MATCH OF THE ROUND
Mt Gravatt vs. Surfers Paradise
Saturday May 28, 2:00pm, Dittmer Park
LIVE BLOG FROM 1:45pm
When two of the most in-form teams in the competition meet on the back of good wins, you just know it’s going to be a corker.
Five wins each, three percentage points separating them, both coming off big wins, the tale of the tape reads like the perfect script.
Both teams pride themselves on how they take off from the contest, so it’s going to be a battle of who can find space out the back and catch a team on transition.
The sticking point of this head-to-head will be in the Mt Gravatt forward line.
If one or two of Moncur, Estall or Crawley can kick a handful, Surfers are going to find it very hard to get up.
But, if they can shut down the Mt Gravatt forward 50, like they did against Wilston Grange last week, their run in waves will be hard to stop.
Hamill x 2, against Pope and Haberfield will also be unreal.
Both teams play a brand of footy that leaves them a little exposed on transition, so this one could be very high scoring.
I can’t wait, making sure your watching the blog.
Where it will be won: Mt Gravatt’s forward influence
Labrador vs. Broadbeach
Saturday May 28, 2:00pm, Cooke-Murphy Oval
If you think Labrador will be taking Broadbeach lightly, think again.
It was the Cats who ended the Tigers 11 game-winning streak last year.
But it is 2016 now, and the circumstances are different.
Labrador and slowly finding their feet. A good win over Sandgate has put them well and truly back on the map.
The Clarke brothers have been excellent, and Goldsmith looks in good touch. Their run is back.
The Cats were dealt a huge blow last week with the loss of Ryan Pantic to a knee injury for the year. He is a star.
The key for them this week is the first 30 minutes. They cannot afford to be slow out of the blocks; it is what has been killing them this year.
It’s going to take a mighty performance to get up, but they are more than capable if they confidence levels are up and about early.
It’s going to be tough in the middle; the Brennan and Hollis battle in the ruck will be one to watch, but I just think Labrador have too much class in the middle and forward for the Cats this week.
Where it will be won: midfield battle
Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Wilston Grange
Saturday May 28, 2:00pm, Salk Oval
It’s probably not the best week for Palm Beach to play Grange, they always seem to respond pretty ferociously after a loss.
Having said that, Palm Beach is tracking along that well at this stage, it would take a remarkable effort to go with them for four quarters.
They have been on the ropes a couple of times this year, but their fitness late, and confidence to get the game on their terms has been supreme.
If Woolley, Thynne or Jesse Derrick get off the chain, look out.
For Wilston Grange Brittain has been named, so he will be huge in if fit.
The length of Nixon-Smith’s game will be important, and Henry Leong back on a wing is more than ideal.
The Gorillas need to control the tempo of this. They can’t let it become a shootout; it won’t end well.
Palm Beach will look to get outside, use their foot skills, and hit the go button.
Where it will be won: Controlling the stoppages.
UQ vs. Sandgate
Saturday May 28, 2:00pm, Field 9
Both teams will go into this one with a real sniff, which we can’t always say.
They will go in confident that there best wins this week, but it needs to be there best, nothing less.
The biggest determining factor in how this one plays out, is how clean each team is going forward.
They are both capable of winning the footy and controlling the tempo, but it’s about hitting targets going forward.
Sandgate will start favorites, deservingly so, but the first quarter is going to be really important for the belief in both sides.
Connor Stackelberg and Liam Rutledge are going to cause headaches for a UQ backline without Powyer, and Sandgate’s midfield of Aden Rutledge, Overington, Taylor will be hard at it.
But Sandgate will have to keep a very close eye on George Hannaford, who looked in great nick at Queensland training on Wednesday, as well as Milford and Tagell up forward.
It’s a great opportunity for both these teams to bank a win this weekend, but two doesn’t go into one.
Where it will be won: foot skills
Western Magpies vs. Morningside
Sunday May 29, 2:00pm, Chelmer
Both of these teams have a lot at stake here.
For Morningside, until last weekend, two losses in a row hasn’t occurred in three years. Three would be unheard of.
For the Magpies, it’s the first real test new coach Nathan Clarke will face.
At home, after a settling game last week to begin to get his head around things, the time is now if they want to play finals.
Staker will miss the next month or so with a hamstring strain, and Val Pope hasn’t been named, so the Magpies will go in a little smaller in the forward line.
That will mean Scott should spend the majority of his time up forward… although, he was the difference down back when Morningside beat the Magpies late last year.
The Panthers have to finish strong this week. Their forth quarters have been their weakness over the last month.
They need the senior heads like Logan Russ and Nash to take control late, and make sure it is on their terms.
They would love to see Abey and Mueller kick a bag as well.
Both teams will look to use the corridor when they can, so it’s going to be played straight down the guts.
Will be a Sunday classic.
Where it will be won: transition.
150-year fact – Queensland Football Forensics
The Sherwood club was formed in 1956. The Magpies enjoyed a brilliant period when they won ten of the thirteen SQAFA premierships contested from 1970 to 1982, including the last eight straight. A concerted effort to join the QAFL competition finally yielded success when the club joined the ‘big time’ in 1983, the same year that Southport were admitted. After a brief merger with Western Districts as West Brisbane in the mid-1990s – a liaison that yielded the 1996 QAFL premiership – the club became known as the Western Magpies.
The club history ‘In Black and White’ was published in 2011, and the front cover of the book is shown.
Remember, 24 hours after the game, match replays will be available to view HERE. No excuses not to be all over the ins and outs of the QAFL in 2016.
By Andrew Wiles