Powerhouses in QFA deciders

By Grant Hitzman

All-Tiger affair in QFA North GF

Nothing is certain in grand finals, but one outcome that won’t change in Saturday’s QFA North showdown is a Tigers flag win.

Whether Mayne or Noosa walk away with the premiership is an entirely different story however, with the game firmly in the balance between the two heavyweight clubs just days out from the do-or-die clash.

Minor premiers, Mayne, have been standouts all year, running roughshod throughout the regular season to finish a perfect 18-0.

A comfortable 53 point win against grand final opponents, Noosa, a fortnight ago, earned the Tigers a place in the big dance and confirmed their status as the competition’s best. 

Key forward, Luke Faulkner, has been the spearhead behind Mayne’s dominance in 2014, booting a mammoth 128 goals from just 17 matches.

Faulkner’s stellar season was honoured earlier this month at the Queensland Football Awards, where the popular Tiger edged out fellow Mayne star, Shaun Daly, by three votes to win the Duncanson Medal.

Not to be overshadowed, Noosa hasbeen outstanding in 2014, suffering just three losses on their way to a second place finish.

The Tigers fell to Mayne twice during the season and Kedron once in Round 9, but rallied to win their last five by huge margins to march into the finals full of confidence.

The Tiger trio of Caleb Isles, Thomas McKittrick and David Welch have been the lifeblood of Noosa in 2014, forming a key nucleus to win two high intensity finals games against Kedron, after again falling to Mayne in the Semi-Final on August 30. 

Both clubs have plenty to play for on Saturday. Noosa will be looking to complete the ultimate turnaround after finishing near last in 2013, while Mayne will be searching for their first grand final win since 1982.

Mayne Secretary and Registrar, Jo Price, is confident that Tigers supporters, friends and family will be up and about for Saturday’s clash, with the club sending the “Tiger Express” to Burpengary.

“The last time the seniors won a grand final was 85’ so it’s safe to say we have a few old scruffy Tigers coming along on the day to see the boys get up,” Price said.

“We’re sending a bus down full of friends and supporters to Burpengary on the day, we’ve got about 20 on board so far and I’m sure the journey to and from will be interesting.”

Mayne also have the added incentive of pulling off the double on Saturday, with the reserves side set to face off against Maroochydore.

“The last time we completed the double was in 1935, so there is a definitive chance for the boys to make some history on the weekend,” Price said. 

Mayne will go in with the clear advantage on Saturday, knocking off Noosa three times in 2014, with comfortable margins of 33, 23 and 53. 

Noosa will be need to rely on their core midfield to step up against the more polished Mayne and hope key forward, James Gellie, can bag a few goals to make the task easier. 

While Mayne are clear favourites headed into the grand final clash, the weight of an undefeated season and the chance to break a 32 year premiership drought provides plenty of opportunity for Noosa to catch Mayne napping and steal the QFA North flag.

The seniors game will commence from 2pm at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex, while the reserves will play earlier in the day at 11:15am.

Pumas and Bombers do battle for QFA South flag

After a nail-bitting season that saw four of the top five teams finish on equal competition points, Springwood and Burleigh have emerged from the pack to compete for the QFA South premiership this Saturday at Griffin Park.

At the end of 18 regular season rounds, Robina, Burleigh, Yeronga South Brisbane and Kenmore all sat deadlocked on 44 competition points, with less than a quarter of a percent deciding the shuffle of the four clubs. 

Ultimately, after two gritty victories against second placed Robina and fourth placed Kenmore, Burleigh earned themselves a shot at a flag against minor premiers, Springwood.

The Pumas have had an exceptional 2014, registering 15 wins and just one loss in a supremely dominant season. Springwood belted their opponents to the tune of 100+ points eight times this year, to record a mammoth 254 win/loss percentage and claim the minor premiership by a comfortable 16 competition points. 

Headed by ex-Brisbane Lions midfielder, Albert Proud, veteran captain, Mark Thompson and goal kicking machine, Adrain Wallin, the Pumas will look to avenge a 2013 Allied Pickfords Cup loss on Saturday and claim a flag in the clubs premiership window.

Senior coach, Tony King, says that the pain of last years defeat is the ultimate motivation to capture a premiership, but ensures his players won’t become complacent. 

“I guess you reflect on it a little (grand final loss) and look at the season you’ve had and what you have to gain, but the players know that we just have to play it simple and not let the day overwhelm us,” King said.

In the club’s 35th anniversary year, a premiership would be a huge reward for the Pumas playing group, who have been working towards building a competitive team for the best part of five years. 

“It would be great (to win a premiership), it has been pretty lean pickings for the club, especially in the last seven years,” King said.

“It would be pretty special to win it in the 35th anniversary, but we aren’t fooling ourselves, Burleigh deserve to be here as much as us and we have to focus on the job.”

Burleigh have completed an incredible 12-month transformation after going 0-16 in last years Allied Pickfords Cup competition and will be a big threat on Saturday.

The Bombers played brilliant football in 2014, recording a 11-5 record to finish third on the ladder, agonisingly close to Robina in second.

Star midfielder, Daniel Wise, claimed the Todd Medal earlier this month at the Queensland Football Awards as the best player in the QFA South.

Wise heads a young breed of Bombers stars who on their day can cause massive headaches for the opposition. 

Springwood will start deserved favourites on Saturday, defeating the Bombers in all three outings this year by huge margins. Burleigh will have to rely on the star power of Wise and leading goal kicker, Nathan Sullivan, if they are to record an upset win.

This seniors game will get underway at 2pm from Griffin Park, Coorparoo. Springwood will also be looking to pull off the double, with the reserves taking on Robina at 11:15am

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