The Western Magpies have again lost a close game, this time a 4 point loss to ladder leaders and defending Premiers Palm Beach Currumbin Lions at McCarthy Homes Oval at Chelmer.
The 4 point loss was a costly one for the Pies as the 4 points they have missed on the ladder means it is do or die football for the remaining 5 rounds in a very even QAFL season.
Before a supportive reunion crowd, the Magpies had them roaring as the they kicked the first 4 goals of the match in a free-wheeling opening 20 minutes. Jake De Winter had 3 of the goals by quarter time and with the Pies controlling the game it looked as if they would skip away. But as is the Pies want this season, they have failed to put their opponents away when they were well on top.
A quality opponent like PBC won't let you dominate for extended periods, but its important to stem the flow when they get on top and equally as important to cash in when you have the ascendancy yourself. However, the Lions booted the next 7 goals and 12 of the next 13 goals throughout the second and third quarters to take a 39 point lead half way through the third quarter.
Coach Brydan Morgan was not happy with his team's work-rate and at half time asked his players to tighten up, go more man-on-man and try to wrest control in the contested football stakes. His players responded and the Pies started to claw their way back into the contest. A sickening head injury to a PBC player halted the game for over 20 minutes while an ambulance arrived and the game was almost called off before getting back underway. (the player in question is ok and was tended to by Magpies club Doctor, Dr. Greg Thompson) The move of Jack Goodall forward was a masterstroke as he provided a target and was able to boot 3 goals to get the Pies back into the contest.
Trailling by 23 points at the last change and needing the first goal of the last quarter, the Pies soon found themselves 29 points down and a mountain to climb after the PBC Ruckman took possession from a throw in and kicked truly. The Lions were down to 18 fit players and played behind the ball in scenes reminiscent of the 2008 Grand Final but despite attack after attack the Pies could not repeat 2008 and were unable to reel in the ladder leaders.
The Magpies had opportunities enough to win the game but often kicking targets were missed or the Lions were able to intercept and defuse promising Pie attacks. Decision making and basic skill errors were a problem throughout the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and then in the last when the game was there to be one - the Pies looked almost 'gun shy' to take their chances after the error riddled previous 2 quarters.
Luke Mitchell continued his good run of form to be a solid rebounding defender while his ground level mop up work deep in defence was a highlight. Jack Goodall started at CHB but he sparked the Magpies comeback when moved the CHF.
Riley Easton harassed and harried all day for another 10 tackle game and found enough of the football as well to be named the BG Award winner for the match. Tom Ielasi slipped straight back into footy mode after a month out with a polished display and he also shut down one of the Lions key players in a good allround performance. Ryan harwood was again hard and tough in the clinches and gave the Pies plenty of drive and booted a great last quarter goal to get the Pies firing. Jake De Winter was always dangerous up forward and he got off the leash early with 3 goals and then did not get many opportunities in the second and third quarters before kicking a further 2 goals in the last quarter to have the Magpies faithful roaring encouragement.
It wasn’t enough however and the Magpies again rue another one that got away. There is a distinct lack of killer instinct in this 2018 Magpie outfit and they need to find another level to start winning the close ones. Nobody who watches this side play football would question their effort or desire, however a willingness to step up when the chips are down needs to be developed in the playing group to tun close losses into close wins.
PBC coach Chad Owens rated the Pies as good as any side the Lions have played this year but while that is nice to hear it does not bring the four points the Pies craved. Honourable losses are mounting but they mean nothing as far as getting to the finals are concerned.
The Magpies can get one back on Saturday when they host Wilson Grange while many of their finals rivals have a bye. The Gorillas will be a tough challenge and a dangerous opponent in a game the Magpies cannot afford to lose.
Western Magpies 4.0-24 | 5.3-33 | 9.4-58 | 13.7-85
Palm Beach Currumbin 2.3-15 | 9.5-59 | 12.9-81 | 13.11-89
Goal Kickers: J. De Winter 5, J. Goodall 3, A. Corrie 2, R. Harwood, R. Easton
Best Players: J. Goodall, R. Harwood, T. Ielasi, R. Easton, L. Mitchell, J. De Winter