In their 50th season as a football club, the Broadbeach Cats broke a 25 year flag drought to win the 2021 QAFL Premiership.
Finishing in second place, the Cats were looking to avenge their past two grand final losses which saw them go down by less than 10 points on both occasions.
Broadbeach only had to win a single game to make it to the grand final, taking down minor premiers Labrador by four points.
The Cats only played a single game in six weeks in the lead up to the grand final after the last four rounds of the QAFL season were cancelled due to COVID restrictions.
It was heartbreak for Maroochydore, who made a miracle run from sixth position, including two final quarter comebacks in the elimination and preliminary finals.
Defender Liam Nelson was awarded the Joe Grant Medal as the best on ground, having a remarkable game off the half back line as an elite rebounding player.
The Inner Sanctum wraps the game as it happened.
First quarter: Fast starters and momentum swings
The first goal of the afternoon came through Michael Steven, after the Cats gave away a controversial ruck infringement. It was more than enough for the Maroochydore crowd, absolutely roaring to life.
Broadbeach’s backline, led by Josh Searl, managed to dispel the immediate assault by Maroochydore. Jacob Simpson held the ruck ascendancy early, giving his midfielders license to clear the footy with ease.
The Cats rebounding work through the corridor seemed to be working right up until the final kick inside 50, where Jordan Daniel held steadfast.
Looking to make up for his prior free kick leading to goal, big backman Alex Moloney’s second efforts stepped up to another level, forcing the Roos forwards direct to the boundary line.
It wouldn’t be long before star goalkicker Mitch Scholard found his first goal of the day, making the most of an ugly kick and converting directly in front of goals accordingly.
Earning another free kick and inside 50, Maroochydore looked to hold all the play early. 10 minutes into the match, and Broadbeach still hadn’t managed an effective inside 50 of their own.
Veteran Roo Greg Stirton continued to hassle the Cats forwards, killing the ball and forcing throw ins. A crunching tackle by Liam Jacka got the Roos crowd riled up once again.
Max Lower finally got the Cats on the board at the 13 minute mark, kicking with poise out of a stoppage inside 50.
Tyrone Armitage dialled the game up to another barely a minute later. Dashing away across the 50 metre arc, he kicked around his body on his left as the ball bounced through for a major.
Lower made it three in a row for the Cats with another freakish snap. The dynamic midfielder made it two for the quarter.
Kicking on his trusty left again, Broadbeach finally found a mark inside 50 as Nick Burton converted for his side’s fourth goal straight. Momentum was well and truly flying their way.
After a patch of contested play between the arcs, Dan Lathois broke away along the half forward flank to deliver an assist straight into the hands of Lachie Robinson dead in front of goal.
QAFL leading goalkicker Jordan Moncrieff struggled to get into the game early for the Cats. He found a mark up the ground, but couldn’t take a ball on the chest in prime scoring position.
Utilising the wings beautifully, Moncrieff shifted up into centre half forward and found Blake Erickson deeper towards goals. He couldn’t convert, as the Roos went aggressively up the guts again.
The Cats intercepting and rebounding work was on show, forging a wall that the long, high bombs of the Roos couldn’t penetrate through.
It finally clicked for Maroochydore at frenetic pace, mixing up their movement and targets along the wings and corridor. QFA premiership mid Lochie Laing gave his side back the lead by a singular point, the quarter time margin.
Daniel Fleming’s running roost towards goals came just milliseconds too late, unable to beat the siren.
Second quarter: Cats pressure elevates
Though it was Broadbeach who found the first stoppage clearance, Maroochydore found the majority of the forward disposal early in the second.
Rebounding effectively, the Cats struck first in the second term. Sam Jasper added to his 28 goals for the year, his first for the grand final.
Jackson Fisher’s clearance work went up a gear for Broadbeach, launching it towards goals once again. Moncrieff then laid a huge tackle to lock up the footy inside 50.
The hard work at ground level paid dividends, with Brad Lowe earning a shot on goal a fair way out. The minor score didn’t seem to faze them, keeping the Roos under pressure as a mighty Searl tackle along the wing stopped them in their tracks.
Ryan Gilmore converted yet another for the Cats as they kicked out to a two goal lead.
16-year-old Cody Harrington then speared a kick inside 50 to Lowe on the lead out of the goalsquare. Making up for his prior miss, the three goal margin sparked Cats fans to life.
Too many hasty kicks forward of centre left the Maroochydore forwards without many avenues to goal. Broadbeach’s pressure at ground level put any hopes of a stoppage score to bed as well.
Jake Warren finally broke the dam and got the footy into the hands of Jarryd Hill 30 metres out from goal, who put the Roos back in touch.
Gilmore sold enough candy to open his own store, handballing off to Lower for the one-two before launching from 40 metres out and bringing the lead back to three goals.
Darting through the middle of the ground, Michael Selsby created not his first monster inside 50 of the day as he found the chest of Lowe. The Roos defenders stopped the ball on the goal line, but it wasn’t long before Searl forced the footy straight back in.
Jackson Bury put the jets on and took a couple of bounces out of the Roos backline, but the outside pressure of the Cats found the footy back down their scoring end before long.
Maroochydore finally had another scoring opportunity with 27 minutes gone. James Gledhill managed to spoil out of bounds, but with the throw in, Sam Mclachlan laid a huge tackle, earned a holding the ball free… and kicked it out on the full.
Moncrieff drove a stake in any momentum the Roos may have been building, kicking his first goal of the match to make it a 25 point lead on the shades of half time.
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Third quarter: Defensive domination
While the Cats struck first out of the centre, it was the Roos who found the first goal of the premiership quarter through Giles. Having been known for their comebacks across the finals series, they were every chance of starting to get the ball rolling.
Clinical ball movement went awry for Broadbeach, Riley Winter fumbling the last handball in the chain right in front of goals and kicking out on the full.
The Roos defence scrambled across half back and the wing to launch forward, but ultimately the Cats settled back into a steady rhythm in their defensive 50.
Switching across to the far side of the ground, Selsby found Armitage 30 metres out. It was just a minor score, but the play got the Cats back in control after the Roos threatened.
Broadbeach’s Brandon Chadwick crunched Jacka on the Maroochydore half forward line, once again killing any chance they had of notching a score back.
Seemingly every time the Cats looked for a kick out of the backline, no matter how much pressure they were under, they always found it.
Lucas Jellyman-Turner kept managing to find clean outside touches, pushing up out of the back pocket and finding more ball up on the flank and wing.
After a scrappy patch of contest after contest between the arcs, Giles laid a huge tackle and earned holding the ball to launch inside 50. The Cats backline held up once again, as Harrison Arnold took the intercept mark with ease.
Jellyman-Turner worked in combination with the winger in Erickson to create a hard earned inside 50. Lower stopped the Roos rebound with a crunching tackle, Harrington positioned on the tip of the arc.
Another turnover, and Harrington worked all the way from half forward to half back to assist Searl in killing the Maroochydore play.
The Cats commitment to their defensive gameplan was that much so that Arnold went for a massive hanger along the wing for an intercept mark, and stuck it.
It took a huge tackle from Warren to give Laing the space for a ground ball gather into a snap at goal to break the goal drought of the quarter. Back to 15 points, the Roos could smell the comebacks that they’ve been known for across the finals.
Fourth quarter: Premiership drought broken
After the Roos kicked out on the full in their first scoring opportunity of the quarter, Erickson took three bounces along the wing to hit Lowe on the chest.
Fisher took the hand off from his teammate and converted, and got the Broadbeach crowd as vocal as they’d been all afternoon.
Off the centre clearance, he launched the footy inside 50 again. Though it came off Moncrieff’s hands, the forward line had the pressure well and truly on. Just when the Roos looked out, Searl earned a high tackle free in the centre square.
Brent Pearson couldn’t do anything but watch as Moncrieff flew over the top of him to take a leaping grab. The lead extended out to 27 points.
Lowe followed not long after with his second goal of the match off a free kick for holding the man.
McLachlan had a scoring opportunity to put the Roos back in touch, but could only take it back to 32 points with a minor score. Burton then typified the Cats game, laying a chase down tackle along the wing and giving Jasper another chance at goal.
Captain Searl then dove for an inspiration intercept mark. The veteran had led from defence all day, and Gilmore sealed the game, kicking his third to the ‘Broady’ chant from the crowd.
Jasper soaked in the joy of the crowd and his teammates, taking a huge contested grab and taking his full 30 seconds to take the set shot. He was never any chance of missing that one.
In the club’s 50th year, the 25 year flag drought was officially broken.
|Broadbeach||4.1 (25)||9.4 (58)||9.6 (60)||14.6 (90)|
|Maroochydore||4.2 (26)||5.3 (33)||7.3 (45)||8.4 (52)|
Broadbeach: Gilmore 3, Moncrieff, Lower, Jasper, Lowe 2, Fisher, Burton, Armitage
Maroochydore: Laing 2, Hill, Robertson, Scholard, Steven, Giles, Pearson
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