Friday 20 August 2010
A desperate fight to the death or free-flowing all-out attack – there’s two different ways the Redland Bombers will approach potentially their last game of the QAFL season at Victoria Point on Sunday.
The Bombers are in the agonising position of having their finals fate out of their own hands, but they will know on Saturday night whether they are playing for their lives, or mere respect, when they tackle Morningside the next day.
Redland sit level on points with the Northern Territory, but have an inferior percentage that cannot be improved sufficiently to take fifth place.
The Bombers really need a miracle because the Thunder host lowly Broadbeach in Darwin on Saturday, a venue where the home team have lost just once in two years, and the Cats have lost their last four games.
So the Bombers face the real possibility of finishing with a 10-8 win-loss record and still not making the finals.
Coach Matty Francis admitted the circumstances would dictate how his team approached the game against a Morningside outfit the Bombers have not beaten for eight years.
“If we can’t make it into the finals, we won’t be flogging our boys,” Francis said.
“We will tell them to be creative and enjoy themselves – sometimes that’s when you can be the most dangerous.
“We’ll try to upset them and finish the season on a high.”
Buoying the Bombers is the fact that Broadbeach produced a sterling performance against them last weekend, heading Redland in the final term before the red and blacks steadied for a 17-point victory.
“We had a great start, they had a great second quarter, and it was a real arm wrestle from there,” Francis said.
Nonetheless, Francis will look for his charges to lift a notch following a second half-fadeout at Labrador and the lucky win at Broadbeach last weekend.
“We are capable of doing it but certainly our last two weeks’ form would not be good enough,” he said of his side’ chances of defeating the Panthers.
“We need everyone to lift and play at their best.”
Redland have a poor record against their south-east suburban neighbours.
Morningside have won 21 of the 23 clashes between the clubs, including the last 17 in a row.
In fact, the closest the Bombers have got in that time is 34 points early last season.
They were within 13 points at three-quarter-time in their Round 5 clash at Esplen Oval this year, but poor skill errors saw them overrun by 36 points.
The 2010 season has already been a watershed for the Bombers in that they beat Southport for the first time at their Colburn Avenue home a month ago.
Historically the Bombers have had big problems containing Morningside key forward Kent Abey.
The quality left-footer was the matchwinner with seven goals earlier this season, was close to best afield in Round 13 last season, kicked 7.6 the game prior to that, and 5.6 in the first meeting of 2008.