By Beth Newman
Labrador has had to play every week of finals, but it’s Morningside who say they’ve come through the hard way.
The Panthers have been the benchmark of the competition this season, beating all comers, with no side coming within 22 points of the minor premiers.
Panthers coach, David Lake, said the greatest foes for his team were not really tangible adversaries.
“Complacency and expectation have become our enemies and they don’t even have a spot on the ladder,” he said.
“We’re very processed, there’s no emotion involved at all. We need to turn up and play and get an outcome.
“It’s that brutal.”
There’s been plenty of talk about the potential fall out of being pipped at the post after a near-perfect season, but Lake said external murmurings were irrelevant for him.
“You laugh on the inside and you play on the outside (when you hear things like that),”he said.
“We’ve just got a job to do; it’s as simple as that.
“Nothing counts for anything unless you go out and play again. It’s no different to any other week, there’s just a dangly at the end.”
While the Panthers have long been expected to feature in the final day of the season, their opponent has been less clear, with Palm Beach, Labrador, Broadbeach and Mt Gravatt all threatening.
Lake said he wasn’t surprised, though, that it was the Tigers that they would need to get over to claim the flag.
Labrador coach Steve Daniel is happy for the spotlight to be burning brightly on the Panthers, with the Tigers facing a big task to dismantle the Panthers and inflict their first defeat of the year.
“There’s not much pressure on this playing group,” he said.
“No one really rates us to win this weekend.
“There’s a hell of a lot more pressure on them (Morningside) and they know it too.”
Daniel joined the club after a 2013 season that included just one win for the Tigers, and said it was great to see the way the club had turned things around.
“We’ve had some really lean years, so we said for the boys to enjoy the week, enjoy the day, enjoy the moment,” he said.
“You don’t know when you’re going to get an opportunity to play in another grand final.
“We’ve really just got to make the most of it and play to our best and see what happens.”
Labrador’s list has come together at the right time of the year, with Grogan Medallist, Ryan Davey, heading a number of senior players who have returned to the side in the back half of the year, and it’s showed.
The late injection of experience has been vital for the Tigers, whose two sudden-death finals wins have come in the fading seconds of the final term.
Daniel said it was those challenging times through the middle season that were most telling for the Tigers.
“One particular game where we had 14/15 reserves players, who will play in the reserves grand final this weekend, playing in our senior team,” Daniel said.
“It’s a remarkable effort to do what we’ve done.”
The Tigers have named an unchanged line up for tomorrow, while the Panthers have included James O’Donnell and Jamie Hackett in their team.
QAFL and QWAFL Grand Final Day will be jam packed full of action and there’ll be plenty of coverage of it.
The BayFM Sport Show will be broadcasting LIVE from Yeronga from 8am-12pm, featuring interviews with players and key Queensland football figures..
The QAFL Grand Final will be broadcast live on ABC 612 and live streamed on the AFLQ website.