Pies soar into No.2
The Busselton Magpies flew into second position on the South West Football League ladder with a gutsy 27-point win over South Bunbury at Sir Stewart Bovell Park on Saturday.
Heavy rain and a strong north-westerly wind greeted players in the first quarter with Busselton captain Jackson Arbon winning the toss in his 150th game and electing to kick with the breeze.
Busselton dominated possession in the first quarter but could only manage one major as the Tigers defended staunchly.
In the second quarter Busselton continued their dominance with full-forward Kester Decke kicking his second major but continued inaccuracy left the door open for the Tigers who got on the board with a Jay Crossman goal.
The Tigers seemed to adapt to the conditions quicker than Busselton and turned the game into an arm-wrestle, tackling ferociously and moving the ball forward at all costs to kick three quick goals and bring the margin back to just two points at half-time.
But the young Magpies rose to the challenge in the premiership quarter with the big bodies of Reegan Mrsich and Mitch Tenardi taking control in the centre before both kicked important goals.
Leading by 15 points at three-quarter-time, Busselton coach David Lewis demanded his players grind out the last quarter against the wind and his players responded, holding the Tigers goalless while adding two of their own through hard-working youngster Troyden Thorpe and industrious half-forward Brent Snook.
The winless South Bunbury showed tremendous heart and determination to stay in the game through leaders Martin Thompson, Matthew Giacci and Damon Bull, but never managed to take the lead in the dour affair.
After the game Lewis said he was proud of his team’s response once they adjusted to the conditions after half-time.
“I think we tried to overuse the ball in the first half and to South Bunbury’s credit their pressure was immense,” he said. “At half-time we spoke about attacking the square by getting the ball in as quickly as possible before they had time to get a few spares back and we got the reward for effort.”
Busselton now take on reigning premiers Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault at Brunswick Oval on Saturday night in a second-versus-third showdown under lights.
Lewis said his team looked forward to testing themselves against the benchmark of the competition.
“They are obviously a fantastic side with a great midfield but we have a strong midfield as well and I think we will back our boys in head to head,” he said.
“It will be a good gauge for us to see how far we’ve come.”
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