By Terry Wilson
Tiring Gorillas hold on for back-to-back wins
Wilston Grange now have 16 days to get over their bumps and bruises after beating arch rivals Sandgate in their Anzac Day eve northside derby at Hickey Park.
The Gorillas limped home to win the fixture by 10.l7 (77) to 9.7 (61) after leading by 38 points at three-quarter time.
It was a second win in five days for the Grange, who had beaten Western Magpies in their Good Friday fixture , also at Hickey Park.
But now it will be more than two weeks before the Gorillas go around again, in a sixth round clash away to Mt Gravatt on May 6.
Most certainly it will be a welcome time to refresh tired bodies because against Sandgate the Gorillas definitely showed signs of fatigue setting in.
“We knew at some stage we’d probably run out of legs after the five-day break and also after we lost a couple of rotations,” said coach Barry O’Brien.
Sandgate kicked five goals to one in the fourth quarter with the Grange minus Aspley-listed Jimmy Aganas (quad) and Luca Mason (hamstring).
“My message at three-quarter time was that we had to battle our way through the last quarter.
“We certainly got a bit sloppy in the latter stages and let in those four goals.”
Sandgate coach Jarad Marsh said a momentum switch in the opening term came back to haunt his side.
The Hawks led by a goal and had a chance to take a two-goal lead but missed a sitter right in front of the big sticks.
The ball was raced back down the field by the Grange who kicked a goal to level scores 14-all at the first break.
“That was disappointing,” said Marsh.
“Our tackling pressure had been good but we didn’t get the reward for it early.
“When we missed that goal and the Grange kicked one it was a big momentum shift because I thought we should have been in front.”
In the second term the Gorillas kicked the only four goals of the term and that virtually sealed the match for them.
Still, the Hawks did not turn up their toes and kept on fighting after three-quarter time.
“We pledged not to go quietly and we pulled them back in. But we didn’t have enough time,” Marsh said.
Grange half-forward Mitchell McKee, with three goals, was named Anzac Day Medallist, was impressive, as were Angus O’Brien and Sam Gribble in the midfield, Jonah Farry in defence and Isaac Corvo, who played on Aspley NEAFL forward James Nelis.
In the Sandgate camp they were happy with 16-year-old small forward Lochlan Harrop, who kicked four goals, making it seven in two seniors starts for him.
But the Hawks had strong players in defence where Loki Haines, Mitch Crawley and Michael Hutchinson stood out.
The result left Wilston Grange in unfamiliar territory, sitting with a share of top spot alongside Palm Beach Currumbin and Surfers Paradise on the ladder but obviously having played one more game than those two clubs.
Wilston Grange v Sandgate
Wilston Grange 2.2, 6.6, 9.14, 10.17 (77)
Sandgate 2.2, 2.4, 4.6, 9.7 (61)
GOALS, Wilston Grange: M. McKee 3, S. Gribble 2, J. Tomkinson 1, H. Leong 1, H. Milford 1, J. Farry 1, R. Thomson 1. Sandgate: L. Harrop 4, D. Paino 1, M. Hagan 1, J. Nelis 1, J. Harding 1, J. Taglieri 1.
BEST, Wilston Grange: M. McKee, A. O’Brien, J. Coulter, N. Dickson, R. Thomson, S. Gribble. Sandgate: B. Batchelor, L. Bradford, L. Harrop, M. Hutchinson, M. Crawley, L. Haines.