By Ant Wingard
Image: Mayne Tigers
Noosa v Caloundra
Saturday August 25, 2:00PM
Rococo Bistro Oval, Noosa
A Sunshine Coast derby between two historical rivals boasts significant implications for either team.
Both Noosa and Caloundra produced dominant seasons in 2018 – finishing second and third respectively, but all their hard work to date could come undone with a loss this week.
For the winner, a matchup against fellow Sunshine Coast powerhouse Maroochydore awaits, while the loser will be relegated to the far more difficult side of the HART Sport Cut finals bracket and will require at least two more wins to advance to the Grand Final.
The last contest between the two sides produced a match of the year contender as just one point separated the Panthers, who prevailed over the Lions.
The win proved to be a landmark win for Caloundra who previously suffered defeat to Noosa by a considerable 69-points earlier in the season.
The Panthers produced six third term goals to defeat their rivals in their Round 17 matchup.
Caloundra head coach Steve Moody was coy about his sides chances, especially given the positive result a fortnight ago.
“I’m expecting a tough, physical game played at a pretty good speed. We’re in a bit of form at the moment only losing one game in our last nine and they’ve been fairly good all season,” Moody told aflq.com.au
“Being able to win there which not many sides do was a real confidence booster. It means that we believe we can beat anyone, anywhere at any time. It helps with the psychological side of the game.”
As two Sunshine Coast clubs who have enjoyed success across a number of years, a rivalry has existed between the two and it is something Moody was eager to talk up.
“There are games that you want to win and then there are games that you love to win and certainly any time we play Noosa or Maroochydore, there is a rivalry,” Moody said.
“I think there is that level of desire to be known as the number one club on the Sunshine Coast.”
Ryan McCombe was the Panthers’ star in Round 17 after he booted a team high four goals in the win.
McCombe has been one of the Panthers’ scoresheet regulars this season, however none have been as prevalent as Quinten Ross, who has booted a team high 48 majors.
For Noosa, the best avenue to goal this season has come via Kent Delbridge, who also has booted over 40 goals this year; finishing on 41 and going goalless on just one occasion.
Coorparoo v Mayne
Saturday August 25, 2:30PM
Giffin Park Oval, Coorparoo
Giffin Park Oval will be the host of a crunch Semi Final showdown between the southside Coorparoo and northside Mayne, as both sides look to keep their season alive in the first round of finals.
The matchup itself pits one side, the Kings – who came within arm’s reach of the competition’s heavyweights on the ladder against another, the Tigers – who scraped into finals after a turbulent season on-field.
Mayne’s up and down season meant the Tigers struggled to find a strong vein of consistency throughout the year; never winning more than two games in a row.
The Kings in contrast have enjoyed a far smoother season on-field with two more wins than this week’s opponents, while trailing Division 1’s top three by just one win and a draw.
This weekend’s elimination final will be the third meeting between the two sides with the record currently sitting at one win apiece.
Coorparoo won out in their most recent encounter while the Tigers tasted a win in their Round 4 showdown.
Tigers head coach, Chris David, was adamant his side could notch their second win of the season over the Kings this weekend; when it matters most.
“We haven’t done anything different. We’re trying to maintain some kind of normality and we’ve tried to treat it as any other game of football,” David told aflq.com.au.
“You always go into a game with some optimism and we think at our best, we can certainly win, but we need our best.”
David was wary of the wide expanses of Coorparoo’s Giffin Oval but was confident his Tigers were up for the challenge.
“The Kings play the oval at Coorparoo very well.”
“I’d like to think we can adjust accordingly at most grounds. Coorparoo is certainly renowned for its bigger deck, but we have to try and adjust and play that ground accordingly.”
The winner of the Kings v Tigers matchup will face the loser of Noosa v Caloundra next weekend.