Demons v Noosa in PHC Match of the Round

THERE is no way Surfers Paradise will be lulled into a false sense of security when they tackle dual premiers Noosa in a crunch match at Sir Bruce Small Park.

By Terry Wilson
Gold Coast Bulletin

Coming off a meek surrender to Springwood last weekend  that insipid performance coming after a draw away to Maroochydore  the Demons could realistically fancy their chances given Noosa are minus three key players away with Queensland for the national country carnival.

Noosa have centre half-back Adam Eady, half-back flanker Owen Bailey and full-forward Danny Brewster away with the Maroons at Wagga Wagga.

But the Tigers would need to be minus a few more keys before Surfers coach Beau Zorko would feel confident.

“They are a very good side, a very strong football club and they’ll have players who can slot straight into those roles,” Zorko said.

On that front, Noosa coach Wayne Fletcher said Brett Duke can pinch hit in the ruck or up forward an d he has Jake Hawksworth and Danny O’Brien. Bailey missed last weekend. coming into the side.

As well, centre half-forward Dayne Frew is steadily running into match fitness after knee problems.

When the sides last met, Surfers did the unthinkable and beat the Tigers on their Weyba Road home turf. That is something that does not happen to the Tigers very much.

Asked what he plans to do to turn that result around, Fletcher said: “There wasn’t much between the two last time, they just outran us in the last quarter.

“We thought we had it won, we relaxed and Surfers took full advantage and kicked six goals.”

Fletcher was also asked if had taken note of criticism of Surfers over a perceived softness in their mast recent matches, particularly against Palm Beach-Currumbin and last week against Springwood.

“It all comes down to performance on the day,” said Fletcher. Both teams are desperate for the four points, but we’re very wary of them because they beat us down there last year.”

In fact, Surfers have won four of the last five matches between the clubs at Small Park.

Surfers have won four of their past five matches against Noosa at Small Park.

Meanwhile, the Haberfield clan is ready to create history at the Surfers Paradise club by becoming the first set of three brothers to play together in the same seniors side.

The Haberfield siblings  Jesse, 21, Brody, 18, and Cassidy, 16  have all been named in the side to play Noosa.

For Cassidy it is his seniors debut after being named most valuable player for Queensland at the recent national under-16 carnival.

He follows in the footsteps of Jesse, one of the first three players signed by the GC17 bid team in late 2008, and Brody, who has played NEAFL with the Suns reserves side this year.

There could not be a much tougher baptism of fire for the youngest of the Haberfields, who were all share a birthdate in January.

In team changes, Surfers have omitted Clint Cassidy, Mark Thompson, Chris Kranz, Matt Kimpton and Phil Molan.

They have been replaced by Cassidy Haberfield, Aaron Rolfe, Rhys Nossiter, Mick Cunningham and Jordan Pope.

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PALM Beach-Currumbin have lost seven players for their danger road trip to Maroochydore at Fishermans Road o;n Saturday.

The Lions have four players away at the national Country Carnival  Angus Munro, Brad Hards, Michael I’Anson and Jake Smart  and they have Jackson Emblem out suspended and Chris Williams and Brad Hewat away for personal reasons.

But there is a handy group coming in, headed by former Skipper Matt Carroll, Mick Atkinson, David Manning, Matt Boyd, Bremnt Pearson and elevated Bryce Dyer and Jordan Wallace.

PBC coach Daryn Cresswell rates this a danger game against a definitely improved Maroochy, who lost by a point to Mayne last week after drawing with Surfers Paradise.

Admitting he has `pretty strong coverage’ for the unavailable seven, Cresswell nevertheless is cautious about the ever-improving Roos.

“I’ve definitely taken note of them lately and done some homework on them,” Cressswell said. “They’re a good, solid side and they’re pretty quick.”

Cresswell said his target is to get second spot for the finals, but there is plenty of work ahead for the Lions to get there.

Maroochy coach Roger Delaney admitted there is something about the PBC style that always bothers his players.

“It’s a good opportunity for us but, interestingly, we’ve always found them the hardest team to match up on. So it’ll be interesting to see how much we have improved.

“Some teams you match up on well, others you don’t, but Palm Beach are quick and they ruin really well off half-back.”

Delaney agreed the Roos have shown marked improvement in recent efforts against Surfers (a draw) and Mayne (a one-point loss).

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MAYNE have to repair their miserable record against northern Brisbane neighbours Sandgate and will not get a better time than on Saturday at Lemke Road.

It has been 15 matches since the Tigers last tasted success against the Hawks and it is time, to use the old Labor Party catchcry, to put an end to that losing streak.

“It’s probably the Sandgate-Mayne rivalry that’s the strongest,” said Sandgate player-coach Ben Long before the derby.

“Our matches are always pretty highly contested and we certainly don’t want to lose to them this time.

“We’ve had a hold on them in recent years and we want to maintain that.

“This is a very important match because should Mayne lose they’d be pretty much gone in terms of finals and if we lose we’ll be in a rough spot.”

Long was happy to announce that there are no forced changes in this weekend’s line-up, for the first time in a long time.

But Mayne have lost two key players  Caleb Brown to Queensland Country duties and Tom Falconer with a quad injury.

But the Tigers regain Luke Faulkner and Adam Stevenson to balance the ledger.

Mayne have also taken the bold step of blooding a 15-year-old in strapping Henry Leung.

An Everton junior product, Leong will handle himself well, predicted Ferguson.

“He is a big-boned lad, a big boy,” said Ferguson.

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THE absence of half a dozen prime movers in the Gorilla colony has Wilston-Grange captain David Tough on edge as he prepares to take on big improvers Springwood at Sunline Oval on  Saturday.

“They have a good young group and they’ve been having a red-hot dip,” Tough noted of Springwood’s run of four wins on the trot, albeit if two of them were against strugglers Burleigh and Coolangatta.

The other two wins were against Mayne and Surfers Paradise.

“We had a tough battle against Mayne and Surfers beat us pretty convincingly at home, so we’re taking them very seriously,” Tough said.

“It’s at that stage of the season where we can’t lose.”

The Gorillas have provided Steve Brittain and Matt Trewhella to the Queensland Country side, but work commitments have robbed them of Matt Pardew, Grayson McIvor (work) and Stu Galloway, while onballer Dan Campbell has knee problems.

Clearly the Grange have some problems and the way the Pumas have been going, and with their tails up, are going to be hard to beat.

Springwood coach Tony King was upbeat in the lead-up to the clash, but knows this one will be a tougher test than over the past month.

“We’re pretty much up and about, but this will be the test for us,” King said.

“Every one of our opposition over the past month has been that little bit better each week, so it has been a good transition for us.”

The Pumas, however, have to cover for the loss of key pair Andrew Sponneck and Luke Ruff, two more players with work commitments.

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