By Terry Wilson
Panthers prove they are the real deal
Morningside 4.2, 7.5, 9.7, 12.12 (84)
Palm Beach Currumbin 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 10.13 (73)
GOALS, Morningside: Mitchell 4, W. Wolbers 2, L. Russ 2, K. Abey 1, A. Evans 1, M. Serrurier 1, Cameron-Reeves 1. Palm Beach Currumbin: Anthony 4, J. Woolley 2, J. Derrick 1, A. Crossley 1, J. Beame 1, J. Holland 1.
BEST, Morningside: Evans, D. Cameron-Reeves, L. Russ, S. Godfrey, P. Mollison, E. Mallan. Palm Beach Currumbin: Harrison, J. Derrick, J. Anthony, J. Woolley, C. Marsden, A. McKenzie.
COACH Steve Wildschut described it as “a very monumental victory” when Morningside ended the unbeaten run of premiers Palm Beach Currumbin at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday.
In a performance that underlined the ability of the side to go all the way this season, Morningside took the points by 12.12 (84) to 10.13 (73).
It was a tough battle with the rivals “winning” two quarters each and the reward for the Panthers was to take outright fifth on the ladder.
The Panthers finished the match well down on troops after losing in-form midfielder Campbell Wearne to a broken collarbone in the very first contest of the match, Alastair Nash (calf) and Michael Graham (hamstring) and having James Rayner hobbling around on the forward line with a sore knee.
“To grind out a victory when Palm Beach kept coming back – they’re the best opposition in the competition – made it a very monumental victory,” Wildschut said.
The Sunshine Coast-based Wildschut said the Panthers are just starting to hit their straps after a so-so early season program that was probably the result of a disrupted pre-season.
“We’re coming into some solid form and that’s on the back of our training base,” Wildschut said.
“Our pre-season was interrupted by the unavailability of our ground which was getting an upgrade.”
Despite the Panthers moving jup to fifth on standings, Wildschut still insists he does not take too much notice of the ladder because he feels it will change constantly between now and the finals.
“The week-by-week permutations don’t bother me because I still reckon the five will change every round,” he said.
The Panthers had any number of key performers, none better than big ruckman Peter Mollison, ever-reliable Ash Evans on the ball, Lachlan Russ on a wing and another on-baller in Darcy Cameron-Reeves.
Despite the loss, it was not all gloom and doom in the PBC camp as the pressure of going through a season unbeaten evaporated – some believe that to be a blessing in disguise.
The Lions outscored the Panthers by a goal in the first quarter and took the third term by four points, yet coach Chad Owens described his team as terrible.
“They (Morningside) played good footy and we were bad,” Owens said.
“We were outplayed on the day, we were out-disciplined, as far as not playing our roles, and as a result we got beaten.
“I said on Friday if you’re slightly off your game you’re going to be beaten and that’s what happened.
“We went away from our game, we had blokes who steered away from their roles.
“There were patches when dominated but couldn’t score. In the third quarter we went inside the 50m 17 times to six yet we kicked only a couple of goals and so did they.”
Zac Harrison wing and on-ball was best for the premiers, 2016 Grogan Medallist and captain Jesse Derrick, who started on-ball and had a stint at centre half-forward on-ball then centre half-forward, and Jack Anthony (four goals) were best for the Lions.
Cats eye possible minor premiership
Broadbeach 2.1, 6.3, 9.6, 12.10 (82)
Mt Gravatt 2.2, 5.2, 7.4, 10.6 (66)
GOALS, Broadbeach: Kempe 3, M. Fowler 3, X. McMahon 2, B. Neal 1, N. Upton 1, R. Blood 1, Panozza 1. Mt Gravatt: Stubbs 4, B. Telford 2, D. McEwan 1, Z. Stone 1, C. Murphy 1, J. Bain 1.
BEST, Broadbeach: Panozza, X. McMahon, R. Finn, B. Neal, N. Kempe, T. Betson. Mt Gravatt: Murphy, K. Baker, M. Hart, B. Telford, Z. Stone, F. Neate.
BROADBEACH have opened up an outside chance of snatching the QAFL minor premiership away from Palm Beach Currumbin after their hard-fought win over Mt Gravatt on Saturday.
The Cats took over outright second spot on the ladder with their win, by 12.10 (82) to 10.7 (67) at Subaru Oval, for a result that gives them a sniff of taking top spot into the finals.
After PBC lost for the first time this season away to Morningside on Saturday, Broadbeach are now two wins plus percentage behind the premiers heading into a crucial fortnight.
Next weekend the Cats play improving Surfers Paradise away on the same day that PBC are away to Western Magpies.
The following weekend is the blockbuster PBC-Broadbeach Gold Coast derby when top spot on standings could be at stake.
Coach Brett Andrews knows that task is all ahead but at the moment the Cats are purring but can still improve plenty.
“We’re not firing on all cylinders,” Andrews said after Saturday’s win.
“I put that down to we were playing really good footy, then we had a couple of easy kills, then we had the bye, a couple of easy kills, then the bye.
“I just don’t think we have our mojo back but, in saying that, we’ve lost three games, two by a goal and one by three goals.
“So we haven’t turned it up. I think it’s there for these blokes, they just haven’t realised it yet.
“Our colts are on top, the twos are on top and we’re second, so the club’s in a pretty good spot.”
Andrews conceded Mt Gravatt looked cleaner with their handling and their spread but the visitors also turned the ball over too much.
It was a case of the Vultures’ poor disposal that gifted the Cats possession time after time.
Mt Gravatt coach Daniel Webster said that to keep handing the ball over against teams such as Broadbeach was a killer.
His side was not as strong as it could be and will get stronger when key players return, but coughing up possession is an area that has to be sharpened up.
“I thought our skill execution wasn’t as good as it needed to be,” Webster said.
“Turn it over against Broadbeach and it’s pretty much going to be a shot at goal, so that hurt us most.
“I was happy with the intent, happy with the effort and I thought we played our structure a bit better, the guys played their roles better.
“I was pleased in that regard and I thought it was a step in the right direction and hopefully we’ve turned the corner.”
Evergreen former Casey Scorpions captain Evan Panozza was outstanding for the Cats, showing just why he was the club’s best and fairest in 2017.
“That was a massive win for the club,” the 30-year-old said.
“Mt Gravatt came here knowing they were fighting for the same spot we’re after, second spot.
“So we knew it was going to be a grind and to the boys’ credit we had a full four-quarter effort.”
Away from on-baller Panozza, Broadbeach had big utility Xavier McMahon, Benji Neal and Rhys Finn as their best.
For Mt Gravatt Chris Murphy, Zac Stone, Mitchell Hart and Brendan Telford all did their bit.
Tigers almost extinct in title race
Surfers Paradise 3.3, 6.4, 10.7, 14.12 (96)
Labrador 1.4, 3.6, 5.7, 7.10 (52)
GOALS, Surfers Paradise: Howard 3, B. Haberfield 3, T. Ellard 3, R. LeFeuvre 2, C. Filewood 1, D. Green 1, Haberfield 1. Labrador: Stevenson 2, J. Baxter 1, M. Lakeman 1, S. Eilola 1, D. MacCombie 1, S. Walker 1.
BEST, Surfers Paradise: Fraser, M. Doran, C. Haberfield, T. Howard, J. Prestegar, C. Manning. Labrador: Mills, S. Walker, D. Budarick, D. MacCombie, J. Baxter, A. Djurovitch.
WHO would have thought at the start of the season that if Gold Coast clubs were holding down the top three spots on the ladder at the half-way mark that one of them would not be Labrador?
But that is the case after big improvers Surfers Paradise shed a few monkeys off their back with an impressive 14.12 (96) to 7.10 (52) win over the Tigers at Cooke-Murphy Oval.
Securing their first victory in the Tigers den since 1996 and beating their Coast rivals twice in the same season for the first time since 1993, the Demons are now placed third on standings.
At the same time Labrador are now all but dead and buried as far as the finals go. Coach Aaron Shattock admitted as much as his side battles on under an horrendous injury toll.
Runners-up in 2014, then back-to-back premiers in 2015/16 and runners-up again last year, the Tigers need a miracle to make the play-offs this year.
Asked if Labrador can still make the finals from a position three wins out of the top five, Shattock said: “I’ll be honest, looking at the ladder it’s highly unlikely.
“It’s not mathematically out of the question but, being realistic, we’re not playing good enough footy to be a chance.
“This week we had nine changes and it’s always going to be hard when you do that.
“It is what it is and we’ll just soldier on.”
Shattock acknowledged that Surfers held the upper hand throughout as his players committed way too many errors.
Things were all rosy in the Surfers camp as coach Brad Moore pondered what is coming up for his Demons – a big Coast derby at home to Broadbeach next weekend.
“It was a good win, the boys played well and got the job done,” he said of as victory against the club he parted company with as coach mid-2013.
“It is good for the club to keep winning because they’ve put in a lot of hard work on their juniors over the past few years.”
One of those juniors is Harrison Fraser, who starred on-ball for the winners.
“Harrison started the season well, but unfortunately copped a suspension, and is just starting to find his feet again and starting to build back the form he had early in the year.
“I’d say he is just about at the peak of his performances right now.’
Defender Jack Prestegar had another sound game and two more on-ballers Matt Doran and Cassidy Haberfield were prominent.
For Labrador it was the usual suspects Wayde Mills in defence and Dyson Budarick on-ball who; were best.
“Unfortunately those two have been our best too many times lately,” Shattock said.
Gorillas get away from the spoon – for now
Wilston Grange 4.5, 7.9, 10.16, 12.22 (94)
Sandgate 2.0, 6.1, 11.3, 13.4 (82)
GOALS, Wilston Grange: Milford 3, R. Thomson 2, A. Chapman 2, A. Hughes 1, J. Daye 1, J. Lipscombe 1, Warren 1, F. McIvor 1. Sandgate: O’Halloran 3, J. Taglieri 2, B. Hartley 1, Z. Buechner 1, C. Barber 1, T. Lowrie 1, Maynard 1, B. Hogan 1, C. Bloss 1, A. Fabian 1.
BEST, Wilston Grange: Thomson, H. Warren, J. McMahon, N. Dennis, A. Hughes, H. Leong. Sandgate: Maynard, Z. Buechner, J. Taglieri, J. Harding, J. O’Halloran, A. Fabian.
SANDGATE have been left staring the QAFL wooden spoon in the face after they fell to north Brisbane rivals Wilston Grange in the battle of the battlers.
The Grange left the Hawks on the bottom of the ladder after winning by a wasteful 12.22 (94) to 13.4 (82) at Bendigo Bank Oval on Saturday.
The win eased the Gorillas four points clear of Sandgate although coach Nathan Clarke believes the young Hawks are good enough to secure a win or two before their season comes to an end.
“We’re away from the spoon – for now, Clarke said.
“It’d be nice to finish off with a couple (wins) on the way through and the target is to win at least one, maybe two because I think Sandgate are good enough to knock somebody over soon.”
A talking point on Saturday was obviously the extravagant wastage of scoring opportunities by the Gorillas. They had a total of 34 scoring shots to 17 by Sandgate and kicked four more attempts out of bounds on the full.
As Sandgate coach Jarad Marsh said, that inaccuracy kept his side in the game early.
“There was no wind, Sandgate couldn’t miss and we just had the yips, I guess,” Clarke said.
Heading the Gorilla charge was tough skipper Ryan Thomson who Clarke describes as “a bullocker as an inside mid, all heart and one who keeps going all day”.
Fellow on-baller Hamish Warren and Jim McMahon in the ruck also gave good service to the winners.
Marsh was reasonably happy with the effort put in by his Hawks.
“The boys competed fairly well,” he said.
“A lot of match-ups we planned for came off reasonably well but again the (Grange) had more experience and bigger bodies for clutch moments where they could settle and control.
“Now we’ve probably got to snag two of our remaining games to get above the Grange.”
As things stand now the Hawks are a win plus percentage – 65.19 to 42.80 – behind the Gorillas.
Jordan Maynard in the centre, Zac Beuchner at full-back on Joey Daye and James Taglieri on a half-forward flank were best for the Hawks.