Rep Footy: North Queensland v South Queensland, Cairns Curtain Raiser

In the past the curtain raiser at a big league venue was a staple for the true fan. It’s not that often however that the match is as significant to weekend warriors as a match that could have easily divided the North and South of the state. Whilst the hatred is certainly nowhere near what you would see in Tasmania, the early match in Cairns on the weekend pitted the North against the South for the 3rd time in recent memory, with the previous two editions being held at Burpengary resulting in a victory to the Northern team.

 

This time would turn out to be very different. The Southerners consisted of players who play in divisions of the QAFL below division 1 (being the QFA and QAFA) plus a player from the Wide Bay and Darling Downs leagues. Despite their players being spread along both Gold and Sunshine Coasts as well as the Brisbane metropolitan area, it appeared that their teamwork and continuity in the early stages would be too much for the Northern combination. It would come as a shock considering that 19 out of the 23 players in the home team were Cairns league players and their coach Rick Hanlon was also based in Cape York (the remaining 5 players consisted of a trio from Townsville and a player each from the Mackay and Capricornia leagues. Ironically the Capricornia representative was the only player in the region to play on the weekend, torrential rain turning grounds into unplayable lakes causing all 3 fixture games to be abandoned). It would be the pace and the slicker ball use that would give the visitors a 3 goal advantage at the first change, building to a substantial 6 goal break at half time.

 

It looked as though the South were very relaxed at half time, remaining on the ground as their coach Danny Craven (a former Saint and Bear at the top level) calmly addressed his troops. Not so for the home team retreating to the sheds and probably with some stern words from the coach about to be delivered. Certainly whatever was said had a positive effect on the players with a much improved performance in the 3rd term. Only problem was their conversion, kicking 2.5 for the quarter to only reduce the gap to 27 points at the last change, one of those goals being a classy boundary snap from former Peel Thunder (WAFL) and current Manunda Hawks player Cameron Gauci. Despite the North’s best efforts to close the gap and with their run and skill level being superior in the second half, the lack of conversion up front again particularly with Cairns’ leading goalkicker Kye Chapple (76 goals in 12 games) basically being shut out of the game saw the South run away with the game with a couple of late goals. A highlight being a lovely mini Rioli type mark from Kenmore’s Jake De Winter whose effort in the last quarter could be easily described as match winning even though the game was probably in their keeping. Late goals saw the margin blow out to 39 points, which given the general flow of the game was slightly inflated for the visitors even though the better side got the money. Medals were struck for both teams as seems to be the custom for representative fixtures, with former Lions listee Daniel Dzufer voted best for the victors and Cairns Saint Jack Philip given the nod for the North.

 

The future of the annual clash is probably secure enough, although depending on whether Cairns gets another taste of AFL action the date of the game may change again. With no Queen’s Birthday holiday falling during the season and most country representative fixtures taking place on the Labor Day weekend in May it may be up to the governing body to set aside a weekend to hold the match. Perhaps a women’s match could also be on the agenda in the future, with only Wide Bay of the country leagues not having a women’s competition in the state and the lure of the Lions being in the national comp giving that possible matchup a chance of succeeding. Whether the pseudo Cairns rep team can bridge the gap in less than 12 months will be the question that will need to be answered, perhaps a better spread of talent being selected away from Cairns is what the doctor ordered.

(Stay tuned tomorrow for a report on the main game)

 

SCORES
NORTH QUEENSLAND 5.11.41
SOUTH QUEENSLAND 12.8.80

Didn’t keep a tally on scorers, perhaps I should have!

BEST PLAYERS
NORTH: Jack Philip, Dylan Wearmouth, Declan Kelly, Max McLachlan, Peter Bury
SOUTH: Daniel Dzufer, Jasper Craven, Jake De Winter, Glenn Boyd, Jack Bacon

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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