By Terry Wilson
Image: Beenleigh Buffaloes
Buffaloes stampede all over the Pirates
THE Beenleigh Buffaloes are first team through to the QFA Division 2 Grand Final after they upset hot favourites and minor premiers Park Ridge in the Second Semi-Final on Saturday.
The Buffaloes now await the outcome of next weekend’s Preliminary Final between Park Ridge and Coolangatta to see who they play in the premiership decider at Leyshon Park.
Notching their first seniors win over Park Ridge in four years, Beenleigh scored by 16.15 (111) to 10.12 (72) after leading virtually from the opening bounce.
For Park Ridge it was a disappointing result at the club’s first home finals match at the Park Ridge High School.
The Pirates can look at the first half, the second quarter in particular, for reasons behind the loss.
With the wind in the first quarter Beenleigh kicked 5.2 to 3.2.
However, when they had use of the breeze in the second term, the Pirates failed to flatter and were outscored 3.4 to 1.2 for the term as the Buffaloes took a 26-point advantage into the big break.
After that it was simply a matter heads-down for the Buffaloes as their younger brigade went on with the job.
As expected, Park Ridge came out aggressively, with their more experienced line-up intent on taking the game right up to the Buffaloes.
“We were given a working over, as expected, but the young blokes stood up to it,” Beenleigh football manager Greg Krieger said.
“They rode the bumps, grabbed the ball and kicked goals.”
Coach Cameron James, a former Mt Gravatt key position player, said the onus is now on Park Ridge to overcome the loss and get back on track after a season in which they had previously lost only once.
“They have to worry about us now, that is if they make it.”
Park Ridge will now host big improvers Coolangatta in next weekend’s Preliminary Final to earn another shot at the Buffaloes.
Stars for Beenleigh were Josh James, Ryan Birnie, who had five goals from a wing, Matt Hartley and Jackson Clarke.
For the Pirates Brandon Cherry, Chris Fletcher, Jay Parker and Guy Tarrant were the standouts.
Cooly give Bond a dose of the Blues
COOLANGATTA continue to roll along in survival mode after they kept their title dreams alive with a strong win against Bond University on Saturday.
The Blues came from behind in the final term to take the elimination First Semi-Final by 11.16 (82) to 10.12 (72) at Bond University.
They now play minor premiers Park Ridge in the Preliminary Final next weekend where once again it will be another step along the finals tightrope for the southern Gold Coast club.
“We’re in soldier mentality at the moment,” said Blues playing coach Matt Walder of the late-season resurgence by his team through a series of must-win fixtures.
“We’ve been on edge basically for a number of weeks yet we’ve continued it on.
“Now we have to pick ourselves up for another final next week.”
A strong breeze made life difficult for players as they staged an arm-wrestle for much of the clash.
Coolangatta led by three points at quarter-time, the Bullsharks were two goals up at half-time after use of the wind, then Cooly led by three points again at the final break.
The Blues then kicked 3.4 to 2.3 to seal the win.
“The best thing about our group is that everyone understands what their roles are and they’re undertaking it brilliantly,” Walder said.
Alex Rowe in defence and midfielders Wes Tate-Turvey and Trey Westbury were standouts for the Blues.
Across in the Bond camp their best were Sam Makin, Wyatt Bacon and Steve Mahoney.
In reserve grade, Alexandra Hills won the First Semi-Final after beating Moreton Bay by 10.17 (77) to 9.7 (61) and Kenmore trounced Bond University to win the Second Semi-Final by 15.17 (107) to 7.1 (43) and book themselves in for a Grand Final appearance in two weeks’ time.