By Sophie Wheeler
AFL Wide Bay GRAND FINAL
Gympie Cats 14.11.95 Defeated Hervey Bay Bombers 10.4.64
The Gympie Cats have wrestled their way to premiership glory after conquering their closest rivals the Hervey Bay Bombers in the weekend’s AFL Wide Bay Grand Final.
The match was forecast to be a nail-biter based on the two side’s near-identical performances all season, finishing the regular season on the same points and only being separated by a narrow percentage.
Their encounters throughout the year proved the game could sway either way, with the Cats taking home three wins and the Bombers taking home two, and just 13 points separating their collective scores over the five games.
The Cats staked their claim for the premiership from the opening bounce, tallying up seven scoring shots while leaving the Bombers stranded on the airstrip with a single behind.
Hervey Bay made up for their ordinary first-quarter performance in the second term with impeccable accuracy in front of goal, booting six goals and reducing the margin to just five points heading into the main break.
The third term was a gruelling, back-and-forth affair which Gympie were able to bend in their favour, slightly extending their lead to 18-points with just one quarter standing in the way of premiership grandeur.
The Cats rounded off their impressive season with a sterling final-quarter effort, slotting another five goals to take home a 31-point victory over the Bombers and, more significantly, the 2018 premiership trophy.
AFL Capricornia GRAND FINAL
Yeppoon Swans 12.15.87 Defeated Glenmore Bulls 5.6.36
The Yeppoon Swans have capped off their stellar undefeated season in the AFL Capricornia Competition with a resounding victory over the Glenmore Bulls to take home the premiership flag.
The Swans headed into the match with an air of confidence, having comfortably defeated the Bulls on each of their four encounters this season and even taking home a 140-point victory in Round 6.
The Bulls were the first to make an appearance on the scoreboard, with their leading goalkicker Timothy Higgins booting a major in the first minute.
The Swans were quick to retaliate, clocking up six scoring shots throughout the rest of the quarter to carry an eight-point lead into the first break.
Yeppoon carved out a comfortable lead while keeping the Bulls restrained on a tight leash for the second and third terms, tallying up 50 points while conceding just 15 points to Glenmore.
The Swans boasted a confident 43-point lead heading into the final term, meaning the premiership was in clear sight for Yeppoon but a fading dream for Glenmore.
The Swans had already put in the hard yards earlier in the match, so simply keeping the Bulls at bay was their only job to ensure the trophy was theirs.
Yeppoon maintained their solid defence for the final term, only conceding eight points to the Bulls while clocking up another 16 for themselves to take home a 51-point victory, a premiership flag and bragging rights as the competition’s 2018 undefeated champions.
Enjoyed the weekend in Boyne Island for the @aflqcapricornia grand final. Great to see so many people supporting footy in the region. Impressive effort by Yeppoon in winning their 4th senior men’s title. #AFLQFooty pic.twitter.com/HUC7IP3M5R
— Barry Gibson (@GibsonBarry) September 2, 2018
AFL Darling Downs PRELIMINARY FINAL
Goondiwindi Hawks 12.10.82 Defeated Warwick Redbacks 10.16.76
The Goondiwindi Hawks produced a spectacular last-quarter comeback against the Warwick Redbacks in the weekend’s preliminary final, which has extinguished the Redbacks premiership hopes and progressed them through to the Grand Final.
Warwick headed into the match as underdogs, but proved they were a force to be reckoned with from the very first bounce, booting four goals and carving a seven-point lead over the Hawks heading into the first break.
The Redbacks were plagued with scoring inaccuracy but managed to maintain their unexpected lead throughout the second and third terms, booting four goals and 12 behinds and heading into the final break with a delicate 14-point lead.
However, the Hawks came out all guns blazing for the final term, producing a whopping 10 scoring shots and managing to claw their way to an excruciatingly narrow six-point win over Warwick.
The final siren marked a devastating end to the Redback’s season, while pushing the Hawks through to next Saturday’s Grand Final against the University of Southern Queensland Cougars.
AFL Townsville PRELIMINARY FINAL
University Hawks 18.18.126 Defeated Thuringowa Bulldogs 12.7.79
The University Hawks have snatched up the final spot in the Grand Final after clocking a resounding victory over the Thuringowa Bulldogs on Saturday.
The Bulldogs were first to make an impression on the scoreboard, with Ricky Lyness and Rim Kris booting the first two goals of the match.
The Hawks quickly responded to their rival’s speedy head start, slotting the next four goals and wrestling their way to a 20-point lead heading into the first break.
The Bulldogs were fierce and relentless in the second-term, producing seven goals and two behinds and tightening the Hawks lead to just six points heading into the main break.
The Hawks fiercely controlled the third term- they locked the ball in their scoring half for the majority of the quarter but were unable to capitalise on many of their scoring shots, kicking five goals and nine behinds for the term.
Their quiet third-quarter performance pushed the Bulldogs behind by 34 points heading into the final term, meaning they needed to produce a heroic upset to keep their premiership hopes alive.
The Hawks were still cursed with scoring accuracy in the final quarter, but they managed to keep the Bulldogs caged, sailing to a comfortable 47-point victory at the final siren.
The Bulldog’s defeat brings their 2018 season to a close, while the Hawks will take on the Hermit Park Tigers in the Big Dance for the second consecutive year.
The Hawks will be seeking redemption after going down to the Tigers by 59-points in last season’s Grand Final.
AFL Northern Rivers SEMI FINALS
Byron Magpies 14.16.100 Defeated Ballina Bombers 10.9.69
The Byron Magpies have swooped up the first spot in the Big Shebang after comfortably defeating the Ballina Bombers on the weekend.
Byron headed into the match with more favourable odds, concluding the regular season as minor premiers and recording victories over the Bombers in four of their five encounters this season.
The two sides were neck-and-neck for the first quarter, their stubbornness and hunger for the ball earning them 14 points apiece heading into the first break.
Four goals from Byron’s Jordon Bourke in the second term assisted in carving out a slim 11-point lead for the Magpies heading into the main break.
Both sides were stuck in an arm-wrestle for the third quarter which left the scoring margin relatively unchanged, with Byron in front by 14 points at three-quarter time.
Byron were able to keep the Bombers restrained for the final quarter, cementing a 31-point lead as the final siren sounded.
The Magpies victory earns them a week off and progresses them through to the Grand Final, while the Bombers will take on the Tweed Tigers in next week’s knock-out preliminary final.
Tweed Tigers 10.8.68 Defeated Lismore Swans 8.10.58
The Tweed Tigers’ narrow victory over the Lismore Swans has kept their finals crusade rocketing full steam ahead, while the Swans season has come to an end.
The Swans headed into the match with both history and season performance swaying against them, having lost to the Tigers in all four of their encounters this season and having not taken home a single win this year.
Despite this, the Swans put up a valiant fight, producing the same number of scoring shots as the Tigers over the course of the game.
However, the Tigers superior accuracy in front of goal made all the difference, allowing them to take home a nail-biting 10-point win.
The Tigers’ slender victory puts an end to the Swans 2018 season, while progressing them through to a knock-out preliminary final against the Ballina Bombers next week.