morningside at McCarthy Homes Oval at Chelmer on Saturday. In a finals like atmosphere in front of a good home crowd, the match lived up to its billing as Match of the Day and was played with a finals like intensity.
The result hinged on who could take their chances and it was the Panthers who kicked straighter for goal and were also on the end of a couple of fortunate umpiring decisions. The Pies again were inaccurate in front of goal especially in the second quarter when they controlled the game but instead of going in to halftime with a four goal break only had a 10 point lead. Importantly, its not 50/50 chances going begging, as key senior players missed 4 consecutive set shots from directly in front just 35m out or closer as the Pies fans were beginning to shut their eyes and hope as the Pies lined up for goal.
As is the Pies want of late they coughed up the lead quickly in the third quarter and were never able to get their noses back in front. Morningside won by 17 points, 11.9-75 to 7.16-58, with a late goal on the siren rubbing salt into the Pies wounds. The Pies losses this year are 17, 18, 12 and 6 points and they have been in every match up to their eyeballs, with inaccuracy proving particularly costly in at least of those losses.
Morningside had a big height advantage in the game with two big ruckman and another key forward. The Pies struggled to contain the Panthers' bigmen and when Aaron Highlands, who had done a commendable job in ruck, was injured early in the third quarter and key forward Jake de Winter hobbling after a foot injury early in the match, the Pies were up against it.
Stephen Mills again was superb for the second match in a row when he contained Morningside's Kent Abey and was also good when moved forward in the last quarter to give a forward target as CHF Liam Dwyer was forced into the ruck on Highlands injury. Lacking big marking targets the Magpies were forced to play the short game and run the ball and at times this proved their downfall with some disposal errors costing them momentum.
In midfield skipper Drew Mitchell led by example at the coal face to continually win the hard ball and Ben Jaenke-Cain ran himself ragged to win plenty of the football all over the ground. Brady Allen has relished his return to senior football with another composed display at centre half back and had good support from the consistent Luca Winton and ever reliable David Lewis. Lachlan Woods was back to his usual bustling self with strong play in the clinches on his return to senior football for his first senior match since the 2016 Preliminary Final.
The loss drops the Pies into a bun fight for the last two places in the five but the top three prize can still be had as several key players will filter back into the side over the next few weeks. However the Pies big man stocks are dwindling and coach Brydan Morgan will sweat on whether ruckman Dylan Adkins and/or Highlands are passed fit for this weeks crucial match at Broadbeach.
Western Magpies 0.3 - 3 | 4.8 - 32 | 5.12 - 42 | 7.16 - 58
Morningside Panthers 2.3 - 15 | 3.4 - 22 | 9.6 - 60 | 11.9 - 75
Best: Jeanke-Cain, Mills, Mitchell, Allen, Woods, Harwood
Goals: Harwood 2, R.Easton, Woods, Dwyer, Corrie, De Winter