By Terry Wilson
Surfers Paradise 2.2, 5.3, 9.6, 12.7 (79)
Mt Gravatt 1.1, 3.3, 3.5, 6.8 (44)
GOALS, Surfers Paradise: Green 3, K. Ford 2, D. Van De Werken 2, J. Foster 1, B. Haberfield 1, T. Howard 1, Kranz 1, R. LeFeuvre 1. Mt Gravatt: Stubbs 2, J. Licht 2, R. Estall 1, A. Smith 1.
BEST, Surfers Paradise: Foster, B. Haberfield, J. Prestegar, J. Tooma, N. Scott, K. Ford. Mt Gravatt: Leahy, J. Crawley, D. Nash, J. Licht, M. Hart, J. Bain.
THE match plan for the QAFL premiership dark horses Surfers Paradise is simple – hard work and pace make for a pretty handy combination.
After a 2017 season of very few highs the Demons now have all remaining teams in the race looking over their shoulders after a clinical elimination of Mt Gravatt by 12.7 (79) to 6.8 (44) in the Elimination Final at Sir Bruce Small Park on Sunday.
Beaten coach Daniel Webster later said the mix of speed and work ethic is a formidable one and very difficult to overcome – especially on the QAFL’s biggest ground.
“They pressured well, they were quicker and worked hard and that’s a good combination,” Webster said.
“They pressure you well and every time you make a mistake you get punished for it.
“They have a good brand and they play to it. Everyone commits to it and away they go.”
And that just about perfectly sums up proceedings on Sunday as the Vultures bowed out of the premiership race.
Notching up his first win against the Vultures as Surfers coach, Brad Moore said hard work is “basically the whole foundation” of the Demons match plan.
“That’s what we’re all about, it’s just tireless workrate and everyone playing their part, and they did it again today,” he said.
It was tough out in the middle with a cold wind sweeping across the roomy Small Park ground, a rather ironic name for such a huge oval.
What Surfers continue to do well is to break opposition apart with run and swift ball movement from the defensive half.
Mt Gravatt matched them for a while but were ineffective up front whereas the demons pounced on every scoring opportunity and half-chance coughed up by the Vultures.
This was where Gold Coast Suns academy youngster Brodie Foster was outstanding back at the club he played for as a junior.
Jack Prestegar, Brody Haberfield and Nick Scott were outstanding in defence then Haberfield produced perhaps the 1 percenter of the year as a forward in the final term when he chased down an opponent, laid the perfect tackle, won a free kick and coolly slotted the deep angled goal from right in front of a roaring social club.
That was basically the story of the day – the Demons hounding the Vultures, forcing turnovers, then capitalising.
In a low-scoring first half Surfers led by seven points at quarter-time, then by 12 points at the big break.
Then they turned the screws on the visitors with four goals, three behinds to only two points that set up an unassailable 37-point break at three-quarter time.
There were still the ghosts of the Round 18 match at Dittmer Park match between the sides heading into the last quarter.
Surfers fans remembered well the events of that day when the Vultures came from six goals down at three-quarter time to win after the siren, a result that looked like it could kick the Demons out of the finals.
But the Dees regrouped and downed Western Magpies in the final round match to make the final five and the finals.
Rising Star Award nominee Joel Leahy showed why he is regarded as a big chance for the prestige honour by being clearly best for Mt Gravatt.
Unfortunately, the teenager copped a bad ankle injury late in the game and left the ground via ambulance.
Jayden Crawley, who had stints at centre half-back, in the ruck and centre half-forward was another star for the Vultures.
PBC Lions reserves rip Magpies apart
PALM Beach Currumbin kept the Western Magpies to just one goal for three quarters on their way to a commanding win in the reserve grade Elimination Final at Sir Bruce Small Park.
The Lions won by 11.9 (75) to 2.9 (21) in a dominating performance by a side loaded with local junior products, one of them being Corey Joyce, younger brother of Gold Coast Suns player Jesse.
Lime many of his team mates, Joyce’s pace and skills were far too good for the Magpies who managed one goal in the first quarter and did not register another six-pointer until deep into the final term.
Tristan Evert, Tom Frazer and Josh Lys were among the best of an impressive lot of PBC youngsters who now play Mt Gravatt in the First Semi-Final at Jack Esplen Oval next Sunday.