Wounded Tigers and speedy Cats
Labrador vs. Broadbeach
Sat 16 Sep, Cooke-Murphy Oval 2.00 pm
If ever there was a time Broadbeach would have wanted to play Labrador, to catch them unawares, it wouldn’t have been this week. Not now, after the Tigers have been humbled by their top of the table rivals Palm Beach Currumbin, losing their first game in over a year. Labrador will be out for redemption and that’s putting it mildly . . .
The big Tigers forwards last week had trouble preventing their more nimble counterparts running off and creating drive for their opposition, while at the other end, their key defender in Wayde Mills was tagged out of the contest.
The Cats could do far worse than employing similar tactics to Palm Beach, for one the Cats have the speed to carry it out, but they also have enough depth to allow some players to sacrifice their game to shut down the likes of Mills and Co.
It’s easier said than done though; these Tigers have still only lost six of their last 37 games in the past two seasons. They haven’t lost two in a row since rounds three and four last season. These are the numbers of an incredibly strong and experienced side that really don’t like to lose.
“I don’t know whether redemption’s the right word. It’s do or die isn’t it?” said Labrador coach Aaron Shattock.
“At the end of the day it’s do or die and it’s the first time we’ve found ourselves in that position this year.
“If that doesn’t lift you, nothing will.”
According to the Tigers coach Eddie Sansbury will be a point of focus for them, after his massive six goal showing last week against Morningside.
“It’s pretty obvious that he’s pretty important to their forward line,” said Shattock.
“He doesn’t miss too many does he?”
Broadbeach coach Brett Andrews is well aware the Tigers are dangerous on the rebound and the Cats are preparing accordingly.
“We’re going to have to beat them at their best I think,” said Andrews.
“We’ve got pace and they’ve got height, so we’ve really got to control the footy and take them on.”
Broadbeach have plenty of young players that don’t mind ‘taking em on’ as Andrews said, particularly Jesse Esam, Kelly Kaugla, Hapeo Bobogi and Jason Sharp, can all really make tacklers miss. Having said that, there are tacklers and then there’s Labrador’s Zach Brain in another league, so the silky Cats will need to be wary of the rampaging Tiger through the middle.
David King has been named, despite being under an injury cloud for the Cats, the big defender looks likely to get the job on one of Barry Hall or Bryce Retzlaff and either player looms as a huge challenge. King will need plenty of help from his teammates Jason Sharp, Jesse Esam or Connor Nutting if he goes down back. The Cats ability to zone off and help out in defense will go a long way to determining the outcome of the game.
What makes this cracker of a contest even more exciting is the young talent out on display, set to go head to head. One matchup that sticks out is Jacob Kenny from the Tigers against Connor Nutting from the Cats, if the two cross paths, which looks likely to happen, it will be a fascinating one to watch. Kenny has the flexibility to go with Nutting, who’s been in incredible form the past few weeks and looks like a genuine draft chance.
Through the middle, 16-year-old Connor Budarick is another one to watch for Labrador, the young Tiger plays with composure beyond his years and can be damaging with the footy if he starts to rack ‘em up. Jack O’Shea and Kelly Kaugla are two from the Cats that could stand beside the young Tiger on match day on occasion, setting the stage for some electric contests.
The stakes are high and both felines are hungry, all that remains is finding out which side gets to chew on a grand final berth.
Tip: Labrador by 40 points
QAFL coaches weigh in
Steve Wildschut (Morningside): Labrador by 13 points
Troy Moncur (Mt Gravatt): Labrador by 7 points in extra time
Brydan Morgan (Western Magpies): Labrador by 22 points
Brad Moore (Surfers Paradise): Labrador by 27 points
Nathan Clarke (Wilston Grange): Broadbeach by 12 points
Graham Adams (Sandgate): Broadbeach by 20 points
Labrador vs. Broadbeach
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By Sean Melrose