YEARS IN THE MAK­ING

Apex Park erupts as Cap Coast claims Wes­ley Hall

The Morning Bulletin - - SPORT - MATTY HOLDSWORTH matty.holdsworth@cap­news.com.au

It was a win years in the mak­ing, but un­til the fi­nal siren sounded, it was any­one’s game.

Cap Coast and Frenchville went the full 12 rounds in Satur­day night’s thrilling Cen­tral Queens­land Pre­mier League grand fi­nal.

Af­ter years of be­ing forced to set­tle for a third or fourth place, it was Cap Coast who broke its Wes­ley Hall Cup drought.

It hadn’t won the cov­eted $120,000 Cup since 2010, but had been close.

It was a tight, pul­sat­ing af­fair, with goals fly­ing in at ei­ther end.

Frenchville striker Paul Jack­son si­lenced Apex Park with 12 min­utes to go.

Spec­ta­tors had gone quiet, their chants had slowed, and nails were gone, and it looked like the cham­pagne would again pop for the fifth straight sea­son.

But Cap Coast kept com­ing.

Five min­utes later striker Ben Cum­mins capped a su­perb game (two first-half goals) with a clever dink to the back post from a cor­ner, bun­dled in by Tim English. The scores were level.

Ex­tra time looked a sure thing.

Three min­utes away from ex­tra time, teenage su­per sub Flynn Berry popped up with the goal that would seal the con­test 4-3.

It might have been a sim­ple one to slot away af­ter star man Jarod Lan­caster’s shot was palmed wide, but it was one he will re­mem­ber for­ever.

And how Apex Park erupted.

Coach Josh McLen­nan was con­trolled and classy at full-time; ela­tion would come out later.

“We knew com­ing into this week­end we weren’t just go­ing to be given the Wes­ley, McLen­nan said.

“Frenchville are a re­ally top team and were al­ways go­ing to make us work for it.

“I think both teams could say be­fore the match it was go­ing to be a mid­field bat­tle and there were pe­ri­ods through­out the game it swung both ways, but in the last 10 min­utes our fit­ness showed and we got the goals. It was fan­tas­tic.”

Nathan Nor­ris com­pletely dom­i­nated the first half.

— Josh McLen­nan

Faith in youth has been the for­mula for Cap Coast and fit­tingly it was what handed it the ti­tle.

Reign­ing cham­pion Frenchville was a lit­tle

shell-shocked at the end.

It’d come within three min­utes of be­ing the first open-era side to win five con­sec­u­tive. And it hurt.

Late goals and see­ing out the 90 min­utes have been part of the blue­print for Coast’s re­mark­able sea­son. It has han­dled the man­tle as the com­pe­ti­tion’s best team and got its just re­wards.

Depth, fit­ness and faith in youth were all vi­tal cogs.

“Our sec­ond di­vi­sion team and the depth it has, they would be play­ing firsts for most other clubs so I have no hes­i­ta­tion bring­ing them in and they did the job,” McLen­nan said.

“Nathan Nor­ris in the first half had his best game of foot­ball I have seen, he com­pletely dom­i­nated it.

“I put the pres­sure on him, say­ing he was one of our key play­ers, and he stood up and per­formed.

“Nathan, Jared Mo­ran and Flynn (Berry) were in­cred­i­ble.”

Cap­tain Dy­lan Kuss­row, one of few to be part of the last grand fi­nal win, re­vealed his pep talk that in­spired his side to win.

“In the sheds prior I told

them tonight is the night you make mem­o­ries that last for­ever and we did it the hard way but we got there,” the num­ber 6 said.

“I had a chat to a few of the young fel­las telling them what it was like when we won our first 10 years ago.

“We have been build­ing this squad for a num­ber of years and de­vel­op­ing young­sters has been a huge fo­cus. They’re given time to de­velop and it shows now.

“We got pretty lucky to get the last one with the fum­ble but if you don’t shoot, you don’t score.”

PHOTO: CHRIS ISON ROK170917CSOCCER1

CHAM­PI­ONS: Skip­per Dy­lan Kuss­row and Ben McMaster hold up the Wes­ley Hall Cup af­ter win­ning the foot­ball grand fi­nal against Frenchville at Apex Park on Satur­day night.

PHOTO: CHRIS ISON ROK170917CSOCCER6

ON TAR­GET: Capri­corn Coast’s two-goal hero Ben Cum­mins looks to beat Frenchville’s Ryan Hickey in the grand fi­nal.

PHOTO: CHRIS ISON ROK170917CSOCCER3

Capri­corn Coast player Jarod Lan­caster.

PHOTO: ROK170917CSOCCER5

Cap Coast’s Dy­lan Kuss­row.

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