Only late in the 2018 Season the Magpies traveled to Morningside taking a clean sweep in all 3 grades, including a dominant 100 point victory in the senior game. Less than 10 rounds later and the Panthers turned up at McCarthy Homes Oval and returned the favour with strong wins in all 3 grades on what was a fantastic day for football. It was Sir Doug Nicholls Round, and the Magpies donned their custom guernsey for the occasion, the field was prepared wonderfully, there was a big crowd and the match had a fantastic prelude with a traditional ‘Welcome to Country” from Shannon Ruska and a great smoking ceremony, arranged and hosted by the Magpies own Wil Ivinson.
It is not often that the Western Magpies are out-tackled and out-muscled but that was the case in Sunday's QAFL Indigenous Round clash with Morningside before a healthy crowd at McCarthy Homes Oval at Chelmer.
With a good number of past players in attendance the Pies started well enough and it was a tough opening quarter with the first goal of the match not coming until time on in the first quarter. In perfect football conditions it was a war of attrition for the first half but the signs were ominous for the Pies as they found it hard to clear the ball from the contest and were blanketed up forward.
However despite their poor first half showing, the Magpies found themselves just 13 points down at the main break and every chance to turn their fortunes around with a big 2nd half effort.
Sadly it never came and inaccuracy in front of goal by Morningside was the saving grace for the Pies but with only 3 goals by three quarter time in perfect conditions it was only the most optimistic of Magpie supporters who thought the home team could all of a sudden kick 5 goals to snatch a last gasp win. And so it came to pass but in reverse as the Panthers put an exclamation mark on their dominance to totally control the last quarter to inflict an emphatic 52 point defeat on the Pies, winning 11.22-88 to 5.6-36.
The Magpies matched the intensity of the Panthers for a quarter and a half but were out-hunted by the Panther pack after that and everytime the Pies won a close in ball they were harassed and tackled and this resulted in some rushed disposals and turnovers the further the match progressed.
The Magpies also found it hard to penetrate the Morningside defensive wall and probably tried to pick their way through with handball and short passes but skill errors often occurred due the relentless pressure and they were back on the defensive very quickly.
The loss puts the Pies at 2-5 and a game outside the top five with a crucial encounter on Saturday at Labrador.
Youngsters Jayden Gallagher, Dan Edwards and Riley Greene were shining lights – defender Gallagher worked hard to stem the tide in his best game for the Pies and his long clearing kicks were a highlight of his game; Edwards was a bright light with his pace breaking the lines while Greene also worked hard down back and then when moved forward led well to give the Pies a target. Luca Winton also worked overtime in defence, Claye Beams had his best game to date and Will Fletcher was possibly the only Pies midfielder not to lower his colours on the day.
The Pies will be looking for the return of several key players in coming weeks and need t stay in touch with a win this week vs Labrador.
Magpies 0.2 - 2 | 2.4 - 16 | 3.5 - 23 | 5.6 - 36
Panthers 2.6 - 18 | 3.11 - 29 | 5.16 - 46 | 11.22 - 88
Best: Gallagher, Edwards, Greene, Winton, Beams, Fletcher
Goals: Dennis, Austin, Edwards, Highlands, Beams
The Western Magpies Reserves were well beaten by a strong Morningside team on Sunday. The Pies, comprising a majority of teenagers with a smattering of old hands were competitive until halftime but the bigger bodies and greater experience of a Morningside team with a large contingent of experienced players began to exert their influence after halftime to overrun a tiring Magpies team.
The first quarter was a high quality Reserves match but in warm weather the Magpies struggled to match it with the Panthers the longer the game went on and the standard did slip a bit later in the match.
The Magpies were outscored 9 goals to 1 goal after half time to go down 14.16-100 to 3.14-32, though inaccuracy also cost the Pies any ability to exert scoreboard pressure.
The first quarter looked reasonable for the Magpies with the first goal straight up with a centre clearance and pass to the leading Jesse Hampel followed by the first goal of the match promising much but this was possibly the highlight of the Magpies’ afternoon.
Best players were rover Rory Johnson who won plenty of contested football, the experienced onballer Chris Hunt and ruckman Gerard Moore were both tireless around the ground, consistent defender Zac Collison, who tried hard to hold the defence together, young centreman Jordan Bonney ran all day and Colts aged player Jacob Aurisch was impressive in his Reserves debut.
Such is the injury crisis at the Pies, coach Kiran Verma again had to suit up to get the Pies to 21 for the game, putting them behind the 8ball from the start.
The Pies have a big challenge this Saturday as Labrador appear to have improved from their round 2 encounter so this is another crucial match.
Magpies 1.1 - 7 | 2.8 - 20 | 2.11 - 23 | 3.14 - 32
Panthers 2.5 - 17 | 5.7 - 37 | 8.12 - 60 | 14.16 - 100
Best: Johnson, Hunt, Z.Collison, Moore, Bonney, Aurisch
It was a costly slow start for the Magpies as they were well beaten by Morningside on Sunday but the tone of the match was set early with the Panthers booting the first 4 goals of the match before the Pies had turned the ignition key.
From then on it was catch up football and the further the match went the Pies slipped further behind to go down by 63 points, 14.9-93 to 3.11-29. The Pies lifted their intensity in the second and third quarters and matched the panthers but could not exert scoreboard pressure and were made to pay for missed opportunities as the Panthers were more productive when they went forward.
The Magpies were well beaten in the final quarter as the effort in trying to catch up in the warm conditions took their toll.
Best player was the smallest in Sam Mehari who buzzed around and tried to lift the Pies, while Jackson Paynter impressed, firstly at CHF then in the ruck. His high leaping at the ruck contest was a highlight and he looks a likely type for the Magpies. The consistent Whitlam Bishop and Lawson Campbell had their work cut out across half back and they repelled Morningside on numerous occasions while midfielders Brodie Gardner and Rory Edwards worked hard around ground.
The young Magpies will want to return to the winners list against a now dangerous Labrador on the coast on Saturday
Best: Mehari, Paynter, Campbell, Bishop, Gardner, Edwards
Goals: Crowell, Briskey, Ferguson