Demons ready to continue bogy

THE last time Wilston-Grange travelled to Sir Bruce Small Park to play Surfers Paradise, they blew four premiership points.That was three matches ago, in round 16, when the Gorillas were 27 points up at three-quarter time but ended up losing to the Demons by five.

by Terry Wilson
Gold Coast Bulletin

That effort proved the Gorillas are well capable of smashing their Small Park bogy when the sides go around again with their premiership futures on the line in an elimination final.

The Grange have won just once from their last eight visits to Demon headquarters, although coach David Martin has been involved in only two of those losses.

Asked about that record, Martin said: “I’m not trying to sound as if I’m making excuses, but I think every time we’ve played Surfers we have never managed to get a decent midfield on the paddock.

“That’s where we’ve had problems and that area is probably their strength.”

The Gorillas were hurt mid-season by the departure of classy Matt Shir, then recent injuries to Lee Smith (broken leg) and Grayson McIvor (hamstring) did nothing to help matters.

The Gorillas had not finalised their line-up for Sunday’s match, leaving it until after training on Friday night.

Martin said there were a  couple of injury concerns and that a decision on them will be made probably on Saturday morning.

Surfers have two changes from the side that thrashed Coolangatta last weekend.

Gun rover Jake Ryan is back, as is defender Chris Haddock. They are in for youngsters Troy Clark and Zane Smith.

Surfers are playing in their first finals match since 2009, when beaten preliminary finalists, and coach Beau Zorko is confident the occasion will being out the best in his side.

Zorko has a healthy respect for the Gorillas, conceding his side was fortunate to get out of jail the last time they met and that the size of Sunday’s opponents is a worry.

“They’re a big, strong side,” Zorko said.

“They have some big bodies and try to muscle you around, their spread is good and they take the footy into the forwards well.

“When they’re executing by hand or foot they look as good as any side in the competition.

“But we’re excited that the footy club is back playing finals football again – and we have nothing to lose.”

Zorko agreed the Demons did not play well against the Grange in Round 16, but the final term effort was what he prefers to look at.

“As I said from the last review, we butchered a lot of football early against them, but when we executed better in the last quarter we reaped the full benefits of that.”

Sunday’s loser goes into mothballs while the winners live to fight another day in the knockout first semi-final against the4 loser of Saturday’s Palm Beach-Currumbim and Noosa clash.

In the reserves Wilston Grange and Palm Beach Currumbin will battle it out for the right to stay alive in the Finals race.

Our Supporters