MATCH OF THE ROUND
Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Labrador
Saturday June 11, 2:00pm, Salk Oval
LIVE BLOG FROM 1:45pm
This has finals football written all over it.
Palm Beach is the hunted, and Labrador is trying to re-stake their claim as top dog of the competition.
Both went into the bye in high spirits after a win, but both immediately turned their attentions to this weekend.
You know what you’re going to get from both midfields this week.
Woolley, Chisholm, Thynne Callinan up against Davey, Hicks and Clarke x 2, you couldn’t ask for a better head-to-head.
But that’s not going to be where it is decided.
It’s going to be about the pressure around the ball this week. If either team is allowed the time and space to compose, their forwards will do the rest.
Baxter and Retzlaff up one end, Stubbs and Douglas up the other. While they are very different forward lines in terms of aesthetics, they both have the ability to turn a game on its head in a very short amount of time.
No Croad, who pulled up sore after the Grange game, hurts the Lions height, so stopping Goldsmith’s influence will be a priority.
Palm Beach’s form win this, their consistency has been unbelievable in an unpredictable year, but Labrador are always capable.
Where it will be won: Pressure
Morningside vs. Sandgate
Saturday June 11, 2:00pm, Jack Esplen Oval
Morningside better be careful this week, Sandgate will be out to restore some pride.
Their loss to UQ before the bye hurt. A lot.
Redemption needs to be on the cards, and there is only one way to do it.
On paper, this is as good of a side as they have had all year. Connor Stackelberg is back from the NEAFL, as is Corvo.
The Hawks have to look after the pill going forward. They have torched it by foot last few weeks, and really need their leaders to hit targets; otherwise they will get burnt on the rebound.
Morningside really got things back on track before the bye with a big win over the Western Magpies.
Staring down the barrel of three losses on the trot, they played some of their best football of the season.
That has to continue though, anything less and we will be talking about Sandgate’s second win come Sunday night in the wrap.
Abey was in blistering form last game, bagging seven, so he will be the focal point again, but also look for Mueller, and the medium size players like Logan and Serrurier to impact.
Morningside should win this one, they are better balanced across every line, but if the Hawks hit them hard early, and kick a few in the first quarter, it’ll be on.
Where it will be won: disposal efficiency
Surfers Paradise vs. Western Magpies
Saturday June 11, 2:00pm, Sir Bruce Small Park
What’s more interesting than one good team on the rebound? Two of them.
Round 8 left a sour taste in the mouths of both these clubs; they were both comprehensively taken care of.
It would have been a long 13 days between games to have a think about it, so bet your bottom dollar they will both come out with a point to prove tomorrow.
The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Magpies. It gave new coach Nathan Clarke four nights on the track to really hone in on the players, and implement his game plan.
Expect a different Magpies outfit this week.
Staker has been named to come back, but Barling has been dropped, so they might be a little light on in the ruck department; Beer will have to shoulder most of that load.
They are without Pope as well, so Dickfos becomes a very important commodity this week.
It will be really interesting to watch how Clarke counters the run of Surfers. We know the Magpies have previously loved the contested stuff, and to slow it down, so let’s see if Clarke thinks the same way.
For Surfers, they just didn’t get their hands on the ball against Mt Gravatt, so that will be on top of the whiteboard this week.
They have played very well against teams with slower ball movement this year, so will back themselves in to be able to get their structure behind the ball right.
There’s no real match up for Daniel Green either, so he could be in for a day out.
Where it will be won: whoever gets their hands on the pill first.
Wilston Grange vs. Mt Gravatt
Saturday June 11, 2:00pm, Bendigo Bank Oval
This may seem like a big call, but if Grange want to play finals this year, this week is a must win.
I know what you’re going to say, they are only one game out of the five, but they just can’t afford to fall any further back… not when there are no guaranteed wins this year.
Standing in their way is a red-hot Mt Gravatt, who had their most convincing win of the year last game against Surfers.
Their good players are up and about, and their younger blokes and buying in; it’s the perfect combination.
For Grange to win, they need to keep it played down the middle. Their running game is good, but not as good as the Vultures, so they need to play the percentages.
The Vultures just need to keep the ball rolling. Smith started them in the ruck last game, and Mick Hammil and Jesse Green were unstoppable. If anyone one of those three has a day out they are going to be difficult to stop.
Moncur is missing for the Vultures with a hamstring strain, which means Eaton will probably go to Crawley, which will be intriguing to watch.
No surprises that Zane Taylor Medalist Fletcher McIvor got the Aspley call up, he was superb for Queensland last Friday night.
Queensland Under 18 Player Joel Perry-Warren will be a nice inclusion for the Gorillas in the forward pocket. Don’t be surprised to see him try and sit on someone’s head in a marking contest.
Where it will be won: speed of the game.
Broadbeach vs. UQ
Saturday June 11, 2:00pm, Ord Minett Oval
If we have learnt one thing from this years results (and my tipping), it’s that nothing is certain in the QAFL.
Broadbeach should win this game, and win comfortably. Key word was should.
The injury toll to key players is going to be a real pain in the rear end for UQ.
Milford is missing; Powyer is still out, and superstar George Hannaford pinged hammy in the Queensland game last Friday night.
That’s far from ideal, but in good news, with the Allies having a weekend off, Connor Ballenden slots into centre half forward, and Nate Dennis in the ruck.
If Broadbeach eradicate their poor kicking, or that one patch in the game you have to send a search party out for them, they could be in for a big day.
But if they don’t, UQ has the ability to pile on goals very, very quickly… just ask Sandgate.
This will be wide open on Ord Minett Oval. Both teams will revel in the space.
Ablett will probably go to Kerr in the Cats’ forward line, while Strong will have to go with Ballenden, which could be a very long afternoon.
UQ have nothing to lose this week. They got the monkey off the back last game, and now need to play with freedom. Who knows what the kids who come into the side can bring.
The Cats just need to stick to the structures. Win the footy, use the runners, and finish off in front of the sticks.
Where it will be won: spread
150-year fact – Queensland Football Forensics
In 2013, the last year that the QAFL teams competed as the NEAFL Northern Conference, Labrador finished with the wooden spoon. Two years later the Tigers completed an amazing turnaround when they lifted the premiership cup after a stirring victory against modern-day arch rivals Morningside at Yeronga.
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