Western Magpies overcame a slow start to run all over the Lions in the 2nd half at Salk Oval on Saturday
by Terry Wilson
Gold Coast Bulletin
RUTHLESS Western Magpies exposed Palm Beach-Currumbin as premiership pretenders with a steamrolling of the Lions at Salk Oval on Saturday.
In what turned out a complete reversal of what PBC officials had in mind, the Magpies came from four goals down in the second quarter to win running away by 18.11 (119) to 13.12 (90).
The Lions had planned to test the theory that the Magpies are a good one-way side. That is, they don’t mind it with the football in hand, but don’t work all that hard when they have to chase it.
The theory ended up a myth because what the Magpies managed to do was to expose PBC as the team that didn’t like the defensive work ethic.
When PBC led by 28 points midway through the second term, they looked in control. But that was when things suddenly went awry for the home side as the Magpies gathered momentum through a winning ruck and centre-square setup.
”Half-way through the second quarter we gave them the confidence and you could see the game change,” noted PBC coach Daryn Cresswell.
After that, the Lions barely gave a yelp as the Magpies took the game by the scruff of the neck and reduced the Lions to a fumbling, bumbling wreck.
“We were happy with the way the guys worked through it,” said winning coach Peter McClennan.
“They started slowly, they were under pressure and they were goals down, but they worked themselves back into the game.
“Then they realized, `hang on, we’re just starting to play our style of game’. They had been too conservative, too conscious of the other side.
“Our run is our strength and on a track like this it worked well.”
McClennan said one disappointing aspect was the failure to convert a massive inside-50 count, saying the finishing was poor.
But he did not miss the lack of grunt in the Lion camp.
“We were expecting a little bit more physicality, we absolutely were, and as soon as we started applying more tackling pressure they actually fell away,” he said.
A winning move for McClennan was the move from attack to defense of Ben Saunders, who was moved to dangerous PBC small forward Beau Runnalls.
Ruckmen Dominic Beer and Hayden Thick dominated the bounces and gave their on-ballers possession on a platter.
And half-backs Conrad Hudghton and Matt Dillon were excellent with their run.
Over in the PBC camp, the mood was somber.
The words `outmuscled’ and `soft’ surfaced after the Magpies triumphed and Cresswell did not argue the point with that assessment.
“Our defensive effort was nothing short of embarrassing,” Cresswell said.
“We allowed them time and space to do as they pleased and when you give a side like the Magpies such luxuries they’re just going to carve you up. We did not give a yelp on the defensive side around the ground.
:”Half-way through the second quarter we gave them the confidence and you could see the game change.”
The Lions lacked a forward target without injured Bryce Perry-Bolt and were hurt further by the loss of David Manning (broken wrist) and Jake Smart (back spasms).
Yet there was no excuse for the way they fumbled and bumbled. Away from the early stanza there was not a trace of the traditional PBC run and their disposal, particularly by hand, was atrocious.
Defender Blake Schneider, midfielder Jesse Derrick and ageless James Drake were exceptions to the rule and tried their best.
“I’m just happy this happened in round five and not in round 16 or in a final,” Cresswell said.
At Small Park, Surfers Paradise gave Maroochydore a 22.13 (145) to 6.7 (43) hiding on the back of a 10-goal haul from veteran full-forward Korey Fulton.
Fulton kicked four in the opening term as the Demons choked the visitors with a haul of 7.6 to 2.1.
Half-forward Aaron Rolfe, like Fulton a Broadbeach player last year, was outstanding for the winners, who also had beefy forward Dan Green (four goals) on song.
Coach Beau Zorko, who later went to watch younger brother Dayne make his AFL debut with the Brisbane Lions, said it was pleasing that his Demons stuck to their match tactics as they notched up a second successive win.
The two other Gold Coast sides had inglorious home ground losses.
Burleigh, with Marcus Powell playing his farewell match before moving to Western Australia for work, fell to premiers Noosa by 25.20 (170) to 88 (56) where Matt O’Brien and Sam Brown were the Bombers’ best.
Down at Len Peak Oval, Sandgate thumped Coolangatta by 28.19 (187) to 7.10 (52).
Papua New Guineans Stanis Susave and David Meli and Jamie Beer-Carey were the pick of the Blues.
Mayne and Springwood played a hard fought very competitive match at Everton with the Tigers eventually running out winners by 24 points. The game was up for grabs at ¾ time with just 7 points separating the 2 sides but Mayne found a little extra in the final term winning 11.19.85 to 9.7.61.
Tigers coach Mitch Ferguson was happy with the teams’ performance,” they are coming together quite nicely and although some people expected us to win by a bigger margin I’m happy to take the 4 points. They came ready to play and they manned up extremely well and tackled ferociously,” he said
The Pumas were still missing a number of players due to injury. “I was pleased by the competitive way we kept in the game our mental toughness is improving week by week.” said Springwood coach Paul Opbroek.
Best players for the Tigers were Stuart Vimpany, Nathan Smyth and Matthew Jones, while for the Pumas, Dylan Witney, Mitchell Vasterink and Luke Ruf stood out.