By Beth Newman
By the time 250-gamer Simon Fenton lined up for his first goal of 2013 , Surfers Paradise had already sealed a crucial win over Grange, but that didn’t stop his teammates celebrating like it was the match-winner.
The club stalwart had a fairytale milestone, switching from defence to forward in the last term and slotting two goals in the Demons’ 17.15.117 – 5.7.37 victory.
Billed as a potential blockbuster, the match at Sir Bruce Small Oval lived up to the hype in a first quarter arm wrestle, before Surfers broke the game open.
The undermanned Gorillas, missing a slew of players including Steve Brittain (appendicitis) and Matt Trewhella, couldn’t keep up with the home side as the game wore on.
Surfers kept Grange in touch in the second, despite showing complete midfield dominance, with a score of 2.5 for the term.
The third was everything the second wasn’t for Surfers as they kicked five unanswered goals, keeping Grange scoreless for most of the quarter.
Ruckman Nick Barling battled well against Grange’s Jim McMahon and Ben Haire, despite being well-beaten for size.
While the Gorillas did win in the ruck, it was all red and blue once the ball hit the ground, with the Haberfield brothers andTaylor Rolfe all getting plenty of touches.
Ryan Dienjes stamped his authority on the contest at vital moments, despite being closely tagged throughout the match.
The man of the moment, Fenton, was a rock down back, before his late switch to attack.
And when the 33 year-old went back and kicked one, it was to put Surfers 11 goals up and seal their top-three spot.
He coolly slotted it and another, more spectacular, snap from traffic only two minutes later, and the day was the Demon’s.
Demons coach, Beau Zorko, said his side’s impatience got the better of them in the first half.
I thought we were a little bit reactive early and we dominated the second quarter but didn’t play their structure and didn’t play their set up well,” he said.
“We were a little bit impatient (but) in the third we opened the game up and played the game on our terms.”
Zorko said his side’s defensive pressure, a focus of recent weeks, was a major difference in the match.
“They’ve certainly got some troops out and they’re a little undermanned at the minute but I ‘m really happy about the way we went about it,” he said.
“I thought our pressure, particularly between the arcs, was impressive today and it was the Haberfields and the Rolfes and the Dienjes that were doing that.”
With the win, Surfers sits a game clear in third spot and Zorko said it was good to be masters of their own fate with three rounds left.
“The beauty of our situation is we know don’t need to rely on results, destiny is in our own hands,” he said.
Gorillas coach, Matt Trewhella, lamented his side’s injury list after the match, which put Grange in sixth for the first time this season.
“We were just missing too many players,” he said.
Trewhella said he would be staying upbeat ahead of Grange’s must-win clash against the Magpies next weekend, after the defending premiers upset Palm Beach on Saturday.
“We don’t have our three main goal kickers in the side, hopefully we have them all back in next week,” he said.
“We’re just staying to stay positive. We’ll jut make sure everyone’s at training on Tuesday and there’s still an energy and a buzz and no-one’s too deflated.”
Western Magpies 1.3, 7.5, 10.11, 16.15, (111)
Palm Beach Currumbin 6.9, 9.16, 11.24, 13.26, (104)
The Western Magpies pulled off a vital win, over Palm Beach, to cement their finals spot at Salk Oval.
In the grand final replay, the Magpies were on the back foot early, but showed more hunger than the home side to claw their way back.
Palm Beach’s second quarter return of 3.7 certainly didn’t hurt the Magpies’ chances, as they kicked 6.2.
Val Pope finished with eight goals for the defending premiers, while Tim McEvoy was the best for their side.
Eighteen year-old, Thomas Thynne continued his impressive recent form for Palm Beach in the match, while Matt and Jesse Derrick had strong games.
The loss knocked Palm Beach out of top spot, while the Magpies are in fourth, a game in front of fifth placed Mayne.
What the coaches said
Daryn Cresswell (Palm Beach):
“We didn’t lose the game because of bad goal kicking. We were outworked because and outplayed by a side that wanted it more than we did.”
“The last three or four weeks taken our foot off the pedal in terms of our attitude and training.”
“We only fell over the line against Grange and even against Sandgate we were completely outplayed in the first half.”
“The hard reality of it is, we need to work a lot harder to take a good attitude and work rate into the game.
“It was a real wake-up call.”
“If you don’t come to play, anyone’s going to beat you and we’re playing teams that are going to be playing finals footy.”
“For us now, it’s not so much about winning but about the style of footy.”
“We’d rather play good, solid hard committed footy than play the sort of footy we played on the weekend and win because that’s not going to take us anywhere.”
Mayne 3.5, 14.8, 18.12, 24.14 (158)
Noosa 3.3, 4.4, 6.5, 7.8 (50)
Mayne finds itself in the top five for the first time this season, with its first win at Weyba Rd on Saturday.
The visitors had to win to stay in finals contention and the percentage boost was a handy bonus, with fierce competition for fifth spot.
Mayne’s Luke Faulkner had one of his best games of the year, while Caleb Brown finished with six majors.
Noosa’s Caleb Isles showed his trademark fight, as one of the home side’s best, while youngster Seb Rogers stood out in the forward line.
Mayne now faces a massive match against Palm Beach at Salk Oval on Saturday, which could go a long way to determining their finals position.
Noosa is 10th, with two wins.
What the coaches said
Mitch Ferguson (Mayne):
“We were really pleased. It’s the first time ever we’ve won up at Noosa, so to do it in style was very pleasing.”
“We just seemed to click and everyone made a really strong contribution.”
“(The game against Palm Beach) could be season-defining.
“We’re not afraid of Palm Beach. We played well against tem at home and we’ll go down there with a lot of confidence.”
Springwood 1.4, 5.7, 10.13, 15.16 (106)
University of Queensland 3.3, 8.7, 10.10, 15.11 (101)
Springwood stole back top spot with a last-gasp win over UQ, at Lowe Oval on Saturday.
The Pumas were on the chase for much of the match, against a hungry Red Lions side.
Brendan Iles and Greg Friis were again among the Pumas’ best, continuing their recent good form.
UQ’s Michael Stewart and youngster Lewis Radford were among the best in their return matches for the club.
Springwood now sits a game clear on top spot, while the Red Lions are 11th, with two wins.
Coolangatta Tweed 4.2, 11.6, 17.7, 24.10 (154)
Maroochydore 5.2, 7.5, 10.9, 15.10 (100)
An eleven-goal haul from Jack Ryan set the tone for a dominant Coolangatta win over Maroochydore on Saturday.
After a quiet mid-season period, Ryan slotted four last weekend and roared back into form against the Roos with the massive bag on Saturday.
The result snuffed out Maroochydore’s faint finals hopes, and a handy confidence boost for Cooly in the closing stages of the season.
Small forward ,Jarryd Hill kicked five for Maroochydore, but the visitors couldn’t maintain their strong start to put the sword to Coolangatta.
Both sides are now on five wins, with three rounds to go.
What the coaches said
Brett Maloney (Maroochydore):
Sandgate 7.2, 10.4, 14.10, 22.11 (143)
Burleigh 2.1, 6.3, 7.7, 8.9 (57)
Sandgate stormed to victory against Burleigh on Saturday, in a much-improved performance from recent weeks.
While Burleigh were competitive in the first three quarters, the Hawks proved too good in the final term, with eight goals to one sealing the win.
The Hawks’ Tom Overington proved his value to the team in the win, kicking six of the Hawks’ last-quarter goals resting up forward.
Bombers’ midfielder, Wade Dickson had another standout game for Burleigh in the loss.
The win was Sandgate’s sixth for the season and leaves them in seventh, two games adrift of top five.
Burleigh remains winless for 2013.
What the coaches said
Rob Dickfos (Sandgate):
“It was a really good win. We were really happy about the way the boys went about it.”
“We have been disappointed by the way we’ve played over four quarters and on the weekend, I thought…we stuck to the game plan and to kick eight goals in the last quarter was great.”
“We just want to finish the year strong and look at what we want to achieve out of it.”
“We play for each other, and every time you go out, give full commitment and everyone’s on the same path.”
Shane Williams (Burleigh):
For three quarters, we were terrific and then for some reason after three quarter time, they decide not to come out.”
“We were in a position to win the game at three-quarter time, but for some reason, the other side kicks one or two and they just fold.”
“All we’ve got to do is learn to play four quarters. We want to win last three games and we’re confident we can do that but we’ve got to learn to play four quarters of consistent football.”
“They’ve just got into that culture that near enough is good enough and until they win a game they won’t understand any different.”
For full fixtures and results, go to https://www.aflq.com.au