By Terry Wilson
Panthers pull off a miraculous comeback win
That is the only way to even start to fathom what on earth went on in one of the biggest comebacks in state league history at Dittmer Park on Saturday.
There we had home side Mt Gravatt off to a ripping start with eight unanswered goals and a huge quarter-time lead of 51-1.
Fifty-one points to one after just the one quarter? In a clash between Brisbane rivals Mt Gravatt and Morningside? Unheard of.
So, too, was what happened after that because there were a few Morningside supporters who had packed up and gone home.
Over the next three quarters Morningside kicked 12.1 to 3.7 for a remarkable victory by 12.10 (82) to 11.10 (76), a result that pushed the Panthers to outright second spot on the ladder and left the Vultures in a vulnerable spot at fifth.
After the stunning start by the Vultures on Ferg Reid Day – an occasion to remember one of the club’s most popular past players – Morningside turned celebration-poopers.
Two goals to one in the second term became five goals to one in the third and all of a sudden the Panthers’ fans were finding their voices despite being 20 points down at the final break.
All that was left to cap off a remarkable day was the enthralling final quarter when the Panthers kicked the last goal through Henry Joyce in the 32nd minute for a pulsating comeback to end all comebacks.
“I can’t remember anything like that before,” said Panthers coach Clint Watts.
“At quarter-time there was some pretty strong conversations going on with our line coaches but I kept my cool.
“It was all about staying in the fight and at half-time we were in there.
“Even then we had to kick five in the last to win and I’ll admit I said we’d take a draw.
“It could have gone either way and I was pretty emotional in post-match.”
Mt Gravatt coach Adam Boon was understandably shattered by the result that came a week before they travel to Salk Oval next weekend to take on unbeaten Palm Beach Currumbin.
“That was ridiculous, I’m devastated really,” he said.
Boon said the Mt Gravatt tactics were to control the ball and keep Panther hands away from it.
“We did that well for the first quarter, the stats showed only five marks to them at quarter-time.
“From then on they had about 85 or so marks.”
As the Panthers lifted so did 17-year-old Nathan Colenso who had a huge game in a variety of roles and ended with three goals.
Class midfielder Henry Joyce kicked two goals, Darcy Cameron-Reeves three and Brad Howard was solid in defence.
For Mt Gravatt Sam Stubbs kicked four goals in the first term on his way to a match total of six and was even used on-ball as the Vultures tried to stem the tide after half-time.
Chris Murphy in defence, Mick Hamill and Andrew Smith were others to go well for the home side.
Morningside 0.1, 2.4, 7.6, 12.10 (82)
Mt Gravatt 8.3, 9.5, 10.8, 11.10 (76)
GOALS, Morningside: N. Colenso 3, D. Cameron-Reeves 3, H. Joyce 2, P. Mollison 2, S. Lundie-Jenkins 1, B. Murray 1. Mt Gravatt: S. Stubbs 6, K. Walsh 2, F. Neate 2, D. MacDonald 1.
BEST, Morningside: N. Colenso, H. Joyce, B. Howard, D. Cameron-Reeves, J. Rayner, P. Mollison. Mt Gravatt: S. Stubbs, C. Murphy, M. Hamill, A. Smith, R. Blood, T. Carbone.
Demons destroy Broadbeach in Coast derby
Surfers Paradise coach Brad Moore has described the win by the Demons over neighbours Broadbeach as by far the side’s best performance in his time at the club.
The Demons took the Gold Coast scrap by 13.16 (94) to 10.9 (69) at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday in a result that has given them a big chance at grabbing a top-three finish and a finals double-chance.
It was also a result that had Moore beaming after the side ended a month of below-par performances that had threatened the club’s finals prospects.
“This was the best 22-player, four-quarter performance that I’ve seen them put together in my time at the club,” said Moore.
“The scoreboard probably didn’t do us justice but that’s our own fault for not kicking the goals we should have.
“Performance-wise, though, and that’s what we were judging ourselves on today, we said let the scoreboard take care of itself.
“I thought that was by far our best four-quarter performance, across all 22 players, in my time here.
“I was really proud of that,it was great.”
Although the Cats led by a point at quarter-time they really struggled to match the spread, defensive pressure and run of the Demons.
The look on the face of coach Beau Zorko was indicative of the disappointment of failing again against a top-five side.
So far this season the Cats have not beaten a top-five side and they now head into a huge finals-deciding clash at home against Morningside next weekend.
“I don’t think we’ve butchered the ball as badly as we did today,” said Zorko.
“Their pressure was good and they certainly came hard at us early so I thought we did well to have our noses in front at quarter-time.
“I think our downfall was trying to fight fire with fire.
“Surfers like to get it going and play at a million miles an hour. They just keep coming at you.
“Sometimes when you play against opposition like that you just have to absorb a bit and we didn’t do that with enough poise and composure.
“And I thought our midfield got outworked.”
The Cats fell down badly getting good delivery to their forward lines where key attackers Jason Cloke and Matt Fowler were starved of the ball.
Surfers had any number of quality acts on derby day, none better than Kain Ford who was particularly prominent across the middle.
Speedy Daniel Van de Werken had possibly his beat game of the season on a wing and finished with three goals, big forward Dan Green kicked four goals, former Cat Dale Eames kicked three in a functioning forward set-up, and Brody Haberfield was outstanding at the back.
For Broadbeach tireless Benji Neal and Josh Searl stood out on-ball, Joel Newman was sound in a variety of roles and Brandon Chadwick looked dangerous with ball in hand.
Surfers Paradise 2.8, 5.9, 9.14, 13.16 (94)
Broadbeach 3.2, 4.5, 7.6, 10.9 (69)
GOALS, Surfers Paradise: D. Green 4, D. Van De Werken 3, D. Eames 3, K. Ford 2, H. Kiel 1. Broadbeach: B. Chadwick 2, M. Fowler 2, A. Fyfe 2, B. Neal 2, J. Cloke 1, N. Burton 1.
BEST, Surfers Paradise: K. Ford, D. Van De Werken, D. Green, B. Haberfield, D. Eames, C. Haberfield. Broadbeach: B. Neal, J. Newman, A. Fyfe, J. Searl, B. Chadwick, D. Dienjes.
Gorillas jeopardise Labrador’s finals hopes in big upset
Acting boss Luke Morgan jokingly suggested he may be the first Wilston Grange coach to ever be sacked after a win.
Morgan was in charge of the Gorillas on Saturday when they pulled off a significant upset against Labrador at Cooke-Murphy Oval, deputising for Barry O’Brien who was in Darwin for a funeral.
“The boys will welcome Barry back next week, for sure,” said Morgan.
“He contacted me after the game and he was rapt.”
Whether it was a new voice barking out the orders that worked to give the visitors their third win of the season is debatable but the stuff the Gorillas produced was commendable.
The Grange won by 11.9 (75) to 8.12 (60) after conceding the first three goals of the match to the Tigers, who began well running into a stiff breeze.
But the Gorillas refused to buckle – as they have done too often this year – and a lift in work rate and sticking their tackles turned things around as they forged an 18-point lead at half-time after they trailed by nine points at the first break.
“We knew we had the ability to win but the players had lost confidence so it was a matter of putting in the work,” said Morgan.
“I was not at all surprised by the win because before the game I went to every player and set them their goals.”
Morgan said the Gorillas concentrated on their tackling efforts after a first quarter when they had not been sticking them.
Aspley-listed ruckman Nate Dennis continued his great form by being named as the Grange’s best, ahead of Adam Hughes on a wing, on-baller Luca Mason and forward flanker Harry Milford.
“Adam Hughes on a wing had his best game of the year,” said Morgan.
“We used him as a defensive winger dropping bac and helping out on Bryce Retzlaff and Wayde Mills.
John Boxer, Jayden Young, Jarrod Mills and Wayde Mills were best for the Tigers.
Labrador are now under the gun to make finals football, still sitting sixth on the ladder but a game behind fifth-placed Mt Gravatt.
Wilston Grange 2.1, 7.5, 10.7, 11.9 (75)
Labrador 3.4, 4.5, 6.9, 8.12 (60)
GOALS, Wilston Grange: B. Nelis 3, N. Dickson 2, L. Mason 1, H. Milford 1, Z. Molan 1, J. Tomkinson 1, A. Hughes 1, N. Dennis 1. Labrador: B. Retzlaff 2, W. Mills 2, R. Clements 2, J. Sands 1, P. Murtagh 1.
BEST, Wilston Grange:N. Dennis, A. Hughes, L. Mason, H. Milford, L. Gaw, B. Nelis. Labrador: J. Boxer, J. Young, W. Mills, J. Mills, P. Murtagh, M. Fraser.
Magpies swoop on Hawks in fourth quarter surge
The Western Magpies took until the fourth quarter to keep alive their slim finals hopes with a tense victory over cross-Brisbane rivals Sandgate on Saturday.
After trailing the Hawks at all three breaks, the Magpies took flight and ended up taking four precious premiership points by 11.14 (80) to 10.9 (69) at McCarthy Homes Oval.
Everyone at the Western camp knew a loss would have ended their finals aspirations but they are now still hanging in there but also still needing to win all three of their remaining five matches to have any hope of a tilt at the flag.
Sandgate led by 15 points at quarter-time, by seven at half-time and by 12 at three-quarter time before the home side finally found some attacking power after wasteful kicking.
The Hawks started with a bang and led 33-4 15 minutes into the second term.
“Take nothing away from Sandgate because they were really, really good, but we hurt ourselves with our inaccuracy and our inefficiency,” said coach Brydan Morgan.
“At three-quarter time we had been our worst enemy with 6.13 on the board.”
But when the Magpies moved ex-Brisbane Lion Ryan Harwood to attack – he had been at the back because he had been unwell – the tide turned and the ball finally found its way more often between the big sticks.
“There is no substitute for someone who can finish off the work,” said Morgan of Harwood’s two final-term goals.
The Magpies’ best was tall forward Brody Lumber, a big find in the QAFL this year after moving north from Victoria.
“He had a dozen marks and a lot of them were contested – but he also kicked six or so behinds,” said Morgan.
David Lewis in defence and on-ballers Gareth Crawford and Riley Easton were other standouts for the Magpies.
For Sandgate it was another case of letting go just when they had the opposition by the throat.
“It was again a part of our education,” said Hawks mentor Jarad Marsh.
“When they came at us we tightened up a bit so I was a bit disappointed at that.
“We went away from our game style when they (Magpies) got a bit of contro at centre bounces.”
Best for the Hawks was rising teenager Tahj Abberley on a wing, Josh Preval at centre half-forward and full-back Toara Marango.
Western Magpies 0.4, 3.9, 6.13, 11.14 (80)
Sandgate 3.1, 5.4, 9.7, 10.9 (69)
GOALS, Western Magpies: R. Harwood 3, K. Reed 2, W. Johnson 2, G. Crawford 1, C. Beams 1, B. Lumber 1, H. Kerr 1. Sandgate: J. Preval 3, K. McKenzie 2, C. Stackelberg 1, A. Fabian 1, J. Harding 1, J. Maynard 1, T. Juffs-King 1.
BEST, Western Magpies: B. Lumber, D. Lewis, G. Crawford, R. Easton, L. Dwyer, W. Johnson. Sandgate: T. Abberley, J. Preval, T. Marango, M. Crawley, K. McKenzie, C. Stackelberg.