Queensland’s U18s were looking to leave their mark on 2014 and they did exactly that, with a thrilling one-point win over the Geelong Falcons to conclude their season.
Trailing at every break, the Queenslanders steeled themselves in a gripping final quarter, to come over the top of the Falcons, kicking three of the last four goals of the game, to clinch a 12.10 (82) – 12.9 (81) win.
Down by 13 points at the final change, Queensland grew in confidence as the clock wound down, with Surfers Paradise’s Cassidy Haberfield slotting two pivotal goals in the final term, in one of his best displays of the year.
A free kick at the centre bounce handed Geelong a last gasp effort, with Billy Beardsnell taking a mark only seconds before the final siren, with his side two points down.
Aspley’s Harris Andrews was rock solid in Queensland’s defence, in what turned out to be a game-saving effort under the Falcons’ late attacking barrage.
His fellow defenders stood strong all afternoon, with Henry Leong battling hard, while Robert Blood showed his improvement, playing on the wing.
It was a fast-paced game for much of the day, with both sides taking the game on, but it was desperation and hunger that proved the difference for the visitors late.
Matt Hammelmann (three goals) started the day perfectly for Queensland, kicking the first goal of the game, as the teams exchanged majors early on, before the Falcons took the early advantage.
Matt Uebergang (one goal) rebounded from a quiet game against the North Ballarat Rebels to play a key role in the forward line, creating opportunities in attack.
Queensland captain, Darcy Cameron-Reeves led from the front, in his final game for the state, while Liam Dawson was one of Queensland’s better players in his return from a shoulder injury.
The positive signs for 2015 continued as well for the Queensland side, with Corey Wagner and Ben Keays again asserting themselves on the midfield contest.
The win gives Queensland an even record in their TAC Cup games this season,
Geelong bottom-ager, Darcy Parish, was a standout for the Falcons in the game, showing some class for them, while Rhys Mathieson kicked three goals for the Falcons.
Queensland Academy and High Performance coach, Adrian Fletcher, was proud with his sides’ efforts, as they finished their season on a high.
“We started to win the one on ones, we played them one on one and didn’t let them get their uncontested marks, they had nowhere to go,” he said.
“They couldn’t chip it around and have time and space to get away from it.”
Fletcher said it was the side’s consistency over the game that was most pleasing.
“You’d probably say they haven’t been consistent ( this year),”he said.
“Today, they showed consistency and they realise it’s not about about a one quarter effort, it’s about a full game.”