The Magpies will field a youthful looking side tomorrow at 3pm when they take on Palm Beach at Yeronga for their first practice match of 2019 after a strong, yet slightly nomadic pre-season.
While looking magnificent from the boundary lines, it was deemed that the fully re-surfaced McCarthy Homes Oval is not yet quite ready for a senior match and with Salk Oval also out of action the match has been moved to Yeronga.
Youth will be the order of the day as the Magpies will be without the likes of 2018 Bill Peirce Medalist Ryan Harwood (niggle), new recruit Claye Beams (cricket), Luca Winton and a host of other likely senior players in 2019. It will be a good opportunity to take a look at some strong pre-season performers at this level, and many will be keen to take their opportunity despite it just being a practice match.
With 25 man squads available to both sides, there are extended 7 man benches and no doubt both sides will take the opportunity to experiment with personnel and have their first outing under the new 2019 rules.
In a reward for a very impressive pre-season both on the track and in the gym, big man Monty Vine gets a chance in the ruck at senior level, while joint 2018 Maurie Macnamee Medalist Dan Edwards gets a chance on the wing. The extended bench also includes the likes of Zane Lovell, Noah Resuggan and Cam Ferguson who were all Premiership Players with the Colts in 2018. Another youngster who has well and truly earnt their chance is solidly built Cade Scott from the Sherwood U16 side last year, who has impressed with his contested work in match simulation and looks ready for a crack at Senior footy.
In addition to the familiar Sherwood faces, some new recruits will also be staking their claim this week with 17 year old Riley Greene having an impressive pre-season to start on the half back flank, Jayden Gallagher on the other flank with McCauley Lonergan starting on the bench before likely proving a spark as a small forward. Greene played in the Park Ridge Division 2 Premiership side as a 16 year old, and as an athletic mid sized defender has well and truly earnt an opportunity. Gallagher and Lonergan, a pair of good mates who have made their way to QLD were recruited from Yarrawonga Pigeons in the strong Ovens & Murray League. Gallagher looks to be a superb ball user and a class act down back, while Lonergan will add speed and pressure up forward.
It would be remiss not to mention that there are also two genuine Magpie veterans pushing into the senior side after putting in the work on the track in the pre-season. The ageless Peter Kilroy who first played seniors for the club close to 20 years ago will start down back, while triple premiership player Val Pope starts up forward.
Another new recruit having his first run in the Black & White will be key forward Brody Lumber, who has relocated to QLD for family reasons and has a strong football CV from the Riverina Region and more recently Deniliquin in NSW while another new face (in the forward line at least) will be Dave Lewis who gets an opportunity up front.
If you’d like a look at some youthful Magpie outfits in their first hitoust for 2019, get down to Yeronga at 1pm for the Reserves/Colts hitout before the main game at 3pm.
Western Magpies vs PBC - Yeronga #2 Oval, Saturday March 9 @ 3pm
B: Kilroy - B.Allen - R.Johnson
HB: Greene - Highlands - Gallagher
C: Fletcher - D.Mitchell - Edwards
HF: Reed - Goodall - Lumber
F: Saunders - Lewis - Pope
Foll: Vine - Murray - R.Easton
Int: Marshall - C.Scott - Jaenke-Cain - Lonergan - Resuggan - Lovell - Ferguson