Two hours after they got off the plane in Cairns, South Queensland came out firing. Booting three goals and a behind in the first 15 minutes, the NQ v SQ Intrastate Rep game at Cazaly’s Stadium looked like it could be a one-sided affair.
But NQ found their groove and kicked into gear, hitting back with three goals in as many minutes to balance the score at the end of the first quarter.
With 3.1 (19) v 3.0 (18) on the board, the stage was set for a thrilling 7th instalment of the Clash.
From then on, it was an arm wrestle, with the game’s momentum swinging between the sides over the next 69 minutes.
After much hype about new faces, new blood and a new coach for NQ, Aaron “Flash” Davey’s boys were hungry to break SQ’s four year winning streak.
And that they did, coming up trumps with 10 goals.
Unfortunately, NQ Vice Captain Anthony Stewart went down in the second quarter with a knee injury.
“If there was ever a time we were going to be able to beat Danny (Craven) and his boys, today was the day up here at home,” said Davey.
“The boys with their composure, and that belief within the group, we felt something special before the game.
“The standard of footy today was another level, another notch up. What was also really special is that both teams had a lot of new gamers, playing their first rep game. Footy was the winner today and set’s us up for some great rep games to come in the future.”
Asked about his best players, Davey was quick to commend his young players who stood up.
“Young Ty Auton on the wing from Townsville, he was a late addition but we came in and played his role and stepped up,” he said.
“Lachlan Rhook was fantastic, South Cairns player who played down the back and in the middle and his influence, along with Robbie Turnbull, I think really got us going.
“Nick Johnson down the back was fists of steel, he just kept doing his role but in saying that it was a massive team effort and that’s all I asked.
It wasn’t just only the players, but also our staff, coaches and officials. I am extremely proud of the team and we’ll certainly enjoy this win for 12 months.”
Highlight stats include 30 disposals to NQ’s Robbie Turnbull and 27 to Lachlan Rhook, for SQ; 25 for Rowan Page and 24 to Luca Mason.
SQ’s Jacob Knight booted four goals, NQ’s Ezekiel Frnak three.
North Queensland 3.0-18 4.3-27 7.9-51 10.12-72
South Queensland 3.1-19 6.1-37 8.1-49 9.6-60
Goal Kickers: E. Frank 3, E. Ware 2, B. Barba, L. Rhook, C. Burgess, L. Morgan, J. Cullen
Best Players: L. Rhook, R. Turnbull, N. Johnson, C. Burgess, L. Morgan, J. Newman
Wayne Jackson Medal for North Queensland’s Best on Ground: Lachlan Rhook
Goal Kickers: J. Knight 4, C. Perkins 2, J. Keleher, Z. Quin, C. Eddy
Best Players: R. Page, L. Mason, Z. Quin, J. Knight, R. Eyles, J. Watson
Rod Davidson Medal for South Queensland’s Best on Ground: Rowan Page