The Mt Gravatt versus Palm Beach clash on the Gold Coast could have been viewed as a high pressure bout to determine who gets the place as the team most likely to challenge the Tigers in the finals. The Lions put any questions to bed; they are the challengers this season and they’re on a mission to revenge last year’s grand final result.
Jarryd Douglas was back in full flight, kicking five goals and providing a much needed forward target for Palm Beach. Through the middle it was Dylan Troutman that bobbed up on this occasion, getting his hands on the ball and showing he can be just as dangerous as the other star midfielders around him. Jason Burge put in another of his typical classy performances, despite being closely looked after.
In defence Liam McNeven was also back to his best, running, creating and spoiling in the air.
The Vultures missed the presence of their captain Joe Murphy in the clinches, while Zac Stone and Frazer Neate were impressive, side by side taking on the Palm Beach midfield, they could have used that extra star power and composure around the footy.
They’ve managed to do it again, the Hawks! Another draw. This time it was Surfers Paradise that they went down to the wire with and wow, what a game.
A consistent theme in the 2017 QAFL season is how crucial it is to have a threatening tall target to kick to. The Hawks had one on Saturday in Brendan Forbes, who single handedly kept them in the game, slotting eight massive goals.
Up the other end Isaac Corvo had one of his better games for the year, intercept marking in defence and getting the ball going back in the Hawks direction.
It came down to the final seconds as the Hawks trailed by six points, when Forbes was awarded a free kick from the ruck contest just before the siren blew. Under pressure, the big Hawk went back and converted from 20 meters out on a very slight angle to draw the game.
Jack Prestegar was impressive for the Demons, particularly in the last quarter as he tried to get his side over the line. Prestegar accumulated the footy across half back and took some telling marks. The speedy Paddy Rankin was another important contributor for Surfers, while Danny Green bagged his custom three goals.
Another Hall haul
Barry Hall bagged another four goal haul as the Tigers put on an explosive third quarter effort to blow Broadbeach out of the water.
The Cats got off to an exceptional start with a five goals to two first quarter and held a slim, seven-point lead. The Tigers got going after that and came out of the blocks firing in the third, with two goals to Hall and one to Bryce Retzlaff.
Tiger midfielder Adam Clarke was prolific, hitting the stoppages at speed and delivering the ball with class, while Nick Jackson roamed across half forward and linked up well. In the end the Tigers proved too strong and kicked away to a 23-point win.
Ryan Dienjes was a standout for the Cats, starting in the centre bounces and providing a bigger body and some physicality around the contest. Benji Neal also had a handy day at the office, collecting three goals for his troubles.
Despite the loss, there are some real positive signs for Broadbeach ahead of the finals. After all, finishing up 23-points behind the reigning premiers is not a bad result and they were right in the contest at half time on Labrador’s home deck. Expect the Cats to be serious contenders when the action starts.
A few roads to goal
After quarter time a contrast became evident in the contest between the Western Magpies and Morningside, as the Magpies sorely missed goal kickers Pershouse and De Winter, Panthers forwards Mitchell, Abey and Murray made it clear they planned to wreak havoc.
Though Magpie Gareth Crawford battled away in the midfield, they missed the likes of their ball winning captain Drew Mitchell and Morningside soon gained the ascendancy. After that, the Panthers forwards went to work, with Kent Abey heavily guarded, it was Alex Mitchell on the lead and Ben Murray at ground level that piled on the goals.
Murray was outstanding and his six goal performance, including a few special highlights, adds another element to the Panthers attack as the all-important finals approach.
Panther Ashley Evans was again strong through the middle of the ground, just as Alastair Nash was solid in a defence missing Riley Buntain and Matthew Serrurier.
Magpie Tom Ielasi worked his way into the game and started to have an influence in the second half, though by that point, despite a mini comeback, the game was out of reach.
Given the Magpies have the bye in the last round, their QAFL season has now come to an end and even though they have fallen short of the finals, there is plenty to look forward to from the boys in black and white next year.
By Sean Melrose