2024 QAFL Season Preview – Surfers Paradise

By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend

If there is one team in the Senior Men’s QAFL competition that is on the hunt for redemption, Surfers Paradise is first in line.

After a 2023 season that promised so much, it took 40-minutes of football to bring it crashing down. The home Elimination Final against Wilston Grange produced one of the most stunning first halves of the season with the visitors leading the highly fancied home team by 48-points mid-way through the second term.

While Surfers Paradise responded and almost clawed its way to an unlikely victory in the second half, it bowed out of the finals’ race by six-points.

Under first-year coach and former AFL star Matt Lappin, the 2019 premiers produced a stunning season, winning 12 games. The biggest concern however was that it lost six games to the eventual top six by 24-points or less and won five games by two-goals or less across the season. Its biggest loss of the season came against Broadbeach by four-goals.

The evidence of being a gritty team was there for all to see; one that would dig deep and stay in contests – the Elimination Final was proof of this, but when Lappin and his crew looked back on the year, it would have been looked as a genuine missed opportunity.

It beat one side who finished in the top six during the home and away season; Wilston Grange by 28-points, something that may not have been achieved by an eventual finalist since Maroochydore in 2021 when it won its way through to a Grand Final with a miracle string of performances.

After one season in the job, Lappin and his group know that it needs to contest games for an extra five-minutes and that may be the difference between winning or losing five games against quality teams.


Matthew Lappin goes into his second season in the top job. His football credentials are well known with over 250 games at the top level, team leading goal kicker, mark of the year winner and a member of St Kilda’s 1997 Grand Final team. He is a smart operator with a great team around him.


ZAC SMITH – Trinity Centrals/Gold Coast Suns/Geelong – The 34 year-old joins the Demons following a 124-game career in the AFL. Originally from a soccer background, the 206cm tall joined the Zillmere Eagles in 2008 and accepted an offer to join the Gold Coast 17 team that played in the TAC Cup. He was a member of the Suns first AFL game, and following a stint at Geelong, finished his career back at the club in 2021. He did kick the SUNS’ first point in the AFL.

HAYDEN CROZIER – Western Bulldogs/Fremantle – A great get by the club; he finished is 142 game AFL career last season after 12 seasons. A crafty left footer with outstanding experience and adds invaluable leadership to this squad.

JOSH HALL – Trinity Centrals/ Southport/Gold Coast Suns – A key position player with four seasons of experience with the SUNS in the AFL before crossing to Penrith in the NRL where he spent two seasons in their seconds team. A bronze medallist in the 2007 World Youth Championships in High Jump, he will add plenty of versatility to this team.

SAM JEWELL – Wodonga/returning player – Standing at almost 200cm in height, returns to the club after playing at Wodonga in the Ovens and Murray Football Netball League. With NEAFL experience under his belt, he returns to the club where he made his Senior debut at just 15.

MITCH PATTEN – Leopold – A handy pick up from the Geelong Football Netball League. He kicked five goals in Leopold’s 50-point win over Lara in the Grand Final, kicking two goals or more in 18 of 20 games across the year to finish with 59. He kicked 64 goals in 2022 in a team that went down in the Grand Final. Has one VFL game under his belt for Geelong back in 2017.



Marlon Corbett – Subiaco

Nick Williams – Southport

Tom Rundle – West Adelaide

Kain Ford – Bond Uni

Nick Scott – Bond Uni

Tom Smith – Victoria


Hamish Anderson and Mikey Luxton.

“Both have had huge pre-seasons and are ready for the next step in their careers,” – Matt Lappin



JOSH NIEASS – “He never lets the team down and has a weapon of a right foot,” – Matt Lappin


HAYDEN CROZIER – straight out of the AFL


“To build on what was created last year and go deeper into September,” – Matt Lappin


With nine games against teams who finished in the top last season, this season will present an excellent opportunity to improve on its record against the top six teams. The opening month features contests against Noosa and Sherwood, followed by 2023 finalists Aspley and Broadbeach with a crucial clash against Labrador wedged in the middle.

Ideally this team would want to be 3-2 as a minimum, with all matches very winnable. The biggest clash perhaps for the season might be the Round 17 battle on the road to Redland-Victoria Point. It’s the last of the 2023 finalist on the road to the 2024 finals and will be a massive test but a chance to get a crucial win against a league power-house.


The losses of Corbett, Williams, Rundle, Ford, Scott and Smith all hurt. That’s key height and star ball winners coming out of the team. The upside however is that the club gets three players with AFL experience into the squad to fill those spots with one, just coming out of the system.

Jewell is going to be a handy addition to the team, but it’s Patten that will add the most intrigue. The club ranked sixth in attack across the home and away season, but to have someone like Patten who has kicked more than 120 goals in the past two seasons ready to be a key target, that will be invaluable.

Statistically, it lost five games to top six teams by four goals or less, so to have someone like Patten who can kick two or three goals per game is going to make an immediate impact.

Surfers Paradise will be one of the bolters in season 2024. There is a massive opportunity to push into the top two or three and be one of the most attractive teams to watch. The recruits will not only be an asset to the group, but provide an attraction for neutral fans to enjoy. A Grand Final may not be beyond them.

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