Sunday 18 September 2010
Not only did Kent Abey produce one of the great grand final performances by a centre-half-forward, but he did it with a broken nose.
Abey ran out for today’s Powerade QAFL Grand Final clash with a black eye and swollen nose after being whacked in the dying minutes of the tense preliminary final win over Southport last weekend.
The athletic left-footer made light of the injury after the game, but it was a remarkable effort.
“It doesn’t hurt until you get hit on it again,” he said. “It wasn’t a great nose to start with – I’ll get it straightened up eventually.”
His attack on the football, be it in the air or on the ground, was fierce and his marking was exceptional.
Tellingly, Abey’s kicking at goal was impeccable, booting six goals straight after a blemish with his first shot of the day.
He kicked four of his side’s first nine goals and booted two more in the stunning last quarter revival where the Panthers booted 8.3 to 2.2 to win by 22 points.
Co-captain with Jacob Gough for the back-to-back premiership wins, Abey tried to deflect all the praise to his teammates before admitting just how important the game was to him.
“That’s going to be hard to beat even if I play for another 20 years,” he said. “But it’s not about one player.
“It’s a 23-man side. I just kicked a few goals. It’s very rewarding when you do put the effort in and get rewarded on the biggest day of all.
“I’m just thrilled for the blokes like Tom Hickey, and Jack Lawler who missed out last year. There’s a story with every player when you look around, so I couldn’t be happier for them all.”
Opposed to rival captain Aaron Shattock, Abey never stopped running and had a number of Tigers rotated onto him through the final term but without success.
“I had to play to my strengths, so I thought I had him (Shattock) in the fitness stakes and to the boys credit they used me pretty well,” Abey said.
Abey’s goalkicking has not always been his strong point but he has now produced the goods in two of the biggest games he has ever played in.
Abey’s 5.0 in the historic State game win over Tasmania in Launceston was exceptional and won him a Zane Taylor Medal, but today was even better again.
“I was able to kick a few goals, which was really nice. I’ve been guilty of missing goals in the past, so to kick goals when it really counts was important,” said the 150-gamer.