SANDGATE and Wilston-Grange continue to set the pace at the top of the Pineapple Hotel Cup ladder after seven rounds.
The northside Brisbane clubs have 24 points from six wins and a draw with Sandgate holding top spot courtesy of their impressive percentage of 164.1.
The Hawks survived a trip to Chelmer on Saturday where they beat home side Western Magpies by 13 points on the back of an outstanding first quarter.
Wilston-Grange did not have things their own way against bottom Mayne, beating the Tigers by 27 points.
In other matches, Palm Beach-Currumbin scored another runaway win, this time by 174 points over Springwood, and Burleigh came from behind to beat Maroochy-Northshore by 60 points.
By Terry Wilson
Hot Hawks blast the Magpies early
A RED-HOT start set Sandgate on the way to victory in their match of the round against Western Magpies at Chelmer Oval on Saturday.
The Hawks bounced the Magpies early, setting up a quarter-time lead of 6.5 to 1.3 and the home side just could not regain that lost ground for the remainder.
The Magpies cut the deficit back to 13 points by half-time, but lost the third term by a point.
Magpies coach Peter McClennan had no explanation for his side getting out of the blocks tardily, but conceded it was not the first time this season his side has been guilty of starting slowly.
“There were no excuses,” said McClennan. “We just didn’t perform well at all and to Sandgate’s credit they kept at it all day.”
McClennan said his players have to learn to play four full quarters in top gear or they will continue to cough up early leads to quality opposition sides.
Sandgate captain-coach Ben Long was delighted with the strong start by his Hawks, something that did not surprise him given his side’s record in recent seasons.
The better the quality of the opposition, the better his players prepare, he believes.
“We’re the sort of side that the better the opposition is, the better we go into it,” he said.
“The boys were switched on because they knew we were playing a good side. That’s one of our attributes.
“We played some good footy early and we dominated possession.
“It was a great start, although it became a bit of an arm-wrestle after that.
“The Magpies threw a challenge at us – we knew they were going to come at us – and their run and skills were good.”
The Hawks were sparked by classy midfielder Matt Nuss, just one of several Sandgate on-ballers who carried the day for the winners.
“Matty has been good for three games in a row now, but all our midfielders have stepped up, especially some of our younger ones,” said Long.
“Last year we relied on the older blokes to be dominant there, but we now have Will Bradley, Ben Beaven and Tom Overington also going well.”
Long again praised ruckman Michael Pettit, not overly tall but possessing a big leap.
“It also probably helps (the midfielders) when you have a ruckman who puts the ball down their throat,” said Long.
The Hawks also had a winner in Chris Pettit, who was given a new role in defence away from his regular spot on a wing.
The Magpies, said coach McClennan, clearly missed the physical presence of big David Hamill up forward and the run and direction of Will Fozard at the back.
And the side suffered when Chris Hunt was badly concussed and ended up under observation in hospital after copping a high knock in a marking contest.
“As well, our rucks were not as dominant as they have been,” said McClennan.
Best for the Magpies were midfielder Reid Dobson, full-back Peter Kilroy, back pocket Tim McEvoy and Val Pope, who kicked four goals in midfield and forward roles.