North Mackay Saints 25.16-166 defeated Mackay Magpies 0.3-3 in their Round 3 AFL Mackay Allied Pickfords Cup encounter at Magpies Sporting Club.
North Mackay Saints 25.16-166 defeated Mackay Magpies 0.3-3 in their Round 3 AFL Mackay Allied Pickfords Cup encounter at Magpies Sporting Club. Callum Dick

SUPER SIX: Talking points out of Round 3 in AFL Mackay

A TALE OF TWO RYANS

I'VE borrowed a title of a Charles Dickens novel from 160 years ago to describe the impact of two fresh faces on the AFL Mackay scene.

Two players with the surname of Ryan proved the talking points of the contest between Mackay City Hawks and Whitsunday Sea Eagles at a warm Harrup Park on Saturday.

Both Blake Ryan (Hawks) and Dylan Ryan (Sea Eagles) each bagged five goals.

Blake was the one sporting the broader smile post-match after the Hawks powered away to a first win of 2019, prevailing 11.19 (85) to 8.7 (55).

Blake has joined Mackay City from powerhouse Sunshine Coast club Maroochydore, one of the leading lights of the Queensland Football Association Division 1 competition.

Despite ending up on the losing side, Dylan has proven one of the recruits of the season so far for winless Whitsunday.

A key position player from Casterton-Sandford in south-west Victoria, Dylan sure knows where the goals are, highlighted by seasons of 41 goals (2012) and 35 goals (2016) in the strong Western Border competition.

SAINTS THE NUMBER ONE SEED

ONE of the biggest surprises after a few years away from this region was the fact that North Mackay has not won a senior AFL Mackay premiership since 2008.

For a club like the Saints, that is a fair drought between flags.

Well the boys from Zeolla Park certainly look at this stage to be not only a major contender, but clearly the number one seed.

Hang on, it is only Round 3 I can hear you cry, but Saturday's demolition job on Magpies could well prove a portent of things to come.

North Mackay kept Magpies scoreless, yes scoreless in the opening-half and the home side could just muster three behinds during the second-stanza.

The Saints play a relentless, hard-running brand of football and proved as frugal as Scrooge McDuck.

Not only that, they've got plenty of attacking weapons.

Western Australian recruit Luke Slater again played a starring role, snagging five majors in a best-on-ground performance.

Sam Dunbar (four) has enjoyed a top start to the season, while Cal McLeod made a return to action and finished with three goals.

In all, 12 different goalkickers hit the scoreboard for North Mackay, who host Mackay City after the Easter break.

EXPERIENCED DUO TURN BACK CLOCK FOR SWANS

CHRIS Burdon and Stuart Buckley's return to the Eastern Swans has been warmly welcomed.

Both bagged six goals as the Swans hammered Moranbah by 129 points at the kennel on Saturday.

Burdon now has 10 goals in two appearances, while if I'm not mistaken, I last saw Buckley playing for Murray League club Mulwala during my time at the Shepparton News.

He's a smart footballer and now has eight majors in two games.

After an opening round loss to North Mackay, the Swans have now put good back-to-back wins on the board against Magpies and Moranbah.

With a trip to Airlie Beach coming up after Easter, the boys in red and white are building some momentum.

HAWKS ON THE BOARD

WE referenced this earlier in the Tale of two Ryans, but there needs to be some further examination of the first win in 2019 for Mackay City.

The clash at Harrup Park was always going to be a desperate affair with both the Hawks and Sea Eagles keen to break through.

Both sides were full of endeavour, but in the end a touch of polish from Mackay City proved the difference.

Ben Soule, who booted three goals, arrived at the Hawks' nest last year from Picola District Football League strugglers Yarroweyah, while new recruit Ray Heppell has moved north from Collingwood Park in Brisbane.

The thing that got me about Collingwood Park is that they're known as the Power, surely they should have been the Magpies.

TWO CONTENDERS IN BATTLE FOR THE SPOON

THREE rounds into the season and it looks a toss of the coin job for the wooden-spoon.

Defending premiers Whitsunday Sea Eagles produced their best performance of the season to date, but still went down to Mackay City by five goals.

Moranbah's return to the senior ranks has been a difficult one, on the end of back-to-back 100-plus point hidings from heavyweight duo North Mackay and Eastern Swans.

Both clubs are fielding just senior sides this year and available depth is clearly an issue.

If I was framing a betting market, the Bulldogs just hold sway at $1.80, but the Sea Eagles aren't far behind at $2.00, to "win" the dreaded kitchen utensil.

MAGPIES HAVE SOME SOUL-SEARCHING TO DO

WHEN you end up on the receiving end of a belting like Mackay Magpies endured on Saturday, the thing you want to do as a player is get back out there and redeem yourself as soon as possible.

But they will have to stew on the 25.16 (166) to 0.3 (3) result until May 11, when they host unbeaten Bakers Creek.

The Magpies dropped out of the top four following the loss and all eyes will be on how they respond against the high-flying Tigers.

EASTER BREAK THIS WEEK

ROUND 4 MATCHES, APRIL 27

Bakers Creek v Moranbah at Etwell Park

Whitsunday Sea Eagles v Eastern Swans at Whitsunday Sportspark

North Mackay Saints v Mackay City Hawks at Zeolla Park

Magpies bye

LEADING GOALKICKERS (source SportsTG)

Jordan Cullen (Bakers Creek) 13

Sam Dunbar (North Mackay) 11

Chris Burdon (Eastern Swans) 10

Bayden Matheson (Bakers Creek) 8

Luke Slater (North Mackay) 8

Stuart Buckley (Eastern Swans) 8

ABOUT THE WRITER

REGIONAL editor Gregor Mactaggart boasts more than 15 years in the media industry, highlighted by spells as sports editor of the Shepparton News, senior sports reporter at the NT News, senior sports reporter at Sportal and editor of The Guardian in Swan Hill before moving to the Whitsundays in June 2018.

He played senior football in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

His association with AFL Mackay began nearly two decades ago when he spent a season with Eastern Swans and coached the club's Under-15 team to premiership success.

Winner of the 2006 Gladstone Mudcrabs senior best and fairest, he also won two players' player awards at the Glenmore Bulls and was vice-captain of the Rockhampton District representative team.


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