Submitted by Chris Yeend
Labrador has secured consecutive wins and has moved into fourth place on the QAFL Senior Men’s ladder after an impressive 13-point over Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Round 11 action on Saturday.
The visitors trailed by as much as 20-points mid-way through the second term before they stormed to take the lead at half-time and held on for a highly memorable victory on the road in the QAFL Match of the Day.
With Noosa bathed in sunshine and the ground in perfect condition, both sides were determined to start strongly. With a few key outs for both sides, Noosa was determined to show that it can run with one of the best in the competition over the past 18-months.
Young gun Harry Law got proceedings underway for the visitors when he slotted through the opening goal of the game from a nice set shot in the pocket inside the opening minute. The former Kyneton product in the Bendigo Football Netball League was determined to show his skill on the big stage and loomed to be a dangerous prospect at half forward as the match progressed.
Jay Foon kicked a handy goal five-minutes later to open up a 10-point lead before the home side kicked into gear. A mark from former Lion and Bomber Matt Leuenberger followed by a driving kick to the top of the square, found Jai Fitzpatrick front and square before kicking the first of three goals for Noosa.
Goals to Pettigrove, Bowes and McDonald in the space of 11-minutes helped turn a 10-point deficit to a 15-point lead. A goal after the siren from Christian Buykx-Smith narrowed the gap to nine-points at quarter-time.
Stand out players for the quarter were Mackenzie Riddle, Tom Miller and Aiden Fyfe (Labrador) while Tom Baulch, Josh Wallis and Tom Roarke (Noosa) were handy.
Labrador sent Cam Ellis-Yolman deep into the forward line that freed up Andrew Boston to command the midfield. It worked well for the visitors early to start the term after a few early chances, but failed to convert.
Josh Wallis kicked a goal for Noosa from a set shot; and just minutes later, his captain Aaron Laskey pounced on a ball at half-forward and launched a bomb from 52-metres out that cleared the pack for the goal of the day and a staggering 20-point lead just eight-minutes into the second term.
With the pattern of Noosa kicking goals from general play, the goals looked flashy and brilliant but Labrador were more precise with their forward 50 entries hitting more targets. This was evident when Aiden Fyfe pressed forward and goaled from a set shot to cut the margin back to 14-points. Ellis-Yeolman crumbed a ball off a stoppage in the goal square and added his first goal; and with Paddy Turner and Tom Simpson (big goal from outside 50 on the run) all kicking truly; Labrador turned a 20-point deficit into a five-point lead in the space of 18-minutes to take a crucial half-time lead.
With Boston running riot in the midfield, Labrador looked electric. Tom Simpson looked dangerous and Fyfe looked unstoppable. Turner was awarded a free kick in the opening three minutes of the term and kicked truly for his second. Noosa responded with back-to-back goals of its own to level the scores.
When Boston goaled from a free kick at the 13-minute mark to put Labrador out to a six-point lead; it prompted Noosa to ignite; not necessarily the team, but a player; Jai Fitzpatrick.
The star midfield was running red hot and he slotted a pair of big-time goals and started dominating out of the centre as Noosa pushed out to a 12-point lead.
A late goal from Tyler Brown cut the margin back to just six-points heading into the final term and we were set for an epic grand-stand finish.
Harry Young kick started the run for Labrador in the final erm with a goal from a mark and 50-metre penalty to cut the margin back to a point. Ellis-Yolman kicked his second at the nine-minute mark to give his team the lead by four-points and it never looked back.
Tom Miller was outstanding at half-back; acting as the brick wall that the Noosa midfield could not get around. Fitzpatrick and Baulch tried to lift for the home side but the confidence going into the forward 50 was lacking and there was often a lot of blazing away in hope.
Labrador chipped away at the scoreboard for much of the quarter in a real arm-wrestle and while the margin was around a kick for much of the term, Noosa couldn’t find a way to goal.
Young gun Harry Law book-ended the contest with his finger prints all over it. He kicked the opening goal of the game; and he found Turner inside 50 by foot who would kick the last goal of the game as Labrador ran away 13-point winners; 13.10.88 to Noosa 11.9.75
There was a lot to like about the fight from Labrador and the feeling was that it was going to be cleaner and more efficient with its ball use, when it got the ball, and it was. Noosa dominated possession from mid-way through the first term to mid-way through the second term and kicked six goals to one in that run and denied its opponents use of the ball.
Labrador will take some beating this year and Noosa showed tremendous courage and is most capable of running with the big guns; taking Broadbeach to three goals; being competitive against Redland-Victoria Point; 10-minutes of good football short against Labrador; and taking down Aspley and Palm Beach Currumbin in the top six. At its best, it can win its next seven games in the run down to the final home and away clash against Labrador who in turn have matches against Broadbeach, RVP and Aspley in the run home.
That Round 21 clash between these two is going to be massive.
Picture by JDR Creative