So the story goes
It’s an old adage in Australian football, that West Australian footballers cover the ground well. Mostly, they say, it’s because the grounds are bigger on the West Coast. There’s an opportunity now, to see how this old saying holds up, when the best of the QAFL meet the best of the WAAFL.
If West Australians are hard running, then what are Queenslanders? According to QAFL coach Wayne Brittain, it’s physicality and fitness, which is what he loves about Queensland footy.
“Someone can’t just come up and earn a cheap dollar and get an easy kick of the footy. If they want an easy kick of the footy, they’ll have to go somewhere else. They have to earn their kicks and they have to get themselves reasonably fit to play well in games of footy up here,” said Brittain.
Conditions permitting, the key pillars may have a big say in the way this one plays out. The battle between the strong-bodied QAFL forwards like Alexander Mitchell and Bryce Retzlaff and the likes of defender and WAAFL captain Jake Colvin. It will be interesting to see if Colvin can use his great footy brain, to read the play and chop off the supply to the dangerous QAFL forwards.
WAAFL’s Jake Colvin.
QAFL’s Bryce Retzlaff.
Young guns and wily old foxes
Given that the WAAFL side is an Under 23 team, there could be some concern from the West Australians about going up against the mature Queensland bodies. According to WAAFL coach Clint Testa though, it’s more of an advantage than a problem.
“With the young group, what I found last year and certainly what I’ve found this year, is just their willingness to learn is what kind of gets us working as well as we do together,” said Testa.
“The chemistry in the group is really good.”
The theory is that the young guns follow suit and don’t ask questions, while the wily old foxes like to play the game their way. Come game day, part of the story told will be about which team gels and which team has players that are just chasing a kick.
In any contest, much is made about the midfield battle and why not? That’s where it all starts. When the first ball is bounced, it’s all about who is going to give their team first use of the footy.
Andrew Vawser is the one for the WAAFL; he loves getting the hard ball and doesn’t mind getting a bit of attention on the footy field. If he’s getting his hands on the footy it could prove dangerous for the QAFL, who’ll want to prevent him from breaking away and getting out into space, where he can use his speed.
Steve Brittain has to get a mention, just off the back of his ability to impact the game in so many different ways. In the midfield he can win the contested footy and knock the opposition around like bowling pins, but send him forward and he’ll use his big frame to hold out his opponent while he takes marks and kicks goals. If any of the bigger bodies are going to be an issue for the WAAFL players, it’s probably going to be this one.
WAAFL’s Andrew Vawser
QAFL’s Steve Brittain
Way back when
Last time these two leagues went at it, they did so in torrential rain for much of the game, which many thought would suit the bigger Queensland bodies, but it wasn’t to be. The WAAFL ran out winners 10.6.66 to 6.16.52, after making the most of their opportunities in the second half.
A point of note though, is that the West Australians did get off to a slow start, something that’s to be expected from a team that needed to travel so far. It remains to be seen if history will repeat itself, but the WAAFL side will need to make sure their head is in the game from the first bounce.
By Sean Melrose