Colts to clash in SEQ finals

By Mark Perriman

The cream of South East Queensland’s Colt crop comes head-to-head this weekend as the first elimination round of the Colt’s Final Series gets underway at Leyshon Park. Consisting of twelve sides, the concept sees the bottom eight battling it out in the hope of progressing to the second round of the elimination finals.

In its first year, the concept has been receiving widespread praise, with Wilston Grange coach John Galligan echoing the thoughts of AFL Queensland CEO Michael Conlan in his approval of the innovative concept.

“I think the AFL should be congratulated,” said Galligan.

“It’s a great concept…this idea of cross-conference groupings gets the best sides playing off, and at the end of the day best U18s side will win the flag.”

The Gorillas coach also agreed with Conlan on the notion that the series presents an exciting stepping-stone for developing Queensland talent.

“It’s a sort of development pathway…and I just think it makes our base a lot stronger with more competitive type footy,” said Galligan.

“It’s really about developing guys for a sustainable future in the AFL”

Such positivity is also resonating within playing circles, as Galligan said he had noticed a great sense of enthusiasm within his side.

“We’ve had a number of discussion meetings to get feedback from the players on a whole range of different issues, and one of them was just how excited they were to be part of the concept,” said Galligan.

“(Compared to previous U18 competitions) This one is certainly better.” 

Asked who he thought were favourites were to take out the inaugural series, Gallighan believed the structure made predicting a winner problematic.

“It’s difficult to try and get a yardstick of how they are, in terms of how well they play footy,” said Galligan.

“But traditionally, teams like Aspley, Redlands, Morningside are right up there…and from what I saw this year, Surfers Sharks look like they’re a pretty strong side.”

Elimination Final – Round 1

Southport VS. Sandgate

Sunday 17th August, 10:30AM

Leyshon Park, Yeronga

Colts South side Southport look evenly pitted against Sandgate, with only percentage splitting the two. With 56 goals this season, Southport will hope gun forward Hayden Correa will continue to wreck havoc in front of the sticks. With four wins from their past five matches, the Sharks look to take their solid form into the match against the Hawks. Sandgate have put recent losses to Broadbeach and Wilston Grange behind them, and will be out sweating on 45 goal hero Connor Stackelberg rediscovering his early-season mojo to lead the side from the front.

Maroochydore VS. Caloundra

Sunday 17thAugust, 12PM

Leyshon Park, Yeronga

Given the format of the final series, Maroochydore can ill afford to take bottom-ranked Caloundra lightly. The Roos are blessed with threats across the paddock, a statistic Caloundra will no-doubt be aware of. Despite not possessing a mainman in front of goal, Maroochydore will seek to blow the Panthers out of water in what could quickly deteriorate into a shootout. However, Caloundra’s relatively inferior percentage could the defining statistic standing in the way of their progression to Round Two. But with 32 goals to his name this season, Patrick Corbett could even the scale.

Morningside VS. Burleigh

Sunday 17thAugust, 1PM

Leyshon Park, Yeronga

Fourth ranked Morningside will be filthy with their final round loss to the league leading Surfers Sharks, and will seek to vent their frustration on the Burleigh Bombers this Sunday afternoon. With four from five, the Bombers will take confidence out of their run home. But as the eleventh-ranked side they will face a stern test against the Panthers. With both teams lacking a tear-away goal threat, Burleigh’s Daniel Dowsett is primed for the occasion. With 34 majors to his name already this season, his name will be all over the final outcome.

Mayne VS. Wilston Grange

Sunday 17thAugust, 2:30PM

Leyshon Park, Yeronga

For mine, the most intriguing game of the round. With four points and a minor percentage differential separating the two sides, the Gorillas and Tigers will face off Sunday afternoon with each side in hot form. Wilston Grange coach John Galligan said that the “unknown” associated with facing foreign oppositions posed an exciting hurdle in his preparation for the game against Mayne.

“We see it as a challenge, but what we are interested in doing is focussing on things that we can control and influence,” said Galligan. 

“And I think it’s good: it brings a bit of an unknown into the finals series as well, and it gives it that extra dimension.”

But despite Mayne’s side being largely unfamiliar to the Gorilla’s coach, he is wary of what weapons the side possesses. 

“We don’t know a great deal about them other than they are graded three spots above us, that they have won more games than us this season, and have a greater percentage,” said Gallighan.

“But they’ve got three guys who have 80 or 90 goals between them for the year, so obviously they can play footy.”

Tigers Joshua Griffiths (38 goals) and Lachlan Kirby (30) will be the main targets up front for Mayne, while Galligan believes developing 17 year old Jordan Mcivor-Clark and captains Lachlan Nixon-Smith and Gary Vass will assert their influence on the game for Wilston Grange.

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