By Terry Wilson
Photo: Daren Sonnenberg
Magpies pile the pressure on Mt Gravatt
Western Magpies 6.3, 10.5, 12.9, 16.12 (108)
Mt Gravatt 1.4, 5.5, 9.7, 10.7 (67)
GOALS, Western Magpies: S. Copland 5, J. De Winter 5, A. Corrie 4, R. Easton 1, M. Stallard 1. Mt Gravatt: S. Stubbs 3, J. Bain 3, F. Neate 1, Z. Stone 1, R. Estall 1, J. Green 1.
BEST, Western Magpies: R. Easton, J. De Winter, D. Mitchell, A. Corrie, R. Harwood, S. Copland. Mt Gravatt: J. Huddy, F. Neate, J. Craven, J. Coghlan, M. Hamill, N. Tronc.
THE Western Magpies threw another question mark over the ability of Mt Gravatt to take this year’s flag with a convincing 41-point win at McCarthy Homes Oval on Sunday.
The Magpies dominated from the opening bounce, away from a spell in the third term, to win by 16.12 (108) to 10.7 (67).
And while the result was pleasing for the Magpies camp, keeping them right in the race for a top-five finish before the finals, the result has definitely put the Vultures under the microscope.
It was a weekend when the second and third-placed clubs, Broadbeach and Mt Gravatt, both lost, which has enabled those sides just behind them to close the gap.
Broadbeach remain second, level on 28 points with Mt Gravatt, but now Surfers Paradise (24), Morningside (20) and the Western Magpies (20) are getting hot to trot for the play-offs.
“It was pleasing for our group to win that way because we’ve been working away after close losses, and to the boys credit they’ve kept working hard at it,” Magpies coach Brydan Morgan said.
“Internally I’ve felt this win has been coming for a while. The boys have beebn working hard and to their credit they’ve got it (the win).
“I thought we controlled the game for a long time away from a period in the third quarter when Mt Gravatt came back.”
But that comeback was quickly nipped in the bud to start the final term when the Magpies hit the gas pedal with four straight goals to Sam Copland (two), Anthony Corrie and Riley Easton.
Sam Stubbs stopped the rot with a goal for Mt Gravatt 17 minutes into the quarter but the horse had bolted.
Mt Gravatt coach Daniel Webster agreed the Vultures have lost their spark after three losses from their past four games, including a 100-point thumping from Morningside and an honourable loss to unbeaten Palm Beach Currumbin.
Are the Vultures in a bit of a hole? Webster would like to say they are not but the facts are three losses and a win over struggling Wilston Grange is not good form.
“I’m really not thinking of finals at the moment but we have to get our mojo back, I don’t deny that,” Webster said.
The Magpies stamped their authority from the opening bounce and after the mandatory arm-wrestle was over, kicked the first goal in the seventh minute via Kale Reed.
That opened the floodgates and five more majors followed as the Vultures kicked four successive behinds before a Frazer Neate goal broke the ice but left them 29 points in arrears.
That was the killer punch delivered by the Magpies. They never relented after that and kept their cross-city rivals under the hammer for the remainder of the contest.
“Their forward efficiency in the first quarter was unbelievable,” Webster said of the Magpies attack.
“After that we were chasing all day and just couldn’t get a run-on going.”
Rising Star award nominee, Riley Easton, was outstanding in the middle for the Magpies, well supported by Jake de Winter (five goals), Sam Copland (five goals) and another midfielder in Drew Mitchell.
For the Vultures the only ones that Webster was happy with were ruckman Jarrod Huddy and Frazer Neate who unfortunately pinged a hamstring in the third term and spent much of the last quarter on the bench getting treatment.
Panthers pounce on poor Cats
Morningside 5.3, 8.5, 9.9, 12.10 (82)
Broadbeach 3.3, 6.5, 8.7, 11.9 (75)
GOALS, Morningside: K. Abey 5, E. Mallan 2, A. Mitchell 2, M. Graham 2, J. Rayner 1. Broadbeach: M. Fowler 2, H. Kerr 2, N. Upton 2, N. Burton 1, E. Panozza 1, N. Kempe 1, X. McMahon 1, F. Greenwool 1.
BEST, Morningside: C. Wearne, A. Evans, E. Mallan, K. Abey, J. Rayner, D. Cameron-Reeves. Broadbeach: N. Upton, E. Panozza, S. Watson, H. Kerr, X. McMahon, B. Neal.
CAMPBELL Wearne’s breakout season rolled on as the talented midfielder turned in another best-on-ground performance when Morningside beat Broadbeach in a battle of the big cats at Jack Esplen Oval.
The Panthers took a vital four points via their 12.10 (82) to 11.9 (75) success as six clubs remain in the scrap for places in the top five.
And if you have to throw up the names of individuals, a lot of Morningside’s recent success has to be put down to the emergence of Wearne as a player of genuine quality.
Coach Steve Wildschut and his fellow panel came up with a winner when they elected to thrust Wearne on to the ball this season.
“He’s having an outstanding year,” Wildschut noted, although throwing in the fact he has been getting plenty of support.
“He gets to do it on the back of (ruckmen) Peter Mollison and Brad Hodge.
“Campbell is in his third year of seniors but don’t forget he was in the Team of the Year last season.
“He played his first two seasons in the backline to learn the ropes, so it’s not as if he has just bobbed up.
“What has happened is that we moved him to the midfield. He had an impact as backman but he’s having even more of an impact in the middle.”
Wildschut was rapt in the overall team effort, an effort that had been scratchy until a new lease of life for the Panthers.
Asked what the win does for the club, Wildschut replied: “That was nourishment for the boys as a reward when we do things right.
“When we drift away we invite opposition to score goals. When we do it right we’re as competitive as anyone.”
Wearne, fellow on-baller Ash Evans, Aspley-listed Eddie Mallan (three goals) and evergreen forward Kent Abey (five goals) were excellent for the winners.
Morningside had their noses in front virtually all the way after grabbing a two-goal early advantage.
Their only problem could be Matt Logan, who injured a leg when he crashed into a goalpost in the opening minutes.
While Wildschut was happy to see off a genuine flag contender, Broadbeach coach Brad Andrews could not believe his team could play as badly yet get to within seven points at the end.
“We were horrible and they were good, yet they won by only a goal,” Andrews said, highlighting some wasteful disposals that rally burnt the Cats.
“I reckon we had 25 inside 50s that did not hit a target. Our foot skills were deplorable and that set the scene for the day.
“Now we’re back in the pack and we have three hard games coming up. We play Mt Gravatt at home then Surfers Paradise and Palm Beach Currumbin away.”
The Cats were best served by Nick Upton across the half-forward line, Evan Panozza on ball and young ruckman Shawn Watson.
It was carnage at Cooke-Murphy Oval
Palm Beach Currumbin 2.6, 7.9, 11.12, 17.16 (118)
Labrador 1.1, 1.3, 5.5, 6.8 (44)
GOALS, Palm Beach Currumbin: T. Cornish 4, J. Anthony 4, J. Holland 4, J. Douglas 1, A. Dawson 1, J. Burge 1, B. Denton 1, L. Torpy 1. Labrador: J. Baxter 3, B. Pitcher 1, D. Budarick 1, M. Lakeman 1.
BEST, Palm Beach Currumbin: D. Koenen, J. Burge, J. Holland, J. Anthony, H. Hall, T. Thynne. Labrador: W. Mills, J. Kenny, J. Baxter, S. Walker, M. Lakeman, D. MacCombie.
MEDICAL staff at nearby Gold Coast University Hospital were kept busy as a bruising Gold Coast derby played out between Labrador and Palm Beach Currumbin at Cooke-Murphy Oval on Saturday.
Defending premiers Palm Beach again took the honours against their 2017 QAFL grand final rivals, scoring 17.16 (118) to 6.8 (44) for their fourth straight win against the Tigers.
It was a war of attrition not just football, that produced a long casualty list and five players ending up in hospital.
It was tough, it was hard, it was physical but it was not as dirty as when the sides clashed in the second round.
And it was a case of last men standing because both sides finished short of troops.
Labrador could not make one interchange after half-time. They had Rhys Coombe on the pine but he could barely walk because of a knee injury.
Skipper Bryce Retzlaff (concussion) and defenders Matt Daniel (concussion) and Brandon Gibbs (broken arm) were all gone for the afternoon.
Retzlaff and Daniel were taken by ambulance to hospital, a similar situation for PBC, who had Brock Askey (concussion) and Nathan Robertson (ankle) taken away in another ambulance.
The Lions also had Jarryd Douglas (head knock) showered before three-quarter time and had just the one bench player for much of the second half.
Labrador coach Aaron Shattock operated from the bench area after the big break.
“I probably should have brought my playing gear,” he noted rather dryly of the situation.
“But that is typical of the year we’ve had. “I think that was the fourth game that we’ve finished without a bench.”
After kicking the first goal of the match, the Tigers were overrun by the free-wheeling Lions who had three players – Jack Anthony, Jimmy Holland and Tyler Cornish – kick four goals each.
“We had 17 fit men for more than two quarters,” Shattock said.
“To beat a side like Palm Beach you need everything to go right but this time basically nothing went right.”
Premiers in 2015/16, the Tigers now sit on a season 3-7 win-loss record and are two wins out of the top five.
Shattock believes finals is still possible for the Tigers but knows everything has to go his way, starting next weekend against in-form Surfers Paradise.
Still unbeaten, Palm Beach have a tough one coming up away to Morningside next weekend but their depth continues to serve them well.
Young centre half-back Dirk Koenen was an example of this depth. In his first game back from Gold Coast Suns duties, Koenen was excellent throughout.
Jason Burge, Jimmy Holland and Jack Anthony were other standouts for the winners, who kicked only two first-quarter goals but who ignited 15 seconds into the second term when Holland landed his second major.
The Lions kicked eight unanswered goals before Labrador found some fight and they were outscored by only a point in the third term.
Evergreen Grogan Medallist Wayde Mills was a tireless contributor in defence for the undermanned Tigers and received good support from fellow defender Jaicob Kenny and Rising star nomination Joel Baxter, who finished with three goals.
Demons get a percentage lift
Surfers Paradise 4.4, 7.6, 13.9, 21.10 (136)
Sandgate 1.2, 4.4, 4.4, 4.4 (28)
GOALS, Surfers Paradise: B. Haberfield 5, D. Green 4, C. Haberfield 2, M. Doran 2, T. Howard 2, J. Graham 1, C. Filewood 1, H. Newton 1, J. Foster 1, T. Ellard 1, D. Van De Werken 1. Sandgate: C. Stackelberg 2, J. Nelis 2.
BEST, Surfers Paradise: J. Prestegar, M. Doran, B. Haberfield, N. Scott, H. Newton, M. Hopkins. Sandgate: J. Harding, B. McElligott, M. Crawley, B. Hartley, B. Hogan, C. Stackelberg.
SURFERS Paradise were in need of a percentage booster when they travelled to Lemke Road Oval to take on the Sandgate Hawks on Saturday.
The Demons got just that, courtesy of a resounding 21.10 (126) tom 4.4 (28) victory, and moved top outright fourth on the ladder after six wins for the season.
Unquestionably the competition’s big movers and improvers this year, Surfers took a while to get going on the roomy spaces of Lemke Road.
They had a particularly flat second term when the home side kicked the first three goals of the term but a half-time session by the club’s think tank produced what the side needed.
The coaches, headed by chief man Brad Moore, decided to shake-up their attacking format by bringing their forwards further up the ground.
“We realised they were playing too deep on such a long ground, and the restructure helped us out,” Moore said.
What happened were hauls of six and eight in the third and fourth terms and a scoreless half for the fading Hawks.
Before the game the Demons had a percentage of 100.15. They lifted that to 115.80 on Saturday, which may well end up vital come time for the finals.
“It was good for our guys to have a win like that,” Moore said. “A few of the boys were saying they couldn’t remember the last time Surfers won by 100 points or more.”
Actually, the last time that happened was in 2015, under Peter Young, that Surfers downed University of Queensland by 102 points at Sir Bruce Small Park when Dan Green kicked 10 goals.
Green finished with four against the Hawks, taking his season tally from only three games to 16.
Brody Haberfield, finding new life as a forward, finished with five and has eight from two games since resuming from a hand injury.
Best for the Demons was Jack Prestegar across the half-back line, while Southport-listed Matt Doran stood out on-ball and up forward.
For Sandgate it was the same old story – they need older heads in their ranks to guide the talented bunch of youngsters they currently are developing.
“Our second half was just ordinary,” coach Jarad Marsh said.
“When we have the ability to compete for a half you just should not lose that at half-time.
“It’s all about mental application with such a young group with not much experience to lead them around.
“Unfortunately when one head drops it becomes a bit of a chain reaction.”
Best for the Hawks were Jordan Harding in the middle, on-baller Blake Hartley and Mitch Crawley at centre half-back.