With an astounding 834 professional games between them, five former AFL players will go head to head in this year’s Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL).
As Head Coaches, Craig O’Brien, Nick Malceski, Tony Lynn, Brent Moloney and Adrian Fletcher bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the 2021 competition and are ready to get the season off and racing.
Since retiring from AFL football in 2001 following a 13-year career which spanned five different clubs and 231 games, Adrian Fletcher has in recent years become a key component of the Queensland footballing landscape.
This year he’s at the helm of the Sherwood Magpies, replacing Anthony McDonald.
“We know it’s going to be a tough season, with 11 clubs and 18 rounds but we will do everything we can. I’m ready to go,” he said.
“It’s an exciting time for football in Queensland, community clubs are growing and there is an excitement around.”
Down the road at Mt Gravatt Vultures, a familiar face has returned to Dittmer Park.
2002 Premiership Captain, Tony Lynn is back, this year as Senior Coach, with Adam Boon returning to Redland-Victoria Point late last year.
A Queenslander, Lynn played both his junior and senior football at Morningside before being recruited to the Brisbane Bears and later Carlton. He finished his playing career at Mt Gravatt and was part of their 2002 Grand Final win over Southport.
“It’s an honour to be back at the Vultures, I have fond memories playing at this club, and I look forward to building on our past successes,” he said.
“We have a great cultural here, I hope to educate our playing group about the rich history the club has.”
“The boys have improved tremendously over the last year and we continue to see a significant rise in interest around the club.”
Nick Malceski played 210 AFL games and spent the last three years coaching at the Gold Coast SUNS.
Now he’s taken on the challenge of making the Labrador Tigers a powerhouse in the QAFL this season.
Nick will be supported by fellow former Gold Coast SUNS player Kade Kolodjashnij who joins the club as a Development Coach.
After a disappointing 2020 campaign, former AFL midfielder Brent Moloney returns to Wilston Grange.
“We haven’t won a seniors flag since 1972 and that’s the main reason I took on the job,” he said.
“Every game this season will be important, and we are predicting the new QAFL teams will be extremely competitive”.
“We have a plan in place, and I believe we are heading in the right direction.”
The Grange boss played 23 games for Geelong, 122 for Melbourne and 21 for Brisbane before retiring and relocating to the Sunshine State.
In 2019, Moloney lead the Grange Colts to victory winning the QAFL Colts Premiership Cup in a thrilling five-point affair against Palm Beach Currumbin at Metricon Stadium.
After narrowly losing the 2020 QAFL Grand Final to Morningside, Broadbeach Coach Craig O’Brien returns in 2021 to help the Cats attempt to end a 24-year long premiership drought.
O’Brien is notable for his stints playing with Essendon, St Kilda and the Sydney Swans where he retired in 2000.
Queensland State Leagues Competition Manager, Matt Bialkowski, said it was sensational to have such a strong representation of former elite AFL players leading and developing the State League clubs.
“We have seen many of our clubs become high performance programs as a result, and it will only benefit the competition as their knowledge and footy craft is passed on to Queensland’s current and future stars,” he said.
Round one of the QAFL kicks off on Saturday (3rd) when Noosa host Wilston Grange in a stand-alone marquee match.