Round 22 – Gold Coast v Brisbane: A hidden gem



As I entered the lounge room to watch Queensland’s finest do battle, my mind started to wander through all the great moments at Carrara.


I didn’t really know where to start, but the oval needs to be regarded as the spiritual home of Australian Rules Football in the Sunshine State. It was here that the custard and watermelon jumper of the Brisbane Bears debuted, featuring players 35-38 of every other VFL club looking to continue their footy careers in the Queensland warmth.


It was here that Jim Edmond ko’d Hawthorn’s Russell Morris in a startling display that got the scoreboard flashing “kapow” like an old television episode of Batman.


It was here that the footy world discovered that Warwick Capper was slightly out of his depth as a Brisbane player, rather than a Swans high flyer.


Among many other highlights, who could forget the billboard advertising Pelerman’s Liqour Barn?


Now re-badged Metricon Stadium, the Gold Coast Suns certainly have benefited from Carrara’s overhaul and makeover. Tonight, the bragging rights for Queensland footy supremacy were up for grabs, a highlight in a tough year for the state’s two teams.


The week leading up to the game featured a lovefest masquerading as a coach’s press conference and a motivational word by Brisbane’s Nick Robertson who called his opponents soft. The intervention of Lions’ ruckman Stefan Martin saying Robbo went too far, did little to discourage the Suns’ collective motivation.  Footballers do remember, motivation it seems comes in many forms.


With this, the poorly-monikered Q-clash began (aka The Pineapple Grapple/Tropic Thunder). The game promised much and it wasn’t long before Robertson wore bandages to keep his trap shut. Lions skipper Dayne Zorko came face to face with nemesis Touk Miller, Suns midfielder and occasional tagger.


The Lions’ season had shown promise and the game started as such with Brisbane taking a 15 point lead at the first change. A deceptively slippery playing surface met both teams, dew by name and dew by nature and the Lions seemed faster to adjust. Slowly the nations’ television remote controls switched elsewhere. Much to the collective ignorance of what was about to unfold.


Stewart Dew’s Suns have been known to not offer a strong response once the gauntlet had been thrown down. Who knows why? Tonight, it seemed different and after a stern fightback, the Suns went into the half time break a goal down. The Suns had kicked 5.2 to 3.5 in the second quarter. Maybe Robbo’s words were all that was needed.


The second half saw both teams go neck and neck on the scoreboard, embodied by Miller and Zorko going hammer and tongs wherever the umpires couldn’t see…niggle central.


An Ainsworth goal tied the scores early and the Suns were up for the fight. No fadeouts Dew would’ve demanded…and then there’s pride of the players. The biker moustachioed Crossley goaled to kick the Suns ahead and the game’s intensity lifted another notch.


A goal to Lion Harris Andrews pegged back the lead for them at the last break. In the words of the late, great Lou Richards the last quarter was going to be ‘a ring-a-ding-ding’.


To the other states, both Queensland teams were playing for little. Try telling that to the television audience, the crowd and the players. The derbies in other states don’t count for nought – so why here?


Footy maybe has arrived in Queensland, despite the crowd of 11000. On any other night, that’s a reasonable NRL crowd. Aaron Young put the Suns back in front early in the last, then Alex Sexton kicked one of his four, a reborn forward, and the Suns were up by 9 points.


The Lions had closed out games well so far in 2018, as the Hawks supporters will attest twice. Could it be the Suns’ night? It took 11 minutes, but the Lions regained the lead thru ex-skipper Beams, backed up by the diminutive Lewis Taylor.


Lions were suddenly looking ominous, the Suns beset by desperation and fumbles. Good intent yes, ability…well…two points and Jarryd Lyons goal and the Suns were back to within three.


Clock hits thirty minutes…can’t be long left. Scoring opportunities dried up amid the collective desperation and fatigue. It’s still Queensland weather after all.


Siren! Thirty-three and a half minutes…phew…we are safe in the knowledge that nothing was left on the park by both sides. Lions home by 4 points.


A willing and entertaining clash and the AFL gospel spreads a bit more in the Sunshine State. Both sides will get better by the year, player recruiting the key. Robertson’s bandages come off, Miller and Zorko continue their hostilities post-siren and the Lions regain the bragging rights.

All that for nothing? Hardly. A good ad for the game.


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