By Barry Gibson
This century’s reincarnation of the annual North Queensland versus South Queensland clash was run and won on the weekend, with the southerners recording their fourth consecutive win and extending their series lead to 4-2.
Played in perfect conditions in front of healthy crowd on the picturesque and pristine Riverway Stadium in Townsville, both teams cracked in hard from the opening bounce and had many of the fans who had stuck around following the St Kilda v Gold Coast Suns game impressed with the intensity of the contest.
Through the likes of exciting youngster Josh Mawson and local product Declan Wode, the NQ team won plenty of the ball in the opening term but couldn’t capitalise on the scoreboard, registering only 2 behinds, with many of their forward entries chopped off by the stingy SQ defence unit, ably led by captain Ben Merrett. At the other end, the southerners were highly efficient with their limited entries, with spearhead Jordan Bain and tagger Jack Collings each hitting the scoreboard to give the visitors a 10 point lead at the first change.
The SQ team hit the ground running in the second term with the silky Josh Filo kicking a major and extending the lead out to a neat three goals. With former Melbourne Demons star Aaron Davey winning plenty of footy down back and creating opportunities for his forwards, half forward Adam Gross kicked a much needed first major for the northerners. However, the 12 point margin was short lived, with SQ booting two goals during the time on period to extend their lead to 27 at the main break.
The second term didn’t start well for the home team, with Jordan Bain kicking back to back goals in the first four minutes and the margin quickly blowing out 40 points. SQ were asserting their dominance all across the field through the likes of the classy Rowan Page in the midfield and 17 year old livewire Wil O’Dwyer, who was getting plenty of the football forward of centre.
At three quarter time NQ coach Brad Cooper implored his troops to be bold and take the game on, and to their credit they battled on despite the lopsided score line, while his counterpart Danny Craven told his players it has been a near complete performance and he wanted them to finish off their good work.
The last quarter belonged to the boys in red, but inaccuracy hurt them as they hit the post four times and only registered two majors to round out their day, whilst NQ battled on manfully and also added a further two goals to their final total.
The final margin was 48 points and the NQ team was left to rue not taking advantage of their early dominance.
Making it four wins from four attempts, SQ coach Danny Craven was quick to praise both teams.
“The intensity and pace of the game was as good as its been in my time”, Craven said
“I thought our boys were sensational, it was a complete team effort.
“The opposition really pressured us from the outset and to their credit they never dropped off one little bit”, Craven added.
NQ Coach Brad Cooper was left to lament the loss, but was full of praise for his charges.
“I couldn’t question our effort today, the boys competed right to the end”, Cooper said
“We started really well and had plenty of the ball but we couldn’t convert that into scoreboard pressure.
In the end they were just to clean with the footy and the scoreboard reflected that”, Cooper added.
Maroochydore captain Josh Filo was awarded the Ron Davidson Medal for SQ’s best player, whilst Nabako Stow from South Cairns won the Wayne Jackson Medal as NQ’s best.
2019 North Queensland v South Queensland
South Queensland 10.20 (80) def North Queensland 4.8 (32) at Riverway Stadium
GOALS – South Queensland: J.Bain 4, R.Page, J.Collings, J.Filo, M.Scholard, J.Leidig, J.Fitzpatrick. North Queensland: J.Di Betta, A.Gross, E.Sansbury, E.Frank.
BEST – South Queensland: J.Filo, R.Page, J.Collings, R.King, O.Smart & J.Fitzpatrick. North Queensland: N.Stow, A.Davey, J.Mawson, A.Gross, R.Bridge & D.Wode.