By Beth Newman
The newly restructured QAFL comes in light of a restructure at NEAFL level.
In 2014, the QAFL will consist of four former NEAFL clubs, as well as six clubs in last year’s Division One community football competition.
The QAFL will be the state’s premier community-based football competition, providing an important step in the state’s talent pathways.
Clubs applied for a QAFL licence based on six core pillars – administration, finance, brand and culture, performance, facilities and strategic plan.
Following this process, it was determined the QAFL would be a 10 team competition involving Broadbeach, Labrador, Morningside, Mt Gravatt, Palm Beach, Sandgate, Surfers Paradise, University of Queensland, Wilston Grange and Western Magpies.
We caught up with each club, to see where they sit as pre-season starts to heat up.
Broadbeach is one of the numerous clubs with a new coach in 2014, as Wayne Petterd takes up the reins.
The Cats will be looking a lot smaller this season with big men, Kieran Brennan and Mitch Brewer moving up to the NEAFL. With the NEAFL restructure, former Cats who are now training with the Sharks include Kallen Geary and Luke Shreeve. 2013 B&F winner Ryan Pantic has gone to Port Melbourne.
With their final list make up still a little uncertain, as many clubs’ are, with a handful of Cats players training at Southport in the lead up to NEAFL list finalisation.
Darin Stewart, Adam McKenzie and Danny Wells are in the mix at the Sharks, training with them early.
U18 best and fairest winner, Isaac Dinneen, is likely to have a few more senior opportunities in 201, along with a number of younger Cats who have shown promise in junior footy.
Taylor Haley, Nick Scott and Nathan Quick are all showing promise early in the pre-season, setting the tone for the playing group ahead of the QAFL season.
Labrador will be looking pretty different on and off the field in 2014, with Steve Daniel stepping in as senior coach, after his appointment partway through last season. Daniel has brought in a great deal of enthusiasm and the mood at the Tigers is positive ahead of the QAFL season.
Labrador will be fielding a new-look side for 2014, after a high off-season player turnover. Heading the list of Tigers departures is reigning best and fairest winner, Rick White (Hills Eagles), while runner-up, Fraser Thurlow was rookie-listed by Essendon. Matt Clarke has retired, while Todd Grayson, Jake Goldsmith and Adam Clarke are training with Southport.
The Tigers still have plenty of star power, with 2012 Grogan Medallist Ryan Davey staying at the Tigers, and they have pulled off a major coup, bringing former Southport defender, Kurt Niklaus to their ranks. The Tigers are also expecting Michael Gugliotta to be available in the second half of the season, after an off-season shoulder reconstruction.
With new coach Steve Daniel taking the reins, the club has utilised his background in Victorian footy, bringing a handful of interstate players to the club, headed by Goulburn Valley League footballer, Simon Seddon. Redland’s Kieran Daley is also joining the Tigers in 2014.
The Panthers have the most experienced coach this season, with David Lake their senior coach, reuniting with Andrew Mellor, whom he worked with at Mt Gravatt.
Morningside have managed to retain a large chunk of their big name and experienced players this season, with Paul Shelton, Nathan Kinch, Kent Abey , Tyson Upton, Ash Evans and Nick Tomlinson all sticking around. Josh Brown, Jamie Hackett and Michael Wyld are also handy retentions for 2014.
After reaching a NEAFL elimination final last season, a number of the Panthers’ younger brigade have been added to this year’s NEAFL squads, though this was an anticipated transition. 2013 NEAFL rising star, Josh Smith (Redland) heads a list of departures, that includes Jackson Starcevich (WAFL), Scott Clarke (Port Melbourne), Ryan Holman (Aspley), Henry Joyce (Aspley), Jono Williams (Aspley), Will Wolbers (Southport), Jesse Wallin (Bendigo) and Ryley Buntain (Aspley).
With their reserves undefeated in 2013, though, the Panthers will likely have plenty of depth to draw upon in the QAFL this season. With that group of players to call on, Morningside is unlikely to look outside to add to its list, focusing on internal player development.
At this stage, it looks like a youthful looking squad will be playing out of Dittmer Park this season. While they will be likely looking to pick up some more experience before the season starts, there will be a lot of opportunities for their younger brigade. There’s plenty of talent coming through from the 18s, who claimed the premiership last season.
The return of injured trio, Jayden Crawley, Mitch Hart and Chris Murphy will be a boon for Mt Gravatt, after all missed major chunks of the 2013 season.
A handful of the Vultures’ more experienced players are training with Redland in the pre-season, including Jesse Green, Rhys Estall, Aneet Majok and Andrew Scott.
Luke Scott has already decided to head to the Bombers, while Gavin Grose has moved to Aspley.
The 2013 Allied Pickfords Cup premiers have kept things relatively stable over the off-season, keeping the vast majority of their side from last year. The biggest question mark remains over 2013 Duncanson Todd medallist, Zane Murphy, who was contemplating a move back to Tasmania.
Captain Angus Munro has decided to stay after considering returning to Victoria, while coach Daryn Cresswell says he’s positive about veterans Clint Kelly and Matt Carroll to go around again in 2014.
Liam McNevin also returns to Palm Beach after a stint at Southport, as well as Davin Dyer who has come back from interstate. Josh Lee comes to Salk Oval from Tasmania, while the club has also picked up a couple of players from Victorian country footy.
The Lions will look to young players like Thomas Thynne to take on more of a regular senior role in 2014, with a number of U18 players in the mix to step up.
The Hawks’ relatively young group will be looking to prove what it learnt in 2013, with a year of senior footy under their belts. Hawks junior Liam Rutledge is heading back to the Hawks, after two seasons playing with Aspley, adding another young but talented player to their ranks. Former Mt Gravatt player, Brock Paulke, is also joining Sandgate this season.
Sandgate proved their relative youth was not that great a hindrance in the SEQAFL last season, but they will be looking to build on their 2013 season in the QAFL.
Their depth in the younger ranks, having won the U18 title last season, will be called upon in 2014, with a number of promising talents coming through to seniors.
Another positive for the Hawks is the return of two players from long-term injuries, with Ben Conway and Sam Summers making positive strides this pre-season. Conway, who missed most of last season with an ACL, is back running with the group and should be available roughly a month into the season, while Summers, who went down with a shoulder injury in round 1, 2013, is hoping to be ready to go when the season starts.
Surfers Paradise is continuing to keep a relatively stable line up for 2014, with a small turnover through the off-season. Jimmy Nancarrow is the main loss, heading back to the NSW Riverina League to play and coach and be closer to his family. Jason Torney is also unlikely to pull on the boots this season.
Nathan Trevena comes to the Demons, after three seasons with Southport and the Gold Coast SUNS. Aaron Rolfe, brother of Surfers’ Taylor, is also coming back to the club. The Demons will also be boosted by the availability of Regan Finlay, who is back at top fitness after an injury-plagued 2013.
With the bulk of their list still in their early 20s, the Demons will be looking for further improvement through the season, as players gain more experience.
The Magpies will continue to regenerate this season, with a handful of players calling it a day at the end of 2013. New coach, Glenn Humphrey, hasn’t wasted time in getting the players started, bringing them back for training on January 7. Humphrey has been impressed with the way the players have handled his approach, and said the transition had been overwhelmingly positive.
With the loss of Jimmy Rozynski, Reid Dobson, Will Fozard and Tim McEvoy, the Magpies have lost some key experienced players. 2013 co-captain, Gerard Moore, will also be unavailable for much of the season, heading to the police academy for six months.
Despite the void those experienced players will leave, Humphreys said it would simply give the fringe players a greater opportunity to break into the side.
Wilston Grange has picked up a few players in the off-season, but the core of their group has been maintained. Brady Foster and Scott Waters come to the Gorillas from Aspley. Waters was out of footy last season, focusing on Mixed Martial Arts training.
Lachie Niland-Rowe, a 2013 state U18 player has come to Wilston Grange as well, adding to their list of young talents. Grand finalists in the U18 competition last season, the Gorillas will be looking for a number of those players to step up in 2014 as they move into the open ranks. Some already tasted senior football in 2013 and will likely have opportunities to add to that tally in 2014.
Assistant coach, Kris Jahnke, should also be available for more games this season, after treatment for a back injury late last year. Player-coach, Matt Trewhella, is looking to play more regularly this season after recovering from an elbow injury.
University of Queensland
UQ has been active in the off-season, looking to attract some new recruits as they prepare to step up a level for the second time in as many seasons.
Morningside’s Brodie Tebbutt and Dustin Harris come to Uni on scholarships in 2014, while Tom Crameri comes to the club from Victoria, with former Southport player Tim Davidson also heading to Oval 7.
After fielding a very young side in 2013, the Red Lions have looked to bolster their 22-26 age players, to inject some experience into the senior side.
A big loss for the club is the departure of Hugh Millikan to Victoria, one of their best-performing forwards last season. Veteran Adam Stevenson is also hanging up the boots after a strong 2013.
Morningside junior, Dan Poultney, is a potential forward prospect for the club.
Youngster Jordan McDonald looms as an effective new recruit for the club, training well in his recovery from a shoulder injury that kept him out for the bulk of the 2013 season, while Zac Southern has also impressed early.
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