Highfields captain David Mitchell (left) battles for possession with Trent Ingleton of Willowburn during their Toowoomba Football League Premier Men round one clash at Highfields Sport Park. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Highfields captain David Mitchell (left) battles for possession with Trent Ingleton of Willowburn during their Toowoomba Football League Premier Men round one clash at Highfields Sport Park. Picture: Kevin Farmer

Magpies take flight in opener

FOOTBALL: Premiers Willowburn kicked off their title defence in emphatic style at the weekend.

With four players making their debut, the Magpies produced a measured and clinical display in their 8-1 demolition of Highfields.

After a cagey opening 20 minutes, Ada Harerimana made the most of his first Willowburn start, scoring a quickfire double in the 24th and 30th minute of the clash.

Fellow debutant Braiden Hinch scored his first TFL Premier Men’s goal a minute before the break and Willowburn were cruising at 3-0.

Last season’s TFL Premier Men’s MVP Connor Wockner all but ended the encounter five minutes after the restart.

Having won the ball high up the field, Wockner was bought down inside the 18-yard box and duly converted the penalty he earned.

Trent Ingleton (55th), Nathan Skinner (77th) and Guilherme Silva (84th) added to the score before Wockner (88th) secured his second goal with cracking first time shot that found the underside of the crossbar.

Sam Lipp scored a consolation goal for Highfields in the 89th minute.

“We’re very aware of the fact that as defending premiers we’re going to have our target on our backs,” Willowburn coach Jamie McMillan said. “With that in mind, we’re making a point to ensure we treat every team with respect, and I feel we did that with Highfields.

“The scoreline looks the opposite, but they never gave up or backed down.

“I thought we were clinical in front of goal and that made a big difference.”

McMillan was also pleased with how well his “new look” team gelled in their first round clash with three of their four debutants scoring goals.

“One of the things we talked about heading into the game was playing 90 minutes of quality (football),” McMillan said.

“We showed patches over the pre-season.

“Aside from the one goal we conceded when we switched off for a minute and they punished us – this was essentially 90 minutes of quality football from us.

“I’m impressed with how well the new signings have bought into the club culture and how quickly the established players have welcomed them into the fold.”

West Wanderers arguably produced the upset of the round with a convincing 3-0 win over last season’s grand finalists Stanthorpe United.

Captain Brian Ardley got his team off to the perfect start with a goal in the 22nd minute.

Reyad Al Nasser added a second in the 40th and Noah Cochran rounded out the scoring in the 78th.

Rockville got off to the perfect start against Gatton with Patrick Maneikera scoring inside a minute in their 3-0 win.

Alex Souza Guimaraes Ribeiro and Maysar Qaso scored Rovers’ other goals.

St Albans and Warwick drew 1-1.

Originally published as Magpies take flight in opener