PALM Beach-Currumbin are hoping history will repeat itself when they take on Noosa in the Pineapple Hotel Cup grand final at Fisherman’s Road on Saturday.
It was at the same venue in 2009 that PBC downed Noosa – who had beaten them in the second semi-final a fortnight before – to claim the premiership.
By Terry Wilson
Noosa, of course, then went one better last year by claiming the flag, beating Sandgate in the big decider at Hickey Park in Brisbane.
The past two seasons, in fact, have thrown up a common denominator in that the team that lost the second semi-final went on to win the premiership – a trend the Lions are no doubt hoping will continue.
Whatever, this year’s showdown promises to be a ripper between arguably the two best-equipped units in the competition.
All the pre-grand final talk has centred on the weather.
The strong view is that if it rains, and the field churns up, then Noosa re over the line. They revel in tough conditions through their physical superiority.
But if it is dry, then PBC are right in it, say the experts.
It is worth noting that Noosa beat PBC twice in the bog at Weyba Road this year.
The first one was in round one when the Tigers scored by 20 points. The second was in the second semi-final when the home side won by 25 points.
PBC’s only win over Noosa in 2011 came in round 10 at Salk Oval when the Lions’ superior pace on a dry track got them home by a convincing 33 points.
There is also a theory out there that Noosa’s ‘soft’ build-up to the finals, then having played only once in three weeks, will work against them.
The Tigers completed the regular season with big wins over Coolangatta and Mayne, then had a weekend off before tackling Palm Beach-Currumbin in the second semi-final.
A win in that one earned the Tigers another weekend off when the preliminary final was being played.
Rather than be concerned what everybody else believes is an unsatisfactory preparation for a grand final, Noosa coach Wayne Fletcher believes it will work in his team’s favour.
“I’m rapt with our lead-in,” said Fletcher. “Obviously the second semi was a tough game in heavy conditions and the players were pretty tired after it.
“But over the last week we’ve focussed on freshening them up.”
Yet there is no doubt his rival Craig O’Brien believes the lack of match time could work against Noosa.
“Noosa have had one game in three weeks on top of a couple of soft games going in to the finals,” said O’Brien.
“One week off (in the finals) is great to have, but no more.
“We’re going in with confidence. We’ve beaten Western Magpies away, had a break, then went to Noosa, then beat Sandgate.
“So we’ve played two of the top four sides, which is a great build-up – and we’re at full strength – if Chris Williams plays.”
That issue over central defender Williams, one of only eight survivors from PBC’s 2009 premiership side selected for this weekend , involves his troublesome calf.
Williams trained well on Thursday night but will have a late-Friday fitness test before his place in the final 22 is determined.
Asked who will miss out should Williams get the medial green light, O’Brien said: “We’re not sure yet. We have to look at the weather, but most likely it’ll be a tall (to miss out). It won’t be a runner.
“Everyone’s in form, no one’s struggling, so i he comes up there’s going to be someone who’s going to be very disappointed – and unlucky because everyone deserves a spot.”
Noosa are in the same boat, having an absolute full list to select from.
The Tigers decided not to tinker with the side that downed the Lions in the second semi, which means 2010 grand final players Nathan Winter and Gary Wallace have missed the boat.
“There are a couple who are unfortunate to miss out, but we can only play the 22,” said Fletcher.
PBC have eight survivors from that successful 2009 grand final side. They are Arnold Knight, Scott Vis, Chris Williams, James Drake, Angus Munro, Matt Carroll, Michael I’Anson and Darryl Dyson.
From PBC’s 2007 grand final side, Dyson, Carroll, Knight and Simeon Blowes remain.
Noosa also have seven backing up from 2009. They are Adam Bovalino, Zac Smith, Caleb Isles, Adam Eady, Peter Trompf, Brett Duke, Ryan Sawers and Brooks Durdin.
Fletcher was asked to comment on outside views abou his side’s chances in either the wet or dry.
“Conditions are out of our control,” he said. “It’s up to us to adjust to whatever they may be.
“The result will be decided by our actions and our decisions.”
Fletcher said he respects PBC totally.
“They’re a quality team and they’re seasoned finals campaigners.
“You get a tough competition from them any time, but when you’re playing off for a premiership you know you’re going in for a hard fight.”
|Noosa||Vs||Palm Beach Currumbin|
|T McKittrick||B Duke||T Panoho||M Boyd||S Vis||A Munroe|
|A Bovalino||T Duke||J Boydle||D Dyson||B Rhodes||A Knight|
|R Sawers||C Isles||O Bailey||S Thynne||B Horn||D Lyon|
|D Welch||D Frew||L Matthews||S Blowes||J Drake||D Manning|
|B Durdin||D Brewster||A Eady||R Hards||D Round||M Carroll|
|P Tromp||N Jones||M I’Anson||Brent Pearson|
|L Brauer||T Storrer||B Hewat||T Cornish|
|T Mills||Z Smith||B Hards||T Dyer|
|C McGuigan||N Burton|