The Western Magpies have a massive game in terms of the their finals position when they take on old rival and third placed Mt Gravatt on Sunday at McCarthy Homes Oval at Chelmer.
The Magpies will celebrate the beginning of NAIDOC Week by wearing a guernsey with both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island indigenous designs on it to honour both peoples but also the Pies players from indigenous backgrounds.
The match should be a ripping contest and being played on Sunday will attract a good local crowd.
The Pies season isn't quite where they'd like it given the form they have displayed, and they need to start converting close losses into wins to remain in contention to host a final. The top three clubs have skipped clear and it appears a race between 4 clubs for the final two places in the five. The Pies are currently fifth on the ladder with Surfers Paradise, Morningside and Labrador along with the Pies all chasing a finals spot, though the Pies superior % due to being competitive in every match to date has them in the box seat.
The Magpies selectors have swung the axe with Brenton Saunders, Gareth Crawford and Liam Dwyer all going back to the Reserves and Brady Allen unable to overcome a sprained ankle.
In comes Aaron Highlands after missing one match with injury, Sam Copland back from Redlands, Billy Johnson from the Lions and Aaron Maricic wins promotion.
Dwyer is likely a victim of team balance with Highlands coming in while Saunders has struggled for form in the early part of the year and Crawford makes way for Johnson.
Copland gives the Pies another forward option and he is a bigger and stronger player than when he left the Pies last year. In his most recent game this year for the Pies he booted 5 goals at Palm Beach and he may prove a good foil for the likes of Anthony Corrie and Jake De Winter.
Highlands has been slotted to centre half forward and Jack Goodall to the key defensive post to replace Allen and the Pies attack looks stronger as a result. Coach Brydan Morgan is also able to switch these two if needed and that provides him with some versatility.
Billy Johnson booted 3 goals from a wing in his only match for the Pies this year and provides another avenue to goal, albeit unconventional.
Dylan Adkins was serviceable in ruck last week after a long injury lay off and will be better for the run this week and if he can do well in ruck then the in-form skipper Drew Mitchell and Ryan Harwood can get the Pies going forward.
Luca Winton has been a revelation in the last line of defence this year and with the solid David Lewis and hard at it Doug Lawrence the Pies backline will be strong. And they will need to be as the Vultures are likely to have a two pronged attack with ex-Pie Jordan Bain likely to overcome injury and the strong bodied Sam Stubbs returning from Victoria last round with 7 goals.
The Magpies also have versatility in Mitchell Stallard, Lachlan Woods and Aaron Maricic who can play a variety of roles and this may prove decisive on Sunday.
The Pies will be fired up for a big performance after a pre-match Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony conducted by local Aboriginal identities and in what will be another hard fought contest the Pies need to have their noses in front at the final siren to keep their season on track.
QAFL Round 12: Western Magpies v Mt Gravatt at McCarthy Homes Oval, Chelmer on Sunday July 8th at 2.00 pm.
B: Brodie Easton Doug Lawrence, Luca Winton
HB: David Lewis (vc) Jack Goodall Matt Davis
C: Luke Mitchell Ben Jaenke-Cain Jono Macanawai
HF: Jake De Winter Aaron Highlands Lachlan Woods
F: Kale Reed Anthony Corrie Sam Copland
Ruck: Dylan Adkins
Drew Mitchell (Capt)
Rover: Ryan Harwood
I/C: Mitchell Stallard, Riley Easton, Aaron Maricic, Billy Johnson
In: Aaron Maricic, Sam Copland, Aaron Highlands, Billy Johnson
Out: Brady Allen (inj), Gareth Crawford, Brenton Saunders, Liam Dwyer (all Reserves)