2024 QAFL Season Preview – Broadbeach

By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend

The stage is set for Broadbeach to craft a new path in the post-Craig O’Brien era. After securing a long-awaited premiership under his reign, new incoming coach Danny Nolan will have his time to craft a new piece of history for the Cats at Subaru Oval.

Broadbeach had a disappointing end to its 2023 campaign when it succumbed to Wilston Grange at home in the Semi Finals in arguably the best match of the entire season. After leading by 22-points at half-time, it was overrun in the second half to have its season end by six-points.

The 2021 premiers and 2022 Grand Finalists produced a stellar 2023 season that started with an epic draw in the 2022 Grand Final re-match in the season-opener and a 47-point win against the 2022 premiers at home in Round 16.

Losses to Mt Gravatt and Morningside hurt the Cats in the middle part of the season but the fact that it was able to take down Redland-Victoria Point on the final sprint towards finals made it them the only team to beat both eventual 2023 Grand Finalists for the entire season.

The club gave a Senior debut to 16-year-old Leo Lombard in the Round 7 win over Labrador and four months later became the most talked about junior in the country where he kicked a goal in Gold Coast’s VFL premiership win at Ikon Park. Lombard crossed to the Cats in the off-season last year from Burleigh and under the guidance of the club, became a house-hold name across the country; a massive plus-side for this football club.

To top it off, Kwaby Boakye secured the highest individual honour in the QAFL when he took home the Grogan Medal as best Senior player in the competition.


Danny Nolan joins the club in his first year as Senior coach. Nolan coached Heidelberg to the 2022 premiership in the Northern Football League. He became a vital cog in the club’s dynasty as a player with 276 goals across 187 games and played in five premierships across six seasons at the club. He won four best and fairest awards as a player and took that ability into his coaching where he made an instant impact.

Nolan was no stranger to success in the Northern Territory either, playing in five premierships for the all-conquering St Mary’s Football Club.


COREY HITCHCOCK – Crosses over from Subiaco in the WAFL. Played in the Reserves-losing Preliminary final side in 2023 after several appearances in the Seniors. Can kick goals and win lots of the ball.

JACK HAGGAR – Fresh off a Senior premiership with Turvey Park in the Riverina Football Netball League in Victoria. He has played his entire career with the club and makes the jump to the Cats to showcase his great ability.

BEN KELLY – Former Coates Talent League product with the Murray Bushrangers who is a brilliant tap ruckman. With plenty of size (203cm) and strength, he was noticed by recruiters where he was part of the 2019 Under 18 National Championships for the Allies. He crosses from Albury in the Ovens and Murray league.

CHARLIE HARMELIN – Joins the club from the Peel Thunder in the WAFL and previously played with Mt Eliza in the Mornington Peninsula Football Netball League in Victoria where he played as a junior.

KIRK LOWER – Crosses from South West Sydney Blues in the AFL Sydney competition not only fresh off a premiership win over the Camden Cats, but also securing the medal for best afield. Previously spent time at the Wollongong Bulldogs and North Shore Bombers.

BAILEY WOOD – A young player that crosses from the Riverina Football League where he played at Leeton Whitton and Coolamon Rovers. Can kick goals.

JAKE WOOD – A young gun who crosses from the Belmont Lions at AFL Barwon. He is a handy player who can find the goals.


James Gledhill – retired
Lachlan Huppatz
Sam Jasper
Brad Lowe
Max Lower


Jonah Semmler is maturing and developing nicely as a quality Senior footballer across the back half of the ground.


It is impossible to ignore reigning Grogan Medal winner Kwaby Boakye who was nothing short of sublime.


Kasey Nicholas and Jacob Townsend impressed in their first seasons at the club in 2023, commanding multiple key roles and leading the team from both ends of the ground.


“I’m really excited to take over a successful Craig O’Brien era. It’s an amazing club with a fantastic environment, but there is plenty of change with a whole new coaching structure and really young group.

We will embrace our massive junior program and promote within.

There have been high standards set, but I certainly can’t complain about the player’s attitude. We are expecting good things, but we will see where we are at after a few weeks into the season. We are set for super exciting times ahead.”
– Danny Nolan


The Cats play nine games against the 2023 finalists. The new opening round show-down against Aspley at Graham Road in the opening round will be exciting with two new coaches taking over their respective clubs and both who have coached the past three QAFL Senior premierships. That match alone will signal a new era for both clubs and indeed the QAFL.

The first few months will be tough for the Cats with matches against Labrador, Morningside, Wilston Grange, Surfers Paradise, Palm Beach Currumbin, Redland-Victoria Point and Aspley in that stretch. Given the changes on and off the field for most of these teams, you wouldn’t want to be a betting person to predict just how this will unfold.

One thing is for certain is that Broadbeach fans will experience a lot of close games across the season and each game will be box-office.


Craig O’Brien has a worthy successor in place with a person who has played in and coached numerous premierships. Success follows Nolan and he will aim to do that again with a list that doesn’t lack quality.

We’ll see lots of excitement surrounding the Cats at Subaru Oval and this group will expect to contest again. There is a bit of the unknown with several Senior personnel departing from the group in the off-season, but the recruits add some valuable depth.

With Taine Dawson expected to feature more prominently in the VFL, perhaps the ruck combination of Riley Bowman and Ben Kelly would be the best ruck duo in the QAFL and set this group for immediate success.

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