THERE’S no tomorrow for the loser of the north Brisbane derby between Sandgate and Wilston-Grange at Lemke Road Oval on Saturday.
The losers of the elimination final go into mothballs while the winner live to fight another day in the knockout first semi-final next weekend – against either Western Magpies or Palm Beach-Currumbin.
Another crackerjack match should be at Chelmer Oval on Sunday when Western Magpies host Palm Beach-Currumbin in the qualifying final.
The winner of this match goes into the second semi-final away to Noosa next weekend, while the losers earn home-ground advantage against either Sandgate or Wilston-Grange.
While all this is going on, minor premiers and 2010 champions Noosa sit back to take in events after earning the first week of finals off courtesy of finishing on top of the ladder.
In reserve grade (matches start at 11.45am), the elimination final is between Surfers Paradise and Wilston-Grange at Lemke Road on Saturday, while Sandgate play Western Magpies in the qualifying final on Sunday at Chelmer Oval.

Elimination final: Sandgate v Wilston-Grange
Lemke Road Oval, 2pm Saturday

By Terry Wilson
COACH David Martin rates his Wilston-Grange Gorillas as underdogs for the big northern Brisbane derby against Sandgate.
With the match being played on Sandgate turf at Lemke Road on Saturday – and given the Hawks have been playing finals for three seasons now – Martin believes they go into the knockout final as favourites.
“There’s probably not a lot of pressure on us because no one rates us – and Sandgate have been flag fancies all year,” he said.
Martin’s view is pretty much spot-on because the Hawks were flying high and up to three rounds ago looked strong minor premiership fancies.
That run included a 12-point win over the Grange at Lemke Road Oval in round 10 before losses to Palm Beach-Currumbin and Noosa knocked confidence around a bit.
The Hawks were subsequently gifted a home final when Surfers upset Wilston-Grange last weekend.
The score between the sides this season is one-all after the Gorillas took the honours by 15 points under lights in round one.
So, in two matches between the Hawks and the Gorillas this season, there have been less than three goals each time.
That is why Sandgate captain-coach Ben Long feels the derby is the best thing to happen for football in northern Brisbane for some time.
“I think the most exciting thing is having two northside teams playing finals for the first time in a long time,” he said, keenly looking forward to matching wits against Martin, under whom he played in his days with the Northern Eagles.
Long noted that, from the side that beat the Grange in round one, the Hawks have only three changes.
But this weekend both sides are missing key personnel.
Sandgate have Brendan Forbes (thigh strain and calf niggle), Shane Etherton (broken foot) and Aaron Fabian (arm) sidelined for this clash.
The Grange are minus David Tough (broken arm), Hugh Campbell (knee) and Chris Jaenke (hamstring).
So, on the injury front, things appear just about equal.
Sandgate will miss the height of their three outs and the Grange will miss the run of their indisposed trio.
From the side that beat Maroochy-Northshore in their last outing in round 17, the Hawks have brought in on-baller Matt Nuss and small forward Trent Morrissey. They replace Craig Carmichael and Scott Hines.
“Sure, we have lost three key position players which will test out depth, but we have troops to cover, I’m confident about that,” said Long.
“I believe those who do play key position on Saturday are as good as any others in the competition. We’re pretty blessed with big men this season.”
Long said the last time the sides clashed, the Hawks were ‘pretty average’ up to the third quarter.
“Even though we beat them we felt we didn’t play well for two and a bit quarters. We were pretty average up to then,” said Long.
The Grange named forward/on-baller Matt Stevens, a club vice-captain, and rover Josh Ubank to replace Jaenke and Campbell in the side that lost to Surfers Paradise last weekend.
“We’ll miss Jenks’s experience, but then again he hasn’t been able to link games together this year because of injuries,” said Martin.
“And I think we gain in Stevo. He’s a terrier.”
Martin is not at all concerned about results this year and insists he is more focused about what the Gorillas do to their game plan rather than concern himself over what Sandgate may try to do.
“The last game against them was ages ago, so I don’t worry about that,” he said. “I’m worried about our game plan – we have just got to win the contested footy for starters.”
Martin acknowledges the Hawks have had a weekend off with the round-18 bye, but is not sure how the rest will work.
“Is it good at this stage of the season?” he said.
“You can say they are going to be fresh, but will they have match hardness?”

for Finals team lists click here

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