Alex Cutmore from the Redbacks and Nicholas Talbot from the Tigers go for the ball in the AFL major semi-final.
Alex Cutmore from the Redbacks and Nicholas Talbot from the Tigers go for the ball in the AFL major semi-final. Nev Madsen

Reddies rise to challenge

IN conditions not worthy of a chess game, the Redbacks proved yet again that they are the best wet weather team in the AFL Darling Downs with a resounding win in the major semi-final at Rockville on Saturday.

The Redbacks posted a score of 10.10. (70) to defeat reigning premiers Toowoomba Tigers 5.3. (33) to move straight into the AFL Darling Downs grand final.

From the opening bounce, Clint McErvale and Coen Slatter took control of the mid-field leaving Brendan Iles, Matt Sinkins and Kris Millard to wreak havoc wherever they went.

The back six led by Andrew Bardsley and Tony Chandler were rock solid with Jason Hoole completely destroying his opponent and setting up attacks through defence.

Alex Cutmore toiled all game in the ruck and clearly took the points from his opposite number.

The Reddies desire for the ball and their willingness to put their bodies on the line paid dividends.

In arguably the best team performance for the season to date, the Redbacks stamped their authority early on in the game and at no time looked as if they were prepared to let go.

Coach Peter Millard had the better of the coaching decisions and used his bench players cleverly and to great advantage, resting players at the right time and using the bench to free up the Tigers tagging.

What Millard missed his two assistant coaches Ray Lawer and Kurt Millard pounced on. Every Redbacks player came off the mud-packed oval knowing that they had delivered everything that was asked of them.

Both clubs are to be congratulated for the way the game was played out.

The conditions had to make frustration rise to the top.

Combined with a football that had to weigh five times its normal weight and the layer of fog that hung over the ground for the entire game, it really was amazing how well most of the players handled the ball, the Redbacks in particular.

Positive, solid umpiring had all players knowing exactly where they stood right throughout the game.

The injury list was surprisingly low with one for the Redbacks – Gavin O’Leary with a broken bone in his left hand.

In two weeks time the Reddies will face either Toowoomba or USQ for the 2011 flag.

The players and support staff will travel to that game by bus and hopefully there will be enough supporters to warrant a second bus.



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