Men’s Premier Division Match of the Round Review – Inner West Magpies vs. Pennant Hills Demons
Photo: Merille Redden
What a contest we had in store at Picken Oval in the Men’s Premier Division Match between the Inner West Magpies and the Pennant Hills Demons, traditional Anzac Day rivals who have played each other on this day since 2014. Before the game began the large crowd at Picken had the honour of paying tribute via a moving Anzac ceremony hosted by the Canterbury-Hurlstone RSL. Credit to all involved in organising the day, most notably the Inner West Magpies footy club.
The match was physical and showcased two teams seeking deep finals runs in 2021, with the Demons on this occasion proving too strong and at times dominate across all lines. The Magpies coming off an impressive opening two rounds of the season will head back to the drawing board with Coach Ben Klemke no doubt seeking an improved performance in Round 4 when the Magpies host the Eagles at Picken Oval. Chris Yard and the Demons on the other hand would be buoyed by their performance, which no doubt sets them right alongside North Shore, Sydney University and UNSW-ES as the teams to beat in season 2021.
As was anticipated all week the match commenced with Luke Jamieson, the basketball convert, facing off against Charles Allison, the Rugby convert. Despite a slightly wayward bounce it was advantage Inner West who scrapped a kick forward off the boot of Callum McEvoy-Gray. It ended up in the arms of Stephen ‘Stinger’ Wray who was unable to break the tackle of Brandon Lagana. When Lagena calmly slotted the goal from 25 metres, the Magpies had jumped the Demons and it was game on. Pennant Hills responded quickly off the boot of the skillful and ever-elusive Chris Galvin before Theo Moraitis added his first. To give the Demons some breathing room just before the break, Tim Wales snuck up from the Backline and following a 50-metre penalty for a standing the mark infraction added the Demons third of the quarter. At quarter time it was Inner West Magpies 1.1.7 to Pennant Hill Demons 3.3.21
The second quarter begun in opposition to the first, with the Demons kicking a goal early via an impressive mark from Isaac Franks following some excellent tap work from Allison and a series of lightning handballs between the Demon midfielders before Chris Galvin found Franks via foot close to goal. Just when it appeared the Demons may sneak away, a free kick to McEvoy-Gray on the wing lead to deep forward entry and a chance for the dangerous Braydon Bux to enter the fray. Bux gathered the lose footy with ease, and after shaking off several tacklers snaped truly. The teams then exchanged goals with Harry Maguire who’s overhead marking was outstanding all day kicked his first, following by Austin Ball from the Magpies. However, the end of the quarter belonged to Pennant Hills with the enormous pressure imposed by Jackson Potter, Wilson Mudge and Thomas Edmonds leading to three late goals. At half time the Demons looked in control. Inner West Magpies 3.1.19 to Pennant Hill Demons 8.7.55
During the half time break it was confirmed that Isaac Franks who had been stretchered off in the second quarter had sustained a serious lower leg injury and would take no further part, we pass on our best and hope for a speedy recover for Isaac. The toll of the game was being felt by many a player with Inner West playing coach Ben Klemke clearly hampered and several other players from both teams appearing sore. After several missed chances the Magpies goaled, following a long kick from Patrick Wilmott to Jock White who marked strongly. However, the momentum from the White goal was short-lived with the Demons starting to gain control across the ground with Maine Vidler, Luke Skrivanic and Connor Matthews all important. For the Magpies Brandon Lagana, Daniel O’Connell and Patrick O’Connell, Lucas Lam (a player to watch) along with McEvor-Gray showed plenty of courage. The Demons once again finished the quarter strongly with Moraitis kicking his third and fourth goals in succession before Josh Robinson clawed one back late. At the last break it was Inner West Magpies 5.6.36 to Pennant Hills Demons 11.10.76.
The match was all but over early in the fourth, however, Braydon Bux kicked his second and the Magpies had the margin back under 7 goals. Despite the early push the Moraitis and Maguire show was about the kick into top gear with both player marking and kicking goals in grand style. Moraitis would finish with five and Maguire with four. Ben Matthews chimed in with a goal, and in the end, it was a very convincing win for the Demons on ANZAC Day at Picken Oval. A bright spot for the Magpies was the performance of Lam, who dominated and continued to take the game on all day. The Demons were very well led by Skipper Thomas Edmonds, and in the end the Demons had too much fire power up forward for the Magpies to handle on this occasion.
INNER WEST MAGPIES 6.7.43
Goal Kickers: B. Bux 2, J. Robinson, A. Ball, J. White, B. Lagana
Best Players: B. Lagana, B. Klemke, J. Zoppo, D. O’Connell, C. McEvoy-Gray, L. Lam
PENNANT HILLS DEMONS 15.12.102
Goal Kickers: T. Moraitis 5, H. Maguire 4, B. Hunt, C. Galvin, B. Matthews, T. Wales, L. Skrivanic, I. Franks
Best Players: H. Maguire, C. Matthews, L. Skrivanic, T. Edmonds, T. Moraitis, C. Allison
PREMIER DIVISION MEN’S MATCH OF THE ROUND – NEXT WEEK
UNSW-ES Bulldogs vs. North Shore Bombers – Henson Park 2:10pm Sunday May 2