QAFL Finals Preview: Week 1

Beach Battle

Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Broadbeach

Sat 2 Sep, Salk Oval 2.00 pm

Live blog:


Even though the loser of this one gets another chance, there’ll be no holding back as the Cats take on the Lions in the first QAFL final of the year. While the winner will get a chance next week to play off against Labrador for a grand final berth, the loser will need to fight for their life against the winner of the Morningside versus Mt Gravatt contest.

Last time these two met it was a close one on the Cats’ home deck, but Palm Beach Currumbin proved too good and ran away with a 21-point win. Mitch Brewer was influential on that occasion, kicking three, so the Cats will miss his input with the big fella out through injury.

Brewer leaves some big shoes to fill in the forward line, but Cats coach Brett Andrews believes their ability to share the goal scoring load over the past month has been one of their real strengths.

“We haven’t got a leading goal kicker, but we’ve got four or five blokes that have kicked 20,” said Andrews.

“We’re getting a lot more goals out of our midfield. Spackman, O’Shea and Benji Neal have taken it to a new level.”

Andrews has also been impressed with Papua New Guineans Hapeo Bobogi and Kelly Kaugla since their inclusion to the lineup. Kelly kicked five goals last week and Hapeo has shown an exciting ability to burst through stoppages.

“They’re tough, they’re fast and they’re skillful,” said Andrews.

“You can put him (Kelly) on the ball, he’s got pace and he’s tough. ‘Hapex’ (Hapeo), plays a bit taller, he can take a mark and he can defend.”

Considering the star-studded Palm Beach midfield, it’ll be up to the Broadbeach players in the middle to break even with their counterparts and maintain a defensive mindset. It’s something Palm Beach coach Chad Owens is well aware of.

“The midfield have to win the game for us,” said Owens.

“We’ve got good midfielders, we believe that will be a strength of ours tomorrow. Obviously Broadbeach are really young and fast and exciting, but I think we’ve got some experienced older bodies in the midfield which should help us out.”

It’s no surprise that the recent performances of Broadbeach’s boys from PNG have drawn the league’s attention and Palm Beach are well prepared as a result.

“We put a lot of time into those young PNG boys,” said Owens.

“We obviously won’t say who they are, but we’ve got what we think is the perfect matchup for them.”

The likes of Jesse Derrick and Jason Burge loom as two keys for Palm Beach, Burge with his ability to always find a target and Derrick with his overhead marking, work ethic around the ground and attack on the footy. While Palm Beach are shutting down Bobogi and Kaugla, expect Broadbeach to keep an eye on Burge and Derrick.


QAFL coaches weigh in

Brydan Morgan (Western Magpies): Palm Beach by 18 points

Brad Moore (Surfers Paradise): Palm Beach by 32 points

Nathan Clarke (Wilston Grange): Palm Beach by 15 points

Graham Adams (Sandgate): Broadbeach by 19 points



No More Tomorrows

Morningside vs. Mt Gravatt

Sun 3 Sep, Jack Esplen Oval 2.00 pm

Live blog:


Morningside will meet Mt Gravatt in a clash that will end the finals campaign for one of these sides and the players will be well aware that it’s win, or go home.

It’s an intriguing contest too, with both sides in possession of different strengths; Mt Gravatt have the ball winning beasts in the middle, while the Panthers have key pillars at either end that can shape the outcome.

Only a few weeks ago, Mt Gravatt put Morningside to the sword in a sneak preview of the upcoming elimination final, thanks to six goals from Sam Stubbs. The Vultures will have to make do without Stubbs this time around with the sorely needed full forward another one set to miss through injury.

It makes things more challenging for Mt Gravatt, but coach Troy Mocur is confident the Vultures are getting enough forward 50 entries, they just need someone to bob up and kick some goals.

“We’re getting it in there enough, it’s just we’re not quite good enough to finish it off and get some scoreboard pressure,” said Moncur, while hinting that tall target Andrew Smith might make an appearance in the forward line.

“He’ll probably find his way down there, along with our other boys.”

If Smith does lineup in the forward line, he’ll likely encounter Riley Buntain, someone Moncur considers critical to the Panthers prospects.

“I think Buntain is really key to them down back, he defends really well and creates a lot of drive for them,” said Moncur.

“On paper we feel we match up pretty well, it’s just who turns up on the day. It’s all between the ears really.”

Morningside coach Steve Wildschut agrees the Panthers strength lies in their talls, but also thinks communication in the middle of the ground is important for their success on Sunday against a strong Vultures midfield.

“It’ll be constant communication and swapping of roles, depending on who’s going well at any given time,” said Wildschut.

“They all (the Vultures midfield) work together and as a team, you can see that they all do everything for each other. So they’re very workman-like in everything they do.”

The Panthers get a lot of drive out of their back half and Wildschut is confident that if it’s not Buntain doing the creative work, it’ll be someone else.

“We’re really settled as a club, that if it’s not one person’s game, their role has to change and be more accountable,” said Wildschut.

“Earlier in the year we were talking about how good Serrurier was going in terms of his creativity as well.

We’ve also got Nash down there, Joe Dalton runs off the half back line, (and) Campbell Wearne is an attacking defender as well.”

The Panthers triple pronged attack is a dangerous one with Abey, Murray and Mitchell all capable of going on a goal scoring rampage, but the likes of Frazer Neate and Zac Stone will be working hard in the middle for the Vultures, to make sure the footy ends up in the hands of Andrew Smith or the leaping Jayden ‘Creepy’ Crawley instead.


QAFL coaches weigh in

Brydan Morgan (Western Magpies): Morningside by 15 points

Brad Moore (Surfers Paradise): Morningside by 11 points

Nathan Clarke (Wilston Grange): Morningside by 1 point

Graham Adams (Sandgate): Morningside by 13 points



Team Lists

Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Broadbeach 

Download Footy Record here: Lions vs Cats Qualifying Final

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Morningside vs. Mt Gravatt

Download Footy Record here: Panthers vs Vultures Elimination Final

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By Sean Melrose

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