Infiltrate. That’s what the Gorillas were able to do to the Magpies today.
The press, the cluster, the zone; whatever you want to call the way the Magpies set up around the ball, was broken down today. You don’t say that too often.
In a half of football, the Gorillas pilled on 13 goals to the Magpies two, ran freely, linked up well, and finished their good work on the scoreboard. I don’t think anyone expected that.
While the second half was all one-way traffic, the first half was as tight and contested as it has been all year.
The Magpies were on early. They choked Wilston Grange in, were on top in the stoppages, and were controlling the football.
Wilson Grange was able to kick a couple of late ones, against the flow, the lead at quarter time by four points.
With the aid of a slight breeze, the Magpies were able to capitalise in the second quarter, but there was still no give from either side around the ball.
Dickfos was becoming a handful in the forward line, and Thompson didn’t look like missing all afternoon, with two for the quarter.
Steve Brittain was very good early, but the Magpies midfield did a good job making sure there were two to three people were hanging off his hip at all times after that.
At half time, the Magpies were up by seven-points, and the game looked set to be a slog to the final siren.
Something changed at half time, in a big way.
Wilston Grange found their mojo, and the Magpies were unable to stop the bleeding.
All of a sudden, the ground went from a bullring to the MCG in terms of space.
Kuret was getting his hands on the pill at every stoppage, Kettle was everywhere, and McDonnell was jagging them from the boundary on more than one occasion.
Not too many teams have opened the Magpies up this year, but that’s exactly what Grange did.
They seemed to have two or three blokes at the back of every contest that were able to slingshot forward as soon as they won the ball, but were also able to slow the play down when needed.
Hugh Campbell took the points against Luke Scott, and Scott Waters was using the ball superbly.
The third quarter alone saw Wilston Grange kick seven goals to the Magpies one, blowing the margin out to 31-points at the main break.
The Western Magpies still had a sniff going into the last, but their flame was extinguished pretty quick smart through goals to Satchell and Warren early in the last.
Dickfos kicked the Magpies only goal in the fourth quarter at the 12-minute mark, but the game was already iced by then.
It was all red white and blue. You almost wanted to stop the game and do a headcount.
In the end, Wilston Grange was 62-point winners.
The margin was big, but it was more about the style they did it in. It was emphatic.
It sets them up for a huge clash with Labrador next Saturday; one the Tigers cannot afford to take lightly.
On today’s form, don’t be surprised to see them beat Labrador for a second time this year.
Bring on next weekend.
Glenn Humphrey – Western Magpies
“They just wanted it more than what we did; we got out played at our own game.
“Our work rate wasn’t high enough, our attack on the footy wasn’t good enough, when you don’t have control of the football, you can’t control the game.
“The simple fact was they were harder at the football, and wanted the football more than us. Until our blokes realise that we have got to preform week in week out, those sort of things will continue to happen.”
Matt Trewhella – Wilston Grange
“That was electric, I wasn’t expecting that sort of output, but once we addressed the way we played, which took us a half, we were able to open them up a bit.
“We started coming off the square a little bit and took their defenders up the ground, to make them uncomfortable.
“They always send one or two in, with some terrific ball winners, and then send it out. We were ball watching early, so we just sweated off a little bit, and set up a little better.”
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles