By Beth Newman
1. The Magpies are back on track
After an injury-plagued start to the year, the Magpies remained steadfast in their belief that their back end of the season would be their redemption. And that opinion is proving true now, as the Magpies hit their straps with a month to go. They punished Noosa’s errors on Saturday and kicked a massive score in less than ideal conditions. It was the fourth week in a row that last year’s premiers had finished with at least 19 goals, proving they haven’t totally lost their touch in 2013.The Magpies will need to take their improvement to another level in a gruelling final four rounds, with matches against Palm Beach, Surfers and Mayne to come.
2. The Demons showed their mettle
With every match essentially a mini-final in the closing stages of the regular rounds, the Demons are doing enough to prove they can handle the pressure. Trailing for most of the day against Mayne and playing a good chunk of that with only 17 men, the Demons were able to take out one of their tightest wins of the year. They will draw on every bit of confidence from that win in their blockbuster against Grange this weekend. The last time the two met, the Demons were overrun, eventually losing by 13 points. I would be betting that performance won’t be repeated on Saturday.
3. No Carr, no worries
Palm Beach played without spearhead Nathan Carr on the weekend, but it didn’t faze the ladder leaders. On a day not made for key forwards, it was probably the best time to be missing Carr, but the Lions still managed to finish with a decent score against a strong opposition. Matt Carroll and Clint Kelly stepped up in Carr’s absence, kicking three apiece, and showed they’re not just a one-trick pony.
4. Maroochydore’s finals hopes still have a pulse
After seeing off Sandgate at Fisherman’s Rd on Saturday, the Roos kept themselves in finals calculations. Two wins in a row, against Grange and then the Hawks, have them three games out of the top five, with four games left and some very winnable games against Coolangatta, UQ and Burleigh. If Mayne beats Noosa on Saturday, this discussion is a moot point, but after 12 weeks, the Roos are still in the race.
5. Focal points providing a bright spot
Neither Cooly or UQ are having the best of seasons, but both have a talented forward giving them plenty of positives each week. For the Blues, it’s Jack Ryan, who finished with four on the weekend after a couple of quiet games. In the Red Lions’ corner, it’s Jarrod Prakelt. Both have only finished goalless once this season and have been consistent bright spots for their respective sides.
6. Springwood getting an even spread
In the early parts of this season, the Pumas’ wins tended to come from the same few players, namely a couple of their big-name recruits. However, as the season has progressed, more and more players are stepping up in supporting roles. The Pumas’ defence has come to the fore in the second half of the season, with Brendan Iles consistently among the best and Greg Friis in super form through the middle and on the half-back line.