By Beth Newman
MT GRAVATT v WILSTON GRANGE
Mt Gravatt are in the box seat for the fifth finals spot, but their 49-point win over Wilston Grange wasn’t as easy as the score made it look.
The Vultures are now a game clear in fifth and have a handy percentage buffer over next best side, Surfers Paradise, after the 17.14 (116) – 9.13 (67) win over the Gorillas.
The Vultures forced their opposition to play catch up all day, kicking four unanswered first quarter goals in one of their best passages of the season.
They had to survive a late scare from the Gorillas, who found momentum and the goals in a last quarter flurry, but ultimately their run was left too late.
Redland-listed Adam Boon quelled Grange captain, Steve Brittain’s influence early while Joe Murphy was a general for the one side on the half-back line.
Vultures coach, Brad Pollock, said his side showed more cohesion than they had for much of the season.
“We thought we had the game wrapped up at half time and they kept coming back,” he said.
“We are really starting to come together as a unit.”
Hugh Campbell was the main man in Grange’s second half resurgence, while Trent Aarons provided a strong target up forward.
On a sour note for the side, Dan Campbell’s day ended prematurely, as he reinjured his shoulder.
Grange playing coach, Matt Trewhella, said his focus would shift to trying to make something out of the last fortnight of the season.
“It’s probably something I didn’t want to deal with until we were done with finals ”he said.
“It’s hard to play youth when they’re going to be playing 18s (colts) finals, so maybe we’ll use it as an opportunity to get some fitness into some of the reserves guys.”
See how this game unfolded, live: http://bit.ly/rd16liveblog
BROADBEACH v WESTERN MAGPIES
Broadbeach clawed its way to a third comeback win for 2014, with a 16.15 (111) 17.4 (106) win over the Western magpies.
A nine goal first term to the Magpies left the Cats with a mammoth task to complete, but they showed the mental steel they have had to draw upon before this year, to get out of jail.
It was a shootout at H&A Oval, with Taylor Haley and Jordan Bain both booting eight goals in the seesawing match, while Brayde Palmer and Dom Beer played out an exciting battle in the ruck.
Broadbeach coach, Wayne Petterd, said there was plenty of work to do, ahead of their final two matches against Palm Beach and Labrador.
“We’re not stupid, against Palm Beach and Labrador, the way we’ve been playing won’t cut it,” he said.
“We need to stop runs that opposition get on us quicker.
“Our losses have come when sides get that run on and even against some of the lesser lights, they’ve got on a spurt, so we’ve got to nail that.
Magpies coach, Glenn Humphrey, said the match showed his team their capabilities.
“It shows the guys that they can do what we’re asking of them,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of being able to do it for longer periods of the game.
“Younger bodies get tired and the opposition take that advantage away from us.”
Ben Jaenke-Cain was the Magpies’ best, with the ball on a string, while Mitch Stallard was good for them on the wing.
PALM BEACH v SANDGATE
Palm Beach saw off an early challenge from Sandgate to record a 21.12 (138) – 6.7 (43) win.
Leading by just eight points at the major break, the Lions unleashed in the second half, generating better run off their half back line and kicking 15 unanswered goals.
While Palm Beach’s experience stood up in the back half, it was the form of the youngest player on the field, Brad Scheer,that was most impressive.
Scheer, who turns 16 at the end of this month, has slotted straight back into the Lions side after the national U16 championships and was sensational in the midfield, with Cresswell singing his praises after the game.
“We all speak about him every week, it’s extraordinary,” he said.
“Even from the start of the season to where he is now, it is just poles apart.”
“He’s certainly going to hold his spot, he’s really been a find.
While the final result looked relatively lopsided, Hawks coach, Ian Carter, said the improvement from the team over the past month has been immense.
“We got a bit lazy after half time and we allowed them to run off us, when in the first half we didn’t.
“We’ve certainly improved over the last four or five weeks and to see that improvement regardless of the scoreboard is going to give us something to go into the three month break.”
Mark Leddy was solid on Clint Kelly, though the key forward finished with five goals, while Aden Rutledge continued a consistent 2014.
LABRADOR v UQ
Labrador had to survive a big scare to notch their 11th 2014 win over UQ on Saturday.
Trailing by two points at half –time, the Tigers kicked eight second half goals to two, to run out 11.9 (75) – 6.6 (42) winners and keep in touch with the top three.
With matches against the Western Magpies and Broadbeach to come, the Tigers are two wins behind the second-placed Cats and could well leapfrog them in the last fortnight.
Labrador’s Nick Stockdale kicked six goals, while Southport-listed Mark Collison was solid in his return from a facial fracture.
Tigers coach, Steve Daniel, said complacency snuck into his side in the first half.
“It was a very scratchy, uninspiring game of football,”he said.
“We were lucky we didn’t get beaten.
“In the first half, UQ showed more effort and more desire than we did. They wanted to win more and that showed.”
Asked what the change was in the latter half, Daniel said the answer was pretty simple.
"They got one almight spray at half time,"he said.
UQ coach, Matt Stewart, said it was a major positive to see the improvement in his side in the back end of the season.
“We’re all about improvement ad we wanted our efforts the second time around to be better,” he said.
The guys can see the hard work is paying off and we’ve moved in the right direction.
Dan Mauch has been a revelation for the Red Lions this season and was again one of their best, while Al Carlson and Gareth Begley were also impressive.
It doesn’t get any easier for the ninth-placed UQ side, who are preparing to play undefeated Morningside next weekend, but Stewart said the task will not faze him.
“Who we play is really irrelevant now,” he said.
“We just want to be better than we were last time.”
MORNINGSIDE v SURFERS PARADISE
Surfers Paradise fell agonisingly short of ending Morningside’s unbeaten QAFL run, ultimately going down by 22 points.
With their finals chances on the line, the Demons played like a team that had plenty at stake, in the 12.11 (83) – 8.13 (61) loss.
It was an almighty effort from the Surfers Paradise, who were two players down after half time, with season-ending injuries to Regan Finlay (broken leg) and Patty Rankin (shoulder).
Morningside had a goalless quarter for the first time this season, and did not kick a second half major until halfway through the final term.
Youngster Connor Manning held Panthers spearhead Kent Abey goalless in an impressive effort, while Michael Cunnningham worked hard all day in the ruck.
When Morningside co-captain Tyson Upton finally did break their drought, the Panthers clinched back the momentum and kicked the final four goals to snuff out Surfers’ chances.
Demons coach, Beau Zorko, said he was proud of his players after the match..
“I thought our group was fantastic,”he said.
“We had 90 tackles for the game, their effort was fantastic.”
Finlay’s loss was another blow for the injury-prone Demon, who had finally shaken off a persistent foot problem to gain some consistency for his team.
“The poor guy has just been dogged by injury,” Zorko said.
“He does everything right and he’s really matured as a leader over the past 12 months.”
Morningside coach, David Lake, said it was the leadership of his side’s senior core that emerged late in the game.
“We couldn’t stop our momentum,” he said.
“We recognised we needed to correct ourselves.”