MATCH OF THE ROUND
Mt Gravatt vs. Morningside
Saturday August 6, 2:00pm, Dittmer Park
LIVE BLOG FROM 1:45pm
The most important game of the year, to date, and I don’t say that lightly.
The whips are cracking, and these two teams could well be fighting for fifth spot in two weeks time.
Win, and they are in the box seat to make it, lose, and it’s time to roll up the sleeves, because they’re in a fight.
Irrespective of the consequences, the game itself is going to be a cracker… it’ll be pure desperation.
The three-week patch where Morningside were down and out was quickly forgotten last week with a big win over UQ. It was the kick-start their run home needed, and we could be looking back at that in a few months as the moment it all changed.
The Vultures were brave last week, but there is no column on the ladder for that, they need a win.
They get four back from last week. Estall, Chris Murphy, Bacic and Hubert all come in, which make a huge difference.
They lacked a bit of class running off half-back last week, but that shouldn’t be an issue now. If they are clean coming out of the backline, it makes every other aspect of the way they play work. It’s their bread and butter.
Morningside will target the contested ball this week. If they can get up in the clenches, it’ll prevent some of the Vultures run.
In terms of matchups, the biggest will be Mollison Nash and Kinch against Smith Mick Hamill and Joe Murphy. It’s a midfield battle most clubs dream of.
Hart and Tronc will take Mitchell and Abey, and Chapman will probably to Bissett, while up the other end, Frame and Buntain will go to Moncur and Crawley, with Sam Brown probably tasked with the Estall job.
It’s also a massive day for the Vultures, as they celebrate the life of their mate, Ferg Reid, who lost his battle with cancer in 2010.
With a lot of his mates still running around today, they will lift.
It’s not just a mini-final, it could well be an elimination final.
Where it will be won: midfield battle.
Labrador vs. Sandgate
Saturday August 6, 2:00pm, Cooke-Murphy Oval
The Tiggy train is rolling, and the Hawks are going to find it very hard to stop.
In the overall scheme, last weeks win for Labrador was massive. They are in the box seat to grab a double chance.
But…. and there is always a but, if they take this lightly, they will be right back in the logjam.
I can guarantee you that ice baths will be at a premium after this. Both are hard as a cat’s head over the ball. There could be bodies flying everywhere.
For the Hawks to get up, they need to be poised. Labrador will come hunting, they will try and put them under the pump every single possession, but the Hawks have got to keep their heads.
If they miss targets, or kick the ball long to Wayde Mills, it could get ugly.
Labrador needs to keep enhancing the blend they have been working on for a few months.
Win the 50/50, pressure the opposition, use the runners, get it in to the big forwards long and fast.
It’s getting better every week.
Jackson will take whoever plays high, probably Retzlaff or Goldsmith, but then there is also Coombe to look out for. We saw last week what happens if he gets off the chain.
Sandgate will win the footy, they do every week, it’s going to be about taking those half chances tomorrow.
If they kick a few early in each half, it could go a long way to evening this up.
Where it will be won: Contested ball
Surfers Paradise vs. Wilston Grange
Saturday August 6, 2:00pm, Sir Bruce Small Oval
Surfers have a big opportunity this week.
In a year where percentage will be critical, they need to not only win this weekend, but win well.
Up against a Grange outfit lacking some senior heads and with a few tired bodies, they need to put the foot down early, and run away with it like they did earlier this year.
If they make it chaotic, they will kick a big score, especially on their home deck.
Green will be the go to in the forward line, with Eaton probably getting the job first up, but look for him to extend his lead in the goal kicking.
Grange last time couldn’t find their way through the Surfers Paradise numbers when going forward. They were forced to bomb it long and high.
They need to be more poised with the football in this one to hang around.
If the Gorillas hit targets and don’t panic, it will stop the wave of runners Surfers will hit them with.
If they don’t, it will be the charge of the Light Brigade.
Williams is going to have to shoulder most of the forward load this week. Even if he isn’t clunking them, he will have to bring it to ground, and bring the smalls into play for Grange.
It’ll also be important for the Demons to get another week in Pope, who returned from injury last week. He is crucial to their midfield makeup.
Where it will be won: poise
Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Broadbeach
Saturday August 6, 2:00pm, Salk Oval
Last weekend’s Palm Beach game was the quickest of the year. That record is now at threat just seven days later.
Both teams are going to take a can opener to Salk Oval. They want it open from the first bounce.
To get it there, you’ve got to get your hands on it, and that’s where Palm Beach hold the ascendancy.
Mt Gravatt made their intentions clear last week to take the short kick away from Palm Beach. If Broadbeach have watched the tapes, they will do the same.
The Lions will back themselves in though. You don’t sit two games clear for no reason. They will go head to head in the middle with the Cats, and then let their runners loose.
Emblem down back will go to Strong, who could be in for a long afternoon if he doesn’t get on his bike.
Ryan Dienjes will sweep across half-back for the Cats. If he is allowed time and space he is worth 40m every possession. I dare say the Lions won’t let that happen though. Expect to see someone making him accountable.
Being a local derby, I reckon both will find an extra gear when they run out on the deck, so the first 10 minutes could be huge.
The Lions have worked too hard to let this slip though.
Where it will be won: runners
UQ vs. Western Magpies
Saturday August 6, 2:00pm, Field 9
Never say never in this competition, but I can’t see this one deviating from the script.
The Magpies know they have to win if they want a double chance, and they know if they stumble here, that task becomes a hell of a lot more difficult.
Combine that with the fact that UQ will be without another tall this week, in ruckman Nate Dennis, the size advantage the Magpies have should become too much.
UQ don’t have the size around the footy, so they are going to have to set up behind. If they sacrifice the centre clearance in the hope of gaining possession at the half-back line and taking off, that’s their best bet.
They have the leg speed, no doubt about it, and love their home deck. They will need to be up early though, breathing a bit of life into the 22 blokes.
The Magpies are scoring heavily lately based on their ability to win the footy on the inside, but still feed the runners.
To stop one you have to stop the other. Easier said than done.
Macanawai will be the contested bull for UQ in the middle, but he is up against some of the best in the business.
Carseldine and Crawford will start in there, but watch for Mitchell, Allen and a host of others rolling through.
Stranger things have happened, but I think the Magpies will get the job done.
Where it will be won: stopping the forward entries.
150-year fact – Queensland Football Forensics
Palm Beach-Currumbin have played at their home ground Salk Oval, situated next to Currumbin Creek, since 1961. The ground was named in honour of the American physician Jonas Salk who developed a polio vaccine which was introduced in 1955. Poliomyelitis was a greatly feared infectious disease, and the Salk Vaccine saved many young people from its devastating effects.
A newspaper article from July 1961 listing the teams for the first game played at the ground is attached. Palm Beach-Currumbin were known as ‘Centrals’ in that first year.
Remember, 24 hours after the game, match replays will be available to view HERE. No excuses not to be all over the ins and outs of the QAFL in 2016.
By Andrew Wiles