Labrador made history by winning at Fankhauser Reserve for the first time today, confirming they are made of stern stuff.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Labrador have conquered the final frontier after beating Southport for the first time ever at Fankhauser Reserve today.

In a defining game for both clubs, the Tigers blew the game open with a big last quarter after the Sharks had watched ace goalkicker Cleve Hughes hobble from the field with a serious ankle injury.

With Hughes gone, Labrador led by just 10 points at the final break, but roared home to win 13.17 (95) to 8.11 (59).

“We have played here every season for 14 years and never got a result, so it was about time we changed that,” said Tigers coach Jarrod Field. “We have broken a massive hoodoo for us.”

Perhaps even more importantly than smash a long-standing hoodoo, the Tigers showed they are made of stern stuff after rebounding from a huge 77-point loss to Mt Gravatt last week.

“Mt Gravatt outplayed us in every area of the game – we needed to prove last week was a one-off and not indicative of where we are at,” Field said. “We lost a fair bit of respect last week.

“It was pointed out we were very flat in our warm-up last week so we put a pretty big emphasis on warming up well and starting well.”

The Tigers did just that, kicking 2.5 to 3.1 into a stiff breeze.

While they were without Russell Alleway and Aaron Shattock, they were bolstered by the inclusion of Charlie Dixon for his first game in Tigers colours following disciplinary action from his Gold Coast FC side.

Dixon responded in the best manner possible, booting four goals, missing two other easy shots and taking a string of contested marks against the benchmark defensive unit in the QAFL.

“Charlie was outstanding, he has got some big things ahead of him,” Field said. “His contested marking was great, it was really a six-goal game from centre-half-forward.”

Hughes began well with two first quarter goals for Southport opposed to Fred Sleeth and another in the second quarter against the breeze, but injuring the ankle shortly before halftime.

His side was 12 points behind at that stage, with fellow goalkicker Cameron Maclaren being well held by Steve Wrigley.

While the State forward pocket finished the game with two goals, Wrigley consistently ran off him and delighted the Tigers with his effort.

“We knew that Maclaren had not trained all week but in saying that, Wrigley did a really good job on him,” Field said.

“Hughes was a massive loss for them.”

With Curtis Allen engaging in a fascinating tagging role on Danny Wise, who still got plenty of ball but was always under pressure, the remainder of the Tigers midfield went man on man with their rivals.

One man they couldn’t stop was Darren Pfeiffer, who showed all his class and did everything he could to lift his side.

“We struggled with him,” Field admitted.

Labrador maintained their small advantage through a dour third quarter and turned for home kicking to the scoring end.

After a tight opening to the final term in which both sides threw their bodies fearlessly at the ball, the Tigers goalled, and then broke the game open.

“We got that first goal that took a while and it gave us a bit of belief,” Field said. “They (Southport) couldn’t rotate as much with a couple off the ground for good, and for the first time we had four fit blokes on the bench.”

Michael Wise played one of his best games for Southport and Kurt Niklaus was solid in defence with Tim Notting being held to a solitary goal, while Nick Stockdale, Mark Vigus and Tim Lester were terrific for the victors.   

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