Magpies grab Outright Leadership

WESTERN Magpies soared to outright leadership of the Pineapple Hotel Cup after seeing off premiers Noosa at Chelmer on Saturday.

By Terry Wilson
Gold Coast Bulletin

The Magpies produced a mixture of free-flowing football with some impressive defensive efforts on their way to victory by 14.10 (94) to 12.6 (78).

Probably the best way to look at the match is that the Magpies had plenty of scoring chances through their big-marking forwards and they finished with 24 scoring chances to 18.

A five goals to three third quarter also played a major role in deciding the result, although Magpies coach Peter McClennan thought his side held the whip hand most of the way.

“I reckon we would have been unlucky to lose it more than for them to have won it,” McClennann said.

“We know we get accused of playing fast running football and we get accused that we don’t defend all that well, but we had word from the Noosa camp that our tackling pressure was right up there.

“And the number of times we had the ball in the 50-metre zone . . . I thought we could have taken more marks there.”

Big spearhead Alex Dickfos finished with four goals for the Magpies and drew praise from his coach.

“Alex had a great game and it was pleasing to see him back into some form,” McClennan said.

“He’s only a young guy who kicked 44 goals for us last year, but he had been a bit down this season.

“He took some great marks and put on some tackles. He did other work than just being a full-forward.”

The midfield was super for the Magpies, where vice-captain Tim McEvoy, Ben Heffernan-Roper, Jimmy Rozynsky and Billy Moorhead stood out.

Noosa coach Wayne Fletcher rued some sloppy skills and a concerning turnover rate, although he bristled when it was suggested this Noosa side lacks the same physical intensity as last year’s version.

“We didn’t execute our game plan and our skill level was not the best,” Fletcher said.

“You turn the ball over against good sides and they make you pay, but I thought the MAgpies took more marks inside their 50 metre through Popa (Val), Dickfos and Corrie (Anthony).

“Taking those marks in the danger zone was certainly a difference.”

Yet, despite this, Fletcher thought his Tigers were right in the game until the final minute.

Best for Noosa were the irrepressible Caleb Isles on the ball, midfielder Tom McKittrick, centre half-back and ruck Riley Buntain, and Brett Duke when switched to defence in the second half.

PALM Beach-Currumbin survived an aggressive early onslaught from Wilston-Grange to set up a big win over the Gorillas at Salk Oval on Saturday.

Maintaining their jinx over the Grange, who lost their sixth match in a row at the venue, the Lions has a big second half and won running away by 20.11 (131) to 10.13 (73).

The Gorillas were fired up  maybe in response to their insipid performance the previous round when beaten by Surfers Paradise and were just four points down at the first break.

However, it was all PBC after that. The home side were 34 up at half-time and put on 11.4 to 6.10 after that.

Half-back flankers Angus Munro and Blake Schneider were the architects of the victory, setting up numerous forward thrusts with their run and carry.

Midfieder Jesse Derrick racked up 40 possessions in the middle and super veteran Jamie Drake fired up at centre half-forward as a result, although coach Daryn Cresswell was not happy with his conversion rate.

“Jamie kicked six behinds and should have had 10 goals on board,” he said.

“Overall, though, I was pleased with our speed of ball movement and our intensity to  intent to pressure and defend has certainly improved.”

The under-strength Gorillas came out firing and looked hell bent on atoning for a lack-lustre performance against Surfers Paradise the previous weekend.

But lack of quality eventually took its toll. Best for the Gorillas were Steve Brittain, Matt  Trewhella and Dan Campbell.

AT Sir Bruce Small Park, Surfers Paradise had their expected easy win against struggling Coolangatta.

The Demons won by 24.16 (160) to 4.3 (27) but only after a second half that netted them 16.11 to 2.1

Most pleasing for coach Beau Zorko was the form of a group of youngsters, headed by half-back Brodie Haberfield, small forward Noa Corbett (five goals), Sam Folan, Jesse Haberfield and first-gamer James McNamara.

“James did some really good things for his first game,” Zorko said of the 17-year-old.

“But overall we were guilty of over-use of the footy early on. We tried to share the football too much.

“But the boys certainly rectified that after half-time.”

Coolangatta coach Neil  McKay said the Blues at least competed strongly for the first half, giving the Blues hope that win is just around the corner.

“The first half was better, much more competitive, which is a good starting point when you’ve been down where we’ve been,” he said.

The downside, though, was that without 19 players, the Blues again forfeited reserve grade.

Arnold Knight, on permit from Southport, starred for the Blues, along with Papua New Guineans Ali Pinda and John Vogae.

McKay moved Pinda to Korey Fulton (six goals) in the second half and Vogae went to Dan Green. Both did serviceable jobs.

COACH Mitch Ferguson’s time at Mayne stretches back to his days as an under-19 when the Tigers were a force in the QAFL.

In the years since Ferguson can not recall the Tigers being in the leading bunch on the ladder, as they are right now in the Pineapple Hotel Cup competition.

Mayne clawed their way to third on standings, level on 20 points with next weekend’s opponents Palm Beach-Currumbin, after beating Burleigh by 18.8 (116) to 8.10 (58) at Everton Park on Saturday.

After not winning a match in 2011, that represents a remarkable  and highly commendable  fightback from the depths for Mayne.

And a thoroughly deserved one, says Ferguson.

“We’ve worked hard to get there and the boys deserve to be there the way they have played and prepared themselves,” Ferguson said.

“There is a sense of belief there now, which is so refreshing.”

Ferguson struggled to recall when Mayne was so well placed on a competition ladder. He thinks it was in 1993.

“I do remember that we were on top with three matches to go to the finals  but we lost all three, then went straight out in the finals,” he said.

What is a key factor behind the Mayne rise is obviously the return of some super players like Caleb Brown, Luke Ferguson and Andrew Falconer.

“We’ve got some experience in the group now and we’re not relying on one or two players like we had in the past,” he said.

That was proven against Burleigh when super veteran Andrew Housego and Brown were both missing.

Adam Stevenson, Sam Paterson and Dean Hartley were Mayne’s standouts against the Bombers, who had Aaron Axelby and Matt O’Brien as their best.

MAROOCHYDORE are finally on the board in the Pineapple Hotel Cup after a commendable, come-from-behind success over Springwood at Lowe Oval on Saturday.

The Roos downed Springwood by 17.26 (118) to 12.12 (84) after trailing by 16 points at quarter-time.

It was at that stage of the match that the Roos suddenly realised they were in with a big chance  and they powered up to eventually win by more than five goals.

Asked what he believed was behind the turnaround, president Craig Scrase said: “Application to the task and also a gradual build-up in confidence and belief.

“After five or six heavy weeks of top flight opposition, we’d taken a fair pounding.

“The boys took until the second quarter on Saturday to realise they’re not that bad and that they do have ability.

“It was so pleasing for them to finally get reward for a lot of effort because the pre-season was filled with so much promise.”

The win left Burleigh alone at the foot of the ladder as the only side without a win this season.

Full-forward Jared Clarke, with five goals, was Maroochydore’s best, although he kicked four of that haul in the final term when Maroochy outscored the Pumas by 34 to 12.

Andrew Maskell-Dunstan, normally a defender, relished a role in the midfield and dominated, while elusive small forward Dylan Weikhardt also troubled the home side defenders.

Springwood coach Paul Opbroek rued the fact he had too many non-contributors, which told as the game wore on.

“Unfortunately we had a couple of passengers and for us to win we need all 22 to stand up.

“At the end of the day they (Maroochydore) wanted the points more.

“I think we dropped off after quarter-time and maybe they came out a bit harder.”

Springwood’s best were on-baller/forward Dylan Witney, full-forward John Kennedy and young ruckman Mitchell Vasterink.

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