Friend to foe as Magpies plot Brothers' finals end
FORCED to rely on Brothers to keep their final dreams alive last week, Magpies are relieved to have fate back in their control.
Magpies were under threat of "falling out the back door” in the last round of the A-Grade competition.
If Sarina got the better of Brothers in their Round 14 clash, the Pies would have been thrown from their finals qualifying spot.
That was not the case and Magpies prop Corey McGannon said his side would use that feeling of helplessness as fuel to eliminate Brothers on Sunday.
Injury clipped Magpies' wings towards the pointy end of the season, but McGannon said after the return of a few key players his team would fly again.
"Last week against Prossy we played a lot better than what we had (before) and we get a few players back, so the mindset is good at the moment,” he said.
Dane Francis and Lona Kaifoto return from injury and Nikko Roberts has finished his week's suspension.
"They're the players that win games . . . it's a team sport but in big games they really shine,” McGannon said.
However, the Pies will be without stalwart Tyler Gardiner in their centres after he was called up for Cutters duties. Malik Cotter will fill the void for Gardiner.
"He didn't play last week, he was another one injured,” McGannon said.
"Malik brings a lot to the team. He and Boof defend similarly.”
Brothers have been a bad luck team for Magpies this year, winning both of their encounters.
McGannon hoped his side's experience could get the better of their young opposition.
"We need to win it up the middle. I'd say our forward pack are a lot fitter,” he said.
"We need to defend our right edge more because that's where their strong side is with Jarred McGuire going down their left.”
"Hopefully, their young fellas can't handle the pressure, but we need to build pressure.”
McGannon made the switch from Souths Sharks to Magpies three years ago. He said the move had only benefitted his footy.
He was nominated player of the Year for Magpies in 2017, and ran the pre-season with the Cutters this year. A premiership would be the cherry on top for a "good few years”.