DAVID Martin’s Wilston-Grange Gorillas have added premiers Noosa to an impressive list of scalps in their ultra-impressive start to the Pineapple Hotel Cup season.
After beating Sandgate in round one, the Gorillas have now beaten last season’s grand finalists in their unbeaten run under new boss Martin.
Saturday’s 18.5 (113) to 15.11 (101) victory at Noosa’s Weyba Road stretched the Gorillas’ run to five and proved conclusively that one of the QAFL Premier Division’s perennial strugglers is definitely the real deal this season.
In another highlight match on Saturday, the Western Magpies stormed home to snatch victory from Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast with a four goals to one last quarter.
Elsewhere, Sandgate edged Coolangatta in a close one at Len Peak Oval, Palm Beach-Currumbin whipped Mayne at Salk Oval; and Burleigh scraped home against Springwood at Lowe Oval.
By Terry Wilson
Gorillas on top in battle of the jungle
WILSTON-Grange continued their giant-killing ways and grabbed outright leadership of the AFLQ’s Premier Division ladder by downing premiers Noosa at Weyba Road on Saturday.
In a clear display that they are do not plan to be temporary table-toppers, the Gorillas managed to do what a lot of other teams have failed to do – to beat Noosa in Tiger territory on the northern tip of the Sunshine Coast.
The Grange scored by 18.5 (113) to 15.11 (101) after coming back from three goals down early in the final term.
The Gorillas have now beaten 2011 grand finalists Sandgate (round one) and Noosa and remain unbeaten after five rounds – but with another tough one against the Western Magpies coming up next weekend.
Grange’s blazing start to the season begs the question of how long it is since the club had such a start. Certainly not in the past couple of decades at least.
Understandably new coach David Martin was rapt to take the points back down the Bruce Highway, precious away points banked against a power club in the bag.
Martin said the winning streak is ‘amazing.
“You can’t say it surprises you (to beat Noosa at Weyba Road), because you always go up to win,” he said.
“But the boys have been great, they’re finding ways to win.
“It would have been easy for them to give in and get a pat on the back for just putting in up at Noosa.
“But this bunch of players have some good fight in them.”
A great final term from former State full-back Matt Pardew swung the game the Gorillas’ way. Several of Pardew’s match tally of six came in the vital final stanza, although he managed to kick two attempts out of bounds on the full.
Asked what was the catalyst for the Grange fightback, Martin replied: “The boys keep persevering and making a contest out of everything.
“We didn’t kick a lot of clean goals – a lot of them came from hustle and bustle.”
Martin was then asked what it means to have beaten both 2010 grand finalists in the first five rounds.
“I suppose it gives them confidence,” he said. “But what we’re after is to play finals footy, that’s got to be the goal at the start of the year.
“So we’re trying to get enough points in the bag to be able to play in the finals.”
Leading the Grange superbly was captain Lee Smith, who won a lot of hard ball in the middle up against what is generally rated the best centre-field unit in the competition.
Pardew was great up front, small forward Matt Stevens worked well and Lachlan Moir was prominent on a wing and up forward.
For Noosa, who have now lost two from three, it is far from the end of the world, although it must be slightly worrying that the Tigers have now lost to Surfers Paradise and now Wilston-Grange.
Noosa trailed 5.7 to 8.2 at half-time, but took the lead with a third term of 6.3 to 2.2 when it looked like they were going to go on and win with a two-goal advantage.
On-baller and forward Travis Mills again starred for the Tigers. Mills kicked eight against Western Magpies the previous round and was at it again with five against the Gorillas.
Forward Dayne Frew (three goals), Tom McKittrick and Brooks Durdin were other more than serviceable Tigers.
Magpies finish too strongly for the Dees
A TELLING fourth quarter from the Western Magpies turned possible defeat into a vital away victory in their match against Surfers Paradise at Sir Bruice Small Park on Saturday.
After a first half coach Peter McConnell described as ‘absolutely dreadful, terrible’, the Magpies ran over the top of the Demons to win by 12.16 (88) to 12.11 (83).
Surfers led by 20 points at quarter-time, by 13 points at half-time and by 17 points at three-quarter time, so there was plenty of merit in the effort of the Magpies.
“After half-time we worked our way back into the game,” said McConnell.
“We were very flat to then but we gathered momentum and ran over the top of them in the end.”
McConnell made a telling decision at three-quarter time to post Val Pope at full-forward, supported by smaller running types, and move his bigger targets back down the ground to the half-forward line.
The move worked well with Pope kicking two of his four match goals in the term.
“I had a feeling at three-quarter time that we were getting it together and were primed for a big finishing burst,” said McConnell.
Surfers coach Rob Martin admitted the Demons stopped running and conceded the Magpies were fitter than his players.
“At the end of the day yes, they were better, but at least we’ve kept them to a competitive score,” said Martin, recalling events of his club’s horror trip to Sandgate the previous weekend.
“From where we were up at Sandgate last weekend to this one was a massive difference. I’m still scratching my head over that one – I just don’t know.
“But we took a lot of confidence out of this one.”
Martin felt the Demons were unlucky not to have been awarded a free kick in front of goals just before the siren, denying the Dees the chance to steal a win.
Stars for the Magpies were full-back Peter Kilroy, sho shored up the defensive unit superbly.
Young ruckman Dominic Beer had another great game and Val Pope showed just why he is regarded as one of the most versatile and dangerous players in the game.
For the Demons, on-baller Ryan Dienjes, described by Martin as possessing a big ticker, was the best, well supported by vice-captain Sean Atkinson at half-back and Queanbeyan recruit Dan McGavin in a back pocket.
Second-half surge gets Sandgate home
AN inexplicable siesta after half-time proved the stick that broke the camel’s back for Coolangatta after they fell to Sandgate in a free-flowing affair at Len Peak Oval on Saturday.
After a first half of effort and fine football, the Blues went to sleep and allowed the Hawks to run away with victory by 18.14 (122) to 15.16 (106).
It was a disaster third term, when Sandgate kicked 7.6 to just 1.4, that was the difference.
Before that, the Blues had led 4.5 to 1.1 at the first break, then by 8.10 to 5.3 at half-time.
An upset was in the offing, but it failed to materialise as the home side went into doze mode at a vital stage.
“The difference was definitely that third quarter, because they had 13 scoring shots,” said disappointed Coolangatta coach Neil McKay.
“We said before the match that we’d find out if we could concentrate and play hard enough for long enough.
“Unfortunately for us the difference between our good and our bad is pretty wide because in the first half we were all over them.”
Sandgate captain-coach Ben Long applauded the Blues for their first-half effort, conceding they were well on top.
“They came out of the blocks well and played some good footy. They deserved to be where they were at half-time,” said Long.
The Hawks did not do too much tinkering for the third quarter.
“We just tried to match Cooly’s workload and get numbers around the ball, like they had,” said Long. “We started to win more contested possessions and we ended up kicking the last six goals of the quarter.”
Sandgate ruckman again won high praise from Long, the player-coach describing his ruckman as the best big man in the competition.
Shane Rogerson was another top Hawk, winning in a variety of roles, including centre half-back when Aaron Fabian went down with what looked to be a bad knee injury in the second term.
Rowan Moody in a back pocket was another Hawk to please Long.
For the Blues, classy Chris Carins dominated as a ruckman and forward, his brother Sam on a wing an half-back, and half-forward Ben Gaylard stood out.
Pumas win three quarters, but lose the match
SPRINGWOOD won three quarters of football against Burleigh at Lowe Oval on Saturday, yet somehow managed to lose the game.
Burleigh just managed to stagger over the line, their petrol tank running on empty, after setting up victory with a slick second quarter that netted them 8.3 to 0.2 and set up a 40-point lead.
In the end it was Burleigh in front by 15.19 (109) to 16.9 (105).
It was a lapse that really hurt the Pumas because in the other three quarters they outscored Burleigh by margins of 4.2 to 2.5, 7.2 to 3.7 and 5.3 to 2.4.
“It was just a lapse with the kids,” said Springwood coach Paul Opbroek.
“Basically Burleigh didn’t win it, we lost it because we won three quarters. It’s just that they’re kids.
“In the last half they were very good and they showed some character to come back. There were a lot of good things to come out of it.”
It must be galling for the Pumas camp that they have lost both home games this year by a combined aggregate of just five points.
Burleigh coach Zane Doubleday praised Springwood, definitely improved on last year, but he expressed concern that hi side is still off the pace.
“We’re still a way off,” he said. The 20 minutes we played in the second quarter was really good and after half-time I was hoping we could continue on.
But we ran out of petrol with only one left on the bench.”
Dominant for Burleigh were Tim McKay at centre half-back, ruckman Mick Van Rossum and South Australian recruit Zach Tschirn.
Van Rossum, said Doubleday, basically won the match for the Bombers with his aerial work in the testing final term.
Lions king of the big cats
STAND-IN Darren Beaufoy was joking how easy the coaching caper was after Palm beach-Currumbin recorded a huge win over Mayne in the battle of the big cats at Salk Oval on Saturday.
Filling in for Craig O’Brien, Beaufoy had few problems as the Lions steamrolled the Tigers by a whopping 32.19 (211) to 12.8 (80).
Palm Beach are still well off the finals pace after their first win of the season, but things are looking good, said Beaufoy.
“A lot of the newer players just starting to work out what the competition is about,’ said Beaufoy.
“There are a lot of quality players there and several of them are being used in key roles.
“This week we played as a team. We didn’t drop off, we just going, so hopefully this is the start of better things for us.”
Local product David Manning, with six goals as a half-forward, starred for the winners, as did rover Ryan Hards and ever-consistent James Drake, who booted six from centre half-forward.
Mayne, hit hard by played unavailability and a couple of late withdrawals, did well in the first term when they trailed by only 3.1 to 6.5.
But the floodgates really opened up after that as the home side had terms of 9.5, 9.3 and 6.6 to finish the rout.
“Our problems started before the game,” said player-coach Luke Faulkner.
“We were without up to eight regulars, including three key defenders.”
“But it was disappointing to see too many dropped heads too early.’
Best for Mayne were pinch-hitting forward Corey Massingham, half-back/on-baller Sam Paterson and Faulkner in a variety of roles.