AFL Queensland’s World Fiesta is tonight at Yeronga, the perfect lead in to a big round 0f QAFL football that kicks off tomorrow. Check out the preview for each game below.
MATCH OF THE ROUND
Morningside vs. Labrador
Saturday August 8, 2:00pm – Jack Esplen Oval
LIVE BLOG FROM 1:45PM
We’ve been waiting for this game since round 7. The reigning champs up against the team to beat. Mouthwatering.
Last team these two teams met, Labrador ended the streak, and put a big target on their back as the top dog in the process.
If Morningside wants to finish on top and have a week off in the first week of finals, this is a must win, it’s a simple as that.
It’s something that David Lake is well aware of.
“This is the most significant game that we have played since grand final day last year, and that’s not lost on us. This is the most we have played for since that day,” Lake said.
The second quarter was when the game was torn open last time. Now it’s time to turn the tables.
“In 15 minutes of footy last time, there was seven unanswered goals, and that was the difference,” he said.
“They structured up really well that day, they ran well, they moved the ball well, and they were neat in transition. Particularly in the third quarter, we were outcoached and outplayed.
“Now we are seeking redemption from a respect point of view.”
Without Clarke and Fraser, the ruck is an area Lake will target.
“We need to continue to develop our hard edge. Our continuity of play has to be good. Its obvious that their ruck is a position that they are vulnerable in, and we need to take advantage of that, but they are very good in the way that they set up around that,” he said.
“We need to slow them up, and make sure we want to work hard and run.”
With Kent Abey playing game 250, it’s a game that is very important for the club as a whole.
The stakes of this game aren’t lost on Labrador. They are looking to sew up top spot, but know they will have to handle a rampaging Panther outfit first.
“We know they will be coming at us, we didn’t just poke the bear last time, we whacked it over the head with a baseball bat,” Coach Steve Daniel said.
“Obviously we would like to win to hang onto that top spot, and they want to win with their eyes on a top two spot.
“If we can put it away this week that would be great, but if it doesn’t go to plan, it’ll have to be next week or whenever after that, but we would certainly like to win this week.”
Daniel said that these are the weeks, the blockbusters, that you play footy for.
“Four weeks out from finals, coming up against the best side in the competition from our point of view, and there is a bit at stake, it doesn’t get much bigger,” he said.
In terms of how they go about it, it’s about doing the basics right.
“We are very simple in the way we go about it. We like to be considered a contested football side, and that’s how we win our games, so we are going to be pretty hard and ruthless in that area,” Daniel said.
“We just need everyone to contribute and play their role and hopefully that will be enough.”
How good is this going to be? 1v2 on a Saturday afternoon in the sunshine. We are about to learn a lot more about what to expect come September tomorrow.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 15 – MORNINGSIDE V LABRADOR
Sandgate vs. Mt Gravatt
Saturday August 8, 2:00pm – Lemke Rd
Só porque están fóra da caza finais, non significa que este non é un xogo de vital importancia .
It’s multicultural round, so I thought I would introduce this game by going back to my roots, and speaking in Gaelic.
Google translate tells me it means: ‘Just because you are out of the hunt late, does not mean that this is not a game of vital importance.’
Close enough I guess, but maybe I’ll stick to english from here on in.
This game is huge for both clubs. Both want to win, both want to build momentum heading into next year, and both want to be clear of the wodden spoon.
“I think it’s our last chance of playing someone who is not in the five, so in that regard it’s a great chance to get a win on the board and there is nothing like a win for a young group, so the boys will be certainly be up to it,” Mt Gravatt Coach Brad Pollock said.
The foundations are there for the Vultures; it’s just a few untimely errors costing them.
“The focus is, we have been playing some good footy against top teams, but we are just making that fundamental blunder that is costing us goals, and games of footy,” he said.
“We need to reduce those errors. Everything else is coming along nicely, defensive, accountability, and running the ball has been good, it’s just getting rid of those brain fades or skill errors.
Their contested work has improved of late, but the wide-open Lemke Rd will help their running game.
“I think the big ground will suit us, but the boys have also been doing well in the contest, especially against Morningside last week,” Pollock said.
They will be missing a few this week. Estall is out with an ankle, Bresnehan has a wrist injury, and Malone and Niland-Rowe go back to Redland.
Last week still stings for Sandgate. They weren’t happy with their performance against UQ, and will look to rectify it tomorrow.
“I don’t think we have been terrific the last few weeks, so we have probably got a bit of a point to prove,” Coach Graham Adams said.
“They are fired up, we will have a few out, but that’s the way it goes, so we have just got to move on and have a proper go tomorrow.”
Adams is well aware of the task ahead of them, but it will be about breaking the shackles.
“They are going to be tough, they are in good form. They put it on Morningside for a fair while last week, so we have to just get everything right, get our matchups right in defense, and just play with a bit of freedom. We haven’t done that lately, we have all been worried about making a mistake,” he said.
“We have just got to kick goals, that’s been a problem of ours all year, we have just got to kick goals and shut down their opportunities to.”
Both teams will consider themselves a show here. If it’s played on the inside, Sandgate win, if it opens up, Mt Gravatt win.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 15 – SANDGATE V MT GRAVATT
Surfers Paradise vs. Broadbeach
Saturday August 8, 2:00pm – Sir Bruce Small Park
Two clubs not much further than a kick of the footy away, battling it out for local bragging rights.
Broadbeach and Surfers finals dreams may be pretty much over, but pride is still on the line this weekend.
“We have still got to win and get something out of it. The main thing is, we played the worst game of football you could ever possibly imagine against Surfers last time, it was unwatchable, we need to fix that this time,” Broadbeach Coach Brett Andrews said.
Andrews’ believes it will come down to being responsible with the ball.
“We have just got to be more accountable and have a bit more care. We have practiced being strong over the ball all week, and practiced our disposal into the forward line, because we just missed targets last week,” he said.
“They are fast, they take you on, it’s a local derby so we are expecting a big clash. They tend to get numbers back, so we practiced sharing the football around and creating a bit of space, so we are as ready as we will ever be.”
Broadbeach’s issue of late has been their inability to put sides away, and roll with any momentum they have built up.
“As soon we about to finish an opposition and take the game by the throat, the momentum metre kicks in, we have a few errors in a row, we fold for 15 minutes, and they pile the goals on,” he said.
Kurt Cole comes in for his first game of senior footy, but the Cats will be missing Pantic, Mcconnochie, Fahey, and Sully.
To their credit, Surfers came into this year with a plan, and they have stuck with it.
“We go about it every week, we are on a cause to play the kids, we are not going to deviate from what we are doing,” Coach Peter Young said.
They came up against a red-hot Western Magpies last weekend, and what they learnt was that their pressure has to lift this week.
“We have just got to be stronger in the midfield. Last week I think we had 50 tackles, and seven in our forward 50, which isn’t good enough. That’s what will get us the shots on goal,” he said.
“Since we played them last they have improved a lot, they are coming home with a bit of a rush. It’s always a great rivalry between the two clubs, so bragging rights are definitely on the line.”
The game plan will be a simple one.
“I love going back to set up, but then I love that run through from the back to break lines. It’s about getting the confidence into those players that they can do it,” Young said.
The Demons will be bolstered by some a-grade inclusions this week. Fraser Pope, Haydn Kiel, Trent McIntyre and Daniel Green will all return.
This is as 50/50 as it gets, it’s too tight to call.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 15 – SURFERS V BROADBEACH
Western Magpies vs. Palm Beach Currumbin
Saturday August 8, 2:00pm – Chelmer
This isn’t going to be the prettiest game in the world, probably not the most high scoring, but what I can guarantee is that it will be a contest; a ruthless contest.
That’s exactly what Palm Beach Currumbin coach, Chad Owens, is prepping for anyway.
“We are preparing for a really low scoring game this week. Eight to 10 goals will probably win it,” Owens said.
“We have been practicing for that. Getting numbers behind the ball, numbers at the contest, making sure our forwards are on the move.”
It was a dirty day against Labrador last week for the Lions, but eyes are firmly on this weekend now.
“Yeah we have moved on from that, we didn’t really talk about it at all. We spoke about a couple of little thing at training that we had to address, but it’s in the back of the mind now,” he said.
The key to this week will be how they dispose of the ball.
“We need to use it. If we can keep possession that’s obviously the easiest way to defend, rather than giving it back to them and them getting us on the hop,” Owens said.
“They have dangerous young forwards that can take big grabs. Obviously we have got to worry about Luke Scott as well, and their midfielders aren’t superstars but they all rack up huge numbers and do a job for their team, they have really good balance.”
Players like Woolley, Derrick and Bryant, they are always going to stand up when it counts. Owens is looking to the next rung to put their hands up tomorrow.
“We need our second tier to deliver. We know what we are going to get out of our better players, but we need the other guys to step up tomorrow; that will be the key to winning,” he said.
These two teams may meet in the post-season, but the Lions aren’t thinking about finals just yet.
“Mathematically we can still miss finals, so we haven’t prepared for finals yet, we are preparing that we still need to win games to qualify, so we have to win this week to put it to bed,” Owens said.
Chelmer is a pretty good place to be at the moment, things are traveling well, so well in fact that if they win this weekend and Morningside lose, they take second spot.
“We are not satisfied where we are, but we are happy to be in the position we put ourselves in, and will look to continue in cementing that position this weekend,” Magpies Coach Glenn Humphrey said.
“There will be an opportunity, depending on other results, that we can pop into second spot on the ladder, but the important thing, is we need to win our game of football.”
Unlike Owens, Humphrey likes to think they will be able to open the game up with ball in hand.
“We certainly want to restrict their ability to score, but I’m hoping that we will be able to open them up and run away from them once we get into space,” he said.
“I think that if we concentrate on what we do, restricting their ball use, hopefully the rest of it will take care of itself, but we have certainly got to be mindful of the fact that they like to get out and run the football as well.”
Palm Beach need to take a scalp if they want to be treated as the real deal come finals. Their backs are up against the wall this week, but sometimes that’s what brings a team together for four quarters of brilliance.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 15 – WESTERN MAGPIES V PBC
Wilston Grange vs. UQ
Sunday August 9, 2:00pm – PBI Oval
Last time these two teams met, it was end to end footy. It’s not often you see both teams kick 100 points or more, and one of them still win by 10 goals.
Don’t expect that this time.
“We addressed the game last time, where they kicked 16 goals, on us which was quite embarrassing considering the start we got. We have spoken about the need to start well but also finish off,” Wilston Grange Coach Matt Trewhella said.
Grange played two games across the two halves last week. It was quick and open in the first, and locked down in the second.
Trewhella believes a combination of both is what he is looking for.
“I think it’s both. I’m looking for consistency and looking for guys to run out the game and play four quarters that’s what we need to play finals,” he said.
As for UQ this time around, last weeks Syd Guildford nomination, Darren Pfeiffer will prove a handful, but it’s about covering off on the majority for Grange.
“They are pretty even in their spread. Apart from Pfeiffer, the rest are pretty even and play well together. Pfeiffer is going to go everywhere that suits us because he will just be plugging holes, but if he starts winning the ball and kicking goals, that’s something we will need to address on game day,” Trewhella said.
In a perfect world, Grange walks away with a lot more than the four points this weekend.
“Some form, fitness, and before Labrador next week, I want to see some guys playing well in the lead up to that. I hope it’s one of those days where everyone rocks up, does their thing over four quarters, gets the win, has a few beers afterwards, and it’s almost clinical because of the preparation and focus over the last month,” he said.
“That to me would be the ideal day, the only thing standing in the way is UQ.”
UQ got reward for effort last weekend with their second win.
“Everyone was pretty excited and felt like they played some good footy and got some confidence out of the weekend for sure,” Coach Darren Pfeiffer said.
They won’t be getting ahead of themselves though; the Gorillas’ are an opposition that needs to be given the upmost respect.
“Wilston Grange is a very good team. Last time we played them we were able to score 100 points against them so we take confidence in that but it’s going to be about how well we defend them,” he said.
“We know as a footy team that the way we move the ball we can score, and score pretty quick but it’s about cutting out the easy mistakes and not giving the opposition easy goals.”
Wilston Grange has probably the biggest midfield in the competition, but the size isn’t a major concern of Pfeiffer’s.
“I think we have got some pretty big bodied midfielders as well, so I think we can match up against them quite well in terms of size. For us it will be about using that outside run to get on top of them and go from there,” he said.
On paper, Grange wins this quite comfortably, but UQ has proven over the last month they can match it with anyone.
FOOTY RECORD:QAFL RECORD – RD 15 – WILSTON GRANGE V UNIVERSITY
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles