By Beth Newman
When Springwood faced the Western Magpies in Round 16, 2012, it was a bloodbath at Lowe Oval.
The Pumas had four wins to their name, and slumped to a 104-point loss.
Eleven months later, Springwood is a game clear at the top of the table, undefeated, and armed with the chance to put a major dent in the Magpies’ premiership defence.
The Magpies have had an injury-marred season but are still in touch with finals, and proved they can still challenge the best sides in the competition, losing by only one point to the Gorillas last week, but another loss would make finals qualification that bit harder.
Springwood coach, Tony King, said his side would not be chalking up a win before the game, regardless of ladder positions.
“No doubt they’ve dipped a bit over the last year, but they still have plenty of players who played in the grand final as far as that goes, they’re ahead of us, boys keep earning the right to be a good side.
Springwood welcomes back Albert Proud, from suspension, this week and captain Mark Thompson is a likely inclusion after being a late withdrawal against Maroochydore.
Springwood coach, Tony King, said the inclusion of Proud and Thompson, as well as Dom Nash, would be a major boost for his side.
“Having those three in there, that will help us around the middle of the ground, which will be good,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for the Maggies and tomorrow will be another challenge for the club to keep it (our form) going.
“It’ll be good for us to see where we’re at.”
The Magpies are a drastically different looking team from these sides’ last fixture match, missing 13 players from the side that smashed the Pumas, including midfield superstar James Rozynski (suspension).
One player who will still be donning the black and white on Saturday is Anthony Corrie, who kicked five when they last met and could cause major headaches for King.
“Corrie’s a gun forward and if we can keep him reasonably quiet, then that will help us,” King said.
“But there are areas all over the ground that are dangerous.
“They’ve got good running midfielders and we’ll have to work hard to score against their defence.”
The Magpies will be desperate for a win at their home ground against the Pumas, after a bruising one-point loss against Grange.
Magpies coach, Craig St John, said the match was a crucial one for their finals chance.
“This game’s very important to us…to keep in touch with the five,” he said.
“We’re excited, as always, to challenge ourselves.
They’ve set themselves as the leaders and our job now is to come at them.”
While the game is vital for the Magpies, St John said it wasn’t panic stations for the side yet.
“We’re still carrying a lot of injuries,” he said.
We’re more than happy (with our position).
“We always knew our second half would be better than our first and we still think that’s going to be the case.”
It’s a big day for the Magpies tomorrow, with their annual Black and White ball bringing past and present players to the club.
In the other round 8 games, Burleigh and Noosa face off in a bottom of the table clash.
The Bombers are the only winless side in the competition and will be desperate to get off the mark, after an improved showing in recent weeks.
Noosa’s young side have also been on the up in the past couple of weeks, including their first win against Maroochydore.
Coolangatta hosts Wilston Grange, in a challenging match for the Blues.
The Gorillas have proven their mettle in tight matches this season, and will have plenty of motivation in the match, with club stalwart, Rory Molan, playing his 100th game for Grange.
Surfers Paradise will be looking to solidify their top four spot, when they make the trek up to Fisherman’s Rd to face Maroochydore tomorrow.
The Demons have labelled this part of the season as their make or break matches, but there’s just as much at stake for the Roos, who would stay in touch with finals if they can get a win.
Mayne has a chance to build on its recent good form, with a match against the young Sandgate side.
The Tigers have lifted in recent weeks, winning three of their past four matches and losing a nail biter against Palm Beach last week.
Sandgate have shown they shouldn’t be taken lightly though, and will fight tooth and nail to pick up another win and stay in touch with the top five.
UQ has the biggest challenge of the round, travelling to Palm Beach to take on the Lions.
The Red Lions are coming off a thrilling win against Burleigh but will have to play the game of their lives to pull off an upset against Palm Beach.
Click here to download the Rd 8 Allied Pickfords Cup Record.
For quarter by quarter updates tomorrow, follow us on Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/A_PCup.
For all the latest Allied Pickfords Cup news, photos and videos, ‘like’ our official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/alliedpickfordscup.