Despite a loss on the weekend, Parkside remains as the team to beat heading into the Western Region Football League’s division 2 final series.
The Magpies lost to Newport in the top three clash after nothing could split the teams in the first half, being even at both quarter and half time.
However, the Panthers came out hard from the main break, blasting five straight goals to give them a handy 16 point lead at three quarter time. The Panthers were able to add another goal to the lead winning 13.6 (84)-9.9 (63).
Aaron Flavel was named as the Magpies best player with his three goals.
Magpies coach Chris Muratore said with top spot guaranteed, they were able to take a cautious approach with a lot of their players.
“We probably had a bit of an eye on next week,” he said.
“We’ve done the work all year and we were in that position to be able to, but to Newport’s credit they were just better in the last quarter and overran us a little bit.”
The Magpies had Hudson Barrett return from a stint in the Victorian Football League with the Northern Bullants, as well as debuting two players for the final game of the home and away season.
“That was good for the club,” Muratore said.
With a clash against Albion awaiting the Magpies to send them into the grand final, there is plenty to play for on the weekend. Newport will play Sunshine in the knockout semi final.
“It’s finals now there’s always something different to play for, it’s what we play footy for to be a part of,” he said.
“Albion’s a quality side, they’ve been quality all year, a big bodied side, they’ve got a lot of strengths, good forwards, very good backs and a good midfield brigade. So it’ll be a challenge for us.
“It’s a brand new ballgame now, there’s no points up for grabs, it’s just making sure we come to play and we get the job done on them, but it’s going to be a tough hit out.”
Finishing in pole position not only provides the Magpies with an easier road into the grand final including a week off if they were to win on the weekend, but also a double chance, if things don’t go to plan against the Cats.
The Cats had to make the most of the double chance last year to make the grand final.
“[The week off] is always good for the bodies,” Muratore said.
“It’s three weeks ahead of us… we’ll make sure we get it done next week and you do get the advantage of a break.
“If it doesn’t go that way we got to make sure we fix things and go back to the drawing board, and make sure we’re there on the last day.
“We’ve got two more wins we’ve got to have and that’s it.”
The Magpies will face the Cats at Hansen Reserve on Saturday.