NOOSA at home on their Weyba Road turf on the northern end of the Sunshine Coast – it is rated the toughest road trip in the Pineapple Hotel Cup and Sandgate will certainly attest to that after events there on Saturday.
The occasion was the much-anticipated 2010 grand final rematch, the game also being the first time this season the two powerhouses have gone toe to toe.
By Terry Wilson
But what was tipped as a blockbuster turned into a cakewalk for premiers Noosa, who thrashed grossly disappointing Sandgate by 20.21 (141) to 8.6 (54).
The Tigers were simply outstanding, the Hawks simply insipid.
Noosa led 3.8 to 2.0 at quarter-time, that scoreboard indicating what was to come if the Tigers found some accuracy.
They did and put on 17.13 to 6.6 for the remainder of the game, a dominance built around a crackerjack midfield led by Lucas Matthews and Tom McKittrick, spark from centre half-back Brett Duke and outstanding firepower up front from full-forward Denny Brewster (eight goals) and half-forward Chris McGuigan (five goals).
“This was certainly the most dominant performance we’ve had this year,” said coach Wayne Fletcher.
“We pretty well controlled the game except perhaps for a period in the second quarter when they looked like coming back,” was how Noosa coach Wayne Fletcher saw the match.
“The instigators were obviously our on-ball brigade. Hey won at stoppages and gave us first use of the football.
“But if you go through it, it was pretty much a team performance – and if we keep playing that sort of footy we’re hard to beat.”
Matthews was in irresistible form in the middle playing his 250th game iof senior football (he is close to the 100-games mark with Noosa).
“He had a blinder<’ said Fletcher of the in-and-at-it Matthews, who seems to relish contests against Sandgate (he was also superb in Noosa’s 2010 grand final win against the same team). Sandgate’s cause was certainly not helped by the unavailability of five of their top-liners in Danny Dickfos, Ben Drew, Will Bradley, Tom Overington and Damien Garton. “But we can’t use that as an excuse, we just weren’t in the contest all day,” said long-serving team manager Dennis Paine. “Their midfield killed us.” Now there are questions on whether the Hawks can recover from such a drubbing – Saturday’s blowout was the worst hiding the side has suffered for many a year – remains to be seen. The blowtorch is now pointed at the Hawks, who still lead the points table but are now under increasing pressure to hold on to top spot – indeed a place in the top-three – given what lies ahead. After Sandgate play winless Mayne next weekend, the Hawks have a much-needed bye (their first of the season), then run into Palm Beach-Currumbin, Western Magpies and Noosa again – at least all those matches are at home. And adding to concerns is the pending season-injury to Sean Cornish, who has a fractured jaw and may be out for the rest of the season. Obviously good players for Sandgate on Saturday were as rare as hen’s teeth, but at least on-baller Ben Beaven, Matt Nuss in the middle and half-back .