Jarrod Thorpe has begun the biggest rebuilding job in Queensland football in a positive manner. His Western Magpies did not walk away with a win last week, but they did take home the next best thing.

Friday 4 June 2010

Jarrod Thorpe has begun the biggest rebuilding job in Queensland football in a positive manner.

Thorpe was appointed new coach of the Western Magpies last week after Paul Grentell stepped down, and had four days to prepare for a clash with the Brisbane Lions Reserves.

The Magpies lost by 20 points, but it was a 27-goal improvement on when the teams clashed just a month earlier.

“It was a very, very interesting week,” Thorpe said of a frenetic few days that could have had a fairytale finish when his side crept to within two points of the Lions midway through the final term.

The Magpies did not walk away with a win, but they did take home the next best thing.

“We walked a way with a bit more respect, and that’s what we were looking for,” Thorpe said.

His team faces an even truer test tomorrow when they meet reigning premiers Morningside in a promotional game in Toowoomba, with the instant effect of the coaching change wearing off.

Another competitive performance will give Thorpe further heart that he can have a similar impact on the Magpies to what Matty Francis has done at Redland.

Three years ago Redland had won two games out of 51. Twelve months ago Francis guided them to third place on the premiership table after the qualifying rounds.

No-one is predicting a similar turnaround for the Magpies, but Thorpe is going to give it a huge shake.

His club is currently 0-26 since they re-entered the State League at the start of 2009.

Over the second half of last season and earlier this year, the Magpies mixed some huge losses with games where they were in a winning position at the final change but could not go on with it.

“Getting over the line is a mental thing we need to work on,” Thorpe said. “In saying that, you break a game down into quarters and when you win enough quarters you will eventually win a game.”

He pointed out that the Magpies lost three quarters to the Lions by a goal, and one quarter by a solitary point.

“When you look at it in that context, it is a very final line,” he said.
“At the end of the day it will happen. It might be next week, or next month or next year,  as long as we get there.

“The junior talent at the club is pretty good, we have to make sure we hang on to them and don’t leave. There is a fair bit of talent here – this is not a 0-25 team on paper.”

The Magpies have been plagued by skill errors but their turnover rate was better against the Lions, playing a more direct game.

A number of players were also called into the side or played in different positions, with most working beautifully.

“The message all week was that with change comes opportunity,” Thorpe said..
The son of former Footscray player and 1974 Richmond premiership side member David Thorpe, he left his previous position as assistant coach to David Lake at Mt Gravatt on the best of terms.

“Lakey gave me all the encouragement in the world to do the job and I got a good luck message from him on the morning of the game,” Thorpe revealed.

The QAFL premiership competition took some interesting twists in Round 8 with Southport losing their first game of the season to the NT Thunder in Darwin, leaving them just one game in front of Labrador and Morningside.

Labrador won the critical Gold Coast derby between second and fourth when they held Broadbeach to a solitary goal in the first three terms, while Tim Notting booted 5.5 himself.

Mt Gravatt easily accounted for Redland, leaving the Bombers fighting for their finals lives going into the halfway round of the season when they host Broadbeach on Sunday.

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