Still happy with move north
NONE of the local teams have made the grand final in their first season in South-East Queensland Division 4 AFL but there's little doubt the move north was the way to go.
The Byron Magpies were the last of the former Summerland Australian Football League clubs to be eliminated when they lost by a single point to Bond University in a thrilling preliminary final on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The Bond University Bull Sharks won 10.7 (67) to 8.18 (66), with the Magpies' inaccuracy in front of goals proving their downfall.
The SAFL always struggled - at times even to muster the four teams required for a competition - so in the end there was little choice other than to look north.
In its place is a much closer competition and a better structure.
The Magpies may have lost the preliminary final but it was a great game of football, according to club president Greg Ryan.
In a calculated risk, Byron captain-coach Mick Young won the toss and kicked against the wind.
Bond Uni kicked the first goal.
Byron looked likely a number of times but accuracy let them down - in the first quarter and throughout the game.
Even so, against the wind they would have been satisfied with only a seven-point deficit at the first break
Bond gained the ascendency in the second term with three quick goals.
Unbelievably, Byron had eight behinds on the board before they kicked their first major approaching half-time.
They went into the long break 20 points down.
After an uninspiring opening 10 minutes of the second half, the Magpies got going with three goals in succession.
Bond bounced back with two before Byron peppered the goals late in the quarter, only to hit the post three times.
With the breeze at their backs again and 17 points down, Byron kicked the first two goals of the term in a desperate bid to keep their season alive.
The Bull Sharks kicked a great running goal to creep out by 10 points but Byron pegged back the lead and after a long set shot went through, there was only a point in it.
With 30 seconds to go Byron surged forward but the desperate Bond backline held on to clinch a grand final appearance in their first season.
The Bull Sharks will play the Tweed Coast Tigers in the grand final at Fripp Oval, Ballina, on Saturday.
THE 2012 SEASON
Final competition points: Tweed Coast Tigers 40, Bond University Bull Sharks 34, Byron Magpies 30, Lismore Swans 30, Ballina Bombers 28, Carrara Saints 18
Minor semi-final: Byron Magpies 15.15 (105) d Lismore Swans 10.8 (68)
Major semi-final: Tweed Coast Tigers 11.9 (75) d Bond University Bull Sharks 8.11 (59)
Preliminary final: Bond University Bull Sharks 10.7 (67) d Byron Magpies 8.18 (66)
Grand final: Tweed Coast Tigers v Bond University Bull Sharks at Fripp Oval, Ballina, on Saturday