The old saying goes: “You have to lose one to win one”. This possibly could be the secret ingredient for Beenleigh’s 2016 season as they were outclassed by a relentless Redlands 12-0 in the Open 1 South Grand Final.
With the Easts Tigers Tapout Energy Stadium looking a picture of health as always, the scene was set for what was brewing as the showdown of showdowns played in front of a sea of supporters from both clubs.
It seemed fitting that the last time these two sides met a fortnight ago, Beenleigh held the Parakeets scoreless in an epic battle. Wind the clock forward to the Grand Final and it was deja vu with the Redlands defence this time keeping the Pride scoreless.
It was a game of inches as both sides were playing it up the middle. Who was going to crack under pressure and make that first mistake that would eventually lead to the first try? On numerous occasions due to some fundamental errors by the Pride, the Parakeets swooped into the Pride’s red zone on repeat sets of six, but Beenleigh’s defensive efforts early on were also the stuff legend is made of.
Redlands halfback Max McMillan was probably Redlands best. His jack in the box style of play had the Beenleigh defence on their toes throughout this match and on several occasions he nearly had Redlands further in front with his trademark dummy plays.
After 28 long hard minutes though, we finally had someone on the scoreboard. With Beenleigh failing to hold onto the ball, that advantage for Redlands of being in the Prides 10 meters would prove to be the pivotal turning point in the game.
A wonderful cut out pass from McMillan found second rower Sheratyn Campbell who dived over beside the sticks to register the first four pointer right in front of the parochial can bar.
With one of the easiest kicks you would think to make it 6-0, Craig Matheson hit the uprights and was waved away.
Straight from the kick off however, the Pride were muscling up in defence. For a much smaller forward pack, this side show plenty of heart. Unfortunately a high shot from the Pride would eventually see all players involved in a melee that saw both Glen Salter from the Pride and Redlands Lucas McIntyre dispatched to the bin for 10 minutes with their part in the fracas.
With both sides down to 12 men, it was Redlands who looked the hungrier of the two sides. The Parakeets playing their third Grand Final in consecutive years and on the back of two losses, this game was going to be much different.
For Redlands, fullback Gareth Jones was a pillar of strength in the last line of defence, his direction from the back was brilliant and his positional play was spot on. He was joined by Beau Wamsley, Cody Ashworth and of course halfback McMillan as the standouts in this game.
In a game of cat and mouse and with halftime looming, Beenleigh needed to stamp out the drop ball and the frustration and play back to basics football. The Prides mistakes however were being capitalized by halfback McMillan. His perfect kick upfield turned the Pride around and the kick was fumbled by Beenleigh with a minute left on the clock.
The Parakeets needless to say tried one last desperate attempt from the Beenleigh mistake to cross the line, when McMillan ran across field leaving the Pride at sixes and sevens to find an unmarked Beau Wamsley who went in to score a fantastic Redlands try.
With the conversion missed once again, Redlands however had the advantage at the break at 8-0.
The Second half showed glimpses of a mini resurgence by the Pride. With Coach Luke Deller obviously a disappointed man, his halftime talk to his troops sparked something that saw the Pride come out more rejuvenated. Lock David Gorman was again a workhorse for Beenleigh. For pure toughness, this is a bloke you want on your side.
Hooker Scott Freidrichs was at his busy best in the play the balls and even though the Pride were being outclassed, you can take your hat off to Mitch Parrish, Zac Hamilton and the halves pairing of Gorman and Chapman.
But Redlands had a job to do and although this game was not filled with excitement or something for the highlights reel, it was made up of hard work and toughness. McIntyre, Campbell, Matheson and Hayward were rock solid. For a team that had lost two previous Grand Finals, this was not going to be number three.
At 8-0 down and with only one minute left on the clock, it was all too late for the Pride to make a comeback. For Redlands to add extra gloss to the scoreline, a nice backline movement spread the ball across field that saw centre Jarrod Brooks step inside Pride winger Bosen to score in what was the icing on the cake for the Parakeets.
Credit to Redlands coach Shane Munro. His meticulous coaching style had the Redlands club in good stead all year. The Parakeets were not minor premiers for nothing and this was their reward. For Beenleigh, it just wasn’t their day and will bounce back bigger and better next season.
A phenomenal year in Open 1 South, that saw the competition going down to the wire.
Fulltime Redlands 12 Beenleigh 0.
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