The Western Magpies are in an Elimination Final 1 week early when they take on the sixth placed Surfers Paradise at Surfers Paradise in the last round of QAFL home and way football this season.
The stakes are high, as the winner can grab third on the ladder and ironically a double chance the week after a virtual elimination final, while its curtains for the vanquished.
For the Pies, who are arguably the form team of the competition, a loss would be more shattering than they can imagine given the talent and desire within the group. On the other hand, a win puts them into serious premiership contention so it cannot not be any more do or die than that. The tightness of the QAFL ladder can be seen by the fact that Surfers were beaten last week by Mt Gravatt with a kick after the siren and dropped from third to sixth on the ladder.
To add to the intrigue a potentially wet weekend has been forecast with up to 50 mm of rain forecast for the Gold Coast on Saturday and a breeze that could gust to 20 km/hr.
One thing in favour of the Pies in that scenario is that they have some big strong bodied midfielders who can muscle their way to win the contested ball and get the Pies going. However, it will still be the smart footballers who thrive in wet and windy conditions and the Pies have plenty of those so they will be up for the challenge.
The Pies have made 2 changes to last week's team with Brenton Saunders winning promotion from the Reserves and Jake De Winter comes back in after missing last week. In a good omen for the Pies, Saunders booted 7 majors vs Surfers on this ground last year in an amphatic win. Out go Sam Copland (hamstring) and Aaron Maricic to the Reserves.
If it is wet the Pies have plenty of small options up forward with Riley Easton on fire recently, and Kale Reed and Saunders all potent at ground level. De Winter can also excel on the ground as well as in the air and the Pies can expect Ryan Harwood and Tom Ielasi to sneak forward as well.
Jack Goodall and Doug Lawrence hold the key defensive posts and Lawrence with get the dangerous Demons forward Daniel Green but will have Luca Winton and David Lewis to help out while the long boot of Brady Allen can be used to break the defensive lines, especially on a wet day.
The Pies form leading into this match has been good, but they need to bring their A game on Saturday if they are to down a tough Demons outfit. The Pies are up to their necks in a chance for a flag but they must win on Saturday to remain in contention.
QAFL Round 19: Western Magpies v Surfers Paradise at Surfers Paradise on Saturday, August 25th at 2.00 pm.
B: Will Fletcher Doug Lawrence Luca Winton
HB: David Lewis Jack Goodall Brady Allen
C: Matt Davis Lachlan Woods Luke Mitchell
HF: Brenton Saunders Liam Dwyer Jake De Winter
F: Kale Reed Anthony Corrie Riley Easton
Ruck: Dylan Adkins Drew Mitchell (Capt) Ryan Harwood
I/C: Tom Ielasi, Ben Jaenke-Cain, Billy Johnson, Jono Macanawai
In: Jake De Winter, Brenton Saunders
Out: Aaron Maricic (Reserves, Sam Copland (Redland)
Emerg: Aaron Maricic, Harry Marshall, Jack Austin, Lachlan Dennis,