MATCH OF THE ROUND
Mt Gravatt vs. Wilston Grange
Saturday August 22, 2:00pm – Dittmer Park
LIVE BLOG FROM 1:45PM
One team is preparing for the finals, one is treating it like a final. Don’t worry about the points gap on the ladder; the form guide says this will be a beauty.
Last week, Wilston Grange slayed the giant by taking down Labrador, and Mt Gravatt could have, and some say should have, beaten the Western Magpies.
For that reason, Wilston Grange Coach Matt Trewhella will be giving this game the respect it deserves.
“We know that they are in form, with some terrific players, probably reminiscent of their form last year. They had a fantastic game last week, and they have got some seasoned footballers, so I think we have got a very good game on our hands,” Trewhella said.
While the Gorillas’ finals spot is assured, a top three spot is still up for grabs.
That means there won’t be any blokes getting a holiday at this time of year.
“It’s a matter of managing guys who have some niggles, but knowing we still need to win to try and put ourselves in the best position to finish third if someone falters above us. You’d love to be able to give some guys some time off over the next two week, but we can’t afford to do that,” he said.
Wilston Grange hunted the Tigers from the opening bounce last week; their pressure was through the roof. Don’t expect any different.
“When our pressure is high and we start well, we normally finish off games. We need to replicate that from the start. There are still some guys trying to find some form, and a few are playing for their finals spot, that’s how serious it is,” Trewhella said.
It wont be all out attack though. If the trigger is there to be pulled, they will, but treading water has also helped them of late.
“What worked well last week, was when we could hold onto the ball and play that possession game at times. Our biggest improvement this year has been deciding when to go and when not to go,” Trewhella said.
McIvor and Nixon-Smith will miss through injury, but Henry Leong and Reuben William come back from NEAFL duties, which will add a lot of dash across halfback.
Like a few teams this week, the Vultures are certainly not planning on hiding in their shells.
“There is a couple of weeks to go, so it’s all or nothing, we will just give it everything we have got,” Coach Brad Pollock said.
A slow start was the difference in the end, but Mt Gravatt came home with a wet sail against the Magpies, which proves they are more than capable of playing a final’s like game.
Defense – tick. Offense – watch this space.
“We were terrific defensively last game, so we want to continue with that mentality, but I’d really like to see the boys try and play a bit more overlap footy, where they break the lines, that will be the emphasis of the day,” Pollock said.
“We have been playing good one on one, lockdown footy, but I would like to make more attacking opportunities.”
Smith, Malone and James won’t be lining up this week, but Mt Gravatt get Niland-Rowe and Licht back from Redland, and Jayden Crawley back after a six week layoff with injury.
This one will be tight. If the Vultures play four quarters of footy it will go down to the wire. The Gorillas will have their hands full, but should win.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 17 – MT GRAVATT V WILSTON GRANGE
Sandgate vs. Western Magpies
Saturday August 22, 2:00pm – Lemke Rd
If you got the pen and paper out, handed it to each coach, and asked them what their major strength was this year, both would come back with two words; contested football.
That gives you some idea of where this one will be played tomorrow.
The Western Magpies, by their own admission, won ugly last week, something they can’t afford to do tomorrow.
“They will be looking to grab a scalp on the weekend so we have got to make sure that we are switched on and we don’t fall into any of the same issues that we had the week before,” Coach Glenn Humphrey said.
“Falling over the line is not what we are about. We want to win the game, and win the game on our terms.”
They were a bit flat last week, but a win is a win.
They key to turning that around immediately will be going back to the routine that has worked all year.
“The focus is on our processes and what we do well. That’s what we have got to continue to focus on,” he said.
Competition for spots means no one will be looking to cruise through the last two games though.
“That’s something that we discussed last night, we have guys there playing for their spots. They have got to get through the game, and get through it well to protect their position in the side,” Humphrey said.
Losing Carseldine and Wenham for this week due to soreness is far from ideal, but you couldn’t ask for much better replacements than McEvoy and Aneet.
It’s been a tough old month or so for Sandgate, and their injury woes just got a little worse.
They will be without Aden Rutledge, Dan Day and Alex Craft this week, all of who are stars.
Not much to lose, all to gain, that’s the message this week.
“I don’t think we have got anything to lose by going out and having a crack at it,” Coach Graham Adams said.
“You never know. When we get it right, we are not a bad side, but we have just got to get it right for the whole four quarters.”
Adams knows that the numbers around the footy will be up, as will the pressure.
“We have looked at that during the week, looking at counteracting that, so hopefully what we have worked on we can put into practice, and kick a few goals,” he said.
While depleted, these last two weeks give the Hawks another chance to blood some kids, give them a taste, and build for 2016.
“What we do now sets us up for next year, so it’s very important to get things headed in the right direct,” he said.
If the shackles come off, and the Hawks get a sniff, it’ll be on, but the Magpies should control this one nice and early.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 17 – SANDGATE V WESTERN MAGPIES
Surfers Paradise vs. Palm Beach Currumbin
Saturday August 22, 2:00pm – Sir Bruce Small Oval
As The Who once said, ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ and that is certainly the case with both these units.
As you would expect with young lists, there has been ups, there has been downs, but when it’s come together, it’s been bloody good football.
Surfers had one of their best wins of the year last week, and for three quarters, Palm Beach took it right up to Morningside, so they both come in with confidence, and both will look to carry that momentum forward.
“That’s what we have spoken about all week, is that that’s the momentum we have to take into this week, and have a huge first quarter,” Palm Beach Coach Chad Owens said.
He’s expecting a pretty similar style of play from both teams, especially on the big ground at Surfers, so it could be more open than a 24/7 convenience store.
“They are probably pretty similar to us in a way, they are young and like to run, it could be a pretty high scoring game,” Owens said.
“It’s a different ground this time, the big ground, they have got Fraser Pope, Harrison Fraser, and some good ball winners.”
Liam McNeven and Jackson Emblem come back, which strengthens up the backline, but they have lost Jackson Collins for the week through injury.
As for Surfers, it was their run, their speed, and their ability to finish the game strongly last week that got them the four points; and Coach Peter Young hopes the same thing will get the job done tomorrow.
“Last week we got some speed back into the team, and had some boys who could win the footy in close which really helped our structure. Hopefully we built some momentum up last week that really carries into this week,” Young said.
While Palm Beach have a few genuine a-graders, the Demons will worry about what’s going on in their own back yard first.
“We are looking at what we have got to do well. During the course of the game if someone catches our eye we will worry about it then. We will just concentrate on us. We think we have got enough there to cause some grief,” he said.
With two games to go, taking a top-five scalp will be the perfect way to launch into next season.
“We have got some momentum now so it would be nice to finish off on a high. We will see who wants to be around next year in the next few weeks,” Young said.
Three big inclusions, in McIntrye, Cassidy Haberfield and Noah Corbett will also help their cause.
The start tomorrow will be crucial. Whichever team can roll on from last week the quickest should win.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 17 – SURFERS PARADISE V PALM BEACH
UQ vs. Labrador
Saturday August 22, 2:00pm – Oval 7 St Lucia
UQ are playing some great footy at the moment, but if you could pick a time to come up against Labrador, I don’t think this would be the week.
You could hear a pin drop in the Labrador rooms after last week’s loss to Wilston Grange. Unhappy would be an understatement.
The beautiful thing about footy this time of year is that seven days later, you can turn it all around.
“We were simply outplayed last week by Wilston Grange, so obviously we would like to get back to basics and have a win on the weekend,” Coach Steve Daniel said.
UQ’s form in the last month has been outstanding; it won’t be a walk in the park.
“University are playing really good football at the moment and were quite impressive when we played them first time around on our ground,” Daniel said.
But the Tigers’ are in the position they are for a reason, when on, they are breathtaking.
The lacked just a touch of run last week, but a few handy inclusions this week should definitely help.
“We get back Adam Clarke, Baird, Cannon and Turner this week but will be without Lappin, Fraser, Davey, and Stockdale,” Daniel said.
UQ Coach Darren Pfeiffer is preparing for the Tigers’ to come our breathing fire this week.
“Good teams don’t like to lose games of football, so I’m sure they will be coming out wanting to lock up top spot, and come out pretty red hot,” Pfeiffer said.
Their ethos has been pretty basic the last month, and boy has it worked.
“It’s pretty simple at the moment for us; it’s defense first and attack second. You can’t get caught ball watching,” he said.
It was a fantastic win last week, but there is more upside to come, which they will need to find to get win number four this week.
“We went through the video and there is still a lot we need to improve on, so we have got to come out and continue to work on the defensive side of our game and then go from there,” Pfeiffer said.
The Red Lions are starting to really use Oval 7 to their advantage. It could be a fortress in the coming years.
“The boys are starting to play the ground pretty well, and the structure that we are playing this year, we are starting to really figure out how to trap teams in,” he said.
UQ, in patches really matched it with Labrador last time they played, and are a much better side now, but Labrador will put the final nail in the minor Premiership coffin this week.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 17 – UNIVERSITY V LABRADOR
Broadbeach vs. Morningside
Sunday August 23, 2:00pm – H&A Oval
These two teams may have had very different results last week, but when one team comes out with absolutely nothing to lose, prepare for anything.
Broadbeach’s loss to UQ last week didn’t sit well. Don’t expect that output two weeks in a row.
“It’s going to be a hard task, it’s a big game, but basically we are just trying to fight for pride. A bit of redemption from last week, I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t come out and have a crack at least,” Coach Brett Andrews said.
Andrews is very weary of Morningside’s run from the backline, but they can’t get too hung up on it.
“Obviously they have got fast runners and they spread very week but if we try to shut them all down they will cut us off. We have got two games to go so get out there, enjoy yourself, and have a go,” he said.
To add a bit more motivation to the blue and white line up, Taylor Haley, last years QAFL leading goal kicker, will play game 100 for the club.
As for Morningside, there is still a lot to play for in the last two weeks, and it’s definitely not a game David Lake or the Panthers are taking lightly.
“Broady at Broady are always tough. Brett has done a great job and pulling them together. This is the team that beat Labrador remember, so certainly they have always had a level of energy that is scary and I have never had a game against them that it is all on your terms. They don’t give you anything for nothing,” Lake said.
H&A Oval will provide a paddock for Morningside to get their running game up and about, get the ball out wide, and attack.
“I’m looking forward to playing on a big deck, we will enjoy the space. From a game plan point of view, it gives us more space to work in,” he said.
“It challenges us, and gives us a chance to get outside the game and run.”
They will still be looking to tick the same boxes as the last month though.
“Our focus is still the same, developing that hard edge, being happy, enjoying your footy, and taking responsible for your part in the picture,” Lake said.
With Spackman missing with a little niggle, Sam Lundie-Jenkins will make his senior debut.
While a team with nothing to lose is always dangerous, Morningside will have too much to play for to let this one slip.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 17 – BROADBEACH V MORNINGSIDE
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles