By Beth Newman
The Robina train rolled on at Scottsdale Drive today, with a comfortable win over Coorparoo in the SEQAFL Division Two major semi-final.
The Roos were refreshed from a week off, and dominated all day, earning them a grand final berth and another finals bye.
Leading by five goals at the final change, the Kings kicked the opening two goals to threaten, but the Roos tightened the screws and stormed home with the win.
It wasn’t all good news for Robina, with centre half-forward Nathan Gurciullo going down early, but they showed their steel to get the job done.
Heath King was a star in the ruck for the Roos, as they dominated the centre clearances.
One of the most positive signs for the Roos in the win was the fact that spearhead Korey Fulton only kicked four, in what was an incredibly even team performance.
Robina playing coach, Mark Vigus, said his side had learned from their previous match against Coorparoo, not to panic when their backs were against the wall.
“We’ve had challenges throughout the year and learned from those,” he said.
“Panicked against Coorparoo but got the win and panicked against Alex (Hills) and lost, but today those experiences really helped us.
“They challenged us and we put the foot down and got on top. “
Vigus said the win gave them plenty of confidence as they lie in wait for their grand final opponent.
“We’re full of confidence,” he said.
“We’re going into the grand final fresh, where whoever we play will have played right through.”
“We’re absolutely stoked with the way we’re going into the grand final and our preparation for it.”
The Roos await the winner of next Saturday’s preliminary final in the September 7 grand final.
Yeronga set up a preliminary final showdown against Coorparoo, with a dominant 22.11 (143) – 9.14 (68) win over Kedron at home on Saturday.
It was the Devils’ experienced heads that kept them above elimination water against the Lions, who crumbled under the pressure.
After a tight first half, the Devils put their foot down in the third term, breaking the game open for the home side.
Five goals to one in the premiership quarter put Yeronga in the box seat at the final change, with another seven in the last.
Tim Notting, who filled in as captain in the absence of Matt Brown, was pushed up forward and was sensational in his leadership and performance on the day.
Shaun Mugavin was back to his best, finishing with seven goals for the Devils, while his bookend, Shane McGrath, kept Lions spearhead, Michael Leamer, quiet.
Yeronga coach, Chris Ryan, said it was sensational to have such an emphatic win against Kedron, who have been in top form in recent weeks.
“ We didn’t want to go out in straight sets, so to get the win and keep them to 1.4 in the last half (was great),” he said.
“Defensively, our game was superb.”
The Devils had no interchanges in the last term, after taking extra caution with some injuries, but still managed to continue their momentum.
After coughing up a decent lead against the Kings last weekend, Ryan said seeing a four-quarter effort, was a sign of great strength.
“It was outstanding to run it out with 18 from the 10 minute nark of the last term,” he said.
Ryan said while those experienced players in Notting and Mugavin stood out, it was their younger group who pleased him the most.
“We wanted 22 contributors and that’s what we had today,” he said.
While Yeronga live to fight another day, Kedron is left to rue a day where nothing seemed to go their way.
Lions coach, James Debono, said the inexperienced Lions struggled with the pressure of the sudden death semi.
“I think it really got to some of our players that hadn’t been in finals series and you could see it (in the game),” he said.
“We were fumbly, our forward line entries weren’t what they had been and I can’t even remember our forwards taking too many marks inside the forward 50.”
Despite coming to the end of the road against Yeronga, Debono said the improvement shown by his side this year was incredible.
“The gap (from last year to this year) is massive,” he said.
“I’m 100 per cent confident that we’ll keep everyone from this year and then just get in the recruiting game and get a few extras to fill a couple of holes in certain areas.”
Yeronga face Coorparoo in the preliminary final next Saturday.
Image courtesy of the Robina Roos Facebook Page.