SANDGATE kept their premiership dreams alive when they downed Western Magpies in a thrilling Pineapple Hotel Cup first semi-final at Chelmer Oval on Sunday.
Last year’s grand finalists took the nail-biter by 16.12 (108) to 15.12 (102) to earn a crack at Palm Beach-Currumbin in the preliminary final on the Gold Coast next Saturday.

By Terry Wilson

And, just as they did against the Magpies in round seven, the Hawks set up their win with a big first quarter.
Back on May 28, at Chelmer, Sandgate put on 6.5 to 1.3 to open. On Saturday the scoreboard read 7.5 to 1.2
Considering there was only one goal in the final result, that term had significant impact on the end result, although the Magpies were far from shattered by their tame start, which coach Peter McClennan described as ‘dreadful’.
Saturday’s second term was much tighter as the Magpies recovered some lost ground. They trailed by 2.8 to 8.8 at half-time and obviously still had a lot of work to do to get back into it.
That they did. Coach McClennan implored his charges to attack like they had done most of the season.

What happened was quite remarkable as fortunes switched camps and the Magpies rammed on 9.3 to 2.1 for a two-point lead at three-quarter time.
Asked what he said to his players at half-time, McClennan said: “We didn’t do too much wrong in the first quarter, it was that we just couldn’t get our hands on the ball and things didn’t go our way.
“We stemmed the flow in the second, then obviously in the third quarter we had to attack.
“We went out with a positive attitude and stuck to our game plan.”
It was in this term that the Magpies had 17 inside-50s and kicked nine goals, quite a commendable conversion rate.
Then it was Sandgate who steadied in the fourth quarter, holding on to a narrow lead for a well-deserved victory.
The Magpies had a last-gasp scoring opportunity when Ben Heffernan-Roper, the side’s best player on-ball, marked just outside the 50m line. Heffernan-Roper played on but the siren sounded before he could get a kick at goal that could have drawn the match.
Last second Ben Heffernan Roper took a mark and played on just as the siren sounded.

Relieved Sandgate captain-coach Ben Long said of the Magpies third quarter fightback: “They got the roll going and they’re one of those sides that, once they get a run going, they get their tails up and can kick goals quickly.
“The three-quarter time siren pretty much stemmed the flow then we got back to what we did in the first half.
“We were more accountable , like we were up to half-time.”

Sandgate had super service from Luke Reynolds at centre half-back, the extremely versatile Aaron Fabian, super veteran Danny Dickfos up forward, small forward and on-baller Sean Cornish and ruckman Michael Pettit.
Fabian, last year’s best and fairest, started at centre half-forward where he kicked five goals, then was switched to defence when the Magpies were running riot, before he ended up on-ball in the fourth quarter.
best for the Magpies were Heffernan-Roper, centre half-back Ed McDonnell, ruckman Dominic Beer, Reid Dobson on-ball and Irrepressible Tim McEvoy.
It was a disappointing way for the Magpies to exit the competition, bowing out in straight sets, although the club has performed admirably under trying circumstances.

Back from the QAFL and devastated by the early-year flooding, the Magpies almost took the minor premiership and look to have a bright future.
Coach McClennan has been reappointed for two more seasons and is looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s exciting because or reserve team is all babies and there is a lot of talent coming through,” said McClennan.
“When we came back a division our first goal was to make finals after two seasons away.
“It is disappointing to lose two finals in a row because we honestly believe we could have gone all the way.”

In Sunday’s reserve grade first semi-final, the Magpies downed Surfers Paradise by 15.13 (103) to 12.9 (81) after trailing by 19 points at quarter-time.
Best for the Magpies were Peter Kilroy, Dylan McDonald and Steven Turner while for the Demons Mitch Ryan, Rhys Nossiter and Josh Orton were the stand-outs.

Our Supporters