By Beth Newman
Coorparoo won through to the U18s Div2 second semi-final, with a 12.15 (87) – 10.7 (67) win over Wynnum on Sunday.
The Kings started slow, but worked their way back into the contest in the second half and eventually ran over the top of the Vikings to put themselves in a grand final qualifier against Caloundra, reversing the results of their two regular season clashes.
Coorparoo coach, Rod Crawford, said the win proved his side’s mental strength and gave them plenty of confidence ahead of this weekend’s match.
“They showed true character,” he said.
“They’ve shown it many times this year and it’s great they could do it under pressure.”
After their slow start, Crawford said the focus at half-time was on staying upbeat.
“At half-time, we said not to get frustrated with each other, with ourselves, with the performances and we’d go out there being positive,” he said.
They were a lot more vocal – they communicated a lot better and their discipline was fantastic.
“That was the key thing.”
Crawford said he was impressed with his side’s even contribution throughout the match and applauded is players for standing up when it counted.
Wynnum coach, Matt Cordwell, was happy with his players’ performance despite the result and said the Kings simply had more legs at the end of the day.
“I was extremely happy with the first three quarters but the last 20 minutes, we had some guys go down with cramps and we just ran out of legs,” Cordwell said.
“They went at the game so hard, in the first half especially and that really took it out of them.”
Dan Cordwellwas oneo fthe best for the Vikings, playing in a tagging role for most of the day, epitomising the team-first effort required to win finals.
‘[Dan] played selfless football and sacrificed his own game to really play a team-based role and there were a couple of other guys through key positions that really stood up.”
Cordwell said he would be focused on keeping the side’s morale high heading into their semi-final agasint Yeronga on the weekend.
The Devils ran out 21.12 (138) – 10.6 (66) winners over Nambour on Sunday, keeping their 2013 season alive and setting up a clash with the Vikings.
Yeronga opened up a 20-point lead by quarter-time and kicked on from there, with Nambour never quite able to get back into the contest.
Despite the one-sided result, Nambour coach, Adam Cuthbert-Dennis was chuffed with his side’s performance both in the game and over the season.
“I was really proud of our guys,” he said.
“They definitely showed why they were in the finals. The score was definitely in Yeronga’s favour, but I think we were playing as hard and as good footy as what they were.”
“Not really, I compared our score line to last time and Yeronga only kicked 12 points extra and we kicked almost 50 points, so that mark of improvement was impressive.”
Caden Bannister showed plenty of hunger in the match, playing far beyond his size through the midfield, while 16 year-old Joel Timmins proved his talents with a standout performance.
Cuthbert-Dennis said his charges were not downtrodden after the match, at the end of a season of improvement.
“I think they did get a lot out of the season and that improvement of being able to take the game on,” he said.
“I think they’re a lot more cohesive and trust each other a lot more and by the end of the season enough of our players had played together that they knew what each other was doing.”
“It’s hard to coach trust and that team has a lot of trust in each other.”