Next round vital for Magpies finals hopes

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Denmark-Walpole coach Matt Candy.
Camera IconDenmark-Walpole coach Matt Candy. Credit: Laurie Benson

Denmark-Walpole coach Matt Candy said he believed his side’s hard-fought 25-point win over Albany could propel the Magpies back into finals contention, as they leapfrogged Royals back into fourth spot after six rounds of the Great Southern Football League season.

The Magpies were pushed for four quarters by a determined Sharks outfit in glorious conditions at McLean Park but the home side came away with a vital four points that pushed them back inside the top four.

“We know we’ve got to have a good second round to get us back into finals contention,” Candy said. “This is a good start but we have now got to take some other scalps and I think we can.”

The class of Magpies trio Tyler Stone, Jaden Guidi and Ryan Gaerth proved the difference in the end as they helped hold the Sharks at bay for much of the first half and then early in the third term.

Gaerth was superb on his way to 29 possessions and a critical goal in the third quarter as he played predominantly at centre half-forward while midfield gun Jaden Guidi won a stack of clearances to go with 19 touches and a goal before he came from the ground late in the third with a hit to the face.

Stone had booted five majors by half-time, finishing with six majors and then pushed into the midfield in the last term as the Magpies prevailed, 15.5 (95) to 11.4 (70).

The Magpies led by 12 points at half-time but the Sharks refused to go away and when captain Rick Wallis snapped the first major of the second half it was very much game on. However, the Magpies responded with the next three majors to steady the ship before Stone slotted his sixth and then set up Luke Hutcheson as the margin ballooned out beyond 30 points.

The Magpies kicked the first two goals of the last to effectively end the contest but the Sharks still won the final quarter as Zac Pearson’s superb match was capped with his sixth major and the work of Zainel Bin Busu, Fraser Eaton and Dylan Gowdie was telling.

The Sharks’ total of 11.4 (70) was their highest score since their only victory back in 2015 and coach Kim Mayfield said the Magpies experience was the telling factor in the crucial moments.

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