Woodsmen return to top of QFA ladder
The Woodsmen traveled to Mayne on Friday night to take on a Tigers outfit fighting to remain in the hunt for finals football. Playing on possibly the smallest ground in QLD Senior Football, the Woodies found it hard to adjust but remained well in the contest at quarter time trailing by 5 points. Key outs in the midfield in Judson and Lloyd against a strongly built Tigers on-ball division saw the Woodies regularly outmuscled in the contest and a heavy hit to Thomson in the first quarter saw him sidelined until midway through the 2nd.
The Woodsmen started to get on top in the 2nd quarter through some solid run off halfback from MacKinnon and Jackson and Hockley was causing headaches for Mayne roaming across half forward. Despite general ascendancy, the Woodies were repeatedly guilty of shallow and wide entries as they failed to adjust to the fact that a kick from centre wing could get to the hotspot on such a small surface. A strong and physical Mayne side continued to force the contest and play smarter footy with late goals closing the Woodsmen half time lead to just 4 points.
The Woodies re-grouped at half time and opted for a more direct style of play while also opting for a taller forwardline. Having played with 21 until late in the 2nd quarter, Tim Green's arrival allowed for some positional switches and more marking power across half forward. The Woodies skipped out to a 3+ goal lead for a period before again some late goals from Mayne including an absolute pearler from the boundary line again kept the margin at the final break to under a kick.
After continually being outmuscled by a tough Tiger midfield, Mihalopoulos shifted to the midfield for the final quarter with immediate effect winning some early clearances to take advantage of the ruck advantage as the Woodies again pushed out to a 3 goal lead, though on a ground so small the game certainly was never safe. Mayne then kicked another one against the run of play to get back to a 10 point margin before another one in more controversial circumstances closed the gap to 5 points and it was 'game on' with a few minutes to play. Perhaps buoyed by a sense of injustice the Woodies lifted and camped in the ball forward for the remainder of the match kicking the sealer to take the margin to 12 points and a hard fought win to take top spot on the ladder.
Hockley was again a dominant player across half-forward kicking 6 goals, while Brent Hocking spent extra time in the midfield to provide plenty of grunt. Curtis was tireless despite regularly being outsized by bigger opponents, while McKinnon and Jackson provided plenty off half back. Perhaps the highlight of the match was Woodies Legend Jeffison 'Buddsie" Fehr-Smith taking a contested grab at a crucial moment late in the game and then through repeat efforts earning another free kick from a sensational tackle to thwart what would be Mayne's final forward thrust.
Woodsmen 10.5 - 65 defeated Mayne 8.5 - 53
Best: Thomson, Hockley, Curtis, McKinnon, Mihalopoulous, Hocking
Goals: Hockley 6, Garvey 2, Mihalopoulous, Hocking 1