It was a case of deja vu as the Western Magpies faltered at the last hurdle for the second year in a row, going down to Surfers Paradise in the final round of QAFL home and away football, as was the case in 2018.
The Magpies went down by 5 goals but this does not tell the tale of a hard fought contest with the Pies 2 goals down going into time on in the final quarter before the Demons scored 3 late goals to flatter the final scoreline. The Pies went down 13.11-89 to 9.5-59.
The Magpies played with the sad news of the sudden passing of Stephen Mitchell late last week, a premiership player for Sherwood and the father of Drew and Luke Mitchell.
Coach Brydan Morgan gave an inspirational speech to the playing group before the match and the Pies looked to be up for the match with a lively first quarter. The Magpies took an 11 point lead into quarter time but it could have been better with 2 easy misses and a couple of squandered chances and if taken could have given the Pies a match winning lead.
Surfers Paradise started to get their running game going in the second quarter and also took control in the middle of the ground to boot 4 goals to the Pies 2 to go in at half time 10 points up.
The third quarter and the majority of the last quarter was an arm wrestle as the Pies refused to surrender. At one stage the Demons were 4 goals up early in the last quarter but the Magpies kicked 2 quick goals to close the gap but in pushing forward were caught on the rebound as Surfers booted late goals to seal the contest.
It was a disappointing end to the season for the Pies who at their best were able to match every other team in the competition. A slow start with several narrow early season losses when the Pies were below full strength proved costly in the final analysis.
That said Surfers are deservedly second on the ladder as their ball use after quarter time was superior to the Pies and they had good leg speed which they used well, causing the Pies headaches with their outside run.
Val Pope turned back the clock with a display that reminded everyone how good he is with 4 classy goals and his 2008 and 2012 premiership teammate Gerard Moore rucked tirelessly all match and got his hands on the ball but the Pies were still beaten at the stoppages by a slick Demons on-ball brigade
Dan Edwards provided a spark for the Magpies from a wing and Riley Greene was again tireless across half back. Both these youngsters have had superb debut seasons and both will be right in the mix for the QAFL's Rising Star Award to be announced in a few weeks.
Luca Winton had another strong game at fullback, keeping tight tabs on another high profile full forward and he will again be amongst the favourites for the Magpies Best and Fairest Award, the Bill Peirce Medal.
Brenton Saunders in defence mopped up brilliantly until injured early in the last quarter and he has had an impressive second half of the season. Will Fletcher was strong on a wing and also when rolling through the midfield and won plenty of the contested ball and Aaron Highlands played a strong defensive game at centre half back.
The Magpies will now look on at the finals again known they could have been in the mix if even one or two of their 4 and 6 point losses early in the season had been reversed, with 3 less wins and a % 45 worse, the reality is they went backwards in results but again missed the final by 1 win for the 3rd consecutive season. Early season momentum has been hard to come by and a Round 1 home game would be a pleasant change after 6 consecutive seasons starting the year away from home, not to mention free access to our own listed players when fit!
Western Magpies 4.2 - 26 | 5.4 - 34 | 8.4 - 52 | 9.5 - 59
Surfers Paradise 2.3 - 15 | 6.8 - 44 | 9.11 - 65 | 13.11 - 89
Best: Pope, Edwards, Saunders, Greene, Fletcher, Highlands
Goals: Pope 4, Edwards, Winton, Beams, Lewis, Lumber