By Beth Newman
MORNINGSIDE v PALM BEACH
Morningside lacked the polish of their opening two rounds, but still managed to hold off contenders, Palm Beach, 13.8 (86) – 9.12 (66).
Trailing at the first break, with Palm Beach’s tackling pressure bearing fruits for the visitors.
A first quarter return of 3.7 for the Lions allowed Morningside to wrestle back the advantage in the second, with their superior conversion punishing Palm Beach.
Morningside coach, David Lake, said the performance was below their best, but they got the most important reward.
“We get to walk away, work on it, with the four points in our hand,” he asaid.
“It was just things like a handball that doesn’t quite hit a bloke and that poor bloke’s got the game coming at him. Just simple things.”
The Panthers’ forwards were not allowed the space and freedom of the first two weeks, with Kent Abey and Jamie Hackett failing to register a single mark inside 50.
“We have to take responsibility for that,” he said.
“We were impatient with the ball in our hands and we kept trying to force it.”
It was a bruising encounter for the Panthers, with Lachie Russ and Nathan Kinch both on the end of some big hits, but the pair played out the match.
Most impressive was the performance of young ruckman, Peter Mollison, who showed his athleticism around the ground.
A former basketballer and volleyballer, Mollison’s strong leap and his ability to make an impact on contests around the ground was crucial for the Panthers, Lake said.
“He was fantastic,” he said.
“It wasn’t just the taps but his work around the ground.”
“He was clearly the dominant player on the ground and he’s really staring to enjoy his footy again.”
In a blow for the Panthers, Hackett suffered a hamstring injury in the win.
The Lions’ key forward, Bryce Perry-Bolt, was the focal point for his side’s attack, with four goals in the first term.
At the other end, defender, Matt Dillon, clearly won his battle against Abey, one of the most crucial of the match.
Lions coach, Daryn Cresswell, said his side wasn’t ready to take the mantle as the closest contenders to the Panthers, but there was a lot of confidence to take from the match.
“ This is a very even comp and you’re going to have to play your best to win,” he said.
“We fought it out hard but our ball use wasn’t great, and that resulted in opposition goals, which they sweat on.
“We get a lot of confidence from the game, and we showed that we could match it with the best team in the comp.”
Palm Beach midfielder Brock Askey went off with an ankle injury, the extent of which is still unknown.
SURFERS PARADISE v WESTERN MAGPIES
The Western Magpies overcame a sloppy start to record their second straight win, over Surfers Paradise, 16.18 (114) – 13.15 (93).
After a first quarter characterised by poor disposal, the Magpies’ execution lifted in the second, and 11 second-half goals to seven sealed the win.
Magpies coach, Glenn Humphrey, said a lack of focus was the reason for his side’s first term.
“It was a lack of concentration, that’s the only thing I can put it down to,” he said.
“It’s all about mental application. If we apply ourselves to the role properly, we’ll do it well.”
Small forward, Val Pope, continued his ripper start to the season, with three goals and centre-half back, Chris Hunt, was instrumental for the Magpies.
Young forward, Matt Uebergang, showed potential on debut, with two goals in his return from state U18 and Lions reserves duties.
An ankle injury to Peter Kilroy put a low note on the day, with the severity still unknown.
Surfers’ key forward Trent McIntyre kicked six, three in the first quarter, while defender Brody Haberfield and Tayler Rolfe, in a small forward role, were impressive for the home side.
Demons coach, Beau Zorko, said his side showed a far-improved performance from their first two outings.
“I thought we started really well and we executed, with greater consistency, the plan we put in place,” he said.
“I’m not happy with the result, but we certainly have a much better foundation to continue to work with than what we saw a couple o f weeks ago.”
Zorko lamented the side’s inaccurate conversion, with a first-quarter return of 4.8.
“If we’d kicked 7.4 or 8.3, I think it becomes a vastly different game,” he said.
“I’m confident our group understand the next step is consistency and executing for four quarter period, rather than for 25 minutes.
Unfortunately our lapses came at the end of quarters when we were fatigues and they were good enough to put scoreboard pressure.”
BROADBEACH v UQ
Broadbeach continued to push its top five credentials, with a 26.8 (164) – 9.7 (61) win over UQ on Saturday.
Four goals up in the first term, the Cats broke the game open in an eight-goal to three second term.
Taylor Haley booted seven for the home side, one of 10 individual goal kickers for the Cats.
Cats coach, Wayne Petterd, said his young side was starting to really come together.
“Out pressure was a lot better, our tackles stuck a lot more, and just the little things we’ve been working on that have held us up,” he said.
“We’re still a way off but they’ve got a bit of self-belief now and we just need to prove that we can play good fotoy and sustain it.”
In a physical encounter, Petterd said his side responded well to the Red Lions’ physicality.
“They were focused and really disciplined,” he said.
James Christie and youngster, Brandon Chadwick (three goals), were among those who stood out, but Petterd said it was the contribution across the field that was key.
“We didn’t have any passengers,” he said.
“We just had one of those days where everyone put their hand up when it was their turn.”
Red Lions coach, Matt Stewart, said his side struggled to match the Cats’ run across the ground.
“In between the 50s, they ran a lot harder and were able to score a lot more because of that,” he said.
“We just didn’t adjust as a team to the tempo and we’re still getting used to having new guys in the side,” he said.
“They were just better.”
There were some positives for the visitors, with forward Dan Poultney bringing in his biggest haul of the year, with four goals, as part of the side’s highest score of 2014.
LABRADOR v MT GRAVATT
Labrador put on a dominant display on their home ground, defeating Mt Gravatt11.16 (82) – 3.9 (27) on Sunday.
The Tigers proved a class above the developing Vultures team, leading from the outset.
Led by an impressive display from captain, Ryan Davey, Labrador held a six goal lead at the major break, before a low-scoring second half.
Teen, Dyson Budarick, was a surprise packet for the Tigers with his best performance of the year, while Jason Howard continued his good form, with two goals on the day
The game proved a major learning curve for the Vultures, coming off a win over Surfers Paradise, and senior coach, Brad Pollock, said there were plenty of positives to take away.
“No doubt about it, it was a good learning opportunity,” he said.
“They’ve got a bloke like Ryan Davey in the middle, we put a couple of boys on him, tried to quieten them down and he taught them some lessons.
“I think as we progress along we’re going to get better, it’s just another day to learn from experience.”
Pollock said the Tigers’ ability to punish them in attack was a key difference in the game.
“Their transition into the forward line was superior,” he said.
“We ran the ball okay until the halfway mark and then our decision-making wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.
“They battled away a little bit, the boys. We were just outclassed.”
Mt Gravatt midfielder, Fraser Neate, put in another good performance while Troy Rogers and Todd Carbone were standouts on the wing and in defence, respectively.
In a major boon for the Vultures, Chris Murphy made it through his first game in more than a year, after returning from a hand injury.
“He was pretty wrapped after the game to get through unscathed and feeling good,” Pollock said.
“He’ll get better too.”
Majok Aneet was pulled out of the game early, with a hamstring injury, but he is likely to only miss one match, Pollock said.
SANDGATE V WILSTON GRANGE
Wilston Grange withstood a strong challenge from Sandgate to claim the ANZAC Cup, 11.11 (77) – 7.13 (55), tonight.
On a dewy night, the low-scoring match saw numerous turnovers from both sides, but the ability of the Gorillas to take control when they needed proved the difference.
The Hawks rebounded well throughout the match, and electrified with some of their breaks, but a poor return in front of goal, meant they couldn’t wrangle an advantage.
While the Gorillas finished with only a 50 per cent conversion rate, their goals at pivotal times handed them the momentum, and with only four second-half goals, that superior accuracy proved crucial.
Grange captain, Steve Brittain, had an immediate impact in his first game back from a shoulder reconstruction, kicking four goals despite being double teamed for much of the night.
The efforts of Grange playing coach, Matt Trewhella, in defence earned him the inaugural Will Forbes/Graham Jewell Medal as best on ground.
Trewhella said the win was a pivotal one for his side, and he was happy with the way they took control late in the game.
“I thought we did well to hold them off and slow the ball down a bit and take that run away from them,” he said.
“They seemed to get the ball out of our defence a lot easier than we did theirs.
“(Our forwards) kicked a couple of goals out of their bum and I thought their defenders did well.”
The form of youngster, Henry Leong, in his first game for Grange was impressive, with Trewhella giving the former Mayne player plenty of praise for his efforts off half-back.
“He’s (Henry) really taken the step up this year,” he said.
“His ball skills are good, he hits targets quickly and he’s got a lot of pace, so we were wrapped to get him.”
New Sandgate recruit, Jacob Huisman, was impressive for the Hawks in the midfield, leading the way for the home side, while Aspley-listed Declan Bevan was also solid.
Hawks coach, Rob Dickfos, said his side, which saw 10 changes this week, lacked polish, but would continue to improve through the season.
“Our endeavour, our attack on the ball, our pressure I think is certainly up there (with top teams) but they just used the ball better than us,” he said.
“A lot of the experienced blokes didn’t have the impact they needed to and we rely on those guys who come back from a higher level to use that experience.”
Click here to see how the match unfolded, with our live blog from the night.