The Woodies battled Friday night Bruce Highway traffic as they trekked up to Maroochydore to take on last years Premiers in the 2nd Semi Final.
Both sides were slow out of the blocks early, with the Roos kicking the first goal while the Magpies seemingly matched it late in the quarter when Chris Davis kicked a goal to level the scores, only for a field umpire 20m away to declare it touched off the boot! (strange, considering there was no player in front or even close to to the boot of Chris when he kicked it!)
It was frantic footy, with skill levels down in slightly slippery conditions but Maroochydore took their chances in the 2nd stanza to get out to a 29 point lead with some slick play and 2 incredibly fortuitous 50m penalties from rules that don’t appear in any rule book in the history of the game, but the Pies fought yet remained goalless at half time, down by 29 points and up against it.
The Woodies had few winners at this point, with Judson tireless at the contest but fumbly at stoppages, Evans well held forward and Hockley’s radar was off on the few opportunities presented. Green and Prior were on top in defence and were keeping the Woodies slim hopes alive but the Roos dominated the 3rd quarter and spent 90% of the time camped in their forward 50 as the Woodies continually took bad options coming from defence and skill levels were down.
At 3/4 time, the Woodies trailed by 40 points and had yet to register a goal and looked like they would suffer an embarrassing end to their 2019 campaign that had faltered early, but promised so much late. So it was to be again, as the Woodies had faltered in the first 3 quarters then spring into life in the last.
Changes were swung with Hockley moved into the Ruck where Thomson had battled hard, but had been largely ineffective. Evans was moved from CHF into the midfield to get extra size around the ball, while Judson was changing on the ball with Mihalopolous.
Despite the average age of the midfield moving to mid 30’s, suddenly they were pro-active around the ball and got on top at stoppages. A long kick deep from Lachlan Woods was marked strongly by Thomson and the Woodies were finally on the board with their first goal, but still trailed by 34 points. The Woodies again won the next centre clearance and the ball fell to the wing where Curtis was able to break free and hit Thomson on the chest who then kicked truly from a tight angle and there was a glimmer of hope for the Woodies, but only ever so slight. The Woodies however were up and about and sensed the momentum shift and ran in waves forward, several repeat entries lead to Hockley marking strongly 30 out in front, but the shot sailed wide - however the Woodies were now creating scoring opportunities and the Roos were panicking.
Judson won a contested ball, again pumped it forward where Thomson again marked strongly to kick a 3rd and the margin was now less than 25 points with 10 minutes to play. Hockley and Evans by now were dominating on the ball with Hockley on top in the ruck and the ball was moved forward where Verma was able to kick a screamer from inside a congested stoppage as he was tackled and the comeback was officially on!
Unfortunately our friend from earlier in the game wanted to inject themselves in the play and a free kick was plucked from nowhere at the next centre bounce and the Roos were able to kick a quick goal against the run of play from their only forward entry on the quarter, now making the comeback a tall task as the clock ticked away!
The Woodies again won the next clearance and a long kick in from Evans hit the pack where a flying Verma crumbed the back of the pack at full pace to run into an open goal to kick another one for the Woodies to make the margin just 14 points! The mids again did their job to win the next centre bounce and the Woodies squandered several golden opportunities, including a poster from just 5 m out in the goalsquare when kicking off the ground instead of simply gathering the footy!
Curtis managed to push forward and goal again to reduce the margin and it was officially panic stations for the home side, but it was to no avail as the clock ticked down the Woodies were gallant losers by 8 points after threatening a miracle comeback.
That ended the season for the Woodies, though many were said to suggest they were so tired and sore they would likely have been unable to go another week anyway!