By Terry Wilson
Broadbeach players would certainly not have known it but when the Cats downed Morningside in round 16 they unwittingly stirred a hornets’ nest.
Back on that July 27th Saturday at Subaru Oval, the Cats overpowered the Panthers to win by 47 points when makeshift ruckman Luke Dempsey-Ceh had a career-best performance against Morningside’s big guns Peter Mollison and Brad Hodge.
Fast forward to last Sunday and it was the complete reversal as Panther skipper Mollison and Hodge rode roughshod over the Cats in the elimination first semi-final at Jack Esplen Oval.
Panther coach Clint Watts – like just about 95 per cent of the good -sized crowd at Panther Park knew – could not heap enough praise on his big men, in particular Mollison – after his side bundled the Gold Coasters out of the premiership race.
Morningside won by 15.9 (99) to 9.7 (61) and earned a crack at Surfers Paradise in the preliminary final at Sir Bruce Small Park next Saturday.
“That’s finals football there, that’s finals intent, endeavour, attitude and willingness to lead – pointing to Mollison in particular.
“Mollo’, just amazing. The team jumped on your back and we sit where we are, still alive (in the race for the flag) because the captain led.
“But there’s no respite, we have two hours next week to do the exact same thing, when the Hodges and the mids cash in on the back of the captain leading.
“That’s finals football, that’s finals character. You don’t get plus-36 in clearances without ruck domination and, Hodgey, you cashed in on the back because the skipper wore them down, he wore then down, then you get to cash in.”
As Broadbeach limped back to the Gold Coast, beaten in all three grades on a horror Sunday in the state capital, their effort in the seniors was a bitter exit.
They started well enough, leading by two goals early, but they went goal-less until late in the third term when the game was all over with the home side leading by 42 points.
There were very few consistent contributors for the Cats who, to be brutally honest, looked nothing like a finals contender up against a hard-working home side.
Hard work, those were words that best described why Morningside won so convincingly.
“At the end of the day we just weren’t good enough,” said Broadbeach coach Beau Zorko.
“I couldn’t fault our preparation so from our perspective there was not much more we could do.
“But we got out-willed and we probably saw the best of the Morningside spirit today.
“They played with a bit more care factor, a bit more spirit and, as brutal as it is and as much as it hurts us now, I think they plain and simply wanted it more than we did.
“And, yes, our ruckmen got smashed. Mollison gave them first use for most of the day. We did all we could to try to nullify him, but it got to the stage where we lost all out structure.”
So the Cats, runners-up last season, excited the competition in fourth place which could be looked on as a fall of sorts, although it has to be realised they were in a sort of rebuilding year and fielded only 10 of the 2018 grand final side.
Joel Newman, Jack O’Shea and Jayden Rymer earned their stripes, or should that be hoops, but the Cats had too many of their regular top-liners down on form.
Morningside, on the other hand, had willing workers everywhere.
None were better than Mollison, ex-St Kilda utility Brad Howard (three goals), flanker Will
Pendlebury, centreman Henry Joyce, Ryan Dadds and Aaron Robertson.
Morningside 4.1, 8.4, 12.7, 15.9 (99)
Broadbeach 4.3, 4.3, 5.7, 9.8 (62)
GOALS, Morningside: B. Aston 3, B. Howard 3, N. Colenso 2, H. Joyce 2, R. Dadds 1, L. Russ 1,
B. Murray 1, E. Mallan 1, B. Hodge 1. Broadbeach: J. Cloke 2, J. Hinds 2, J. O’Shea 2, J. Fisher 2, L. Nelson 1.
BEST, Morningside: P. Mollison, B. Howard, W. Pendlebury, R. Dadds, A. Robertson, B. Dale. Broadbeach: J. Newman, J. O’Shea, J. Rymer, J. Cloke, J. Searl, B. Hancock.