Round 4 saw the Mighty UQ Red Lions QAFL reserves return back to the familiar surroundings of Oval 7 for the much anticipated first home game of the season taking on Surfers Paradise. With both teams looking to bounce back from disappointing third round losses it was sure to be a cracking game. The UQ line-up brought together a great deal of class through a mixture of familiar experienced players and a number of younger players all eager to get their first win on the board.
The first quarter saw UQ come up against the bigger bodies of Surfer’s Paradise who kicked 3 goals in the first ten minutes before Jonathan Gorham stepped up to kick UQ’s first and only goal of the quarter. Plenty of good signs were evident early however after two more first quarter goals added to the scoreboard by Surfer’s, the boys needed to lift and take control of the game.
Similar to the start of the first quarter, the second saw Surfer’s add the first major score for the quarter however, UQ bounced back quickly and continued to pressure right through the quarter. Sean Maxwell and Angus Armstrong and Ryder Court were pivotal in the backline combining their experience to provide plenty of structure and run across the half-back flank. The midfield finally accustomed to the pace of the game began winning the stoppages through the clever use and silky skills of Michael Scruton, Sam Rockliff and Alex Bateman who were supported by the hard running Ben Langley and Brenton Crilly providing support up the wings hitting up targets with penetrating kicks. The second quarter also saw the rise of the big forward Jonathan Gorham who provided plenty of hard leads and strong overhead grabs and added another goal to his name. With the help of fellow forwards, Harry Milford, Cameron March and James Nightingale all kicking goals, UQ went into the half time break with plenty of confidence sitting just 23 points behind Surfers Paradise with all the momentum.
The third quarter or premiership quarter as some like to call it began with a quick goal to Jono Gorham as the midfield continued to win the contested ball and the backline were strong in their defence. As the quarter progressed the back and forth arm wrestle continued between these two formidable sides with both teams looking strong and not giving in. Jono Gorham took his goal tally out to 4 goals by the end of the third with some exceptional overhead marking and straight shooting to see UQ head into the final term 29 points down.
Although competitive throughout most of the second and third terms, the final quarter saw UQ fall away as the game began to slip out of their reach. Surfers Paradise were quick to string together one goal after another kicking away and plucking the game out of the Red Lion’s hands. In a final quarter that saw Surfers kick 7 goals to 3 it was a disappointing end to what had been a tough and exciting contest resulting in Surfers claiming victory by 49 points (10-10-70 – 19-5-119).
The Red Lions were clearly very disheartened after their fourth straight loss however; there was much to learn and take away from the game. Jonathan Gorham took out the best on ground for UQ as he kicked 4 goals and led hard out of the goal square all day.
After a number of slow starts to games and quarters, the boys recognise the importance of playing four full quarters of footy, sticking to the structures and taking our chances to ensure a win in the next round. A special thanks must go to all the coaches, supporters and volunteers/helpers on game day as all the players appreciate the amount of hard work that goes on off the field. The boys are all hungry for success and will be back down for training Tuesday night for what is to be a big week on the track to ensure a win this Saturday when the Red Lions take on Mt Gravatt @ Dittmer Park.