By Terry Wilson
QFA DIVISION 3
First Semi Final
Wynnum v Kedron
At Kianawah Road, 2pm Saturday
Second Semi Final
Ipswich v Carrara
At Limestone Park, 2pm Saturday
Reserve grade: First semi-final: Ipswich v Wynnum at Kianawah Road, 11.45am Saturday. Second semi-final: Redcliffe v Kedron at Limestone Park, 11.45am Saturday.
Eagles and Saints chasing first titles
TWO clubs desperate to set up a shot at a first premiership should provide a cracking contest in a QFA Division 3 showdown on Saturday.
The Ipswich Eagles and the Carrara Saints have not won any sort of premiership silverware, a fact which only adds to the importance of their second semi-final clash at Limestone Park in Ipswich.
The winner goes straight into the grand final while the loser will play off against either Wynnum or Kedron in the preliminary final next weekend.
It is an unusual situation that neither Ipswich nor Carrara can boast any sort of premiership success at senior’s level.
Ipswich coach Kym Mansell has been with the Eagles from day one and he holds the games-played record of more than 300 before he turned to coaching.
“I was a foundation player when the club first started in 2001 and I played in seniors up until 2016,” Mansell said.
“Ipswich have not won a premiership, in either seniors or reserves, although we lost back to back grand finals against Robina in 2004 and 2005.”
“So, we’re desperate because we want win the flag and we want to go up to Division 2 next year.”
Carrara are in much the same boat. The club was formed only in 2009 when they played in the northern NSW Summerland League against the likes of Ballina, Byron Bay and Lismore.
“We do not have any silverware (in seniors) in the trophy cabinet,” said coach Nick Pearson.
The semi-final rivals have met three times this year with Carrara winning two, both at home, and losing to Ipswich at Limestone Park.
Both coaches believe the Eagles are best suited on the open spaces of Limestone Park, where the Eagles beat the Saints by 11 points in the second round.
At Nielsens Road, Carrara’s home base on the Gold Coast, the Saints won by 28 points in the fifth round and by 19 last weekend.
Asked why the Eagles fell short at Nielsens Road, a much smaller ground than Limestone, Mansell said: “We know why but we probably play our ground better.
“Without being cocky we were woeful down there and we couldn’t play the style we wanted.
“Having a home ground this weekend is definitely a huge advantage.
“People who know us know we are a fast running side. We lost three games this year and they were all on smaller grounds at Carrara and at Wynnum.”
So clearly the tactic from the Saints will be to attempt to shut down the Eagles’ run.
Pearson, though, said his Saints do not mind bigger grounds although they will have to shut down the run of the home side on Saturday.
“I feel we have bigger guys who are probably a bit stronger over the ball, whereas the Eagles want to expose us with their run,” he said.
“It’s hard to tell because there hasn’t been much in all three games this year.
“We’d like to choke them up and not allow them to get inside the 50 metres too much.”
After an interesting season three clubs – Ipswich, Carrara and Wynnum – finished level on 48 points after 13 wins and three losses each.
Ipswich took the minor premiership with a percentage of 220.40 while Carrara finished on 164.56 and Wynnum 138.91.
Ipswich v Carrara this year:
R2: Ipswich 9.8 (62) d Carrara 7.9 (51). Zach Zahn 3, Ashley Templar 1 at Limestone Park.
R9: Carrara 12.18 (90) d Ipswich 10.2 (62). Templar 3, Zahn 5 at Nielsens Road.
R17: Carrara 12.14 (86) d Ipswich 10.7 (67). Templar 7, Zahn 2 at Nielsens Road
Meanwhile, Wynnum will start warm favourites to earn the right to play the preliminary final next weekend.
However, the Lions of Kedron are not without a show given their big win over the Vikings in the sixth round at E.K Anderson Oval where they won by 15 points in a high-scoring encounter.
By contrast Wynnum won the return bout by six points in a low-scoring battle at Kianawah Road.
Wynnum v Kedron this year:
R6: Kedron 18.14 (122) d Wynnum 16.11 (107) at E. K. Anderson Oval.
R14: Wynnum 8.9 (57) d Kedron 7.9 (51) at Kianawah Road.