A scorching Henry Adams hat trick has rounded out a stellar Sunday for the Nerang Eagles at home, taking all 12 points across four senior games — Coast League and Premier League — which played out against the Runaway Bay Bayhawks at Nerang’s Glennon Park.
In the Football Gold Coast Premier League first grade main event, twenty-year-old Henry Adams torched the Runaway Bay with three clinical goals and an unrelenting hard-work performance stretched across the full 90 minutes.
Adams’ struck early in the first half, sending the Bay keeper to the turf as he easily stepped around and slotted the ball into the net. Later in the game Adams bested the keeper again in a head-to-head goal box challenge to put Nerang ahead 2-1, then finally sealing the game with a chip shot over the scrambling keeper after the Bay keeper was penalised for deliberately kicking the ball into a Nerang player’s back from a free kick — a move which ultimately left him racing unsuccessfully back from the outfield to try and recover his position in time to shut off Nerang’s quick play of the ball and Adams’ lofty shot.
The win cemented the Eagles’ solid second place in the league and secured them a coveted spot in next weekend’s Football Gold Coast President’s Cup final against league leaders Surfers Paradise, joining the Nerang Reserve Grade side who have topped their league table ad the season’s halfway point, also earning them a shot at the mid-season silverware on offer.
The results have put Nerang in a unique position with a very real opportunity to challenge for the double and try to win both the Reserve Grade and Premier First Grade titles in this year’s President’s Cup.
Adams said his flurry of goals were the result of the training regime and work rate his whole squad has put in recently and that the Nerang sides are ready for the Cup finals this Sunday.
“It was great to get the win over Runaway Bay on Sunday, especially under the circumstances with the President’s Cup being next week.
“We knew Runaway Bay would be hard to break down and would get players behind the ball for 90 minutes so it came down to who was going to work harder.
“I was super pleased to put away some goals but I think it just reflects on all of the hard work that the lads have put in over the past few weeks,” said Adams.
The young Eagles playmaker is adamant his side can topple Alex Morrison’s in-form Surfers Paradise outfit on Sunday after the two sides met just weeks ago in a swinging pendulum of a game which saw the only thing separating the sides at full time as the 3-2 scoreline in Surfers Paradise’s favour.
Surfers Paradise will be licking their wounds after their extra-time defeat against NPL outfit Sunshine Coast Wanderers on Sunday, which knocked Surfers out of the FFA Cup.
Adams is confident they’ll be able to pull out a winning performance and says it’s time to settle the score with their Surfers Paradise foe.
“The squad has gelled really well this season under Lee [Vernon] and going into next week we have to keep working hard at training to make sure we can be more consistent across 90 minutes and take it to Surfers like we did last fixture.
“The lads are still disappointed with our 3-2 loss last time and we’re out for revenge, that’s for sure.”
Nerang Eagles club President, Fred Stone, has been thrilled with his Premier League squads’ recent performances, saying that the right combination of youth and experience is finally coming into fruition at the club.
“I’m extremely happy with the way they are performing on and off the field,” said Stone.
“Signing Lee Vernon has been beneficial to the club and this has helped to bring our academy and senior squads closer together.
“Lee has put together a mixture of experience with youth and I believe that over the next couple of years both squads will only get better to become the teams to beat.”
The club, which celebrates 50 years here on the Gold Coast next year, now stands in one of its best positions for some time and it’s not just this weekend’s President’s Cup that’s on the Eagles’ radar with Stone saying they already have their sights keenly fixed on the 2021 Premier League grand final.
“While winning the Cup this Sunday would be a great achievement and testament to how far Lee and his assistants have worked to get the team to where they are now, we have 9 rounds left in the season and our main goal is to finish in the top two at the end of this season — we want to win the grand final.”
Nerang head coach Lee Vernon said he is pleased with his side prevailing over Runaway Bay and is acutely aware of his teams’ positions heading into the President’s Cup.
With a chance to put two titles into the Nerang Clubhouse trophy cabinet this Sunday, Vernon admits he is leaving nothing to chance with a focussed week of training and preparations ahead.
“Obviously [today] was a massive day for the club — to get both teams into the President’s Cup is huge and maybe the lads felt the pressure of that a little bit, knowing that we needed a win and that a draw or a loss wasn’t good enough,” said Vernon.
“I think we’ve got lots of upside in a number of different areas, and I certainly think we’ve got a lot of upside from our last game against Surfers Paradise — I learned a lot that day and we know as a team and as individuals there’s things we can do better so hopefully we can do that next week.
“The work rate of Henry and Seb [Robbemond] has been outstanding, it really allows some of the other players a little bit more freedom and more space to play in … unfortunately we’ve lost Harry King [out with illness] so shout out to him — we got the three points for him today.”
Other in-form Nerang players recently have been Michael Roussakis and Leon Bell solid in defence, Harvey Rivers formidable and vocal between the posts and the large presence of Adam Powell playing from box to box and commanding the middle of the park.
Nerang will be looking to swoop and scoop up both trophies at the Football Gold Coast President’s Cup grand finals, which will be held this Sunday 30th of May at Lex Bell Oval in Isle of Capri.
The President’s Cup sees the Premier League competition leaders and second place teams at the middle point of the season face off in a winner-takes-all final, and is typically seen as a bellwether event giving punters a good look at how the results may lean in deciding the top teams for the year.
The Reserve Grade match is at 1:30pm with Nerang facing a hungry Southport Warriors side, and the main First Grade final between Surfers Paradise Apollo and Nerang Eagles kicks off at 4pm in what’s certain to be a high profile match with neither side looking to hold back in their pursuit of the trophy.