By Terry Wilson

THE touch of the Martins has last year’s finals periphery dwellers Wilston-Grange and Surfers Paradise sitting as surprise packet co-leaders of the Pineapple Hotel Cup after three rounds.
Rob Martin’s Surfers Paradise brought off a significant upset of last season’s premiers Noosa on the Gold Coast on Saturday, while at the same time David Martin’s Wilston-Grange had an early struggle before seeing off Maroochy-Northshore on the Sunshine Coast.
The Grange and Surfers share top rung on the ladder with the Western Magpies, who hammered 2010 preliminary finalists Burleigh – all three sides yet to taste defeat.
So now there is an intriguing battle between the unrelated Martins to see who holds surname bragging rights by season’s end.
Because of a quirk of the 2011 fixture draw, Surfers and Wilston-Grange do not play each other until round 13.
In Saturday’s other match, underdogs Mayne made 2010 grand finalists Sandgate battle all the way at Everton Park. On Sunday Coolangatta were in the Pink when they had their biggest win this century.

 Demons delight coach after upsetting the premiers
THEY were leaking petrol badly, but the Surfers Paradise Demons had enough in the tank to spring a significant upset over premiers Noosa at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday.
Delivering a clear message that they are right up there with the flag fancies, Surfers held on to down the 2010 champions by 14.7 (91) to 12.12 (84) in heavy conditions.
The Demons remain unbeaten after three rounds and share top rung on the ladder with fellow unbeaten sides Wilston-Grange and Western Magpies.
It was, literally, a game of two halves because Surfers ‘won’ the first half and Noosa the second as the Tigers had far more of the ball.
The key period was the first term, when the Demons put on 6.4 to 2.2 against the slow-starting Tigers.
The Dees then extended their lead to 24 points at half-time, but were outscored 7.8 to 5.3 after that.
Understandable rapt in the performance, Surfers coach Rob Martin had no doubts his players deserved the precious four premiership points taken after a hard day at the office.
“We were dead on our feet with 10 mins to go but we gutsed it out,” he said.
“It was a very hard, physical contest but there were no doubts that we deserved to win.
“It was a strong Noosa side and we’ll take a lot of confidence out the game. You don’t beat these guys by fluke – they’re  a good side, they’re disciplined and you have to play well the whole day.
“We did”
Martin said the result proved that if the Demons persist with what they are doing, they can be more than competitive against the stronger sides.
That view will be put to the test over the coming weeks when the Demons tackle Sandgate (away) and the Western Magpies (home).
Martin said the victory rates up there with the best in his short time at Surfers.
“We beat Sandgate last year when we were pretty hopeless, but any time you beat the reigning premiers it rates right up there.”
Noosa coach Wayne Fletcher agreed the Demons were better in the first half with their blazing start.
“They got the jump on us and I think we had a few blokes still on an Easter break,” said Fletcher.
“To kick 6.4 in those conditions meant it was always going to be hard to work our easy back.
“Our first quarter was not up to standard and the message is that it’s not as easy as they may think it’s going to be this year.”
A positive for Fletcher was the fact that Noosa had more inside 50s than the Demons and, after quarter-time, had 20 scoring shots to 11.
Noosa had half-back flanker and on-baller Tom McKittrick as their best, ahead of on-baller forward Travis Mills and midfield dynamo Lucas Matthews.
Surfers continue to unearth handy recruits and on Saturday it was the turn of forme Labrador reserves player Patrick Ashton, who was a rock in a back pocket.
Club junior product Fraser Pope, who has had stints with Southport and Coburg, stood out on the ball and backliner Stuart Keel did a good job on dangerous Noosa forward Dayne Frew.

Magpies take another finals scalp
RESURGENT Western Magpies added another 2010 finalist to their tally of scalps after giving Burleigh a bath in the Bill Godfrey Oval mud on Saturday.
The Magpies, flying high after two seasons in the QAFL wilderness where they did not win once, made it three victories on the trot back a division with their 15.14 (104) to 8.12 (60) demolition of the Bombers, last year’s losing preliminary finalists.
Saturday’s success followed a win over Palm Beach-Currumbin the previous weekend and it gave the Magpies back-to-back wins on the Gold Coat.
Yet the four points were gleaned in conditions coach Peter McClennan felt unsuitable to his side’s free-flowing style.
“The conditions did not suit us, it wasn’t what we were looking for,” he said.
“But the pleasing thing is that we did not have a bench in the last quarter, yet we kicked five goals when the fitness side of things kicked in.”
It is clearly fitness that has the Magpies flying so high at the moment, but McClennan said there is another factor behind the rise.
“I liked our intensity,” he said. “I know that is a word a lot of people use, but we pride ourselves in being physical – we train that way – and we try to maintain that intensity through the game.”
Promising young ruckman Dom Beer was an impressive performer for the Magpies, showing fine down-low skills for a tall man.
And it was again the ruin of the Magpies backline, sparked by experienced duo Tim McEvoy and Sean Mewing, that set up so many forward thrusts.
A concern for the Magpies was a broken collarbone sustained by youngster Conrad Hudghton, one of four injuries that left the visitors with no bench for the final term, which only added to the gloss of the team performance.
For Burleigh, who so obviously desperately need some of their top performers back, wingman Hugh priest, Nick Atkins and veteran Mick Van Rossum stood out.
The Bombers have now lost heavily to Noosa and the Magpies in successive rounds and need to get something going or fall out of the finals race quickly.

 Gorillas make it three in a row
WILSTON-Grange are off to their best start for years after trouncing Maroochy-Northshore in the mud at Fisherman’s Road on Saturday.
There were certain aspects of the performance that did not please new coach David Martin, yet the Gorillas still managed to win comfortably by 18.19 (127) to 8.9 (57).
That result came after underdogs Maroochy led by a goal at quarter-time, courtesy of a stiff wind at their backs.
But after that the Roos were outscored by 5.7 to 16.17.
“It was a pretty strong wind, but I was a bit concerned because I wanted to get a decent start,” said Martin.
“It was a fairly ugly day. It was windy, the ground was heavy on one side and play was congested.
“But the effort and endeavour is there, but we’re not playing smart at the moment.
“We have to learn to take our chances because the stronger sides will kill us if we don’t.”
Centre half-forward Mark Skuse, from the East Coast Eagles in Sydney, kicked four goals in the bog and was the best for the Gorillas.
Ruckman Tim Nicolson, recruited from Bendigo, also played well in tough conditions and midfielder Cale Agosta, recruited from NEAFL club Aspley, shone in the middle.
Maroochy coach Roger Delaney, still waiting on the returns of half a dozen key performers, said the Gorillas had an edge in polish because he felt his players won an equal share of possessions at contests.
There were some good signs, though.
“We had three under-18 kids who looked all right and we finished with only 18,” he said.
“Yet spirit here is pretty good. The big thing is that I have guys here who just want to play for the club.”
Best for the Roos were half-back Shaun McKenzie, on-baller Kane Tyson and full-back Greg Shirton.

 Hawks do enough to take northside derby
SANDGATE captain-coach Ben Long came up trumps with a decision to play regular defender Aaron Fabian up forward in the north Brisbane derby at Everton Park on Saturday.
Fabian, who won Sandgate’s best and fairest in 2010 as a centre half-back, was used as an on-baller/forward by Long and he came up trumps, kicking five goals as the Hawks scored by 18.10 (118) to 11.7 (73).
The Fabian performance was a highlight for the Hawks, who are yet a fair way off their deeds of 2010, according to Long.
Last season the Hawks started like wildfire and were unbeaten for seven rounds. This year, so up to eight certain first-22 players still to come back, it is a slower start as the club chases to go one better than 2010 when they lost the grand final.
“I don’t think in the three games we’ve played this year have been anywhere near our best footy,” said Long.
“But we’ve had a significant number of our best not playing, so I was pretty happy with the win yesterday.
“We took the foot off the pedal in the second half and that was a bit disappointing.”
The Hawks had two clear winners in ruckman Michael Pettitt and rover Ben Beaven.
Pettitt won just about every tap and invariably put the ball straight down Beaven’s throat as they ran riot around the stoppages and centre bounces.
Teenager Tom Overington, just 16, also made a good fist of tagging Mayne’s player-coach Luke Faulkner.
Mayne boss Faulkner bemoaned another slow start, something his Tigers have to turn around quickly. On Saturday they conceded 6.4 to 1.0 in the opening term.
“It was pretty much the same as our last match against Burleigh,” said Faulkner.
“We were slow off the mark, but we were more than competitive after that.
“That is something we have to rectify but overall I was pleased with the effort after quarter-time.”
Best for Mayne were wingman Jake Magill, key defender Taylor Murtha and Sam Paterson on a half-back flank.

Blues paint the town pink with huge win
COOLANGATTA kicked their highest score since 1998 with a shellacking of Springwood at Len Peak Oval on Sunday.
The Pumas had a bleak trip back up the M1 to Brisbane, slinking home on the back of a massive 28.18 (186) to 9.6 (60) loss that had local officials scanning the record books.
Not since round 12 of the 1998 season had the Blues kicked a higher score. That was the 29.20 (194) to 5.4 (34) success against Robina.
A sobering thought for the current-day Pumas is that, in 2003 in the AFLSQ premier division, Coolangatta twice beat Springwood – kicking identical scores of 24.17 (to 13.10) and 24.17 (to 4.6).
Donning an all-pink strip to raise funds for cancer research, the Blues began sedately, finishing the first quarter with a one-point lead, 1.3 to 1.2.
That term gave no indication of what was to come as the home side piled on 27 more goals for the next three quarters, including a final term burst of 13.4 to the 2.2 by the Pumas.
In only his second game in charge at Peak Oval, former Gold Coast Stingrays under-18s coach Neil McKay was delighted with the performance, suggesting it will surely give one of last year’s strugglers a much-needed boost.
“It gives a rebuilding club a lot of confidence,” said McKay.
“It was good. They (Springwood) gave it to us early but our defence held up.
“Then we got smarter in the second half and really hurt them on the scoreboard.”
That scoreboard featured nine Coolangatta players among the goals, headed by Tom Thurston and Ricky Whitehead with four each.
Best for the Blues was Papua New Guinean Ali Pinda at centre half-forward, along with centre half-back Mark Greeney and rover Jake Byrush, a recruit from Maribyrnong Park in the Essendon District Football League.
Pumas coach Paul Opbroek was extremely disappointed and lamented the presence of some experienced presence in what is a very young side.
“We’re able to mix it with them for a quarter and a bit, but they seem to lack the mental strength to go on with it,” said Opbroek.
Opbroek was also disappointed to lose Josh Brown, who was concussed in a first-quarter incident that did not impress the coaches.
For a struggling unit, wingman Matt Hendry, centre half-back Matt Preston-Smith and centreman Mal Vincent were the best.

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