By Terry Wilson
QFA DIVISION 2 PRELIMINARY FINAL
Park Ridge v Coolangatta
At Park Ridge State High, 2pm Saturday
Results this season:
Round 6: Park Ridge 12.10 (82) d Coolangatta 9.9 (63) at Len Peak Oval.
Round 11: Park Ridge 16.21 (117) d Coolangatta 7.8 (50) at Park Ridge State High.
IT remains to be seen how former flag favourites Park Ridge Pirates react to their rare loss last weekend when they go for a place in the QFA Division 2 Grand Final on Saturday.
After losing only one game all season the Pirates were scuttled by Beenleigh last weekend in a qualifying semi-final and how have to see off improvers Coolangatta in the Preliminary Final on home turf at Park Ridge State High.
While Coolangatta last week looked impressive when they came from behind to beat Bond Uni, the same could not be said about the Pirates, who had lost only one game previously this season.
By coach Graham Adams’s own admission, the Pirates were their own worst enemies, going into the game with a mindset of having only to turn up to get the job done.
Instead the Pirates were made to walk their own plank by an enthusiastic, young Beenleigh side.
“Yes, it was a wake-up call we needed,” said Adams.
“To be honest we all went in well ahead of ourselves. We’d lost only one all year, so we left one of our worst efforts to late.
“We were outplayed by a better side on the day and now we have the chance to redeem ourselves.”
Adams said it has been a hard work on the training track as a result of the Beenleigh lesson and he reports everybody in the camp is up and about ready to take on Coolangatta.
“It was not a flogging (at training) but there was physical work in it for sure,” Adams said.
“We did a lot of game simulation stuff, that sort of thing.”
Down on the southern end of the Gold last in Coolangatta territory, the mood in the camp is understandably buoyant as the Blues go for one of the club’s biggest wins for a long time.
Last week was the first finals win for Coolangatta since 2005. Now the club is one step away from a Grand Final.
Playing coach Matt Walder, who isn’t exactly playing coach because he copped a one-match suspension during the week, said the finals drought has been mentioned but is not the sole source of motivation.
“It certainly has not been a driving point because everyone is aware that it has been a while since Cooly featured.
“This is like we’re the new pioneering front, as it were.”
Park Ridge have beaten Coolangatta in both games this season, the first after a hard battle at Corpsure Oval but the second by a wide margin.
Asked how he plans to turn those results around, Walder said: “The first round game at home obviously was a battle and they got us in the end.
“In the second round we had a completely different outfit that ran out there (last weekend).”
A danger for the Blues is unquestionably Pirates forward Aden Routledge who has kicked 13 of his season total of 67 goals against them.
Stronger Bond Uni likely for reserves preliminary
WITH their seniors now in mothballs, we can expect a stronger Bond University line-up to take on Alexandra Hills in the QFA Division 2 reserve grade Preliminary Final.
Bond and Alex Hills clash at Park Ridge State High (11.30am) for the right to see who plays Kenmore in the Grand Final on Saturday week.
Bond Uni, as minor premiers, crashed to Kenmore in the second semi-final last week while Alex Hills stayed in the hunt for a flag by beating Moreton Bay in the knockout first semi-final.
Under the circumstances, given they have won both previous clashes with the Hills this year – and both by clear margins ‑ Bond are entitled to start favourites.
In the fifth round Bond won by 12.5 (77) to 8.4 (52) at Alex Hills, then the second encounter by 14.7 (91) to 5.12 (42) on the Gold Coast.
In that second clash Hugo Barry kicked seven goals for the Bullsharks.