Men’s Premier Division Match of the Round Review – Inner West Magpies v Pennant Hills Demons
Written by Lucas Holmes
A gallant Inner West outfit just fell short of the UNSW-ES Bulldogs in round 2. Whilst Pennant Hills was coming off the bye. In round 1, they overran St George in the last quarter to win by two points.
After yet another spine-tingling ‘ANZAC Observance’ play got underway under overcast skies.
Unlike a fortnight ago against the Bulldogs, Inner West showed their intent as they switched the ball out of their backline in the early exchanges.
Both sides had their chances at either end of the ground whilst they imposed a physical brand in contested situations.
Pennant Hills had the game’s first major as the 14-minute mark approached.
Following a boundary throw-in on the centre wing, Mitchell Blow’s clearance was met by the high-flying Harry Maguire. Maguire quickly played on from the half-forward flank and launched the ball towards the vacant goal just beating the Magpies’ defence over the goal line.
The Demons at this early stage dropped a loose player in defence as they attempted to quell the influence of Magpies key forward Ben Zoppo.
Inner West almost claimed their first deep in the first quarter. However, Zoppo couldn’t quite hang onto his high marking attempt.
Inner West finally got their first goal through Kyle Veerhuis.
Patrick Wilmot took an intercept mark on the near centre wing. The Magpies linked through the centre of the ground through Lucas Lam and Nick Pleming before Veerhuis was infringed in the marking contest at centre half-forward.
Veerhuis just had the required journey as the term ended soon after.
Quarter time Inner West Magpies 1.3.9 Pennant Hills Demons 1.2.8
Maguire had the chance to kick his second in the opening minutes of the second term. However, Maguire pulled his set shot slightly to the left.
Zoppo had an opportunity to kick his first of the day, he too registered a minor score.
Kel Evans made no mistake when the Magpies went forward at the mid-way point of the quarter.
After he won a free kick from the ball up, Veerhuis kicked laterally to Brandon Lagana. Inner West moved the football efficiently down the far wing before Evans took a leaping contested mark inside the forward 50. Evans’ shot was from close range, as Inner West’s lead went outside a goal for the first time.
This lead didn’t last for long.
The Demons forced a turnover in the middle of the ground following an Inner West kick out. With numbers streaming forward of the contest Theo Moraitis took an uncontested mark in transition and didn’t look like missing from just inside 40 metres.
Half time Inner West Magpies 2.5.17 Pennant Hills Demons 2.7.19.
As the sun broke through to start the third term, there was a change of tactics from the Demons.
Inner Wests’ Luke Jamieson dominated in the ruck contests in the first half against the smaller Ben Matthews. Mitchell Blow was in the centre circles to start the quarter.
Unlike the first two quarters, a major was scored in the opening four minutes.
From a ball up inside the Demons’ forward 50, neither team couldn’t get a clear possession. A scrubby kick was met by Blow at ground level in the forward pocket. Blow fired out a quick handball before a second gave Moraitis enough time and space as he snapped off his left for his second goal. The margin is out to 10 points.
As it had been so far in the match, it didn’t take long for the opposition (Inner West on this occasion) to respond.
The Magpies’ build-up started on the far half-back flank. Elliott Harper spotted the impressive Veerhuis who quickly fed Omar Matar. His short handball allowed Austin Ball to run into the forward 50. Ball’s attempted shot on goal came off the side of his boot but into the waiting arms of Ben Zoppo who strolled into the open goal.
The Magpies added three quick goals late in the third term.
Three quarter time Inner West Magpies 6.5.41 Pennant Hills Demons 3.11.29.
Pennant Hills attacked the centre corridor early in the last quarter as they searched for quick goals. Although it was the Magpies who sprung a counterattack to score the crucial first goal 10 minutes in.
Ben Klemke spoiled an attempted kick into the corridor, and the Magpies went long and direct through Thye Hamilton. Matar in the front position was slung after his disposal. However, advantage was paid as Tiziani poked home near the goal line.
Harper was rewarded for his hard running throughout the afternoon as Inner West added their eighth goal from his long set shot.
The Demons hit back less than a minute later.
A dominant clearance rolled well inside the forward 50 where Ben Matthews’ short handball found Wilson Mudge in full flight who finished with class across his body.
As tempers flared at Picken Oval, Zoppo had his third goal of the afternoon over the back of the Pennant Hills defence.
Before Veerhuis added his third which capped off an impressive second half from Inner West.
Full time Inner West Magpies 10.6.66 Pennant Hills 4.12.36.
Luke Jamieson was dominant in the ruck for Inner West. Kyle Veerhuis was important as the second tall forward whilst Patrick Wilmot racked up intercept marks in defence.
Ben Matthews did a commendable job in the ruck for a large portion of the match for Pennant Hills. Theo Moraitis was a focal point inside the forward 50 and Tim Wales’ ball movement was a feature for the Demons.
Inner West Magpies 10.6.66
Goal kickers: K. Veerhuis 3, B. Zoppo 3, L. Tiziani 2, K. Evans, E. Harper
Best: P. Wilmot, B. Klemke, B. Myers, K. Evans, N. Pleming, M. Tuttle
Pennant Hills Demons 4.12.36
Goal kickers: T. Moraitis 2, H. Maguire, W. Mudge
Best: N. Richards, B. Matthews, M. Blow, S. Quirk, T. Wales, M. Vidler