Monday 20 September 2010

“The momentum swung. It was like the last quarter two weeks ago, but the exact opposite. It’s the hardest thing to stop in footy, momentum, and we couldn’t.”

So said a devastated Labrador coach Jarrod Field after the gut-wrenching defeat for the Tigers in their first ever QAFL grand final.

Seemingly in full control with a 20-point lead early in the last term, the black-and-golds’ world came crashing down around them as Morningside kicked eight of the last nine goals of the match to win by 22 points.

There was plenty of despair in the rooms after the game and among the Tigers faithful, who formed the majority of the 3200-strong crowd that roared itself hoarse in the tense last quarter.

“I thought at halftime we were in the game but had played poorly. I really thought we looked rusty and maybe the week off, as far as our ball handling goes, hurt us,” Field said.

“We trained five times in between the games but we didn’t seem to handle the ball cleanly. We didn’t kick it well when we were going forward and that hurt us.

“I said to the boys at halftime ‘we’re going real ordinary here but we’re still in the game’. Things started to turn in the third quarter, we got on top, kicked some goals, and our run was the only thing that I was concerned about.”

Field’s concern centred around the loss of Shane Paterson late in the first quarter with a hip problem.

Paterson, who finished top 10 in Syd Guildford Trophy voting in his debut season in the QAFL from Langwarrin, was the Tigers’ best player in the first term until limping off.

“He’s been fantastic all year and if you had said to me before the game ‘is there one bloke you can’t afford to lose?’ it’s him,” Field said.

“Going into a game like this, he just hits in so hard, he is super tough. We lost him early. We tried him back on, but he had no power in his legs, he just couldn’t run.

“It did hurt us, one with our rotations, but two because he is our hardest midfielder.”

Field was reasonably confident at the final change with the 15-point lead, although Morningside were kicking to the scoring end.

“Knowing Morningside had stopped the last couple of weeks, even though we were down a bloke I though we still might be able to finish okay,” Field said.

“But things just unraveled in the last quarter. Whatever match-up we tried down back didn’t seem to work.”

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