QAFL Friday Forecast: Grand Final edition

Saturday September 26, 1:10pm – Leyshon Park Yeronga


Coach vs. Coach, the KPI’s

Steve Daniel: Pressure, pressure, pressure. It’s what they did against Wilston Grange in their last game, and it’s what Daniel will hope they bring tomorrow. He will put a big focus on not giving up any easy touches.

David Lake: Contested ball. It’s what has got them to this point of the year, and it’s what will have to be on point if they are to win tomorrow. Lake continually talks about that ‘hard edge’ required this year, and there will be no biggest test on that than tomorrow.


What must happen?

Labrador: Have to settle well early. Morningside came out breathing fire last week against Wilston Grange, which set the tone for the day. The Tigers must ride the storm that is the first five minutes of a grand final, take a breath, and get the game on their terms.

Morningside: Can’t bomb away inside 50. For Morningside to kick a winning score, they must hold onto it around half forward until an option opens up. There was a noticeable difference last week when they hit the 35-metre mark on their entries, rather than pumping the ball in long and deep, like they did the last time they played the Tigers.


What can’t happen?

Morningside: The Panthers cannot let Labrador use the width of Yeronga to their advantage. It’s no secret that the more open it is, the more dangerous the Tigers become, so Morningside must work hard to keep Labrador in a shoe box when defending.

Labrador: The Tigers cannot allow Morningside to outnumber them on the spread. It’s where all of the Panthers’ run comes from. They need to the stop the plus one runner, who is the bailout handball backwards.


Things to look for

  1. Midfield head to head: Don’t expect a tag this week; it will be two elite midfields going head to head, with their only intention the footy.
  1. Fraser sending Queensland off with a bang: It was announced last night that Josh Fraser will leave the Gold Coast SUNS, and head home to Victoria. Don’t be surprised if he tops off his time in Queensland with a massive bag.
  1. The fist pump: A lot of key forwards love a bit of “get around me” action after they kick a goal. Combine that with a couple of thousand people around the ground, playing for a cup, you can expect some serious Kodak moments after a goal is kicked.


Ticking time bomb

Abey vs. Bantoft

By a country mile, the biggest matchup (pun intended) on field tomorrow. If Abey gets off the chain and kicks a bag, Morningside are in the game. It’s that simple. Bantoft has played him well in their two previous encounters this year, and will need to bring that form and more tomorrow.


Coach’s thoughts

Steve Daniel – Labrador

“Unfortunately, there can be only winner. Only two things can happen, you either win them or you lose them.

“The feel is really good. I’ve never met a football club going into a grand final that thinks they can’t win it, or aren’t up and about with a buzz down at the club. It’s a unique opportunity.

“(The first five minutes) are critical. We feel it’s a really important part of the game. For the first time ever we had a look back at last years grand final where Morningside kicked 6.6 before we even scored. You look at them last week, and they have kicked seven goals in the first quarter again. We are very mindful of how important the start is, making sure we are in the game early.

“I think the game is going to be won around the midfield, so obviously to start well, your midfield has got to start well and give you a lot of entries into your forward 50.

“It’s something I always say to my boys, the good players always stand up in the big games. So far when I have called upon them this year, they boys certainly haven’t let us down.

“It will be massive. We don’t want to change too much; our structure has been really good. Everyone knows we like to run and like to get out and spread, so we are really happy with how we sit at the moment, and hope it comes together on Saturday afternoon.

“I don’t look at it as the first QAFL Flag, but more a flag in general. It’s why we play football, why we coach football; you want to be there on the big day.

“Just because we go in there first that doesn’t make us favorites. It is a 50/50 ball game; it’s as simple as that. Either side can win it, and we are ready to go.”


David Lake – Morningside

“This time of year, everything goes to another level.

“Our variety in forward entry ahs been the most developed thing over the last five weeks. You look at the midfield and you think, yep, both are good, so that variety will be key.

“They have a first to move mentality. While the other side is thinking, they look to move, but I think we play like that as well.

“The side that is first to move, and does it with the most urgency will be in control if the other side is on the back foot.

“I was more nervous last year because we had more to lose. This year, it’s a lot more normal, and I’ve enjoyed our week a lot more. It’s been more balanced and regular.

The hunger through the group is a lot more balanced this year.

“I love game day, I want to make it my best. Like anything, when you’ve got one go left it needs to be good. As they say, you’re only as good as your last game.

“Marty King is presenting the premiership cup to us tomorrow if we win. There would be no greater thing than to get that cup off him, he has been a great help to me over my time.



Labrador deserve to go into this one as favorites. They have been the top dog all year, but this one is going to tight. Morningside have built nicely throughout the finals.

Labrador to win, with the last kick of the day.


QAFL Reserves Grand Final
Labrador vs. Wilston Grange
Saturday September 26, 10:00am – Leyshon Park Yeronga


The home and away ladder may read 1 vs. 3, but the form guide says otherwise.

In the head to head games this year, Wilston Grange ended Labrador’s undefeated streak back in round 7, and in their second meeting, they couldn’t be split on 77-points.

Those two games are the only blemishes on Labrador’s record up until this point.

Despite a slow start to 2015, sitting at 1-3 after the first month, the Gorillas built up momentum nicely throughout the rest of the home and away season

Labrador has had a couple of weeks off this month, and because of a healthy senior team, will go into this one cherry ripe.

They were too good in their semi final against Morningside, getting the job done by 16-points.

Grange has done it the hard way. Morningside proved too strong in week 1 of the finals, but two thrilling, clutch victories over Surfers Paradise and Morningside in the past two weeks will give them the belief they can run out games.

Matt Walder will set the Gorillas up in the middle, the barometer of their team, with help from Mitch Howe, and LLiam Molan up forward will be difficult to contain. Keep and eye on the youngster.

Leading goal kicker Mickey Abbey, and star Bryce Perry Bolt will be gearing up for a big day in front of the sticks for the Tigers. If the delivery is good, they will be hard to contain.

This game will be a fast paced, end-to-end brand of football, so getting the outside game to work is essential. Whichever team can settle the better early will be hard to pump the breaks on

Wilston Grange have locked down in their last two games, keeping it as a low scoring affair with a lot of stoppages, but I don’t think Labrador will let them so that this week.

Both teams are very good and spreading from the backline, kicking into space, and letting their half forwards run onto it.

If anyone is going to beat Labrador in this one it will be Wilston Grange, but I think the Tigers might just have that little bit too much polish through the middle.

Labrador will be hoping that this will be the first of two cups they hold up on tomorrow.

By Andrew Wiles@andrewjwiles

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