Match of the Round
Morningside vs. Surfers Paradise. Live blog: http://www.aflq.com.au/morningside-vs-surfers-paradise/
Point to prove
No two ways about it, Morningside had a slip up last week against Mt Gravatt. Things just didn’t go according to the script they had written, as the Vultures continued on their merry way. The game left Mt Gravatt looking like a serious finals contender and left the Panthers . . . with a point to prove.
Morningside are set to face the young Surfers, who recently copped a big loss at the hands of the Western Magpies but have had some time to freshen up with the bye.
The Demons also have a point of their own to push, not wanting to taper off at the end of the season after some terrific performances and show with three rounds to go that they can mix it with the heavyweights.
While the Panthers will miss flexible tall defender Riley Buntain, they’re pretty well stocked at either end of the ground with Serrurier and Nash holding down the back fifty and Kent Abey, along with Alex Mitchell up front. It’s through the middle with the likes of Lachlan Dignan, Ashley Evans and Matthew Logan, that Morningside will need to up their game to threaten when the serious stuff starts.
All year the Demons have taken the run and gun approach, allowing them to compete with most sides, but it can also mean getting scored against heavily when the ball is turned over. Paddy Rankin and Kain Ford have serious wheels through the middle and half back, as does Rene Lefeuvre, usually hanging around half forward. If they can get going and move the footy with real speed it could be panic stations for the Panthers.
Road to Brisbane
Labrador, along with Surfers and Broadbeach will be making the trip to Brisbane this weekend in a round designed to celebrate the Brisbane versus Gold Coast rivalry.
The undefeated Tigers will meet the Western Magpies, a side with mixed form in recent weeks after a big win over Surfers, but a disappointing loss against Palm Beach Currumbin.
Labrador got out of jail last week against the seventh placed Wilston Grange with goals in the dying minutes, begging the question as to whether the time has arrived for the mighty Tigers to finally drop a game.
The Magpies will go into the game without tall target Charlie Pershouse due to injury; unfortunate timing with matchups to consider against two of the competitions best defenders in Jayden Young and Wayde Mills.
The clash is setup as another fantastic one for those who like to keep an eye on young talent with Caleb Franks lining up for the Magpies and the likes of Cooper Portelli and Charlton Offermans playing for Labrador.
Can they go again?
Wilston Grange has battled through a difficult back half of the season with the injury ghost striking and players becoming unavailable. Still, the Gorillas managed to take the contest right up to the reigning premiers just a week ago, in an incredible effort.
They get the opportunity to go again against Broadbeach, though they’ll need to do it without the steadying influence of Mark Desousa through the midfield. Desousa has had an exceptional season for the Gorillas and been one of their standout players, grabbing the contested footy and feeding his teammate. It’s a big loss.
On the flipside, Broadbeach get back a gun midfielder in Luke Shreeve. After coming in and out with injury a few times this season, the Cats’ finals prospects look much brighter with him in the side.
Under the radar
Mt Gravatt full forward Sam Stubbs is sneaking up on Labrador’s Bryce Retzlaff in the overall goal kicking and sits just five behind the big Tiger.
‘Stubbsy’ is every chance to kick a bag this weekend when the Vultures take on the Hawks at Dittmer Park and edge even closer.
Now that ‘Creepy’ Crawley is grabbing games by the scruff of the neck at centre half forward, Stubbs has been a clear beneficiary getting into the space created and hitting the scoreboard.
On form the Vultures are clear favorites, but this season has shown that any team is capable on the right day. The Hawks will miss Cody Stackelberg, out with injury, so will need monster performances out of the imposing Brendan Forbes, skipper Aaron Fabian and mobile tall Isaac Corvo.
Lions coach Chad Owens has the bye this week, so dropped in to lend some of his thoughts on Round 16’s clashes. On paper a few of the games might look lopsided, but according to Owens there could be some close contests.
“I don’t think form is a really good indicator this year, because if you look at Labrador and Wilston Grange last week, anything can happen on the day,” said Owens.
“Wilston Grange and Broadbeach I think is going to be a really close game.
“It all depends on who Broadbeach have available as well, I think they’ve had a few injuries of late.”
Though Morningside sit in fifth position and Surfers in eighth, Owens thinks the contest could be close, but that experience will likely win out.
“Surfers Paradise beat Morningside earlier in the year,” he said.
“I would think that now the younger bodies of Surfers are starting to get a little bit tired. I would expect the mature bodies of Morningside to win that one.”
It’s a similar story with the Western Magpies, who are up against the undefeated Tigers.
“I think the season might have taken a toll on some of their (Western Magpies) younger bodies,” said the Lions coach.
“I’d expect Labrador to come back pretty hard, I think last week would have been a good wake up call for Labrador.”
Where the Sandgate versus Mt Gravatt clash is concerned, Owens is expecting the underdog Hawks to play some tough football.
“Sandgate certainly won’t shy away from the contest,” said Owens.
“I can’t see them (Mt Gravatt) loosing though.”
Wilston Grange vs. Broadbeach
Download Footy Record: Gorillas vs Cats Round 16
Western Magpies vs. Labrador
Download Footy Record: Magpies vs Tigers Round 16
Mt Gravatt vs. Sandgate
Download Footy Record: Vultures vs Hawks Round 16
Morningside vs. Surfers Paradise
Download Footy Record: Panthers vs Demons Round 16
By Sean Melrose