FNQ Football’s Grand Finals weekend kicked off on Friday Night with a change of venue due to the deluge Cairns received last week making the fields unplayable.
Matches were switched to Mareeba’s Borzi Park for the Fillies, Third Division and Second Division grand finals.
In the Fillies Match the JCU strikers had a tremendous start with seasoned goal scorer Morgan Stanton scoring a hat trick of goals in the first half hour of the match.
Marlin Coast Rangers had a difficult time penetrating the JCU defence. The match went into half time with the Strikers leading 3-0.
Marlin Coast Rangers came out fighting in the second half and tried valiantly to penetrate the JCU defence but to no avail. They continually peppered the JCU back line but didn’t have the cutting edge make any impact.
JCU capitalized on a further defensive error and scored a fourth goal midway through the second half.
The Match finished 4-0 with Morgan Stanton of JCU picking up the Most Valuable Player award.
The Men’s Division 3 grand final between the Leichhardt Lions and the Stratford Dolphins proved a tight affair with the Lions taking an early lead in the first five minutes of the match.
Tight defending proved the order of the day as the Dolphins found it difficult to break down the Leichhardt defence.
Lacking structure the Leichhardt attack found large holes in the Dolphin back line and capitalized through Jacob Pagano who clinched a hat trick on the night with further goals from Connor Meredith and Gordon Carruthers to give the Lions a 5-1 grand final victory.
Leichhardt’s Jacob Pagani was awarded the Most Valuable Player award.
The Atherton Eagles went into their grand final match against the Douglas Dragons without their number one striker Scott Rawlings.
The talented striker was serving a suspension picked up in last Friday’s Semi- final against the Mareeba Bulls.
With some spectators thinking that the match was a forgone conclusion with Douglas easily accounting for the Eagles, no one told the Tableland outfit. Atherton came out fighting in the first half but the Dragons controlled the mid field and were able to halt their progress to the final third.
It was Douglas who drew first blood when Juan Benitez sent the premiership winning team ahead.
As the match became a tug of war it was Atherton midfielder Jason Curcio who struck a long hard ball into the keeper who fumbled allowing the ball to trickle over the line to draw things level.
The match came to an end with the scores locked a one a piece and the crowd were in for extra time.
Just five minutes into extra time Atherton were asked to come from behind again as Daniel Ferrero put Douglas ahead.
Atherton fought gallantly to the end but it was Douglas who ran our winners of the FNQ Football 2019 grand final 2-1 in the men’s second division with Gavin Jenkins being awarded the Most Valuable player award.
On Saturday in other divisional Grand Finals: Mareeba bulls were full of confidence going into the Youth Grand Final on Saturday at Endeavour Park Cairns, up against their counterparts from Innisfail.
It was Innisfail who made the most of the first half with striker Ivan Ozzi scoring the opening goal after a breakaway down the left wing left Bulls keeper Josh Leporati exposed for him to put in a floaty which sailed over his head and into the right hand corner of the net.
The teams went to the dressing rooms with Innisfail 1-0 up.
The Bulls came out fighting in the second half and once they settled were soon on the score board when John Gambino struck a bullet to even the scores.
The match then settled into a battle of the midfield as both teams tried to get the upper hand. Neither team was able to take advantage of each other’s tiredness but gave their all for their respective club.
Three minutes in, Innisfail capitalized on a bull’s defensive error and scored a creamer through Ivan Ozzie giving Innisfail a 2-1 lead. It was short lived as Mareeba struck back immediately again through John Gambino.
The match went in to extra time and it was the Bulls who took the lead through Milan Quintieri after just five minutes. The bulls seemed to have done enough but it wasn’t to be as Ivan Ozzie scored his hat trick to even the score two minutes from time.
The lottery of a penalty shootout loomed and it was the Innisfail keeper Elliot Ferguson who saved the only penalty of the shootout to give the Innisfail Cutters the grand final after a 3-3 draw in normal time and 5-4 on penalties.
After the match Coach Luch Avolio said he was disappointed with the loss but not with the way the boys played. “They gave 200%, the hot and windy conditions were no excuse and the teams were very evenly matched, we look forward to next year.
Innisfail Coach Marc Di Carlo said “It was great to see the two country teams in the final, neither deserved to lose but there has to be a winner, both teams played a tremendous game it’s a credit to our boys as this is the third time in a row that the youth have won the Grand final”.
Hat trick hero Ivan Ozzie was named Most Valuable Player.
Edge Hill United Ladies hit the ground running in the Premier Ladies Grand final against premiers Leichhardt at Endeavour Park.
After taking an early lead which was short lived the Tigers scored four goals in the first half to take a 4-1 lead into the break.
Leichhardt failed to live up to their expectations and the second half proved they were well and truly out of the match as the Tigers went further ahead. Leichhardt seemed tired, Edge Hill on the other hand looked like could have played all day.
With 20 minutes on the clock the Tigers went 6-1 up but celebrations were dampened as one of their players was stretchered off with a knee injury holding the game up for half an hour while emergency services were called to care for the player.
When play resumed the Tigers pick up from where they left off continuing wave after wave of attacks on the Leichhardt goal.
The inevitable was looming and the final whistle put an end to a stellar performance by Edge Hill United winning the FNQ Football Premier Ladies grand final 6-1.
Outstanding youngster Molly Waddingham collected the Most Valuable Player Award.
The Mareeba Bulls were on a rampage in the opening minutes of their grand final against the Stratford Dolphins.
Liam Leporati opened the score after just 30 seconds on the clock, but before they could end their celebration the referee awarded the Dolphins a penalty with was well taken, making it 1-1 with the match merely 2 minutes old.
8 minutes later the bulls were ahead again through Liam Leporati after some excellent work through the mid field opened a gap for him to strike from inside the penalty area.
The teams went into the dressing rooms at half time with the bulls leading 2-1.
In the second half an injury to Lucio Da Rocha forced a substitution with Dennis Allan to fill the gap in midfield.
Within moments of the substitution the Bulls went 3-1 after a scramble in the penalty area following a corner. Liam Pozzebon took advantage of the error to smack the ball home from close range.
After dominating for long periods the bulls lost concentration allowing the Dolphins to pull one back to make it 3-2 with five minutes to go.
There was an immediate response from the bulls as Damien Wildman ran half the length of the pitch to round the goal keeper and slot home his team’s fourth, Mareeba were up 4-2.
Coach Dennis Allan was ecstatic after the match “I am so glad we won, last year’s game was always on the back of my mind and there was a moment when we were 3-2 that I thought here we go again, but then we got the fourth and we were able to relax and enjoy the moment as there were only a few minutes to go”.
“Full credit to the boys they followed the game plan to a tee and never stopped running ,everyone played a part, we’re going to party at the club house tonight”.
With the Premiership and grand final in the bag the bulls now concentrate of the up-coming Crad Evans final against Olympic next weekend at Tiger Park, the possibility of the elusive treble is still alive.
For his never say Die attitude and rampaging runs it was Damien Wildman who was awarded the most Valuable Player.
In the Men’s premier division it was a dour first half between Marlin Coast Rangers and Edge Hill as both teams cancelled each other out.
The crowd were entertained with some slick passing and bruising tackles but it was the defensive effort of both teams that saw a lacklustre first half.
Neither of the goal keepers was really tested as they went into the break goalless.
The second half started just as the first one finished, slick but with extra pace, the coaches had ramped it up in the sheds. In the seventeenth minute of the second half MCR struck from a set piece through Diego Piquerez to go 1-0 up.
The runaway premiers were on the ropes as MCR came to life and threatened to come away with the game against the run of play.
It was Jesse Casson who equalized for the Tigers with 10 minutes remaining in the match to make it 1-1.
Before the crowd had the chance to calmed down, Ari Isman popped up to put the Tigers 2-1 up with just minutes remaining to give the premiership winners a 2-1 grand final win.
It was the second year in a row that Edge Hill United claimed the Grand final win and Jessie Casson was given the Most Valuable Player award.
Another great weekend of football action awaits this weekend as all seven divisions prepare for the Crad Evans, pitting the premiership winners of FNQ up against their Townsville counterparts. All matches will be hosted by Edge Hill United at Tiger Park.
Matches kick off at 12 noon Edge Hill Youth Vs Rebels FC on field 1, JCU Fillies Vs Brothers FC on field 2: 2.30pm Premier women’s Leichhardt Vs Brothers FC field 1, Division 3 Leichhardt Vs Ross River FC on field 2, 5pm Premier reserves Mareeba United FC Vs MA Olympic field 1, Men’s second division Douglas United FC Vs Estates FC on field 2. 7.30pm Men’s premier division, Edge Hill United Vs MA Olympic.
Five of our far Northern teams will be vying for trebles, Fillies, Division 2 and 3, Premier Reserves and Premiers. We hope to see you all at Tiger Park Cairns.