Western Magpies win Division 1 Premiership

THE Western Magpies have claimed the SEQAFL Division 1 premiership with a convincing win over Palm Beach Currumbin at Hickey Park in Brisbane on Saturday.

A cracking start with a strong wind at their backs eventually led to a thoroughly deserved Magpie victory by 19.12 (126) to 14.15 (99). The Magpies set the game up with a 7.2 to 2.3 opening term when they had first use of a howling wind.

They were never really in danger after that as Ray Poulter Medal winner Jim Rozynski (his second against PBC after winning the award in 2008), half-back Matt Dillon, ruckman Hayden Thick and central defender Ed McDonnell ruled the roost.

PBC coach Daryn Cresswell conceded the Lions blew their chances with a terrible second term conversion rate when they managed only 1.6 to 3.5 with a four-goal wind at their backs.

“It was a case of wasted opportunities,” Cresswell said.

“We didn’t have a forward line that functioned. I thought our midfield worked pretty hard to win the stoppages and get the ball into our area, but we couldn’t capitalise.

“We didn’t have a forward up there to take control. And their defence was outstanding they rebounded and caught us off guard.”

Best for the Lions, who have yet to win a grand final away from the Gold Coast, were Ryan Hards in the centre, tall defenders Jackson Emblem and Sam Bourke.

For successful coach McClennan, it was an emotional day at a venue where his late father Ron played for many years with Wilston-Grange in the old state league.

McClennan Snr was also a key figure at Mt Gravatt, whose home oval bears his name and where son Peter played as a junior.

So that best explained why, despite displaying a smile from ear to ear, that McClennan Jnr was so emotional after grabbing his first senior premiership as a coach.

Sometimes figures can lie, because Cresswell claimed his side won the inside-50s 65-45. McClennan questioned that supposed dominance, but if it was a statistical advantage to the Lions, it was one that went to waste.

“I reckon we had more inside 50s and our conversion rate was probably 50-50. We should have been further ahead,” McClennan said.

“But we had pressure on them around the ground.

“They were kicking the ball but not hitting targets because our tackling was up. We forced errors on their delivery, our stats tell us that.”

While former Brisbane Lion Anthony Corrie had an off-day with his kicking he finished with 0.5 classy Val Pope (five), Alex Dickfos (three) and the one-armed Matt Thompson (three) supplied the conversion factor so vital in big matches.

PBC’s most potent player was rover Matt Carroll, whose tidy performance earned him 4.1 and a place among the best for the Lions.

As was the case last year against Noosa, PBC had to kick into a strong wind in the first quarter and they never really handled the situation well again.

In fact, the Magpies were able to kick the first goals of each term which gave them a significant confidence boost over rivals who desperately needed to do just that.

The match was marred by an incident late in the final term which saw several players reported.

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