Young Sharks make Pies work for win
For the first time since 2014 Denmark-Walpole have begun the Great Southern Football League season with a win, after holding off a spirited Albany by 21 points in slippery conditions at Centennial Stadium on Sunday.
The Magpies were without boom recruit and former Fremantle Docker Clancee Pearce and gun midfielder Ryan Gaerth but their side started strongly to kick three goals with the breeze in the opening term.
With improved structure and skills the Sharks had two goals from their first three inside 50s of the second term and when Jake Stuart snapped the margin was only four points.
But with experienced duo Tyler Stone and Brody Hickey leading from the front, the Magpies responded to kick the next three goals into the wind as they took a 22-point buffer into the main break.
Sharks midfielder Jack Banks was one of the most influential players on the ground until his day was ended by a nasty broken arm, trying to fend off a tackle early in the third quarter and although the home side pinched one goal against the flow, the Magpies maintained their advantage.
Stone and Jack Hickey kicked their second majors of the game and veteran Simon Barker also got on the board as the Magpies appeared on their way to a comfortable win at the final change.
Again the Sharks rallied though with a second to makeshift forward Zac Pearson and a long set shot from Stewart Davies reducing the buffer to 22 points before Magpies skipper Jak Phillips kicked a steadying goal at the other end.
Sharks won the final term in another positive sign and the margin could have been less with Marcus Mellon, who gave a real presence when swung forward, kicking 1.3 in the last stanza.
Stone finished with two goals and was highly effective around the ground to go with strong contributions from Brody Hickey and Luke Marley in the 10.9 (69) to 7.6 (48) win.
Pearce did not play because of a heel complaint and Magpies coach Matt Candy was pleased with the display.
“It was a typical first game, scrappy and untidy but I was happy given what we had in today,” Candy said.
“The boys put the cue in the rack at the start of the fourth and full credit to Sharks, they are improving.”
Javid Mastan was terrific for the Sharks in the middle of the ground and was well supported by youngster Liam Offer and new recruit Anthony Coyne while Jonas Mitchell was solid at half-back.
“It wasn’t a consistent effort but there are things we can work on and fix,” Sharks coach Kim Mayfield said.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails