By Terry Wilson
Palm Beach power on against plucky Tigers
Premiers Palm Beach Currumbin will limp into what coach Jess Sinclair said is a much-needed QAFL bye next weekend.
The 2017 and 2018 premiers continued their unbeaten streak which now dates back to last year when they outslogged Labrador by 13.13 (91) to 7.10 (52) at Cooke-Murphy Oval on Saturday.
It was a loss that has piled on the pressure for the Tigers to stay in the top five for the finals but with a home match-up with struggling Wilston Grange next weekend, the chance is there to get back into a finals position.
PBC won by 39 points on Saturday. It was much closer than that because some late goals blew the margin out.
Before the game Lions coach Jess Sinclair said Labrador had given his side their hardest hit-out of the season in the eighth round. The same happened again this time.
“Labrador were good,” said Sinclair. “For some reason we have trouble with them.
“Today they dominated periods of the game and made us look second rate but I put it on the group and they responded.
“I’m proud of that, when they get challenged they answer – but we were really ordinary in the first half.”
What is most important for Sinclair is the Round 15 bye coming up next weekend. It could not have been better timed said the coach.
“We need the bye because we’re the walking wounded at the moment,” said Sinclair.
“We need the rest and hopefully we’ll get a couple of players back after that.”
PBC expect Jackson Emblem, Adam McKenzie, Callum McBurnie and maybe Todd Grayson to be back.
After the bye PBC run into the finals with matches against Mt Gravatt (home), Wilston Grange (away), Surfers Paradise (away) and a Gold Coast blockbuster derby against Broadbeach (away).
It was cold comfort for Labrador coach Liam Burke to hear Sinclair’s words of praise for his players.
“It doesn’t mean much when we don’t get the points,” he said, directing much of the blame to some poor discipline.
“It was disappointing with our discipline,” he said.
“We gave away three goals from 50m penalties, or downfields. And they (PBC) kicked the last two goals of the game to make it a 40-point margin.”
Against the Tiger cause was the loss of ruckman Andy Hollis just before half-time with a concerning shoulder injury.
With Hollis out, PBC ruckman Jon Croad took control and was a key figure in PBC’s third-quarter surge when red-hot on-baller Tom Thynne really lit up.
“They’re really slick around stoppages and when they have a dominant ruckman they’re able to be proactive,” said Burke of the Lions.
Bryce Retzlaff and Wayde Mills were great for the Tigers in their roles up front, although much more support is needed for the two talls.
“We have to find a way to hit the scoreboard because we had 51 inside 50s to their 41,” said Burke.
Jayden Young in defence, Dane Watmuff and Jaicob Kelly were also strong for the Tigers.
For PBC, Croad, Thynne, Zac Harrison and Angus Munro were excellent.
Palm Beach Currumbin 1.2, 4.5, 9.9, 13.13 (91)
Labrador 3.1, 5.4, 7.5, 7.10 (52)
GOALS, Palm Beach Currumbin: M. Johnson 4, J. Derrick 2, J. Croad 2, C. Beaman 1, T. Cornish 1, C. Marsden 1, T. Thynne 1, A. Dawson 1. Labrador: R. Clements 2, C. Mullins 1, B. Retzlaff 1, W. Mills 1, D. Budarick 1, S. Walker 1.
BEST, Palm Beach Currumbin: T. Thynne, J. Croad, R. Harris, T. Cornish, Z. Harrison, C. Beaman. Labrador: B. Retzlaff, J. Young, H. Barry, J. Boxer, S. Walker, M. Fraser.
Panthers re-Joyce as Henry hits his straps
Former Aspley NEAFL on-baller Henry Joyce regained his sublime early season form as Morningside downed Western Magpies in a dour Brisbane derby at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday.
The Panthers won by 7.13 (55) to 5.4 (34) in a scrappy, low-scoring affair in a result that has heaped pressure on the Magpies to make the final five.
The Magpies are on 12 points and are three wins, plus percentage, behind fifth-placed Mt Gravatt with five matches to go.
Looking at the final scoreboard one could be excused for thinking it was wet at Esplen Oval.
It was dry, although a gusty wind, at times howling, that created havoc with skills.
It was the Panthers who adapted better although the Magpies recent history of struggling to kick competitive scores again returned to hurt them.
Able to match it with the home side in the first term, when they led at quarter-time, the visitors allowed the Panthers to kick five unanswered goals from the 13th minute mark of the second quarter to 10 minutes into the third.
That period was the clincher after leading by seven points to go 24 down.
Coach Clint Watts said conditions were tricky but he questioned his players inability to capitalise on 65 entries into their forward 50-metre zone.
“He had only 20 scoring shots and that tells you something,” he said when asked about the low scores.
“It blew a gale but I guess it was a mixture of everything.
“I suppose we denied them the ball and our back half held us together as well.”
While Joyce was a star, particularly with his work in the attacking half, defenders Daniel Frame and Will Pendlebury and Darcy Cameron-Reeves were also excellent for the winners who now go into another Brisbane derby next weekend against Mt Gravatt.
Magpies to play Sandgate (home), Wilston Grange (home), a bye, Mt Gravatt (home) and Surfers Paradise (away).
This is by no means a horror draw and if the Magpies reckon they should be in the finals, then they need to win at least three, perhaps all, to make up ground on Mt Gravatt.
Coach Brydan Morgan said his back six were solid but unforced and forced errors paid a price.
“From our point of view we were good on the inside but the inability to complete transitions of play because of poor skills and poor decision-making cost us,” he said.
“And defensively we conceded goals at crucial times.”
Rising Star Award nominee Dan Edwards stood out on a wing for the Magpies as he continued his development into a top-liner.
“He is cleaner than most and his ability to run and carry the football was evident,” said Morgan.
“He is proactive rather than reactive.”
Luca Winton in defence, Jack Goodall and returning ruck option Gerard Moore were three more of the Magpies’ better performers.
Morningside 1.6, 4.7, 6.12, 7.13 (55)
Western Magpies 2.1, 3.2, 5.2, 5.4 (34)
GOALS, Morningside: E. Mallan 2, R. Dadds 1, S. Cunnington 1, H. Joyce 1, B. Hodge 1, B. Aston 1. Western Magpies: S. Ryan 2, D. Edwards 1, J. Goodall 1, B. Saunders 1.
BEST, Morningside: H. Joyce, D. Frame, D. Cameron-Reeves, W. Pendlebury, A. Robertson, B. Aston. Western Magpies: D. Edwards, L. Winton, J. Goodall, G. Moore, D. Lewis, R. Easton.
In-form Cat Josh Searl heading for a third best and fairest
Rejuvenated Broadbeach midfielder Josh Searl could be on track for a third Broadbeach best and fairest award is he continues his current hot form.
The bearded midfielder, who represented Queensland this year, was again outstanding as the Cats romped to an easy win over Wilston Grange at Hickey Park on Saturday.
After the Gorillas teased their loyal supporters once again by kicking the opening two goals of the clash it was all one-way traffic as the visitors ran away to win by 24.13 (157) to 6.5 (41).
It was the second 100-plus victory by the Cats against the Grange this season after winning by 120 points at Subaru Oval in the eighth round.
After that hiding Grange coach Barry O’Brien apologised to his rival Beau Zorko for his side’s performance.
This time O’Brien pulled one from left field – actually he sent his players to left field for the half-time break by posting them to the eastern side of the ground in front of the scoreboard to take in the view.
“I wanted to make them sit and stew on their first half effort,” said O’Brien.
“They want everything given to them and there are a lot of people putting into this club. It was our home ground and they hadn’t put up a fight in the first half.”
O’Brien’s method worked to a degree because the Gorillas at least squared scoring in the third term – before another poor final term allowed the Cats to post seven unanswered goals to nothing.
As for Searl, he was super and drew high praise from coach Zorko.
After a few seasons of leg issues, most of them hamstring-related, Searl has benefitted from a tougher regime under Zorko and has really been exhilarating for the Cats.
“When he’s got the ball in hand and once, he’s finished with it Broadbeach still have the ball,” was the Zorko spin on his star.
Joel Newman at half-back, ever reliable on-baller Benji Neal, first-gamers Elijah Semaan and Bailey Reeves, and state under-16 rep Aiden Fyfe were other great contributors.
For the Grange there were few highlights. Take away Nick Dickson in the midfield, Declan Warren playing as extra man at the back and ruckman Nate Dennis there was not much else.
Broadbeach now front up to Surfers Paradise next weekend at Sir Bruce Small Park.
Broadbeach 5.1, 13.5, 17.7, 24.13 (157)
Wilston Grange 2.2, 2.3, 6.5, 6.5 (41)
GOALS, Broadbeach: M. Fowler 5, J. Cloke 4, B. Neal 3, B. Chadwick 3, I. Miller 2, B. Erickson 1, J. Hinds 1, J. Searl 1, E. Semaan 1, J. Newman 1, T. Betson 1, J. Fisher 1. Wilston Grange: J. Tomkinson 2, M. Hewett 1, M. Heaslip 1, H. Milford 1, M. Linnane 1.
BEST, Broadbeach: J. Searl, J. Newman, B. Neal, M. Fowler, B. Hancock, N. Sorrensen. Wilston Grange: N. Dickson, D. Warren, N. Dennis, L. Mason, A. O’Brien, J. Tomkinson.
Sandgate again let early lead slip
When, and if, the young Sandgate players learn how to put in four solid quarters of football is when the Hawks will begin to soar.
Not for the first time in a season that has produced only one win, Sandgate led early after three goals to open their clash against Mt Gravatt at Lemke Road Oval on Saturday night.
Unfortunately the inexperienced Hawks could not sustain the effort and the Vultures ran away with the clash by 14.14 (98) to 9.8 (62).
It was an important win for Mt Gravatt because they regained fifth spot on the ladder in a tight battle with Surfers Paradise and Labrador for places in the finals.
After their early problems with the Hawks, the Vultures settled down and had their noses in front after that.
Three points up at quarter-time, the Vultures put on five goals to one in the second term before an even third quarter as a strong breeze began to ease.
In the last term it was 2.6 to 1.1 and four precious premiership points in the bag.
“I thought we were on top all match but our skill execution was poor,” said coach Adam Boon.
Boon was happy with contributions from a number of younger players after losing three of his selected side on match morning.
Michael Doust answered the call after the Vultures lost Mick Hammil, Joel Leahy and Robert Blood with a strong performance.
So did defender Harrison Gobbie, Daine MacDonald, and Springwood and Gold Coast Suns Academy product Mitchell Fitzpatrick.
“We used him all over the place on debut and he was pretty good in congestion,” said Boon.
Veteran Aaron Fabian kicked four goals for the Hawks and was on their best-players list which was headed by Toara Marango at full-back and who played on Sam Stubbs.
Cody Stackelberg and Mitchell Crawley were two others who stood out for Sandgate.
Mt Gravatt 3.3, 8.6, 12.8, 14.14 (98)
Sandgate 3.0, 4.4, 8.7, 9.8 (62)
GOALS, Mt Gravatt: D. MacDonald 2, J. Green 2, A. Smith 2, L. O’Sullivan 2, H. Hunkin 1, J. Wratten 1, T. Matthews 1, S. Stubbs 1, K. Walsh 1, M. Doust 1. Sandgate: A. Fabian 4, C. Stackelberg 2, K. McKenzie 1, M. Homer 1, J. Harding 1.
BEST, Mt Gravatt: M. Doust, D. MacDonald, M. Fitzpatrick, T. Matthews, H. Gobbie, D. Smith. Sandgate: T. Marango, A. Fabian, C. Stackelberg, M. Crawley, T. Abberley, B. Hogan.
Image: Travis Johnson