By TERRY WILSON
Payne’s ice-cool goal a match winner for Morningside
A HIGH-PRESSURE situation demanded an ice-cool player to do the job – and highly decorated Matthew Payne delivered the goods with a match-winning goal for Morningside on Saturday.
With less than a minute left on the clock Payne was awarded a free kick about 35 metres out from goal and on a 45-degree angle at a stage when the Panthers trailed Surfers Paradise by four points.
But the star on-baller was up to the task, coolly steering the Sherrin through the middle of the big sticks to give victory to Morningside by 8.9 (57) to 8.7 (53) at Sir Bruce Small Park.
It was a victory at a venue coach Clint Watts relished because, in his time at Morningside, the Panthers have always struggled on the wide, open spaces at Small Park.
And anyone thinking it was a gift for Payne to be awarded a free kick in such tense circumstances the decision was an obvious one after he was caught high by a Surfers player.
There are those who claim that Surfers should have won. They trailed early when Morningside kicked the first goal through Liam Dwyer but the Demons, last year’s premiers, led them a merry chase thereafter – until the dramatic finale when Payne gave them grief.
Surfers led by seven points at quarter-time, by 20 at half-time and by 13 at the final break.
“What is it about this joint,” Watts asked after the get-out-of-jail card was used up.
“We struggle here but we shouldn’t , not with this group because we can run okay.”
It was typical Surfers fare the Demons dished up with a side barely resembling the one that claimed the 2019 premiership cup.
They chased, they harassed, they tackled and they bore in relentlessly around the packs.
“Yes, they are an enthusiastic bunch,” noted Watts.
Needing something in the final term, Watts swung exciting Reuben William into the attacking zones, and it worked.
But it took until the death for the visitors to hit the lead – and the relief was clearly evident in the sheds afterwards.
Defender Brad Dale was Watts’s pick as best Panther. He was in defence and kept Tyson Brazel to two goals. Brazel kicked 85 goals for Bond University in the QFA Division 2 in 2019.
Payne was outstanding again. He collected plenty of possession around the ground but most importantly used that possession well. He is in fine form and should be hard to beat in the Grogan Medal count – an award he has won twice before.
William, Lachlan Russ and another defender James Cowlishaw were other standouts for the Panthers.
For Surfers, who had many triers, best were newcomer Jack Braumann, Matt Jewell and Daniel Charlesworth.
The loss has left the 2019 champions in a tough spot with only one win after four rounds and leaving them level with Sherwood, Maroochydore, Mt Gravatt and Wilston Grange on four points, eight points out of the top three of Palm Beach Currumbin, Morningside and Broadbeach.
Thok’s late goal gets the Gorillas home
JUST as it was down on the Gold Coast when Morningside kicked a goal in the dying stages to win against Surfers Paradise, it was similar at Hickey Park when Wilston Grange broke their 2020 QAFL duck.
It was courtesy of Sudanese descendant Kuot Thok that the Gorillas edged out cross-Brisbane rivals Mt Gravatt to win by 8.5 (53) to 7.10 (52).
Thok’s telling major came at the 21:52min mark of the final term of a see-sawing, tense, encounter.
Taylor McCubbin, Andrew Boston and Tahj Abberley were the pick of the winning Gorillas and for Mt Gravatt it was Kyle Walsh, Orien Kerr and Luke O’Sullivan who headed the best-players list.
Across town at McCarthy Homes Oval, impressive Broadbeach downed home side Sherwood by 15.13 (103) to 10.6 (66).
The Cats are emerging as definite premiership material with their host of recruits and significant numbers of home-spun juniors.
It was one of their interstate guns, forward Jordan Moncrieff, who again impressed with seven goals, taking his tally from three outings in the blue and white hoops to 17.
Moncrieff was best, ahead of 2018 Grogan Medallist Blake Erickson and veteran Josh Searl.
Sherwood were always trailing as the Cats matched them in most areas.
Best for the Magpies were forward Aaron Highlands, on-baller Ryan Harwood and Ethan Sivijis.
Up on the Sunshine Coast home side Maroochydore found Palm Beach Currumbin a bit too hot, going down by 6.10 (46) to 17.5 (107) at Maroochydore Multisports Complex.
Zac Harrison, Tyler Cornish and Jack Bates were PBC’s best as the Lions set up leads of 12, 27 and 48 at the three breaks.
For the home side Brent Pearson, Josh Govan and Jacob Simpson headed the best-players list.