By Beth Newman
The community finals kick off this Sunday, with the first of the U18 Div 2 finals underway at Coorparoo.
While top of the table Caloundra has a week to sit back and relax, second-placed Coorparoo take on Wynnum, who finished third, in an qualifying final.
The baysiders have ah the better of the Kings in their two meetings this season, albeit by narrow margins, and coach Matt Cordwell said the side would take some confidence out of their past results, going into the match.
“I think the boys will have some mental confidence ,knowing they have got the job done before, but in finals, home and away matches go out the window,” he said.
“Both games between Wynnum and Coorparoo this season have been decided by a kick, and I’m sure it’ll be no different on Sunday.”
This season, the Vikings teamed up with Morningside, who had a large U18 contingent this season but were unable to enter a second side, with the collaboration benefitting both sides.
Cordwell said the two clubs’ players had gelled really well all season.
“We all train together two nights a week, integrate and learn how each other plays and it’s been proven by the results we’ve had.”
Wynnum suffered its second loss of the season against Yeronga, which Cordwell said was a timely wake-up call heading into finals.
His opposing coach, Rod Crawford, said it was all about opportunity for Coorparoo.
With a double chance, playing off for a spot in a preliminary final against Caloundra next week, Crawford said the Kings could afford to take more risks than in a do-or-die situation.
“Instead of playing with any sort of fear, we can play with a sense of opportunity,” Crawford said.
“I think it definitely helps avoiding elimination finals because anyone in the top four can win this one,” he said.’
“Any team’s good enough to win the premiership so we have nothing but opportunities and playing with less risk of being eliminated is a good thing.”
With both of their previous clashes played as 16-a-side games, Crawford said he would be expecting a much tighter contest this time around.
The performance of their top players, like captain Bryce Heaton, will be a key element for a Coorparoo win.
While the Kings and Vikings are playing for a prelim spot, the season will end for either Yeronga or Nambour on Sunday afternoon.
The last time the two met, the Devils put on a clinic, running out 108-point victors, but Nambour coach, Adam Cuthbert-Dennis said it would be a different ballgame in their elimination final.
“We’re a totally different team now and we’re a lot more confident going into this game,” he said.
“We’re a hell of a lot better than we were in the start of the season.
“We’re a lot more cohesive, we’ve played together for long enough that they’re going to give it a real shot.”
Dennis-Cuthbert said the Sunshine Coast side would build from defence, with two of their leaders in Zane Habermann and Ziddane Khattab the key to shutting down opposition attack, while Zac Aumann in the middle and Rohan D’elton up forward would also be dangerous up forward.
And while they might be going in as underdogs, Cuthbert-Dennis said the pressure wouldn’t worry his side.
“These guys cope well with pressure,” he said
“They feed off each other, do it pretty well.”
Yeronga is on a high, after their confidence-boosting win over Wynnum last weekend, and coach Ernie Harvey said they would be ready for Nambour on Sunday.
“I think we’re confident,” he said.
“The boys are really keen and you need confidence to go on.”
Harvey said their last clash would be irrelevant in Sunday’s do-or-die game, and his team certainly wouldn’t be lulled into any false sense of security.
“We treat every game as a new game – we won’t’ be worried about the previous game.”
Harvey said he would be looking for his side to continue the quality footy that got them over Wynnum last weekend.
“We’ve just got to play our normal game. We played well last week, so we need to continue on with that.”
The U18 Division two finals kick off at 1200 on Sunday at Coorparoo, with Yeronga and Nambour game, before Coorparoo takes on Wynnum at 2:30pm.