By Beth Newman
Sunday afternoon footy will become a regular occurrence in Queensland community footy, a feature of the the 2015 QAFL draw, announced today.
There will be 19 Sunday afternoon matches in the second season of the QAFL, up from 14 in 2014, meaning fewer games will be played in the same timeslot across one weekend, giving fans more opportunity to attend matches.
This move is likely to be replicated throughout community football to give fans a better football experience.
Much of the schedule structure will remain the same as in 2014, with all 10 QAFL teams playing each other twice, once at home and once away.
There will be three byes through the season, with a split round in Round Four, a representative bye on the June long weekend and a competition bye in July.
With the later start to the AFL season, the QAFL finals will finish up on the last weekend in September, a week before the AFL Grand Final.
Fans will have to wait until round six to see the grand final rematch, as Labrador hosts Morningside at Cooke-Murphy Oval on May 24.
Sandgate and Wilston Grange will play their third annual ANZAC Eve match on April 24, the only night match in the 2015 competition.
AFL Queensland CEO, Michael Conlan, said the increase in Sunday matches would help continue to build on the strong attendances the QAFL drew last year.
“The more opportunities we can give fans to attend community football matches, the better it is for the competition and its supporters,” he said.
“The QAFL showcased some spectacular matches in 2014, played in front of strong crowds and we want that to continue in 2015.”
FULL FIXTURE HERE
AT A GLANCE
· 90 home and away matches, starting on Saturday April 11
· Final home and away matches on Saturday August 29
· Grand final on the weekend of September 26 and 27
· A top five finals system
FIVE GAMES YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS:
Round two: Broadbeach v Mt Gravatt (H&A Oval)
The last time the Cats played on their home ground, it was the Vultures who had the last laugh, in a dominant elimination final performance. Broadbeach will be keen for revenge as they host Mt Gravatt in their first home game of 2015. This is likely to be a strong litmus test for the two young lists as well, giving a gauge of their improvement from 2014.
Round two: Surfers Paradise v UQ
These two sides played out a nail biter at Oval 7 last season and their first clash of 2015 will be a telling one. Both sides have new coaches and the Red Lions particularly are expected to improve on their 2014 campaign. A good showing against the Demons in their first road trip of the season will be critical for them. Surfers Paradise didn’t show the improvement they would have liked in 2014 and under the guidance of Peter Young, their first home match will be huge.
Round three: ANZAC Eve – Wilston Grange v Sandgate
This match has become a highly anticipated fixture for both sides and its third staging should be no different. The Gorillas and Hawks have developed a healthy rivalry and these matches, played in prime time, have provided the stage for two close contests in the past two years. The fact that former hawks captain, Michael Richardson, will face up against his ex-teammates for the first time shouldn’t dull the emotions either.
Round five: Palm Beach v Labrador
Many of Palm Beach’s players will still be feeling the pain of being knocked out of the QAFL premiership race last season in the final minute of their preliminary final against the Tigers. While last season’s coach, Daryn Cresswell, has moved on, plenty of their players and coaching staff will be very keen to avenge their heartbreaking defeat.
Round six: Labrador v Morningside
It’s the grand final rematch, though many of the faces will likely be different. Last year, the Tigers and Panthers kicked off their seasons against each other, but they’ll have to wait until Round six to meet each other in 2015. The Tigers will be very keen to avenge their grand final loss and see how their beefed up forward line goes.
CLICK HERE to dowload draw