After numerous ground closures threatened to derail this game it was to the great credit of both clubs to find a suitable venue and time to play what will turn out to be a great first competitive hit out for the Cats 2021 season at Yeronga.
Boasting some 15 ex-AFL listed players, the Sharks provided a stern test for a Broadbeach team that featured some 11 players from last year’s senior grand final side, a handful of recruits and several of our emerging GC Suns Academy stars.
Early in the game, you would have sworn the stakes were higher given the ferocious attack on the ball by both teams, and with Ryan PICKERING cracking in against bigger and more experienced rucks and ARMITAGE doing what Armo does, we had some ascendency early in the game. SEARL was controlling things and setting up rebound from half back, and one could only be impressed by the standard of a first pre-season game. Kicking into a breeze contributed to us missing several set shots for goal, while Southport on the other hand was kicking goals from the boundary with regularity. At ¼ time all the key stats were even, the superior finishing being the difference in the game.
The second quarter, Southport began to enjoy some momentum in general play, and would have scored more heavily without the efforts of key position recruit James GLEDHILL who certainly looks like a handy pick up. Liam NELSON was beginning to show the great running from the backline that was a feature of his 2020 season. Up forward Matt LITTLE was lively, working up the ground to win plenty of the footy and WINTER (young tall recruit from Burleigh) and SEMAAN applying excellent tackling pressure, with the latter being rewarded with a goal from a holding the ball decision late in the ¼. Again, the coaching staff would have been well pleased with the effort despite the scoreboard.
In the second half, a combination of resting of key players, superior fitness and the new man on the mark rule saw Southport get their running game going, but to our boys credit they never gave in and in particular an eye catching performance from Bodhi UWLAND and some outstanding intercept marking from Sam WEDDELL were stand outs. Overall, both sides would be well pleased with what they saw and it was a great opportunity for our players to complete against a VFL side at virtually full strength.
Next week we travel to Victoria Point to play competition newbies Redland for the first time in 8 years. Our practice match schedule will then conclude on Sat 27 March at Bond Uni before our season launch and player auction back at the club.
Best players: Weddell, Searl, Nelson, Uwland, Little, Armitage, Gledhill, Lower