Match of the round
Broadbeach vs. Wilston Grange
Saturday August 1, 2:00pm – H&A Oval
Live blog from 1:45pm
It’s only just cracked open enough to let the tiniest bit of light in, but the door to Broadbeach’s finals campaign is still ajar.
It can’t be emphasized enough though, they must win this weekend, which is certainly not out of the question.
The Cats have played some really good footy of late, especially on their home deck, that same ground they outplayed Labrador a few weeks ago.
“We have got our little toe stuck in the door. Palm Beach’s results are going to come into it, but we have just got to keep winning,” Coach Brett Andrews said.
“We have been playing elimination finals since just about the time I took over, and I think that got to us a little bit a few weeks ago. Although the pressure isn’t off us, we have come to the last straw, this is it; if we lose we are definitely gone.
The key to tomorrow will be playing as one unit, and pressuring the ball.
“We have got to cut out the selfishness and play team football, because when we do, we are a good side. When we go into the ‘I can fix it myself’ mode we get slaughtered,” he said.
“We have just got to keep the pressure up, we were really good against the Magpies for the first half, but when we should have kept going forward in the second half we went backwards.”
Although now fresh, Andrews is wary of the Gorillas coming in off the back of a close one.
“I think in park footy you have got to play every week. Although the boys will appreciate the freshness, tomorrow is going to be hard for us,” he said.
“We have just got to play our own footy. We will have to look out for Proud, Kettle and Brittain and those guys, but it’s about us. I think their top four are good, but I think our bottom four or five might be a bit better.”
Nick Scott back from injury, Matt Sully, and Ben Hancock are all huge inclusions to the lineup
The Gorilla’s will be looking to rebound better than the USA’s basketball dream team on Saturday; they also have a lot to play for.
Now a game behind third spot, go down in this one, and pretty much kiss a top three-finish goodbye.
Despite last week’s heartbreaker, and despite the fact they didn’t have a week off, the Gorillas are fully focused on this week’s game.
“Last night was the best that we have trained in a month. I think maybe come finals time that break would have been nice but, more or less, the break helps you mentally unwind and get away from footy but our guys do that anyway,” Trewhella said.
Like they say, you learn a lot more from a loss than a win.
“If one of our guys hadn’t have dropped a mark on the wing with two minutes to go we control the ball and win. We spoke about making the most of our opportunities, you can have a terrific day but a couple of instances let you down, so if the game is close we are better prepared,” he said.
“We didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, the guys were hurting so our focus now is just to keep winning for the rest of the year and get guys in some form.”
Last time these two teams played was tight; Trewhella doesn’t expect this one to be any different.
“We know that they run and carry and spread and switch, so we know we have to be switched on. Last time was a bit of a nail bitter, but we have got some senior players back from the last time we played them,” he said.
“The pleasing thing is all our younger guys are contributing; I had a selection headache last night like no other, so we are treating this game very seriously.”
After being a late out last week, Brittain comes back into the lineup this week, as does Brad Percy, an army member, for his first game this year. Look out for his raking left foot up forward.
It’s do or die for Broadbeach this week. It’ll be on early.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 14 – BROADBEACH V WILSTON GRANGE
Labrador vs. Palm Beach Currumbin
Saturday August 1, 2:00pm – Cooke-Murphy Oval
To be the best, you have to beat the best.
Palm Beach are playing season best footy at the moment, it’s all coming together. Now they have to show it stacks up.
There is a lot to like about the Lions at the moment. Stubbs up forward, Derrick, Woolley and Bryant getting a heap of it, and their backline is providing a lot of run. They are more than a show this weekend.
The Lions haven’t been able to get over the top of a top four side this year. There’s no better time than the present to change that.
“Yeah it definitely is [a bit of a mini final], and we need to take a scalp, we haven’t beaten anyone above us yet, so why not change that this week,” coach Chad Owens said.
“We are really looking forward to it, it’s a great test, but we are certainly not scared of them, we think we can win.”
Owens puts the Lions’ good form of late down to the familiarity in the team.
“I think we are now getting some consistency in the lineup, players are really understanding each others games the more they play with each other, and some of our young kids are playing unbelievable football,” he said.
He believes that stopping Labrador’s outside game goes a long way to winning the game of football.
“We need to kick a bigger score than them to start with, but we have just got to stop their outside run. They have got a lot of dangerous players who can hurt you out there, and inside as well, so we can’t let them get that going,’ he said.
It isn’t just four points on the line, but bragging right and a cold one between the coaches as well.
“Hopefully Steve is reaching his short hand into his long pocket this week and buying me a VB after the game this time,” Owens joked.
It’s not about if you fall, it’s about if you get back up.
Labrador were back to their destructive best last start against Surfers Paradise after a hiccup the week before, the train is back on the tracks.
“I thought we started to get back to the basics really well against Surfers Paradise a fortnight ago, and I’m hoping we can keep heading in the same direction tomorrow,” coach Steve Daniel said.
He knows they will have their work cut out tomorrow when they face an inform Palm Beach, with some players in red-hot form.
“Last time Palm Beach were very impressive, Bryant, Woolley and Derrick certainly had an impact on the game,” he said.
“Stubbs is certainly playing well at the moment so we will have to make sure we keep a close eye on him.”
It’ll be on for young and old early. Labrador on paper win this game, but with the form of the Palm Beach youngsters, this will be very tight.
FOOTY RECORD:QAFL RECORD – RD 14 – LABRADOR V PALM BEACH
Mt Gravatt vs. Morningside
Saturday August 1, 2:00pm –Dittmer Park
The tale of the tape reads pretty differently in this one.
Morningside are finalising on their best lineup, and looking to build a head of steam before September, whereas Mt Gravatt are being forced to cover a few key losses through injury, while building momentum for next year.
The big news to come out of Jack Esplen Oval this week is the debut of Adam Mueller, the superstar from Redland, who will provide another genuine target up forward for the Panthers.
“He is such a decorated player for Redland over an extended period of time and such a good quality fella. He brings on and off field strength to your footy club,” coach David Lake said.
“I think Kent Abey will appreciate him more than anyone with the presence he provides in the forward 50.”
Morningside will try to restrict any run and carry Mt Gravatt try to generate tomorrow before it even begins.
“From their point of view, they play that short, turn and go, quick movement where anywhere is a good place to go kind of footy, so we need to make sure we aren’t caravanning, following our opponents in,” he said.
“We need to do the work early with the opponent and not let them lead up at the footy.”
With an eye on the post-season, Lake hopes tomorrow will be another step forward in getting their game to where they feel it needs to be.
“From our point, it’s continuing to develop this hard edge inside that we need, and the spread with the footy comes with that, which is that second and third phase we speak about,” he said.
Along with Mueller, Russ, Faure and Niland-Rowe all come back in this week. Replacing Pendlebury, Frame, McDonald and Kinch.
The week off wasn’t full of good news for the Vultures, whose horrid luck with injuries continues.
“It looks like we have lost full back Tim Hart for the year with a meniscus tear, and Jayden Crawley has done the same thing, so they are a couple of big outs,” Coach Brad Pollock said.
It’s more than just a game for Mt Gravatt tomorrow; it’s for the Ferg Reid Cup.
“Ferg was a young bloke that played for us four or five years ago, who passed away due to cancer. His Dad was a former president of the club, so it’s a big day for the club, and a very significant day,” he said.
“That will be a big motivation for us. The boys will be pretty fired up to do pretty well, it’s a matter of putting what we have been training for into place and hopefully it’s a good day out.”
Pollock believes the KPI in tomorrow’s game with be Morningside’s run.
“If you look at there last few games they have been really putting the teams outside the five to the sword a bit, so that tells me their running game is working well, so a big factor for us will be shutting that down the best way we can,” he said.
“Let’s see how they go with some one on one pressure, hopefully we can create a few mistakes.
“I’m pretty sure the few games they have lost, it’s been due the opposition putting their ball carries under the pump, so we will see. It’s got to be a total team effort.”
The Vultures do get back James, Nash, Lachie Niland-Rose and Craig Malone for his first game of the year tomorrow, which will add some experience and maturity to the team.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 14 – MT GRAVATT V MORNINGSIDE
Surfers Paradise vs. Western Magpies
Saturday August 1, 2:00pm – Sir Bruce Small Park
They might have consolidated their top five spot, but these next five games are as important as ever for the Magpies if they want that home final come week one.
First on the agenda will be a battle of the inside midfielders this week.
The Magpies didn’t get a week off due to the wash out game replay, but Coach Glenn Humphrey believes that is a positive.
“I think it will help us, we should be pretty good. We got away without any injuries last week, and we are managing their load during the week because we don’t have that bye, we will ensure they are as fresh as possible, but I think they are in good stead,” Humphrey said.
He might sound a little bit like a broken method, but the approach to each game doesn’t change, and why should it when they are playing as well as they are.
“We will still go about it the same way. We will try and deny them use of the football, win the ball around the stoppages, and spread well,” he said.
“It’s about each of the guys playing their role around the stoppages.”
While last week was a big win for the club, he isn’t prepared to look any further than the home and away season just yet.
“We have got another five games before we can worry about anything else. We understand that we have got ourselves in a position now where we will play finals, but we have got five games of football to win before we think about what we can achieve there,” Humphrey said.
“We have sat down, reassessed and set ourselves some goals on what we can achieve in these last five games, so we will go about achieving them.”
The Magpies list is in very good shape at the moment. They get back Lachie Woods and Alex Dickfos this week, but will be without Tom Michael who has been called up to Redland.
Surfers’ contested work has been a highlight this year. Their running game may have been what has got them the four points in weeks gone by, but without the inside, there is no outside.
“We like to think we are not bad in close. Over the last few week we have been good in there but we probably haven’t got it out wide and ran it as well as we had hope,” Coach Peter Young said.
“Hopefully Ryan Agita and the Haberfield’s who are good in close win their fair share and we can use our speed.”
It will be no easy task this weekend getting over the top of one of the in-form teams in the competition, but Young is putting his faith in the kids.
“We have got out work cut out, but I think our boys are really looking forward to the challenge. We are backing the kids in again and giving them opportunities,” he said.
“They are in good form, since we played them last time they have been on a bit of a high. They have some really good players we have got to be mindful of, Thompson was good last time, Pope is great, and Luke Scott is a beauty.”
The big ground at Surfers Paradise should help out the Demons a lot. If they can break through the numbers early, you just never know, but I think the Magpies have worked to hard to let this one slip.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 14 – SURFERS V WESTERN MAGPIES
UQ vs. Sandgate
Sunday August 2, 2:00pm – Oval 7 St Lucia
One of these teams are about to break the drought, but if you asked me who, I couldn’t tell you.
You could mount arguments as to why these two teams could win, and win well.
Sandgate’s big-bodied midfield could be too much; they pushed the Gorillas for three and a half quarters last game; players like Rutledge, Bevan and Overington are genuine a-graders who the team can rely on.
But then you look at UQ, who have pushed every single team in patches this year. They hit the front half way through the third against Morningside last game, took it to Labrador in the first quarter when they played, and went down by a point to Surfers a few weeks ago. It’s been patchy, but it’s been good when it comes together.
UQ coach Darren Pfeiffer said these last five games are about finding some form, and taking it into next year.
“Finals aren’t an option, not that we have been talking about them anyway, so it’s about the future. It’s about consolidating and solidifying what we are trying to do as a club going forward,” Pfeiffer said.
“We are going out this weekend to win, to build a bit of confidence in the group, and then take that into the rest of the year, and into pre-season.”
They haven’t played each other in a while, but Pfeiffer knows what went wrong last time, and they will make sure they do everything to address it come Sunday.
“We really need to put the scoreboard pressure on Sandgate from the start and then go from there,” he said.
“They got us around the ball last time, our forwards had a very minimal impact, so we will be looking to really come at them in the middle, and probably having more of a defensive mindset in the middle, and then going from there and trying to put the score on the board, or at least lock it in the forward 50.”
The result against Morningside wasn’t the one they wanted, but it instilled belief within the four walls.
“After two and a half good quarters against Morningside, I think that they know if they play footy like that we can worry any team. They have got a little bit of belief from that so now it’s about driving it home for the whole game,” Pfeiffer said.
Sunday is a big day for Sandgate. They have come along in leaps and bounds this year, but finishing off strongly is just as big.
“This weekend is pretty important for our development moving forward. We have been stagnate on three wins for a while now, and we need to get off that and move forward because we each win t our club this year is like gold, so it is really important that we can keep clocking them over when we can,” Coach Graham Adams said.
With both teams considering themselves a real show, the first 15 minutes will be crucial.
“The start of the game is very important, I think that whoever starts the game better could possibly win this game,” he said.
Adams believes the difference this week will be in the forward arc.
“Our forward line is as good as we have had all year. We have got young Lachie Lang back, who played against Labrador in round 1, and was killing them, but hurt his knee and hasn’t played since. He is an exceptional talent, so he will slip into out forward line, so now we have got a forward line that can kick goals,” he said.
But the ball has to get in there somehow, and that will be through hunting in numbers at the football.
“I think we play at our best when we put our opposition under pressure, and that doesn’t change from playing UQ through to Morningside. The more pressure you put them under, the better your chance of causing a turnover, getting the ball, and away we go,” Adams said.
This one is as hard to read as a book in the dark, it could honestly go either way. One thing is for sure though, both deserve the four-points.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 14 – UNIVERSITY V SANDGATE
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles