Sunday 22 August 2010

Labrador won their first minor premiership in 14 years in the QAFL after an emphatic 18.11 (119) to 11.12 (78) win over the Brisbane Lions at Cooke-Murphy Oval yesterday.

To cap a fine day, inspirational captain Aaron Shattock returned from two months on the sidelines to ready himself for the finals.

The Tigers had to win to keep top spot ahead of Southport and sewed up the contest with a brilliant opening three quarters.

Having returned from a sapping trip to Darwin in the tropical heat the previous week, it loomed as a test of character for the Tigers, who have never finished higher than fourth..

But they bounced out of the blocks with six goals in each of the opening two quarters and led by a whopping 75 points at three-quarter-time.

“It didn’t matter, there are no complaints there,” Labrador coach Jarrod Field said of the last quarter where the Lions booted six goals to one. “It was no surprise that we ran out of gas.”

Field admitted the Round 17 trip to Darwin, where Labrador lost in the dying minutes after getting up before dawn to travel on the same day as the game, had been taxing.

“This was a danger game and it was pleasing we were so good for three quarters,” he said. “To be that far in front (at the last change) was a bonus because they came at us hard in the last quarter.”

The Tigers were far superior for the majority of the game, with Trent Knobel dominated the ruck against his old club and Shane Paterson and Todd Grayson dominating at ground level.

Unheralded defender Steve Wrigley claimed another quality scalp, being moved from his regular back flank to centre-half-back against in-form Lion Bryce Retzlaff.

Retzlaff’s running power has troubled the best defenders in the League this season but Wrigley ran with him every step of the way and didn’t allow him any easy ball.

Powerhouse forward Aaron Cornelius looked more threatening, but Wrigley kept him quiet too when spending time in deep defence.

Cornelius kicked his four goals on others, making Wrigley’s effort all the more impressive.

Stopper Curtis Allen capped a fine qualifying rounds contribution by limiting the output of prolific Lions midfielders Travis Johnstone and Amon Buchanan.

While the Lions were happy with the output of the two regular senior players, Field was even happier with his ace tagger’s effort.

“He was able to minimise the damage a bit,” Field said.

Tom Collier continued his strong finish to the season with another strong defensive effort for the Lions, while Claye Beams would lay claim to being the most consistent Lion with another solid effort in the midfleld against his old club.

Shattock’s return was a huge plus for the Tigers.

“He got through no worries,” Field said.

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