GREAT RIVALS READY FOR BATTLE

Friday 4 September 2009

Second Semi-Final

MORNINGSIDE v SOUTHPORT
Saturday 5 September, Esplen Oval, 2.15pm

The greatest rivalry in the modern day QAFL writes another chapter tomorrow when the two most dominant clubs of the last quarter of a century go head-to-head again.

Morningside go into the second semi-final on the back of a 16-game winning streak, but statistics can be deceiving.

The most relevant matches have been their two games against the Sharks, one of which they broke open in two six-minute bursts in the third quarter midway through the season, and the other was a five-point escape when they had five less scoring shots a fortnight ago.

Too much should not be read into the Round 18 clash because as much as the coaches will say that it was a full-on encounter, both had an eye on this game.

Prior to Round 18, Morningside had booted 21 more goals in six successive games and kicked less than 100 points in a game since Round 4.

As awesome as they have been, they will meet a Southport side that has built up to its best at exactly the right time of the year, as they have done so often.

Morningside will note that champion Sharks wingman David James is now match conditioned and in form after missing the first two-thirds of the season with a hip injury in what has been a massive boost to the black and whites.

Former Morningside dual premiership player Justin Wilson has managed just two senior matches since Round 9 due to injury and suspension, but his poise was important last week in the Sharks’ demolition of Redland. That poise will be tested to the limit against his old club, remembering that he was reported in the opening five minutes of his first match against his old club at this venue in Round 8.

Wilson adds greatly to a Sharks midfield rotation that runs into an imposing onball brigade in the form of Panthers Paul Shelton, David Lillico, Ryan Holman, Nathan Kinch, Mark Kimball, Tyson Upton, and Mark Rootsey.

Lillico will no doubt renew acquaintances with the close-checking Adam Devine in a head-to-head duel that stands at 1-1 this season, while Shelton could attract the attention of Glenn Screech if not allowed to battle it out with the classy Danny Wise. Screech was excellent with four goals last week and can play a variety roles, with a number of Sharks midfielders all likely to contribute strongly to the scoreboard.

Jacob Gough had the better of rising youngster Broc McCauley in the ruck last time around, although the big Shark will take plenty of confidence from his efforts against Jeff White last week.

If one key forward from either side can stand up it will be telling, as the two defences are imposing.

Kurt Niklaus has had the measure of every forward in the competition for two years now and will check Kent Abey extra closely, while Damien Charleston will not give Shaun Mugavin an inch. Likewise Morningside key defenders Brett Connell and Ben Gibson will lock down on Luke Jarjoura and Jarrod Thompson, with little separating the sides.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Rd 18, 2009: Morningside 13.11 (89) d Southport 11.18 (84) at F’hauser Res

Rd 8, 2009: Morningside 15.14 (104) d Southport 10.12 (72) at Esplen Oval

GF, 2008: Southport 18.7 (115) d Morningside 15.17 (107) at Carrara

Rd 19, 2008: Southport 19.15 (122) d Morningside 14.14 (98) at Esplen Oval

Rd 13, 2008: Southport 12.13 (85) d Morningside 5.7 (37) at F’hauser Res

Rd 6, 2008: Morningside 21.8 (134) d Southport 12.16 (88) at Esplen Oval





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