Palm Beach Currumbin skipper, Jesse Derrick, is the round 18 Syd Guildford nominee.
Saturday didn’t yield the result the Lions were after, losing top spot on the QAFL ladder to Labrador, but Derrick was his usual, outstanding self.
“I guess we all built ourselves up for a big final round to finish on top, but it wasn’t to be. After quarter time we fell away a bit, but credit to Labrador, they really came out after half time and smacked us around. We had a few injuries, but no excuses; we will lick our wounds and move on,” Derrick said.
He isn’t the flashiest player, probably not going to have a crack at taking mark of the year each week, but you know exactly what you’re going to get out of him.
He’s tough, he runs hard, and he uses the ball superbly.
He is a leader down at Salk Oval; not only through his voice, but also by the example he sets.
Those around him say he is in career best touch, and 2016 as been as consistent as it gets.
“I’ve been around long enough now to know how to play well each week. I was taught from a young age that consistency is a big thing in footy, it’s no good playing well one week and no good the next, so it’s been another good year,” he said.
“I have played every game again this year, which has been nice, so it’s been good to contribute.”
On the team front, Palm Beach has known they will be playing finals for over a month now, but Derrick said the motivation has still been there to perform each week.
“It’s been pretty easy I guess. Over the year we probably haven’t strung together a full four quarter performance, so over the last four or five weeks, knowing finals were coming up, it was about putting together four quarters and trying to improve as individuals, and as a team,” he said.
Now it’s show time.
“It’s definitely exciting. Last year was a bit of a down year, we didn’t pay finals, so it will be good to see a lot of young guys get their first taste of finals like Josh Lys and a few of those boys,” Derrick said.
“We were disappointed after Saturday, but Chad (Owens) said straight after the game that we have got to regroup. It’s a brand new season now, so we are confident and excited at the same time.”
Jesse Derrick means a lot to Palm Beach, but I reckon Palm Beach means more to him.
“Me and my brother are third generation players there, and I played all my junior footy there,” he said.
“I went away to Broadbeach for six years, and I probably didn’t realise at the time, but the year I came back it sunk in how much the club means to me, how much history is involved. Now being captain and leading the next generation of players through, it’s massive, so I’m really determined to have that success that the club has been built on.”
His one and only grand final win came in the maroon and yellow in 2013, and he wants another.
“It would be huge. Palmy have won a lot of premierships over the years, but after the step up into the QAFL, that is our ultimate goal, to win one at this level,” he said.
To give themselves the best chance of that happening, they have to knock off the Magpies this Saturday.
“Our effort and intensity, it’s going to be about maintaining that. In finals, if you don’t bring that intensity, especially against a team like the Western Magpies, they are a big-bodied side and can really get on top,” he said.
“Winning those 50/50 contests over the ground, that’s what finals are about, those contests than can get your team over the line will be huge.
“We are confident. The injuries have crept in the last few weeks, which isn’t ideal, but the whole 1-50 of our squad is pretty good, so when blokes go out there is always others than can come in and fill that void.”
The semi-final will be at Salk Oval, kicking of 2:00pm.
By Andrew Wiles