Under the microscope
Morningside co-captain Matt Logan described himself during the pre-season as getting a bit ‘long in the tooth,’ but we’re not buying it for a second. The old timer looked to be moving well in a practice match against the Western Magpies and had the ball on a string.
The Panthers will be up against Palmy in their first game and the performance of Logan will be important for Morningside against the grand finalists. He brings experience and does the right things with ball in hand.
Demon’s goal kicker Daniel Green will have all eyes on him too, when he lines up against Labrador on Saturday. The Surfers spearhead averaged an incredible 4.4 goals a game and the Gold Coast crowd will be waiting to see if he can roll his form into 2017.
The sky lounge
Western Magpies co-captain Drew Mitchell may need to get a sky lounge pass laminated for this year, the bulldozing inside midfielder is ‘flying’ after a solid pre-season hit-out against the Panthers. Mitchell just goes about his business and looks like he’ll be a consistent performer this season.
Grogan medalist Jesse Derrick from the Lions had an incredible year in 2016 and with more midfield support around him is set to explode in round one. The tall, skillful midfielder is in great shape heading into the real stuff and is sure to draw attention from the Morningside brigade when the ball is bounced on Saturday.
The danger zone
The Surfers Paradise defenders are in the danger zone this week. The boys in the Demon’s back half are going head to head with a Labrador forward line fresh off the back of a premiership and a strong pre-season. If the likes of Bryce Retzlaff and Jake Goldsmith get off the chain, it could be a long day for the Demons. Last year ‘Retzy’ kicked 58 goals and Goldsmith chimed in with 27 of his own.
Both Mt Gravatt and the Western Magpies are around that group of teams that pundits believe will be fighting it out for the last place in the finals. They ended up right next to each other on the ladder in 2016 and these two teams will be close again this season.
Both teams over the pre-season said they wanted to move the ball quickly and give their forwards a chance, so we could witness a high-scoring game in round one with plenty of outside run. The players better have their running boots ready.
The Magpies have always been a strong contested footy side, so it’ll be interesting to see if Vultures play on at all costs to try open the game up. We could have an old fashioned blockbuster on our hands and much of it will be determined in the coach’s box.
Way back when
Western Magpies got the better of Mt Gravatt in round 10 of the 2016 season, 105 to 74 on the Pies home deck, so they’ll be thinking they’ve got the upper hand against the Vultures in the build up to Saturday.
Morningside fans won’t want to remember, but the last time they played Palm Beach Currumbin was in round 12 last season and the Lions ran out 73 point victors. Saturday brings with it an opportunity for atonement.
The Sandgate Hawks may have come out on top last ANZAC day, but when these two met later on in round 15, Grange won a close, nine-point encounter.
In ANZAC round last year Surfers Paradise thumped Labrador by a sizable 75 points, so the Demons will feel like they’re in with a chance against the Tigers on the weekend.
Match of the round
Lest we forget
Tuesday is one of the most important days of the year, not just for footy, but on a national level as well. One of the great things about this time of year, before paying respects at the ANZAC day parade and downing a few ANZAC biscuits, is the way football, in some small way, serves as a medium for showing our appreciation for those who served.
Outside of the grand final, this is the biggest game of the home and away season and in the lead up to Monday night, all involved, from the players to the volunteers and administrators, will be looking forward to a massive contest between the Gorillas and the Hawks on ANZAC eve.
In the middle there will be a battle of influence, between the wrecking ball, Steve Brittain, and the possession machine, Tom Overington. It’s a critical match up that will determine who’s going to get first use of the footy. The Gorillas are probably the favorite heading into the clash, but as we know, Sandgate love to get up and perform on the big stage.
The first quarter will be important on such a momentous occasion; the team with composure under the finals-like atmosphere will have a distinct advantage heading into the first break. Clean hands will be crucial in the early stages.
Throughout the season we’ll be tracking down the coach of the bye team, to get their insight on the round’s key matchups, games to watch and notable points.
Broadbeach have the bye this week, so Cats coach Brett Andrews will be heading along to the Demons Tigers clash, ahead of his team’s meeting with Surfers in round two. Andrews talked about that game, as well as his ‘game to watch,’ the Morningside PBC matchup.
Andrews reckons Surfers remain a bit of a mystery before round one, just because of the number of list changes during the off-season, he was sure however, that Demons defender Brody Haberfield would have his “work cut out for him,” against the Tigers forward line.
Brett’s had a good look at Labrador, having played them in the pre-season, if anything he says Labrador has become a “bit quicker across the ground,” compared to last year.
Speaking about the Demons defense and their chances against the Tigers he said, “defensively they (Surfers) are always good though.”
Morningside will be taking on Palm Beach at Jack Esplen Oval, in an interesting match that will reveal a lot about the two teams. The Panthers looked in good shape against the Magpies and Hawks in the pre-season and the Lions have recruited extensively, bringing in some more size.
“Not just bigger bodies, but bigger bodies with skill. They’ll be hard to beat down at Salk Oval,” said Andrews, talking about the Lions prospects this year.
Mt Gravatt vs. Western Magpies
Morningside vs. Palm Beach Currumbin
Surfers Paradise vs. Labrador
Wilston Grage vs. Sandgate
By Sean Melrose