2024 QAFL Season Preview – Maroochydore

Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend

After being the Cinderella story of the 2021 QAFL season, Maroochydore has narrowly missed finals in the past two seasons.

The Sunshine Coast Roos showed enormous potential in the 2023 off-season and put up some strong challenges against the Sharks, Cats, and Southern Tigers in the opening month to lay a solid platform that it could be a contender.

The middle of the season produced a horror run of defeats with consecutive nine-point losses to Labrador and Broadbeach respectively, a four-point loss to Surfers Paradise and an eight-point loss to Wilston Grange, all in four weeks. Those results derailed the club’s season and made it a tough road to come back from.

Despite a strong run towards the business end of the season, the Roos missed the finals by 1.5 games.

The club continued to produce and develop quality talent, and fans saw the emergence of Sam McLachlan and Ben Thomas as forwards quite capable of supporting Mitch Scholard up forward.

However, like the previous season, the potential was there but it just lacked the run to storm over the top of teams that it was more than capable of beating, which was virtually anyone.


Maroochydore will be led by first-year club coach Steve Wildschut. The new Senior coach has a tremendous coaching resume that commenced in 2001. He has had stints at Aspley, Zillmere, Morningside, and the Brisbane Lions Reserves and Academy teams.

Steve spent time in recruiting and development roles with Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL and Port Adelaide in the AFL. He has had several roles with AFL Queensland.

With Steve coming on board as coach, needless to say, he will add tremendous value and experience to the playing list with a focus on developing younger players and generating the best out of his more experienced players.


– arguably in the top five most exciting players to watch in the QAFL, comes across from Noosa as a dynamic player with elite speed, endurance and capacity to kick plenty of goals. He has kicked 102 goals in the past three seasons in the QAFL including 28 for a team that didn’t win a game all season. The combination of Wilson and Scholard up forward in tandem with Thomas and McLachlan, will certainly have tongues wagging.

ELLIOTT CAVALLARO – Adding more firepower to an all-ready dynamic forward line, he joins the club from Congupna in country Victoria. He won the leading goal kicker for the club with 84 goals and saluted a premiership in 2023. He previously spent two seasons with Altona where he won the leading goal kicker award for two years (63 and 59 goals).

REED MASKELL-DOBBYN – Formerly from Wilston Grange in 2022 and a Sunshine Coast Junior, Reed comes from Mooroopna in the strong Goulburn Valley League in Victoria after a solid season. He has returned home to the QAFL where he looks to play against his old side and one of the Roos’ most phenomenal opponents.

LOCHIE LAING – Returns home to the Roos after spending a season with Lake Boga in the Central Murray Football League. He played 14 games and kicked 24 goals for the season.




According to new coach Wildschut, Ty Gallop, Hudson Vivian and Bailey Hahn are some of the young players to watch in season 2024.

“They were all key players in last year’s Colts premiership side who got a taste of Senior footy last year,” Wildschut says.

“They have all put in big pre-seasons and will look to establish themselves in the core of the Senior team.”



With Wildschut having a tremendous background in development, it comes as no surprise that he looks at nine graduating Colts from last year’s premiership group as X Factors in this team.

“They bring a fresh energy to the team, have experienced premiership success and are bred into the Maroochydore culture,” Wildschut says.



Sam McLachlan – Queensland State Representative and QAFL Team of the Year 2023


With Wildschut new to the position; the expectations are going to be more week-to-week focused.

“Being a new coaching and playing group, we are looking to improve from game-to-game as the year progresses,” Wildschut says.


The opening month will provide a clear indication of where this team is at. A tough game on the road against Redland Victoria Point to start the season follows matches against Morningside, Wilston Grange and Noosa. For this team to contend, it must secure wins in at least two of those games. It has 10 matches against teams who played in finals, facing the Sharks, Lions, Demons and Gorillas twice.

The Roos must wait until Round 13 to face back-to-back reigning premiers Aspley. The run home against Noosa, PBC, Mt Gravatt, Surfers Paradise and Morningside will be massive with potentially all five of those teams jostling with Maroochydore for a place in the top six.



With a new coach at the helm and some key developing young players moulding their presence on the list, this group has enormous potential. Wildschut will have access to arguably the best forward line in the competition and should it remain injury-free will cause headaches for opposition defenders.

There remain two key question marks for this team, the first is being able to control the ruck and the second is being able to finish games better to be on the plus side of single-digit margins.

This team, yet again, has a list capable of playing deep into finals. It would not be a surprise if it reproduced its 2021 form at the business end of the season.

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