QAFL Finals Preview and Teams: Week 1

By Terry Wilson

Qualifying Final

At Subaru Oval, 2pm Saturday

Broadbeach: Ins: Kwaby Boakye, Hewago Paul Oea, Liam Nelson. Outs: Connor Harris (colts), Jacob Sholl (colts), Rhys Finn (omit).

Morningside: Ins: Matt Serrurier, Campbell Wearne, Peter Mollison, Isaiah Edwards. Outs: Michael Graham (inj), Brad Hodge (omit), James Johnson (omit), Ethan Hunt (omit).

Last time they met: Morningside 12.10 (82) d Broadbeach 11.9 (75), R12 at Jack Esplen Oval.

THE need for speed has pushed Broadbeach into taking a serious gamble by naming two gifted teenagers in their team to play Morningside kin the Qualifying Final at Subaru Oval on Saturday.

Gold Coast Suns academy pair Kwaby Boakye and Hewago Paul Oea (Ace) have not played a match for the Cats this year but find themselves in the blue and white hoops for one of the biggest clashes of the season.

“They’re our Suns boys and we thought we need a bit of speed,” coach Brett Andrews said.

“They played for us last year and normally they’d have been back earlier, but they’ve played a lot of NEAFL games.”

The fact they have been playing NEAFL as listed Broadbeach players qualifies them for any finals matches for the Cats.

Boakye is of Ghanian descent and Ace is a lad from Papua New Guinea.

A third change for second-placed Broadbeach is the return of rover Liam Nelson.

In the Morningside camp there was positive news with club best and fairest favourite Campbell Wearne named to return from his broken collarbone.

Matt Serrurier, Peter Mollison and Isaiah Edwards complete the four changes made by the Panthers.

Coach Steve Wildschut laughed off a suggestion that the Panthers are playing ducks and drakes with Wearne, saying his star midfielder was put through a harsh fitness test at training by team mates Ash Evans and Alastair Nash on Thursday night.

“He’s right to go and got the all-clear on Tuesday before a stern workout later in the week,” Wildschut said.

Still without key pair Nathan Kinch and Matt Logan, the Panthers went through a specifically-designed session on Thursday night to prepare for the wide, open spaces of Subaru Oval.

“Broadbeach play their big ground well and we trained specifically for that last night,” Wildschut said.

“We have how we want to play but we trained in different aspects of how we think the bigger ground should be played.”

The score between Broadbeach and Morningside this season is one apiece, both clubs scoring victories on their home turf.

Andrews is forecasting a huge day for the Cats with their colts playing earlier in the morning.

And he expects a strong showing from his seniors who, he said, have been training the house down and who have lost just the one match at home this season, that to premiers Palm Beach Currumbin.

The winners on Saturday earn a crack at Palm Beach Currumbin in the second semi-final next weekend while the losers will play a home knockout first semi-final against the winner of the elimination final between Surfers Paradise and Mt Gravatt.

QF - Cats v Panthers (002)

Elimination Final

At Sir Bruce Small Park, 2pm Sunday

Surfers Paradise: Ins: Rene Le Feuvre, Brodie Foster. Outs: Jack Taylor (ankle), Jasper Graham (omit).

Mt Gravatt: Ins: Adam Boon,  Jesse Green, Frazer Neate, Kailem Baker. Outs: Harry Taylor (inj), Nick Tronc (inj), Dean Benson (inj), Tim Douge (omit).

Last time they met: Mt Gravatt 10.13 (73) d Surfers Paradise 10.11 (71), R18 at Dittmer Park.

BRAD Moore and his Surfers Paradise Demons have shattered two hoodoos already this season – and they’ll need to shatter another one if their run at a QAFL flag is to continue.

The Demons host Mt Gravatt in the Elimination Final on Sunday knowing they have not beaten the Vultures in two seasons under Moore.

Earlier this year the Demons won at Labrador’s Cooke-Murphy Oval for the first time in more than 20 years and a few weeks ago ended their drought at Palm Beach Currumbin’s Salk Oval base after a drought of a dozen years.

“I haven’t coached a winning side against Mt Gravatt, two last year and two again this year,” Moore said.

“But both this year have been close – and obviously the latest one was losing after the siren.”

The Demons were superb last weekend when they sent the Western Magpies packing out of the finals while Mt Gravatt fell to the powerful premiers Palm Beach Currumbin to round out their home and away season.

It is a worry for Mt Gravatt coach Daniel Webster of having to go from perhaps the smallest ground in the competition one week (Salk Oval) to the biggest (Sir Bruce Small Park).

The challenge, says Webster, is how to break down the Surfers defence on a ground the Demons know so well.

And this challenge comes only a fortnight after the Vultures kicked a goal after the siren to beat this weekend’s opponents to stay in the title hunt.

“The challenge with Surfers, especially down there, is that it seems to be a very hard ground to score on,” Webster said, pointing to the many low winning scores kicked at the venue.

“That’s our biggest challenge, working out how to score on that ground.

“I think they’re deceptively defensive and they play the ground very well.”

The rival coaches both agreed their teams play a similar style of football, relishing any opportunity to move the ball quickly with run.

At selection time Surfers had a tough decision to drop Rising Star Award nominee Jasper Graham to bring back another Rising Star candidate Rene le Feuvre.

The Demons also regain Brodie Foster from the Suns NEAFL to replace injured Jack Taylor and they threw in an interesting selection, that of big Matt Green as an emergency.

Green, a brother of top forward Daniel Green, has played only one seniors and three reserves matches for the Demons this year.

Moore would not say one way or the other if Green, a key forward, will play, settling on a “he’s in the mix” comment.

Mt Gravatt have four changes for the clash, bringing back Adam Boon, Jesse Green, Frazer Neate and Kailem Baker to a side that now has four Redland NEAFL players in it.

EF - Demons v Vultures

Reserve grade

Qualifying final: Mt Gravatt v Labrador at Subaru Oval, 11.30am Saturday.
Elimination final: Palm Beach Currumbin v Western Magpies at Sir Bruce Small Park, 11.30am Sunday.

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