Wayde Mills proved he was one of the most valuable recruits of 2016 in a half of football on the weekend. Yes, Mills has been a star for Labrador all year (you don’t win a Syd Guildford by accident), but the way he influenced the Grand Final early was something to behold. He took at least five intercept marks in the first quarter; it was almost like Palm Beach were trying to find him by foot. When the game was there to be won, he stood up, which was why he was awarded the Joe Grant Medal for best on ground.
Silly Sunday/Mad Monday
The conclusion of the season means, for most, a day of dressing up like a fool and reflecting on the season that was. There were a lot of getups that caught my eye over the weekend (especially one where I felt like I was looking in the mirror), but this group shot of Springwood, who all dressed up as Russell Coight, has to take the cake.
Players earn their reputation by how they play in big games, which makes Leah Kaslar one of the best in the business. She was everywhere for Coolangatta Tweed in Saturday nights Grand Final. In fact, it wouldn’t be speaking out of turn to suggest that if she didn’t play, the Bluebirds wouldn’t have won. She set the tone from the first bounce in the ruck, but it was her work rate that set her apart from the rest. Fittingly, the best on ground medal was placed around her neck afterwards.
When Palm Beach’s Jackson Emblem went down clutching his knee early in the second quarter of the QAFL Grand Final, it looked bad… really bad. The way he pointed towards the inside of the knee suggested his day was over, and next year could be in doubt. But 10 minutes later Emblem returned from the dead. With both knees now heavily strapped, he not only went back on, but went forward with immediate effect, kicking a goal to keep the contest alive before half time, and taking a hanger in the final quarter. It wasn’t the end to his day he was hoping, and he is probably very sore today, but it was a bloody good effort to get back out there.
What could have been
This talking point is more of a what if (thanks to Doc Tomlinson for pointing it out). Labrador had played in three QAFL Grand Finals coming into this weekend, and all three times, their final score has been 96. With 21 minutes gone in the last quarter on Saturday, their total score was, you guess it, 96. It was only a Bryce Retzlaff goal that pushed them to 102, and spoiled a stat for the ages.
By Andrew Wiles