By Ant Wingard
There was only one word that could truly sum up QAFL coach Andy Lovell’s feelings toward his players on Saturday afternoon following the side’s narrow 20-point loss to the Adelaide Footy League.
Lovell, who was brought out of coaching retirement to lead the competition against the South Australian visitors, couldn’t have been happier for his side despite the final result not going their way on the scoreboard.
“I couldn’t fault their effort at all. I thought they were fantastic even right up to the end of the game, their ability to get in the contest and give themselves an opportunity to win the game was really strong,” Lovell told aflq.com.au
“I couldn’t have been prouder of the boys.”
“Every player that played the game – I couldn’t have been prouder of their efforts. They’ve done Queensland footy really proud.”
After all, the QAFL side had been exceptional throughout the four quarters with the only blemish coming via a spurt of three away goals at the start of the final quarter the only difference in the end.
Before those three majors from the Adelaide Footy League, the contest itself loomed like it would swing either way at any given moment.
The QAFL side, led by Palm Beach Currumbin’s Nic Crowley and Labrador’s Alex McKay, set the tone early in the contest and looked the more dangerous side.
The maroons produced countless repeat inside 50s throughout the game’s formative stages but couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities to produce merely a string of behinds.
Instead, it was the Adelaide Footy League, despite struggling against the Queenslanders’ constant pressure and dominance over the game’s play, who drew first blood.
Late goals to Ian Milera and Jake Pitt handed the South Australians a handy two-point lead at the first change.
The deficit at the first break was all the sourer as Wilston Grange’s Frazer Eaton went down early in the game with a knee injury.
He's done an incredible job in leading the boys yesterday and post-match, he was still full of pride.
We caught up with QAFL coach Andy Lovell to disect the state representative game against the Adelaide Footy League. pic.twitter.com/gpd9qP9aNL
— QAFL / QAFLW (@QAFL_QAFLW) June 9, 2019
By the time the second quarter had arrived, the away side had truly found their footing in the game and their new-found stronghold on the scoreboard showed.
Lovell regrouped the QAFL side at the main break and delivered a simple message to the team – win back the third quarter and established a chance to win the game in the fourth.
After all, a Queensland state league representative side have never won against a South Australian counterpart – a message Lovell was eager to drive home to the QAFL boys who had the opportunity to rewrite the history books.
The message worked and a flurry of five goals to the Adelaide Footy League’s two, including a pair of clutch set-shots from spearhead Sam Stubbs helped the Queenslanders cut the deficit back to two at the final break.
Voxson’s Oval remained heavy under foot but it wasn’t until the final term, when the rain finally started descending, where the wet truly played a factor.
With the QAFL’s comeback now in full swing, the game’s momentum was truly in the balance.
The Adelaide Footy League then kicked ahead once again with three crucial goals inside the quarter’s first ten minutes.
Stubbs followed to kick his third, but important opportunities went astray for the Queensland side who eventually fell by 20-points.
— QAFL / QAFLW (@QAFL_QAFLW) June 9, 2019
Mt Gravatt’s Andrew Smith earned the Zayne Taylor Medal for the QAFL’s best on ground after dominating in the ruck while also providing a solid option in transition.
Following the game, Lovell lamented the wasted opportunities in front of goal but never thought the QAFL were always in the contest.
“At half time we thought we were giving ourselves a chance but were overusing the ball and didn’t go as direct as I would have liked,” he said.
“I thought we went a bit sideways and backwards a bit too much.
“We felt that if we could kick the ball forward a bit more and get them under a bit more pressure we could get ourselves back in the game.
“From that end we gave ourselves a chance but unfortunately we weren’t able to capitalise. They kicked a couple early in the last quarter and we were playing a bit of catch up footy.”
2019 QAFL State Representative Match
QAFL v Adelaide Footy League
Voxson Oval, Aspley
Adelaide Footy League 15.15 (105) def. QAFL 12.13 (85)
Goals, QAFL: S. Stubbs 3 (Mt Gravatt), J. Fisher 2 (Broadbeach), N. Burton 1 (Broadbeach), J. Hinds 1 (Southport/Broadbeach), A. McKay 1 (Labrador), B. Neal 1 (Broadbeach), J. Yelland 1 (Surfers Paradise), A. Highlands 1 (Western Magpies), N. Crowley 1 (Palm Beach Currumbin)
Adelaide Footy League: I. Milera 3, J. Pitt 3, N. Heath 2, B. Ancell 1, O. Clarke 1, L. Manuel 1, C. Pitt 1, T. Carcuro 1, S. Kennedy 1, J. Boyle 1
Best on ground, QAFL (Zane Taylor Medalist): A. Smith (Mt Gravatt)
Adelaide Footy League: T. Brown