Gympie Cats claim QAFA (B) North flag

Gympie have won the 2015 QAFA (B) North premiership with a hard-fought 10 point victory over Maroochydore on Saturday.

The Cats hit the lead early in the second quarter and were never headed, despite leading by just 3 points at the final change.  Playing coach Brent Forsyth led the charge, finding space right across the ground to take home the Best on Ground Medal.

The first quarter started strongly for Gympie off the back of three consecutive goals as the match threatened to blow open without as much as a whimper from the Roos.  Maroochydore settled off the back of two goals to Jason Weckert before a cruel knee injury saw the Roos key target up forward go down for the remainder of the match.  A goal to young gun Zac Epstein gave the Roos the lead and a 2 point quarter time buffer.

When Leigh Wilson kicked the first goal of the second term the lead had pushed out to 8 points and suddenly the premiership cup appeared to be heading South.  John Gorrie provided a strong marking option for the Cats, both as a leading forward as well as a foil out of defence and his goal halfway through the second term was the last time the Roos held the lead for the day.

The premiership quarter had both sides locked in a tense battle with each side only able to register a solitary goal.  By now Maroochydore were down to 2 players on the bench but it didn’t seem to slow down the older bodies with repeated forward thrusts resulting in no score from each end.

In the final term it was the Cats who heeded the coach’s message, winning the quarter with big goals to club legend Hugh Stewart, Brent Forsyth and a ripper from the boundary for Daniel Frost.  Shannon Beavis kept the Roos in it with 2 majors, but with the ball deep in the Maroochydore forward line, the siren sounded and the Cats led by under two kicks.

League leading goalkicker Adam Hendry kicked 4 for the premiers in a dominant display up forward while for the Roos Steven Parker & Matthew Toohey worked hard.  After the match, Maroochydore coach Matt Stanley thanked his players for their service as he departs the game as a coach, while 2014 Gympie coach Hugh Stewart honoured their victory to ex-Cat and close mate Wayne “Dozer” Dover.

For a young Gympie side, the future looks bright after winning just 9 matches in their previous four seasons.  Coach Forsyth has brought a new level of workmanship to the side which could lead the club into a period of dominance.  For the Roos, although they didn’t win on the day, the club has 4 sides all playing deep into finals as they build to be the powerhouse club on the Sunshine Coast.

By Chris Davis

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