SUNSHINE Coast powers Noosa wrapped up a third successive grand final appearance after they downed Palm Beach-Currumbin in a muddy second semi-final at Weyba Road on Saturday.
by Terry Wilson
Physically superior to their Gold Coast rivals – a decided advantage in tough conditions – the Tigers won by 13.7 (85) to 9.6 (60) and booked a place in the September 10 grand final, likely to be played at Fisherman’s Road, not far down the road from their headquarters.
Palm Beach-Currumbin, on the other hand, now face up to a preliminary final earmarked for Sir Bruce Small Park next Saturday to earn another crack at last year’s premiers.
Saturday’s scoreline, which shows Noosa with 20 scoring shots to 15, is a good indication of events of a wet afternoon.
Things were even at quarter-time with scores at 2.2 apiece, but Noosa took control in the second, aided by two goals from free kicks, and they finished the term on 7.2 to PBC’s 3.4.
Under the conditions, that was to prove to be a match-winning quarter because the Lions were never going to get their free-flowing style going because of the weather as light rain fell throughout the match.
“We were a long way of them,” conceded PBC coach Craig O’Brien. “Their bodies were too big for us and their game plan was suited to the conditions.”
O’Brien was again unhappy with a free-kick tally he claimed was lopsided against his side.
“It was not why we lost, but ……….” he said.
Still, winners are grinners and it was all smiles at Tigerland.
“Obviously it was a test of strength in the conditions and we won out,” said successful coach Wayne Fletcher. “But it was a tough contest.
“We made more of our opportunities and the second quarter was definitely a telling period.”
Also telling was the five goals from star full-forward Danny Brewster. For an individual to kick 30 points when the opposition manages 60 for the match was an extreme bonus for Noosa.
Brewster now has 85 goals for the season, with a superb average of 5.0 from his 17 appearances.
Adam Bovalino had a great skipper’s game on a half-back flank and Matthews and Caleb Isles revelled in the thick of the action in close.
Ruck pair Peter Trompf and Tim Storrer also did their part in what Fletcher described as an all-round team effort.
“In those conditions we had to have 22 contributors and I couldn’t fault the commitment of one player,” he said.
“But full credit to both teams the way they went about it.”
PBC were severely hurt when James Drake sustained a neck injury in the second quarter and took no further part in the game.
But O’Brien said his star veteran will be right for next weekend’s preliminary final, as will defender Chris Williams, midfielder Brad Hewat and teenage wingman Nick Burton, who were all out injured on Saturday.
Injuries played a role in PBC’ demise, said O’Brien, but there were other contributing factors.
“We were flat and I see last week’s game against the Magpies, a six-day recovery plus the long trip up to Noosa as why,” said O’Brien.
“Noosa are a tough, hard side that doesn’t surrender, but we didn’t put the flag up, which is a positive.
“We had a lot of players really down, a lot who didn’t fire a shot.”
Not among that list were the Hards brothers Ryan and Brad, fellow on-ballers Brad Horn and Tyler Cornish, plus captain Angus Munro, who mixed roles on a half-back flank and on-ball.
Noosa had a minor scare in the fourth quarter when Matthews was sent from the field.
However, it was not a red-card offence. Rather a yellow card was shown, which meant Matthews was not reported, merely sin-binned for 15 minutes.
Completing a black day for Palm Beach-Currumbin was a big loss to Sandgate in the reserve grade second semi-final.
Sandgate came from behind (0.1 to 2.2) at quarter-time to win by 8.8 (56) to 3.6 (24) after restricting the Lions to just one goal after the first break.
Best for Sandgate were Scott Hines, Aidan Dineen and Simon Cannan while for the Lions Ryan Schneider, Bryce Dyer and James Bowden were the pick.