IT was a case of the finals professionals doing a number on the rookies when Noosa knocked Surfers Paradise out of the Pineapple Hotel Cup title race at Weyba Road on Saturday.
Into their fifth playoffs campaign in as many years under coach Wayne Fletcher, Noosa won the first semi-final by 13.12 (90) to 10.9 (69).
by Terry Wilson
Gold Coast Bulletin
After an even first quarter, the Tigers steadily applied the screws and subsequently opened up an ever-widening margin over the visitors.
Surfers coach Beau Zorko was not going to argue with that finals professionals view of Noosa.
“More professional finalists? That sums the game up well,” he said after Noosa’s one-goal margin at quarter-time increased as the game wore on.
“For the majority of our group it was only their second seniors final – and we played at a cauldron, because it certainly felt that way when the Noosa supporters found their voice.
“But we’ll take so many lessons out of the game. It was a great learning experience for us and the players will be all the better for it.”
As the Demons expected, they were not going to be allowed anywhere the same latitute as they were when they thumped injury-stricken Wilston-Grange the weekend before.
Zorko readily acknowledged that aspect.
The renowned Noosa fighting spirit, so difficult to overcome at Weyba Road, emerged again to stifle Surfers’s free-flowing style.
“There was not a great deal in it,” coach Wayne Fletcher said.
“But we were conscious they were coming off a big win, that they’d be full of confidence – and they’re a dangerous team when they’re in that mindset.
“They’ve done it to us before and we had to make sure, if we got behind, that we had to shut them down and not let them get any momentum.
“We had four quarters of footy to play and that’s what we did.”
Stars for the Tigers were half-back Brooks Durdin, centre half-back Ryley Buntain, half-back flanker Owen Bailey and veteran Brett Duke, last year’s Ray Poulter Medallist who mixed forward and ruck duties.
Also pleasing Fletcher was Steve Simpson, who he said played his best game of the season in the ruck.
Surfers had midfielder Ryan Dienjes as their best, well supported by the Haberfield brothers Brody (in defence) and Jesse (on a wing). Opposite wingman James Nancarrow also went well for the Demons.
Noosa now go into a preliminary final next weekend, although Fletcher does not care who the Tigers tackle. His side has to win to go a step further into the big one, the grand final.
But he could have ruckman Peter Trompf available.
Asked if Trompf (adductor) and skipper Adam Bovalino (ankle) would be right, Fletcher said Trompf had trained last week but that Bovalino would not be right by next weekend.