Hungry for the ball … Nanango’s Panthers threw everything at the Barambah Bears in Saturday’s Men’s Division match, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough to secure their side a win

June 18, 2018

by Dafyd Martindale

Barambah may be sitting on second spot in the Women’s Division this year, but the Panthers think third-placed Wests could be the team to watch.

On Saturday, the lady Panthers played Barambah at Nanango in the tenth round of the local competition, and it was a match the lady Bears were keen to win.

This week – for the first time in a long time – Barambah brought a full squad of players to the park, with one arriving after the match had started.

But having two extra pairs of legs in the side didn’t deliver the win the lady Bears had been hoping for.

Instead, Panthers employed their formidable attack strategy to pull ahead 3-nil by half-time.

It was only thanks to a goal scored by Taylah Berlin in the second half that allowed Barambah to score at all – a feat equalled by the Panthers not long afterwards for a 4-1 result.

After the game, Panthers captain Cass Kelly praised Barambah for their great team effort.

“We were pretty strong in the first half, but Barambah came back in the second half and kept us on our toes,” Cass said.

All the same, she thinks Wests could surprise in the remaining five rounds of the competition before the finals get underway.

Cass said a new system introduced by Wests’ coach Jordane Saunders several weeks ago had troubled her side.

“Wests appear to have scoped our strategy and we’re finding it harder to break through their defence than we used to,” she said.

The last time Panthers played Wests the score was 2-1, which was one of the narrowest wins for the lady Panthers so far this season.

Meanwhile, Barambah captain Elle Mollenhauer said while she was disappointed to see this week’s points go to the Panthers, she was pleased with her team’s performance and looked forward to better in the weeks ahead.

Elle said providing the Bears’ team members showed commitment, she still held on to her dream of playing the Panthers in this year’s Grand Final.

Nanango captain Cass Kelly calmly waits for the ball to drop within reach so she can try for a strike into the Bears’ nets, while Barambah players prepare to foil her plan

* * *

Nanango had some welcome extra strength on the field last Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the bigger, more experienced Bears securing a runaway win

In the Men’s Division, the score was reversed with Barambah sailing to a 4-nil victory over the Panthers.

Nanango have been suffering from a player deficit all season, and this has cost them dearly.

However, on Saturday they managed to field 10 players against the Bears’ 11, and this may have been reflected in the final score.

The last time the teams met, Barambah delivered the Panthers a 9-nil drubbing.

But this time around, either the Northerners took things easier or the Panthers played harder, but the Bears found their winning margin slashed by more than half.

As usual, the Panthers were strong in attack and took the ball into the Bears’ half slightly more often than their Bears could get it into theirs.

But finishing still proved a weak point for the side, with several key scoring opportunities missed.

By contrast, the Bears made fewer mistakes when holes opened up in the Panthers’ defences, and were more successful at capitalising on them.

* * *

The Gunnettes acquitted themselves well against Wests in Saturday’s match, showing how much their side has improved as the season’s progressed

In Kingaroy, home teams Wests and Gunners faced off on Saturday for what turned out to be a much tighter pair of matches.

This probably wasn’t much of a surprise in the Men’s Division, where there’s barely room to fit a cigarette paper between the purples and the reds at the moment.

But it certainly was a surprise in the Women’s Division, where Wests have been leading the Gunnettes by a healthy margin for most of the season.

The day kicked off with the Women’s Division match, and both teams came on to the park with a full complement of players who were clearly ready to throw themselves at one another and give it all they had.

By half time, neither side had managed to find the back of their opposing team’s nets – despite many attempts to do so – and the game remained anybody’s for the taking.

But in the second half, Wests finally found the holes they were looking for in the Gunnettes’ line-up, and managed two goals against one for the Gunnettes.

The win will put Wests closer to the Bears on the ladder.

And while it was no doubt disappointing for the Gunnettes to see their opponents take the points, the plucky side can take heart the final score showed they’ve definitely improved as the season has unfolded.

Can a win be all that far away?

* * *

Barambah captain Elle Mollenhauer wheels the ball past hovering Panthers on Saturday … the Bears ramped up their game considerably in the second half of the match

In the Men’s Division, the situation was reversed, with Gunners defeating Wests by a narrow 3-2 margin.

The teams last faced off in the President’s Cup – another scheduled match has been deferred – and on that occasion Wests had delivered a 4-1 thumping to the purples.

This loss clearly rankled Gunners, and it helped them bring some extra passion to Saturday evening’s game that stood the side in good stead.

Wests, for their part, were clearly hoping to retain their position at the top of the ladder and were in no mood to show their rivals any mercy.

The end result turned out to be a fast-paced, hard-fought match that kept spectators on the edge of their seats right up to the final whistle.

Gunners, who’ve been having a bit of slump in recent weeks, were re-energised by the return of several players, and this helped return their team dynamic to the winning form the side displayed in the season’s earlier rounds.

No doubt they’ll be looking to continue this in the weeks to come.

Wests, for their part, may be disappointed they haven’t lengthened their lead over the purples.

But they can still take comfort in the knowledge that, barring a catastrophic form slump or some other disaster, they still seem very likely to be Grand Final contenders later this year.

* * *

Toowoomba Football League

South Burnett United played the Gatton Redbacks at Dixon Oval in Gatton on Sunday in the 13th round of this year’s Toowoomba Football League competition.

United continued their winning ways, handing out a thumping 10-1 defeat to the Redbacks to retain their position at the top of the ladder with 23 points, ahead of their nearest rival Willowburn White on for/against.

This Sunday, June 24, United will play the Rockville Rovers at the Captain Cook Reserve in Toowoomba where they’ll go on to the field as clear favourites.

After this, United will be playing three home games at Tom Alford Oval on June 30, July 7 and July 14 which promise to be bumper derby days for fans.

* * *

This Weekend: Round 12

This Saturday’s games (June 23) are scheduled to be played at the Wondai football fields and Tom Alford Oval at the end of Oliver Bond Street, Kingaroy.

In Wondai, Barambah will play Wests:

  • Women’s Division: 1:00pm
  • Men’s Division: 3:00pm

In Kingaroy, Gunners will play Nanango:

  • Women’s Division: 4:00pm
  • Men’s Division: 6:00pm

Junior football matches will be played at Kingaroy’s junior soccer fields in Oliver Bond Street on Saturday morning.

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