Loss dents Magpies finals hopes

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Royals' Trent Nesbitt gathers the ball as Denmark-Walpole's Lee Gropp tackles.
Camera IconRoyals' Trent Nesbitt gathers the ball as Denmark-Walpole's Lee Gropp tackles. Credit: Laurie Benson

Denmark-Walpole’s hopes of playing finals took a significant hit after they were on the end of a 95-point trouncing by premiership favourites Royals at Collingwood Park in round 9 of the Great Southern Football League season on Saturday.

The Magpies had gathered momentum at the start of the month with wins over Albany and North Albany before losing a tight contest with Mt Barker last week.

With the game day withdrawals of key big men Shayne Zanetti and Kalin Lane, the Magpies produced their most disappointing performance of the season as they were completely outplayed in the second half.

With both clubs’ home grounds unavailable the two sides met at a neutral venue and the Magpies also elected to wear their specially made NAIDOC jumpers.

Royals' Brody Ogle marks ahead of Denmark-Walpole's Ethan Burton.
Camera IconRoyals' Brody Ogle marks ahead of Denmark-Walpole's Ethan Burton. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Early on, the Magpies had come to play as they led by six points at quarter-time after going to the end favoured by the wind and when Lachlan Hutchinson kicked the first goal of the second term the margin was out to 13 points.

The Lions then seized control of the contest with the next five majors as two each from Jordan Heil and Jayson Ford in the second term put their side 23 points up by half-time.

The second half was one-way traffic as the Lions dominated all areas of the game and finished with a rampant nine-goal final term on their way to a 19.15 (129) to 4.10 (34) victory that boosted their percentage and left them two games clear on top of the table.

Royals' Jayson Ford kicked five goals.
Camera IconRoyals' Jayson Ford kicked five goals. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Lions coach Andrew Ruck said he was pleased with his side’s ball movement and flexibility.

“It took our boys a bit to get going but the second quarter we got a bit of momentum and moved the ball well,” Ruck said.

“By the end it was weight of numbers really.

“Their top six are as good as anyone but our flexibility and ability to play guys in different spots helped.”

Denmark-Walpole co-coach Ryan Gaerth gets his handball out.
Camera IconDenmark-Walpole co-coach Ryan Gaerth gets his handball out. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Lions had 32 inside 50 entries in the last half compared with the Magpies’ 10, which yielded only one goal for the latter.

Youngster Tyreice Brown was outstanding across the four quarters, his ball use carving up the Magpies, and he had plenty of support in clever forward Ford (five goals), midfielder Dave Parker, ruckman Nathan Powell and classy performer Heil.

The losing margin for the Magpies would have been worse if not for the performance of co-coach Ryan Gaerth while Luke Hutcheson and Cody Kerr worked hard.

Co-coach Simon Barker’s day was done before quarter-time after a heavy knock to his ribs and Doug Roberts finished the game with an injured quad.

The defeat leaves the Magpies two games adrift of the fourth-placed Bulls with six regular rounds to play. “They cut us up on the outside,” Barker said.

“Once they get the ball and control it, it’s pretty tough and even the start of the third we didn’t come out with the right intent.”

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