The Western Magpies welcome back 2018 Bill Peirce Medallist Ryan Harwood for his first match of the season and it could not come at a better time as the Pies face a season defining crunch match against a Labrador team in a similar position.
Unlike most competitions, there are no easy matches in the QAFL and at the half way mark of the season this match shapes as he classic ‘8 point game’ for both teams. 6 v 8 may not raise the eyebrows of those not in the know but this will be a top class affair with so much on the line.
Also in are promising young ruckman Samson Ryan, who impressed on debut a fortnight ago and "almost a veteran" in Chris Hunt, whose consistent Reserves form earned him a long awaited recall to the Seniors after over a season since his last appearance in the top grade.
Drew Mitchell and another promising youngster in Riley Greene both miss with injury and Jack Austin misses with a 1 match suspension after being reported for what appeared a solid ball and all tackle last week.
The Pies have re-gathered themselves after a disappointing loss last week and training has lifted in intensity this week and coach Brydan Morgan has been pleased with the attitude of his charges, many of whom have put in extra preparation during the week to make sure that are ready to bounce back to the winner's list.
Claye Beams had has best game for the Pies last week and with good mate Harwood back in expect him to lift further. it may take a few more weeks but these two will become a dynamic duo in coming weeks for the Pies.
Samson Ryan gives the Pies a lift in ruck as the lion-hearted but undersized Liam Dwyer has battled gamely against bigger opponents and will welcome a partner to share the load.
Will Fletcher has been solid on the ball and Dan Edwards has been one of the most consistent players this season. The 18 yo Edwards and somewhat older Gareth Crawford have been excellent for the Pies this year and both will be called on again on the large Labrador oval to win the midfield ball and drive the Pies forward.
Jayden Gallagher and Luca Winton held the fort last week in the backline and will welcome Aaron Highlands back to the key CHF post.
The Pies struggled up forward last week and will be looking for quicker ball into the forward line to provide space for Brody Lumber and Jack Goodall to lead to and use their height in one-on-one contests.
The Pies up-tempo training this week indicates they are up for the challenge and expect a ferocious response after last week. The Pies record at Labrador is pretty good and a win will put the Pies back on course at the half way mark of the season.
QAFL Round 9: Western Magpies v Labrador at Labrador on Saturday, June 1st at 2.00 pm.
B: Jayden Gallagher Luca Winton Ethan Sivijs
HB: Luke Mitchell Aaron Highlands Claye Beams
C: Ben Jaenke-Cain Will Fletcher Dan Edwards
HF: Lachie Dennis Jack Goodall (Capt) Kale Reed
F: Brenton Saunders Brody Lumber Ryan Harwood
Rucks: Samson Ryan
Rover: Riley Easton
Int: Liam Dwyer, Chris Hunt, Macauley Lonergan, Cade Scott
In: Ryan Harwood, Chris Hunt, Samson Ryan
Out: Drew Mitchell, Riley Greene (both injured), Jack Austin (suspended)