MATCH OF THE ROUND
Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Mt Gravatt
Saturday July 18, 2:00pm – Salk Oval
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Four weeks ago, this probably would have been a cakewalk for the Lions. Not anymore.
Both teams come into the game in season best form. It’s going to be a cracker.
Palm Beach were very good against UQ last week, and got the job done against the Vultures last time they met, but will have to be cherry-ripe come the opening bounce.
“We are looking at this as a danger game. Last time we played them it was a tight contest that could have gone either way, they are an opposition we really respect,” Assistant Coach John Charles said.
“We feel we are just coming into some really good form. I think we need to start well tomorrow, most games we have won we have started well. We need to be up and about early and really hitting the scoreboard hard and putting the pressure on that way.”
Mt Gravatt’s strength has been their outside-run of late, something the Lions will look to shut down on the smaller Salk Oval.
“We feel we play our ground very well, we think we can make it really hard for opposition teams, because it is a unique size. We are spreading really well at the moment, so we are winning the ball in tight but getting it out to our runners,” he said.
Amongst a few changes, Tom Thynne will be missing, as will Matt Peters, but Dakota Bannister is back.
While it might not be home, Mt Gravatt coach Brad Pollock isn’t too concerned about Palm Beach’s local advantage.
“Our ground isn’t overly big either, so it’s not like we are not used to it,” Pollock said.
“We keep in mind that we played well down their last year, we won it, so there certainly won’t be any intimidation going down there and playing there.”
It’s all starting to click for the Vultures lately, but this week will be a big test.
“The boys have been playing good footy and taking on board what we have been trying to coach,” he said.
The focus for the remaining rounds doesn’t change though.
“We have had our run of injuries again this week, so that will test us a little bit, but for us at the moment, it’s about getting games into the young blokes, and the blokes who have been playing well in the two’s,” Pollock said.
They will miss Chris Murphy, James, Nash, Buzza and Crawley, who are all hurt. Andrew Smith and Jonah Licht from Redlands will help cover the loss to an extent.
Pollock believes that the key to stopping Palm Beach will start in the Vultures forward 50.
“They get a lot of their good footy from their backline, they have got some good runners like Woolley and Derrick, the focus will be to play them tight and shut down that running game and hit them hard on the rebound,” he said.
On paper, Palm Beach should win this, but after the last few weeks, the Vultures will be in this one right up to their neck.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 13 – PBC V MT GRAVATT
Sandgate vs. Wilston Grange
Saturday July 18, 2:00pm – Lemke Road
Two teams, two big-bodied midfields, 44 players who love the physical stuff. I feel sore just thinking about it.
Wilston Grange had a nightmare last Sunday. Coach Matt Trewhella is hoping that it was just a bad day at the office.
“Last week was a shocking day. We are looking forward to finding some form. The guys didn’t enjoy last week, losing like that isn’t fun. If you lose like that you’re supposed to get some sort of fulfillment about being competitive but we didn’t even give a yelp,” Trewhella said.
“That’s what I’m after this week, having a bit of fun, enjoying working hard and playing for each other.”
This week, it will be about making the most of those half chances.
“We need to kick goals, that really let us down last week. We had enough opportunities to stay in the game but we didn’t capitalise. Our energy levels were just flat,” he said.
The senior blokes like Kettle, Kuret and co. played their roles, so the spotlight was on the younger group.
“There was no energy in the whole group. I’ve really put it to our younger guys; I told them that I felt like they let us down a bit,” Trewhella said.
“Some of them were happy to let others take responsibility and hide a little bit, so I put it to them, and I’m expecting a lot more out of them.”
Trewhella was a keen onlooker at Sandgate’s game last weekend, and took a bit from it.
“Morningside’s run, carry and defensive work on the other side of the ground really choked them up last week so we will be trying to do something similar,” he said.
But above all else, he is looking forward to the battle.
“I really enjoyed the contest last time. It was very physical, a lot of tackling, scoring heavily, so that’s what I’m after,” he said.
In terms of inclusions, it doesn’t get much bigger than Williams, Brittain, and after coaching from the box the last month, Trewhella himself.
Sandgate didn’t have the best day either last week, but coach Graham Adams is confident in the group turning that around this weekend.
“We are up for it this weekend, we are all looking forward to it,” Adams said.
“I would like to believe we are going to put a much improved showing this weekend, and having four games out of the last six at home really helps.”
Hedger, Mayes and Day back in will provide Sandgate which some quality speed, spread and use.
That’s where Adams believes the improvement will come from.
“I think that will come from our run, we have got a few runners back this week which should help,” he said.
As for the opposition, the paddock to play in that Lemke Road provides should help the Hawks.
“They are big bodies, and our ground is a lot bigger than theirs, so we would like to believe that with the run on our ground we can really test them this week,” Adams said.
Wilston Grange is a lot better than what they showed last week. With three star inclusions, they should get the job done tomorrow.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 13 – SANDGATE V WILSTON GRANGE
Western Magpies vs. Broadbeach
Saturday July 18, 2:00pm – Chelmer
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. What about at two different football grounds.
Broadbeach caused the upset of the year last week; they played superbly.
The Cats won’t have time to sit back and enjoy it though; they are faced with a huge task again this week.
They kept their finals dreams alive last week, but it’s another mini elimination final this week.
“It has been a good week, but it wasn’t over the top. I suppose because we are still on the edge, if we lose this week we may as well have lost last week,” Coach Brett Andrews said.
Their attack on the footy, and their ability to win it on the outside worked last week, so there is no reason it can’t work again.
“We have just got to go the same way we have been going. They are in form, we are in form, it should be a good clash, they are strong bodied and we are pretty quick,” he said.
“We are definitely not afraid of them but they are going to be awfully hard to beat, no two ways about it.”
The small confines of Poweyenna Oval will mean it will be largely played in close, but that doesn’t worry Andrews too much.
“It crowds things in a bit, it’s going to be more on their terms, but we go alright on small grounds too. Our stoppages and in close stuff is pretty good. The forward line are firing the backline are firing, so bring it on,” Andrews said.
The Magpies were back to their best last week, but are not getting ahead of themselves this week.
“It’s good that the guys could put the previous game behind them so quickly and then move on to playing football again, so I’m very happy with the way they went about it,” Coach Glenn Humphrey said.
“They are playing some good footy at the moment. For them to have won last week in the manner that they did, they are obviously alright, so we have got to be wary of them.”
Like Broadbeach, familiarity is key in the way they go about it.
“We have got to deny them use of the football. They are a very good running side when they get on the outside, and can run the lines, so we have got to stop them from doing it,” he said.
“Playing them on the smaller ground, that limits their ability to run, we have got to use that to our advantage.”
Finals beckon for the Magpies, but they aren’t prepared to look that far ahead just yet.
“We set our self a five game window where we looked at winning three of the five. That started with the Morningside game, so we are at two and one at the moment,” Humphrey said.
“If we win this one we will reassess it again.”
Broadbeach will take it right up to the Magpies this week, but I think their ability to hem sides in will prove the difference at home.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 13 – WESTERN MAGPIES V BROADBEACH
Morningside vs. UQ
Saturday July 18, 2:00pm – Jack Esplen Oval
Last time these two teams met, it was all Morningside, but don’t expect UQ to roll over and play dead this week.
“Last time the result was pretty disappointing one for us. This time we are looking to do all the simple things right,” Coach Darren Pfeiffer said.
Morningside’s link up work from the back half has been looked at by the UQ coaching panel, but their focus will be on what they can do to keep the footy in their hands.
“I guess a lot of teams look at their link and ball movement, which is probably the best in the competition, so we have to look at that, but it is a matter of everyone, especially the forwards, not just being attacking, thinking about the defensive side as well, I think that is going to be a big part of it,” he said.
“The forwards will be focusing on forward pressure, and the midfielders need to win the stoppages and get it forward. I don’t think there are any tricks that need to be done, we are just going to go out there and try and win the contest, like we have been doing over the last month.
“We have been good around the stoppages. We are really looking for our forward line to step up this week.”
They might be sitting on the bottom, but if they took anything from last week’s results, it’s that anything can happen.
“That’s the good thing about footy. Throughout my years in footy I have been involved in teams that have been on the bottom and knocked off top teams. It really does come down to a mindset, so if we can get 18 plus of our players playing their role and working to their benchmark game we will be in with a really good chance,” Pfeiffer said.
Morningside may have been a bit off for a few weeks, but despite the weather, something is cooking down at Jack Esplen Oval.
“Last night was the best night we have had on the track in a long time. They were happy, they were sharp, and it was a really good night,” Coach David Lake said.
It’s now about keeping that momentum going.
“Who knows what tomorrow brings, but for us, it’s not about going back to the start, after a four quarter performance last week, this week’s first quarter becomes the fifth quarter. We have to go forward and we have to rack up quarters we are satisfied with,” he said.
Despite what happened last time they met, the Panthers have really focused in on being switched on from the get go.
“They thing about UQ is they start really well. Their first quarter against us last time, even though we kicked 40 odd goals for the game, we didn’t own that quarter. Their first quarter was exceptional,” Lake said.
“That’s our first objective, to get on top of them early.”
Morningside at home is a daunting task for anyone. History tells us Morningside will be too strong, but you just never know.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 13 – MORNINGSIDE V UQ
Labrador vs. Surfers Paradise
Sunday July 19, 2:00pm – Cooke-Murphy Oval
Take it to the bank, last weeks loss has left a very sour taste in the mouths of Labrador players. This weekend they will look to make amends.
Despite the first loss of the year, coach Steve Daniel insists it’s business as usual down at Cooke-Murphy Oval.
“Nothing has changed, it’s been business as usual, and a lot of the boys are looking forward to getting out there and rectifying last week and getting a win. What’s the old saying, you are only as good as your last game, so at the moment we are travelling very ordinarily,” Daniel said.
The talk of the town in 2015 has been whether Labrador would go through undefeated, or when their first loss would be. Now that it’s happened, Daniel doesn’t believe the pressure is off.
“Not really, there is pressure week in week out. The pressure for us now is to bounce back this week. We cannot afford to take Surfers Paradise lightly. If you take any team lightly and you saw what happened last weekend with us. You are vulnerable and you will be beaten,” he said.
“No one likes losing, but it does happen, and it might happen again before the year is out. Just because we are sitting on top of the ladder doesn’t mean we aren’t going to drop games. If you don’t come to play week in week out, and you are the hunted, you become vulnerable and teams will beat you.”
The Tigers learnt last week that they can’t rock up, go through the motions and expect to win. A young Surfers outfit could prove to be a major headache if they are on early, but the key to Labrador will be going back to what won them 11 in a row.
“They are very young, very enthusiastic, so they will just run and have a crack all day. We are very mindful of that, but we need to go back to what we do best, do the things we do really well, and keep that scoreboard ticking over,” Daniel said.
As for what is written at the top of the whiteboard each game?
“Our key points are our contested footy, and our spread. They are areas are very good at, and we pride ourselves on, so we will have to make sure we are good at,” he said.
While Sunday’s final teams are not in yet, the Tigers are hopeful of getting Fraser, Lappin, Turner and Davis back.
With the bye next week, they won’t be risking Tom Daniel, Josh Clarke, or skipper Ryan Davey.
Vulnerable or scary on the rebound? Surfers Paradise think the latter.
“We are definitely worried about their rebound. We saw that last week with Morningside and the way they came back. They are going to want to bounce back and bounce back strongly,” Coach Peter Young said.
They will look to stop them by getting their hands on the pill first.
“We say it every week, but if you have got ball control the opposition don’t have it. So we have got to win our fair share of ball. It’s been an issue for us all year, turning the ball over, so it’s something we are working on,” he said.
The thing with a young team like Surfers is, if you can start well, and the boys get half a sniff, all of a sudden it’s a different game.
“If we can start strongly, which we did last time against them, that will give the boys some confidence, thinking that they are in the game. We have just got to hang in their and keep the scores close, keep the boys thinking that they are half a chance they will have a real crack,” Young said.
“We are sticking with this young group, they want to win games of footy, we keep talking about what the future holds, but at the end of the day they want to win games of footy and have a crack.”
Labrador has a point to prove this weekend. Look for them to remind the QAFL world why they are on top.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 13 – LABRADOR V SURFERS PARADISE
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles