AFL Cairns’ Display Of Power
Saturday, September 22 2018 @ 09:56 pm ACST
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Grand Final day in Cairns was played out today under beautiful, if windy, conditions at Cazalys’ Stadium. In the first grade premiership showdown, the mighty Port Douglas Crocs proved too good for the Cairns Saints, running out 46-point winners.
However, in what might be the most significant result of the day, it was the league’s newest senior grades team, Pyramid Power, which won its inaugural premiership as a reserve grade team.
The first grade clash was tight to half time. Port Douglas held a narrow three-point lead at quarter time. Neither side relented in the second quarter and the half-time margin remained at three points. However, the “premiership quarter” belonged to the Crocs as they kept Saints scoreless whilst hammering on four goals (and eight behinds) with the wind to effectively secure the game.
The Crocs then showed no mercy as they ran away in the last quarter to win the flag 12 17 89 to Saints 6 7 43.
In the reserve grade match, Pyramid Power were playing in their first grand final as a senior grade club. Formed as a junior club in Gordonvale – 23 kilometres south of Cairns – in 2005, Power first entered a reserve grade team in the AFL Cairns competition in 2016. They finished fifth that year, then third in 2017. But today they completed their climb to the top with a premiership.
The club has continued to grow, evolve, improve and, importantly, mature. Today saw the culmination of that growth. The 2018 season saw the club add former NTFL coach Mark Motlop to their coaching staff. His success and experience as a legendary coach and player rubbed off on the Power crew.
Motlop played over 300 games in the NTFL for Nightcliff, Wanderers and Southern Districts, as well as playing for Glenelg in the SANFL. As a coach he saw Southern Districts to an inaugural premiership and took both Wanderers and the Darwin Buffaloes to finals campaigns. That background, as a thoughtful, knowledgable and motivated coach, has now had a profound impact on Pyramid Power, evidenced by their first senior level flag.
The game started with Port Douglas kicking three unanswered goals with the wind in the opening term. Power clawed back two late goals against the wind to give renewed belief. By half-time Power had grabbed a handy 21-point lead. The third quarter was tight as the Crocs crept back to within eight points by the final change. But in an emotional last quarter, the Power boys held their nerve, even after a player count to halt momentum, to run home with the wind and record a famous 17-point premiership victory.
The sight of club president, Jim Floyd, and many other club staff, players and supporters shedding tears after the game highlighted how hard the journey had been to this day, and how emotional it had been for those who have given so much to the club over many years.
After five junior premierships, the most recent being their Under 14 Youth Girls team a month ago, Pyramid Power have now tasted the ultimate success. But the opportunities for AFL Cairns are great as well as they can now further entertain the thought of an expanded competition overall – a sign of a healthy competition – by negotiating the growth of the club to include a senior team as well in the near future.
For Port Douglas, a senior premiership was due reward for another magnificent season. Thought by many to be the most professional of all AFL Cairns clubs – on and off the field – the club can revel in the success of their first grade team after a tremendous grand final performance.
The results bring to an end another great season for AFL Cairns, with the job of preparing the 2019 season starting immediately.