FNQ Bulls' finals chances rise
IT wasn't always pretty, but the FNQ Bulls helped their finals chances on Saturday night by beating fellow top-four contenders QAS.
The Bulls defended hard and capitalised on a couple of second-half opportunities to score a 2-0 win in front of an unusually quiet Borzi Park crowd.
With Whitsundays and Capricornia recording a 3-3 draw on Saturday night, the Bulls moved into third place on the Queensland State League ladder.
While this win wasn't the prettiest, it certainly was one of the most important for coach Peter Tokesi.
The QAS attack he was so concerned about earlier in the week was limited to a handful of opportunities by a Bulls defence that has become a backbone of the team's success this season.
"I was extremely happy with (the defence) again tonight," Tokesi said after the game.
"We limited their opportunities and didn't let them build any attack."
The plan for the Bulls was to slow down an academy team that has an abundance of two things: youth and speed.
Tokesi conceded that his team might have slowed down things a little too much, especially in the first half.
While the Bulls were able to shut down the QAS attack, that dominance didn't extend itself to the other end of the field.
The result was a 0-0 first half that Tokesi felt good about but one that negated the usually vibrant crowd.
"I was really pleased with the way we shut them down in that first half," Tokesi said.
"Sometimes we slowed the game down too much, but that’s something we've got to work on."
After the halftime break, the Bulls attack started to shift a gear.
It took just three minutes for Wayne Srhoj to get the Bulls on the board, scoring his first goal in FNQ colours.
The former Melbourne Heart midfielder, who has settled into a forward role in the state league, was the recipient of some lead-up work by young guns Nathan Bird and Jamie Carroll.
Carroll, the team's leading goal scorer, also had a major hand in the second goal.
His 76th-minute strike ricocheted off the goal post and into the feet of defender Nathan Davis, who slotted it into the net.
"I think we started to show a bit of what we're capable of in the second half," Tokesi said.
"There are still things we have to work on, but they are a little less evident when you're winning."
The Bulls must next travel to the Sunshine Coast, where the premiers will present one of the toughest challenges of the season.
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On the attack: Matt Murphy of the Bulls looks to outflank the QAS defender at Borzi Park on Saturday night. Picture: JIM HATCHMAN