Queensland have produced a breathtaking team performance for a 79-point win over Tasmania at Southport today in one of the great days of state football.

Saturday, 12 June, 2010

Queensland produced a breathtakingly brilliant display of A-Grade team football to beat Tasmania by 79 points at Southport’s Fankhauser Reserve today.

It was truly superb performance in a wonderful advertisement for Queensland football as the Mighty Maroons hammered the Tasmanians 23-26 (164) to 13-7 (85).

It was like an AFL side at full throttle, such was the skill level, precision and game style of the home side, and had they not kicked 4-10 in the final quarter it could have been a 100-point victory to topple the record win over the Islanders.

That is a mark which stands at 96 points in 1985, when a Queensland side coached by Laurie Pendrick and captained by Kevin O’Keeffe been a Garry Davidson-coached Tasmania 23-7-155 to 9-5-59 at Windsor Park.

Still, it was a record Queensland score against Tasmania, surpassing that unforgettable occasion when ex-Tasmanian Glenn Goss booted eight goals for Queensland and Zane Taylor was best afield as the Maroons completed a history-making 1983-84-85 Escort/Foster’s Shield hat-trick against NSW, Tasmania and ACT.

At the time Pendrick was left searching for superlatives, and today Queensland coach Jason Cotter and all at Southport were likewise.

It was a game for the spectators, too, with a series of Queensland ‘hangers’.

Cleve Hughes set the tone early with a screamer in the goal-square, and Cameron Maclaren (pictured) followed suit in the second term. Aaron Rogers, Scott Clouston and Maclaren again got into the act later in the game.

Tasmanian coach Mathew Armstrong was lavish in his praise of the Queenslanders for the brand of football they played. “Absolutely outstanding,” he said. “Much, much too good.”

Such was the evenness of the Queensland performance that the coaching staff opted not to award the aptly-named Zane Taylor Medal until after a full review of the game.

It really was like one of those junior games when the coach says “all played well”.

There wasn’t one member of the Queensland who didn’t do his job.

And it wasn’t just all about free-flowing attack. The tackling and chasing pressure of the Maroons was equally outstanding and played a key role in shutting down the visiting side.

Tasmania kicked three of the first four goals to lead by 13 points at the eight-minute mark, but thereafter it was one-way traffic.

Queensland, with no less than 13 players representing the State at senior level for the first time and just six members of the team beaten in Hobart last year, led by two points at quarter-time, 36 points at half-time and 63 points at the final change.

Full forward Hughes kicked seven goals, including three in the first term, and could easily have had 10 in what would have been a compelling Taylor Medal argument.

The ex-Richmond key forward, who once kicked six goals in an AFL game, missed three set shots in a no-nonsense message to the Gold Coast AFL expansion franchise that he might be worth a look next year.

James Charlesworth kicked three goals in the third term for a total of five against his home state to sit second on a list of eight-Queensland goal-kickers  – six multiples.

The Tasmanians, invited to present a jumper to one Queensland player, nominated midfielder Cameron Ilett, saying he typified the spirit of State football.

Indeed he did. His work-rate throughout was phenomenal, and the tackling of the powerfully built NT Thunder ace was positively thunderous.

Coach Cotter and his support crew named vice-captain Paul Shelton, captain Danny Wise, defender Aaron Rogers, Hughes and midfielders Darren Pfeiffer and Ilett in their best six.

Shelton won a mountain of football as he controlled the corridor and sent his side inside 50 no less than 15 times. He was magnificent.

Wise, playing at half back, was a magnificent general in his first game as State captain, and Rogers, a recent fixture in the ACT representative side, made a brilliant debut in Maroon colors.

He plugged the only threatening hole in the Queensland camp when swung on Ben Reynolds 10 minutes into the first quarter after he’d kicked two goals on Austin Lucy and held him to just two more while providing plenty of run.

Pfeiffer and Ilett, like Shelton, were among a midfield rotation which was just outstanding.

The list of best players could have included any number of others.

Solo ruckman Kenrick Tyrrell was outstanding, giving Queensland first use of the ball and a willing contest throughout.

In defence, Damien Bonney was superb to half time, Kurt Niklaus held Brian Finch goalless after he’d kicked 10 goals for Launceston a week earlier, and Lucy, after a shaky start, provided terrific run and overlap.

Up forward, Matty Payne, who loves interstate footy, kicked three goals and Cameron Maclaren kicked 2-4 and should have had five goals.

Lions rookie Claye Beams, too, suggested his AFL debut is not far away. He did an outstanding job on Tasmania’s ex-AFL player Cameron Thurley and won plenty of the ball himself.

You could go on and on. Nathan Gilliland’s first half, when the game was ‘on’, was critical, and his celebration of two goals typified the spirit of the Queenslanders.

Scott Clouston filled a fine utility role, starting on the wing, relieving Tyrrell in the ruck at times, and offering another option at centre half forward.

Mark Kimball’s second half was magnificent, Todd Featherstone’s speed and his run and carry at times was outstanding, and Daniel Dzufer (two goals) and Dayne Zorko provided a real spark up forward.

Todd Grayson, like Beams, stepped up to remind AFL scouts of his potential, while Ben Merrett worked tirelessly in the key post at centre half forward and Shaun Tapp did all that was asked of him.

It was as much a victory for the Queensland selectors as it was the coaching staff and players. They picked just the right side, with a perfect blend of youth and experience, and an overall team running power that obliterated a Tasmanian side more liberally splattered with veterans.

It was an unusual start at the first bounce when, with each side fielding 23 players, five Queensland midfielders ran to the bench – Beams, Grayson, Featherstone, Payne and Kimball.

It was like Cavill Avenue, such was the rotations, and the home side simply ran Tasmania into the ground.

Hughes got the Queenslanders off to a flying start with a goal inside 60 seconds after back-to-back free kicks, but when Tasmania replied through Reynolds (twice) and Jay Baker the scoreboard favored the visitors 3-1 to 1-0.

Dzufer drilled a beautiful 45m set shot for Quensland’s second, Reynolds got his third for Tasmania and then Hughes accepted a lace-out Dzufer pass for his second and took the first of the game’s standout marks for his third.

Tasmanian speedster Darren Banham, christened ‘Mullet’ by the local spectators because of his hairstyle, put the visitors back in front before Charlesworth regained the lead and sent the Queenslanders to the first break up 5-5 to 5-3.

It was a contest of the highest order, but nobody had an inkling of what was to come.

The second quarter was goalless until the 13-minute mark, before Queensland kicked four goals in five minutes to blow the game open.

Maclaren, beautifully fed by Dzufer, took a hanger for Queensland’s sixth, and was followed on the goalsheet by Payne and Hughes twice.

Ken Hall, who finished with three goals for the visitors, pulled one back,but Gilliland and Merrett answered for the home side to make it  11-11 to 6-5 at halftime.

The home side had ‘won’ the second term 6-6 to 1-2. The writing was on the wall.

Gilliland got his second to start the third term and Reynolds his fourth before Queensland bagged four on the trot via Charlesworth, Payne, Dzufer and Hughes.

The balcony overlooking the ground was getting boisterous until Tasmania launched a mini-revival, with  Hall bagging two and Banham his second as they cut the margin to 38.

But by three-quarter time Charlesworth had kicked two more and Maclaren his second and it was back out to 62 points at 19-16 to 10-7.

It was a question of ‘how far?’ in the final term, and but for some missed opportunities it could have been a 30-goal total.

Payne, Hughes, Pfeiffer and Charlesworth got themselves on the scoresheet for Queensland as Tasmanian booted three consolation goals via Ollie Di Venuto, Thurley and Michael Cassidy.

The Tasmanian coaching staff listed only four players in their best – Reynolds, defender Stuart Whitelaw, midfielder Jackson O’Brien and ruckman Mitchell Hills.

Match Details
Queensland   5-5     11-11      19-16      23-26-164
Tasmania        5-3      6-5          10-7        13-7-85

Goals: Qld:  Hughes 7, Charlesworth 5, Payne 3, Maclaren 2, Dzufer 2, Gilliland 2, Pfeiffer, Merrett. Tas:  Reynolds 4, Hall 3, Banham 2, Thurley, Di Venuto, Cassidy, Baker.

Best: Qld: Shelton, Wise, Rogers, Pfeiffer, Hughes, C Ilett. Tas: Reyolds, Whitelaw, O’Brien, Hills.

The State Open team’s win made up for a disappointing loss by the Queensland U21 side, who went down to the Victorian Amateur U21 side 12-13 (85) to 19-14 (128).

Midfielder Justin Myers won the Sam Gilbert Medal as Queensland’s best player from Matty Davis and Tom Bell.

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