Submitted by Chris Yeend.
North Queensland has taken the honours in the eighth instalment of the Men’s Annual Intrastate clash against South Queensland at Fankhauser Reserve in Southport last Saturday.
After leading by six-points at quarter-time; North Queensland took control of the game to run out impressive 39-point winners, 13.12.90 to 7.9.51.
North Queensland went into contest filled with confidence under the guidance of coach Aaron ‘Flash’ Davey after it was victorious in the previous fixture in Cairns by 12-points last year.
The squad featured a range of talent across two competitions with strong representation from Cairns City Lions (Davey’s team), North Cairns, Yeppoon, Mackay, Hermit Park, Port Douglas, Centrals Trinity and Manunda.
South, under the guidance of Rory Lake were well representated from a number of teams included Caloundra, Coorparoo, Beenleigh, Springwood, Burleigh, Hinterlands, Bay Power and Brothers Bulldogs.
With the game taking place in the late afternoon, and the region hampered with rain; it was always going to be a big challenge for both teams.
FIRST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
The star of the opening seven minutes was Cairns Saints (NQ) forward Zac Straker. The key forward was unstoppable, kicking the opening two goals of the game and proved a big challenge for the South’s backline.
Hinterlands’ star Jacob Knight pounced on a loose ball for South to cut the margin back to seven-points.
South had few opportunities up forward but managed to make a habit of converting more of its opportunities. With opposition midfielders Jake Long and Michael Griechen getting their hands on the ball early, South’s onballers relied more on Luca Mason and Shayle Korander to get some of that drive.
Just when South looked to close the gap; Straker hit the scoreboard again as a result from a perfect kick from half forward from a team mate that saw him lead to space and mark strongly in tough conditions. He kicked his third goal from as many kicks.
Mason responded immediately for South who then missed some golden opportunities to hit the front. When Josh Earl kicked a point at the 22-minute mark, the margin was five-points. That was the closest South got to its opponents for the remainder of the game.
Goals to Corey Flint (NQ) and Jacob Watson (SQ) closed the quarter.
SECOND QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
Alex Rogers (South Cairns) started the quarter in style for North with a sensational snap from close range to open up a handy 12-point lead.
North dominated the midfield with Griechen, Long, Auton, Carter (in the ruck), Turnbull and Flint (half forward) all getting their hands on the ball.
South were led down back by Deng Arok (Uni Cougars), Sean and Declan Goode (Beenleigh) an Sam Holna (Coorparoo) who all won plenty of the ball due to the influx of supply coming from further up the field.
South struggled to clear the ball from half-forward deep into its 50 with North doing as it pleased, led by North Mackay’s Luke Slater who played a key role as an extra player down back.
It looked like it was going to be one-way traffic for the Northerners but a late goal from South’s Dane Stewart cut the margin back to 23-points on half-time.
THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
South dominated the early part of the quarter but struggled to reward themselves on the scoreboard. Jacob Watson kicked his second goal of the game to lift his team and cut the margin back to just 16-points 12.5-minutes into the quarter.
Michael Griechen continued his dominance in the midfield for North with a long-range left foot goal from 50-metres out to turn the momentum directly back in favor of his team.
When Christian Burgess (Yeppoon) goaled with the final kick of the quarter, the margin was out to 29-points.
FINAL QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
North came out of the huddle with all guns blazing; leading to Strake (fourth) and Wallace kicking goals inside the first 2.5-minutes as the lead ballooned to a game-high 41-points. The game looked over.
South had some belief still left in the tank and when Jacob Knight kicked back-to-back goals in the space of a minute; just 27-points separated the pair at the nine-minute mark of the term.
When Centrals Trinity star Lachie Rhook kicked his second goal of the game mid-way through the term, North were enroute to celebrating a big win.
The icing on the cake belonged to Manunda Hawks speedster Cory Flint when he sprinted into the goal square to kick his second in the shadows of full-time and celebrate a famous 39-point win and level the series 4-4.
North and Centrals Trinity onballer Michael Griechen was the much deserved winner of the best on ground medal.
NORTH 4.3, 7.9, 9.11, 13.12.90 defeated SOUTH 3.3, 4.4, 5.6, 7.9.51
Goals: (North) Zac Straker 4, Lachie Rhook 2, Corey Flint 2, Boe Collins 1, Lachlan Wallace 1, Alex Rogers 1, Michael Grieschen 1, Christian Burgess 1.
(South) Jacob Knight 3, Jacob Watson 2, Luca Mason 1, Dane Stewart 1.
Chris Yeend teamed up with AFL Queensland’s Jack Barry to call the game. Catch the replay – https://cluch.tv/afl/afl-queensland/afl-queensland-representative-mens/205563/
In the earlier game, North defeated South 6.5.41 to 3.6.24. This was the first representative game between the two and the first of many across the decades to come as AFL Queensland work incredibly hard to provide female players with more opportunities to play representative football.