By Terry Wilson
Deelightful Surfers are new QAFL champions
It was a bell-ringer of a grand final that had it all, from fierce physicality to the euphoric scenes at the full-time siren, to the emotional afterglow in the raucous Surfers change rooms.
It was 21 years ago that Surfers Paradise beat Palm Beach Currumbin in the Gold Coast grand final at Sir Bruce Small Park.
They won by two points, 9.10 (64) to 8.14 (62) but only after a scoreboard adjustment to correct an incorrect scoreline of 63-all at full-time. A point had wrongly been given to PBC was corrected.
That was in 1998.
Fast forward to Saturday at Metricon Stadium and the same two teams clashed again.
And again the issue was decided by two points after Surfers hung on bravely to beat the reigning champions by 9.9 (63) to 9.7 (61).
It was simply riveting as surfers led by 18 points before the scores were level at half-time and again at three-quarter time.
Grand finals do not come any better that the fare dished pp by the Demons and the Lions in front of a vocal crowd.
PBC went into Saturday as QAFL flag winners in 2017 and 2018. They lost only one game all season, to Surfers.
The Demons, on the other hand, went into the big Gold Coast derby with a premiership drought to break.
After the 1998 triumph the Demons had played in only one more grand final, that in 2004 in a lower division against Strathpine.
And what a way to bow out of the game for burly Surfers forward Dan Green.
He was understandably emotional afterwards, like everybody else in the Dees camp.
Coach Brad Moore was nursing some soreness after being slapped on the back by so many of the Surfers faithful.
And Jack Taylor was on a team and individual high after being named Joe Grant Medallist fir best on ground.
Here was a lifetime Surfers player who not so long ago headed overseas because he had fallen out of love with the game.
That love affair was resurrected a couple of years ago and now the 23-year-old defender has earned the highest of accolades.
It was without exception that everybody lauded coach Moore who, it has to be remembered, was in charge of Labrador but parted ways with the Tigers mid-season in 2013.
He joined Surfers in 2017 and the club has not looked back.
Here is what Moore said to his battered, bruised, but ever so happy troops in the change rooms afterwards:
“You all should be so, so proud of yourselves.
“A lot of people comment about what I’ve done and taking accolades because all I’ve done is shown you what you’re capable of.
“And it makes me emotional, like it did last week, because once you realise your capabilities then you become unstoppable and today you played in one of the greatest grand finals I’ve ever seen.
“It is just a credit to every one single one of you what you’ve been able to achieve.
“We celebrate the great man’s last game of football (the retiring Dan Green).
“This is a bloody brilliant football club and we have just become the greatest team of this year.”
Moore made special mention of Southport NEAFL-listed Haydn Kiel. Who missed the wild celebrations after full-time because he was in hospital after a bad shoulder injury in the hectic final term.
PBC were magnificent in the defence of their title but were unable to crack that special team ethic that has grown at Surfers under Moore.
And it was a sad ending to another great year for the Lions to lose their captain Steve Thynne, who sustained anterior cruciate ligament damage and was stretchered off the ground during the second quarter.
It was so good to see Moore and the Surfers players go to Thynne to console him for his unfortunate mishap.
This act befitted the tremendous sportsmanship of the day and was a worthy support act to the intense action.
Bring it on again in 2020.