Magpies produced a dominant display to defeat Bakers Creek by 76 points in last weekend's elimination final.
Magpies produced a dominant display to defeat Bakers Creek by 76 points in last weekend's elimination final. Callum Dick

Magpies reach new heights before Swans clash

THE chance to make their first grand final is not something lost on Mackay Magpies coach Gary Downes.

After years of building, the coach of the A-Grade men's team thanked everyone who came before him for forging a team with the potential to make history.

This weekend's match against Eastern Swans is the furthest Magpies have gone in Mackay AFL A-Grade finals in seven years.

"We'll use that as a motivator, but it comes back to everyone who put in the hard work before myself,” Downes said.

"It's great to be part of this, but the credit should go to all the previous people who got the club up and running and did all the leg work.”

While Swans are match favourites, Downes said his men had hit their best form of the season thumping Bakers Creek Tigers last week.

"There was a bit of banter around that we were only pretenders, so we wanted to go out and prove that theory wrong,” he said.

"I think we did that quite well and quite convincingly last weekend. Now we know what the task at hand is.

"We're getting pretty close to our full strength. Hopefully we can all gel and play our best football on the day.”

The Magpies boss said Swans would be the stronger force in the midfield but hoped to out-pace them on the flanks.

"We're not over confident, Swans finished second for a reason. The top two, everyone thinks, are a fair way above from third and forth, but we're going to try and change that,” Downes said.

"They'll be stronger down forwards so we're just trying to get our match-ups right against them and hope we can get them with our run.”

Downes commended young players Jack Fortescue and Brendan Edwards in the middle of the ground.

"Up forward Dan Cordwell's been kicking goals when he needs to, so I think it's been an all round team performance,” he said.

"The Prosser brothers (Richard, Kelvin and Boyden) who came over from West Australia, have been bringing a lot to the side as well. They're chasing harassers really well.”

Magpies are yet to get win over Swans but they have crept closer to an even score with each encounter.

Their last result was a 44 point loss in Round 17.

"Swans are a very good football side, so we're under no illusions that it will be an easy fight,” Downes said.

"We're just going to have to stick in there a lot longer because we know Swans will come at us harder than Bakers did.”

The Magpies coach had no issues with taking the underdog mantle.

"The talk of the town is it's Saints' grand-final to lose. We have to get there first but we don't mind having the underdog tag,” he said.

"Our motto this year has been 'Magpies one club'. We're all one so it comes down to everyone to do the hard yards this week.”

- Aidan Cureton



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