By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
Reigning defending QAFL premiership champions Broadbeach are still the toast of the Senior Men’s competition.
Fresh off an incredible Grand Final win over Maroochydore in the battle of the Gold and Sunshine Coast (leaving supporters of Brisbane clubs to pick an allegiance); the Cats are on track for back-to-back Premierships.
2021 was a season to remember. Fans will look back to the game against Morningside in the second round as a major defining clash. After trailing the reigning premiers in a re-match of the 2020 decider on their home turf, Brad Lowe (four goals) and Liam Nelson led the charge with eight unanswered goals from the Cats in the middle quarters to set up a nine-goal win. This put the rest of the competition on notice.
A gritty win over Surfers Paradise several weeks later added another key scalp for the Cats that paved the way for major wins over Wilston Grange (54-points), Mt Gravatt (84-points), Noosa (113-points) and Palm Beach Currumbin (51-points) as the team looked unstoppable.
Redland-Victoria Point tipped Broadbeach over in Round 11; and losses to Labrador and Sherwood (a team that it had beaten by 17-goals in Round 3) started to cause major concerns for its premiership hopes.
17 second half goals from 28 scoring shots against Wilston Grange in a mammoth 128-point win gave Broadbeach the tonic it needed to resurrect its season.
The thrilling four-point win over Labrador in the Semi-finals after a month’s delay due to COVID was nothing short of inspiring. Broadbeach advanced to the Grand Final having played just one game in 63 days (nine weeks).
To come out and play like it did against the in-form team in the competition, Maroochydore and win the premiership in the circumstances that it had was something memorable in itself. With Jordan Moncrieff winning the league best and fairest and Josh Searl being crowned a premiership captain after the disappointment 12-months earlier; it really was a season to remember.
Reigning QAFL Senior Men’s Premiership coach Craig O’Brien will continue in his third season at the club. His past two seasons in the role have produced a Grand Final team; and a Premiership team; further adding more hype and excitement around the club with him in charge.
O’Brien played 114 AFL games for Essendon, St Kilda and Sydney forward (1996 Grand Final player) previously coached Broadbeach from 2003-05; coached Palm Beach Currumbin to two premierships in 2007 and 2009; and coached the Yeppoon Swans from 2014-2018.
Success has appeared to follow O’Brien across his coaching career but he cannot achieve it without the quality hope of the coaching staff around him. O’Brien will receive support from the following assistants –
Peter Hill (Snr Assistant)
Matt Gambell (Defence)
Matt Lloyd (Mids)
Scott Abercrombie (Oppo Ananlysis + Strategy)
Regan Sheehan (Bench Coach)
Brad Lynch – joins from Southport in the VFL after playing three seasons for the Western Bulldogs in the AFL from 2018-20. Lynchy has slotted in beautifully to the team and provides great on field leadership through the midfield and wing.
Sam Barnett – dangerous midfielder with VFL experience (Footscray) and relocating from Victoria.
Nathan McHugh – key Defender who will be able to shut down opposition players relocating from the Kangaroo Flat in the Bendigo Football Netball League where he played regular Senior football while still eligible to play Under 18s.
Callaway Parker – young gun who is coming off a league medal in Townsville. Versaltile player with plenty of skill.
Oscar McKinley – from Sandhurst in the Bendigo Football Netball League who is an explosive midfielder and will hurt the opposition by hitting the scoreboard.
Jarrod Harbrow – the name speaks for itself, AFL experience (262 games for Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast) and will help the Cats’ younger brigade in 2022.
Tyrone Armitage – retires after winning a Premiership for the Cats last season. Kicked an early goal in the first quarter that ignited the spark for his team en-route to a premiership.
YOUNG PLAYERS TO WATCH COMING UP THROUGH THE COLTS THAT COULD PLAY SENIOR FOOTBALL
Brad Lowe – kicked two goals and was one of the best for the Cats in the 2021 Premiership. Kicked four goals in a best on ground performance in the 2020 Grand Final re-match; a performance and a team result that sparked the Cats’ dynamic start to the 2021 season.
EXPECTATIONS ON THE SEASON AHEAD
”We expect a very solid season ahead. The competition has gone up another level and we believe we have lifted with it. We’ll be aiming to stay on top of the mountain at the end of 2022.” – Craig O’Brien
OPPOSITION TO WATCH AND WHY
”It is a bit of unknown with the opposition from week to week with COVID and unavailability. We just have to beat who is in front of us each week.” – O’Brien
TEAM/S LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING MOST AND WHY
“We look forward to playing the Gold Coast derbies, they are always cracking games with big crowds.” – O’Brien
PLAYER TO WATCH FROM YOUR TEAM
PLAYER TO WATCH FROM THE OPPOSITION
Cam Ellis Yolmen – crosses to minor premiers Labrador after playing with Adelaide and the Brisbane Lions.
The Cats will be the hunted of a revamped, greater hyped 2022 QAFL season. With the growth of interest in the competition externally and attracting interest from quality players from around the country, this team will be made to work incredibly hard in its Premiership defence.
There is one thing that Craig O’Brien has been well known for in his AFL playing career and his coaching career; it’s that he loves a challenge and he is prepared to rise to the occasion. With more depth and talent added to this list, this group of players is embarking on a dynasty unlike anything that this club has seen before, and perhaps this improved and growing competition has ever seen.
With talent across every line; don’t be surprised to see some players start the season better than the last. Lucas Jellyman Turner has had a stellar season in the Northern Territory Football League; and as of writing, is playing in the Grand Final for that competition.
He will rejoin the group that is ready to go and will embrace the challenge of anyone that wants to take their place on top of the QAFL throne.