RESERVES BOUNCE BACK FOR NAILBITING WIN
The Western Magpies Reserves have bounced back to have a hard fought 8 point win over Labrador. The Pies controlled the game for the second and third quarters to hold what seemed like a match winning 27 point lead at three quarter time but in another case of deja vu the Pies coughed up the lead with 5 minutes to go in the match, but in a sign of maturity - this time were able to kick 2 late goals to snatch back the lead, then hold on for the win.
The Pies won 11.9-75 to 10.7-67. Last year the Pies lost to the Tigers after holding a 6 goal lead at three quarter time and this year they allowed the Tigers 5 unanswered goals in 15 minutes in the last quarter but they are made of different stuff this year, and were able to compose themselves and win the game back.
Coach Kiran Verma was a relieved man after the game but at least he now knows his Pies are a competitive outfit and can challenge for a finals berth.
As expected, the inclusion of Gareth Crawford, Jesse Hampel, Matt Mazzarole, Joel Workman and Gabe McKinnon added some experience and physical strength to the side and this rubbed off on the bevy of youngsters in the team, who enjoyed having some grunt and footy smarts around them. All were good players, but Crawford especially took charge of the midfield and with his partner in crime in Val Pope was instrumental in the Pies getting on top in the second and third quarters and then late in the game, fighting back to take the 4 points. Pope finished with 3 goals and along with Crawford made up 2 of the most 3 influential players for the Pies
One of the youngsters who shows lots of poise and good reading of the play is Ethan Sivijs, who had another strong game across half back and he showed clean ball skills for the second week in a row and will push for senior selection after a best on ground performance.
Another youngster in Zane Lovell was also solid through the midfield and Colts B & F winner last year in Dan Edwards put in a strong case for an early recall to the Seniors with plenty of possessions on a wing. Rory Johnson played his best game for some time with a busy and bustling display on ball and across half forward with the form that had him playing senior football only 2 years ago.
With confidence restored the Magpies will be looking for another win against Wilston Grange on Good Friday, with an earlier start at 10.30 am.
Magpies 3.1-19 | 7.7-49 | 9.9-63 | 11-9-75
Tigers 4.2-26 | 5.4 34 | 5.6-36 | 10.7 -67
Best: E. Sivijs, V. Pope, G. Crawford, Z. Lovell, D. Edwards, R. Johnson