Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Wilston Grange
Saturday June 20, 2:00pm – Salk Oval
If you want to look into the QAFL crystal ball, odds are these two teams are likely to come up against each other when the whips are cracking later in the year.
Both teams will be looking to get on top for two reasons. The mental edge, and the fact they can take four points off a team they are fighting for ladder position with.
It’s a huge game.
With the SUNS NEAFL team having a bye this week, there will be a couple of handy inclusions to a Lions lineup that got their season back on track last week.
The two Thynne brothers, Liam McNeven, Zac Callinan and Tyler Cornish come back, and young gun Brad Scheer will return from injury for his first run this year.
The occasion isn’t lost on coach Chad Owens.
“We go into every game thinking we can win but this one is huge because we need to beat a top three side. We have come close but haven’t got the chocolates against the top-sides yet. This one we will really find out where we are at,” Owens said.
Everyone now knows how strong The Gorillas are around the ball. Instead of going head to head in the middle and playing into their hands, the Lions will put their skates on this week.
“We understand they are bigger and stronger than us, so we have picked a side where we will try and run them,” he said.
“They have Proud, Bevan, Kuret and two giant ruckman, so they have massive bodies so we have put some things in place to counteract that.”
Wilston Grange coach Matt Trewhella is ready for that.
“We have gone in a bit smaller because of that, if you get a scalp like Palm Beach people start noticing you, so since I’ve started coaching they are a team I’ve paid a lot of attention too,” he said.
The only two games they have lost this year are against the two top teams, and they want that to continue.
“It’s a massive game, we are missing some key personal, and they are playing good footy and their key players are playing good footy,” Trewhella said.
“If we can get our matchups right, and nullify their better players like Derrick and the impact of Bryant and limit Askey to no goals I think we can win the game.”
That key personal he speaks of is Brittain and Watson. Brittain has jet-setted overseas and Watson will line up for Aspley this weekend.
Trewhella knows that these games are massive in the bigger picture of 2015.
“We are really aiming at that third spot, that’s our focus, so if we lose then we are even with Palm Beach and the Magpies go into that third spot and it remains harder to remain in the hunt for that third spot. These are the teams we need to beat, and so far we have done that bar the ones above us,” he said.
It’s only the middle of June, but I think punters are about to get their finals appetite whet earlier than usual. This one will be a corker.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 9 – PBC VS WILSTON GRANGE
Mt Gravatt vs. Labrador
Saturday June 20, 2:00pm – Dittmer Park
It was a ten-goal win to Labrador last week against UQ, but they were far from happy with the performance, and will look to fix that up this week.
“We are really looking forward to this week, obviously we would like to make a mends from last week, there was a few areas we were disappointed with so we would like to rectify that,” coach Steve Daniel said.
“Last week we felt we got away from the game plan a fair bit. A number of boys rocked up to the game thinking we are on top, we are playing the bottom team, and the whole game plan then goes out the window when that happens.”
Although his week is a big focus, and if they are not mentally 100 per cent there, they will get beaten, the Tigers also have an eye on the end of the season.
“Over the last two weeks we have picked our training up, so the intensity has certainly risen,” he said.
“With the position we find ourselves in at the minute, we are now the hunted and everyone is coming at us. So the teams like Morningside, Western Magpies and Wilston Grange are starting to do that little bit extra to try and close the gap on us so we have to make sure we keep our training levels up so we stay ahead of them.”
They will miss the inside work of Thorson this week, but the additions of Fraser, Lapin and Warren certainly brings a smile to the face of Daniel.
Apart from seven or so minutes either side of three quarter time, Mt Gravatt played some really good footy against Wilston Grange. That’s what they take into this week.
“If we play footy like we did for most of last week we will be okay. Surely a major upset is due at some stage, so it may as well be us this week,” coach Brad Pollock said.
The merry-go-round of team changes at Dittmer park continues. Hart, Douge, Niland-Rowe and Jamieson will all miss this week, with Green and Nash headline the inclusions.
The glass-half-full approach means they get some seniors games into their younger players.
“We are getting a lot of good game time into boys, going forward that’s only a good thing but it makes it harder at the present time,” he said.
There’s no bigger test in QAFL footy at the moment, but Pollock believes his boys will be ready once the first bell rings.
“We are up for the challenge, the boys have been really positive and things are starting to click, I wouldn’t be surprised if we are competitive this week, in fact I would be disappointed if we weren’t,” Pollock said.
“It’s a big challenge, but Labrador is there to be knocked off.”
Pollock is right It’s going to be a big challenge for Mt Gravatt to get up tomorrow, but stranger things have happened.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 9 – MT GRAVATT VS LABRADOR
Sandgate vs. Broadbeach
Saturday June 20, 2:00pm – Lemke Rd
Two weeks ago, this game would have been pretty easy to pick.
Sandgate were in good form, and Broadbeach were struggling to find a win.
Now, you just get the feeling this one is going to be very tight.
With a spot in the five still wide open, both teams need to win to stay in the hunt, but two doesn’t go into one.
“If we want to be fighting for that finals position at the end of the year, we have to win this game,” Sandgate coach Graham Adams said.
They were blown away in the third quarter against the Magpies last week, but the fight and poise they showed in the first half proved they are more than capable.
Now, it’s about maintaining that level of intensity.
“We keep saying that we are playing two or three good quarters most weeks, but we are struggling to play all four quarters. It’s something we have got to get right,” he said.
Back on the home deck at Lemke Road after a few weeks on the road, they will look to use the space of the big open ground.
“We haven’t played at home for five weeks, it’s been a while, so we are looking forward to playing there,” Adams said.
“We have only lost one game there, and that was to Morningside so we believe that our home ground is an advantage that’s for sure.”
Stackelberg and Aden Rutledge have been good up forward this year. They will get a bit of help though Brock Paulke, an ex-junior state player, who has returned to footy a few weeks ago.
As for the Cats, although Morningside got the win pretty comfortably against them last week, the signs are there that they are on the right track.
Because of that, coach Brett Andrews has high expectations of the group this week.
“I think we are playing better footy, there is a bit more buzz around the club, and I think we are heading in the right direction, and I’d be pretty disappointed if we lost this one,” Andrews said.
Their contested ball has been good all year, but this week its about pace.
“It’s a big ground, and we have got to use leg speed, and we have got to spread well. Get it out wide, but then use the middle when you can,” he said.
2015 hasn’t gone to plan so far, but the beautiful thing about the QAFL this year, is that you are only one good win away from turning your year around.
“I think we all should be ready for a big game this week. The general feel around the paddock is that we are sick of losing; the fact of reality is every game is a big game for us at 2-6,” Andrews said.
“In saying that, if we win this week, we are a game out of the five. It’s a funny season so if we can get a bit of confidence in the group and they can stay up and about for more than 20 minutes then we will be okay.”
Sandgate have been patchy this year, but there best is better than Broadbeach’s. If they want to play in September, they can’t afford to drop another game tomorrow.
FOOTY RECORD:QAFL RECORD – RD 9 – SANDGATE VS BROADBEACH
Surfers Paradise vs. Morningside
Saturday June 20, 2:00pm – Sir Bruce Small Park
They are sitting at 7-1, so for a coach to think that this week’s team is the best of the year to date, is a scary thought.
“I think we are fielding our most balanced side of the year,” Morningside coach David Lake said.
Skipper Sam Brown is still missing with that hammy, and Mollison has another exam, but Will Wolbers will come in to fill the ruckman role.
Lake expects a tough contest from the youthful Demons.
“I think they will be honest, that’s what they always are. They have got a lot of good young kids, and then the blokes like Atkinson, McIntyre, Green, they are good players,” he said.
“You have a bit of respect for how hard they work. They make you earn every footy, that’s their trademark.”
Playing down at Sir Bruce Small Park, with the sea breeze, will force a slight adjustment to how the Panthers play.
“The ground plays really long, if you don’t carry the footy on this ground you end up inside 50 not inside 30,” Lake said.
“We need to make a conscious effort to carry the ball that extra 10 meters, otherwise you don’t score that way. Your run and carry players become extremely valuable in this game.”
Surfers didn’t adjust to the wet and muddy conditions last week against Palm Beach, on a dry track this week, their game plan will return to normality.
“Hopefully we can bounce back and have a crack. There is a bunch of eight clubs pretty close, two clubs stand out, so these are the challenges you look forward to as a footy club, when you play those good sides and see where you’re really at,” coach Peter Young said.
“We have just got to play the way we play. We didn’t cope with the conditions last week, hopefully this week we can run the ball and find space.
They will look to shutdown the midfield group as a collective, rather than single out anyone.
If that doesn’t work, Young has a plan b.
“We know their midfield is good, we know we have got to do some work in their, but we have got to stick to our own structures and hopefully they work,” he said.
“If that doesn’t work then we have got to go back to a man on man.”
There are a few kids in the Morningside lineup taking their game to the next level; it’s what they need to do.
This week will be another test for them, but they should head back down the motorway with another win under their belts.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 9 – SURFERS PARADISE VS MORNINGSIDE
UQ vs. Western Magpies
Saturday June 20, 2:00pm – Oval 7 St Lucia
UQ are coming off a match against the best team in the comp, on a six-day break, and the task doesn’t get any easier this week. If they can get up, it’ll be a win for the ages.
The Red Lions will be a little bit light on down back this week, with Sean Powyer and Gareth Begley, who played his best game for the club last week, both missing.
“We have had a couple of guys who have been in and out of the team this year, so it gives them the opportunity to play their role and hold their spot,” coach Darren Pfeiffer said.
“There is always opportunity in our team, especially if we are not winning, so there is a chance for someone to really grab hold of their spot.”
It was the turnovers when they got the ball in defense last week that hurt the Red Lions. Something they have worked hard this week to rectify.
“We probably got beaten a bit with the inside 50’s and that came from our turnovers coming out of defense, we were turning the ball over in the middle of the ground,” he said.
“This week will look to get it in a bit deeper to the forward 50 so we can hold it in there. When we did that last week in the third quarter we were able to keep it in there.”
There will be a few familiar faces in black and white when Pfeiffer runs out, and you can bet he will look to shut them down.
“They are pretty big bodied, and they have got a good forward line. I know Luke Scott and Tommy Michael, I’ve played with both of those fellas, so if we can match up on them and hopefully we can open up the defensive and get it out the back and kick a few goals,” he said.
The Magpies made it five on the trot last week. They are on a hot streak, and have no intention of that ending this week.
“We lost to UQ last year, so we have got to make up for that this year,” coach Glenn Humphrey said.
Oval 7 at St Lucia is a bullring, which the Magpies have done their homework on.
“The fact that we are on such a small ground, around the contest will be a focus and our ability to spread the contest, run and carry of the football is something we will look to work at,” he said.
“We need to be mindful of Pfeiffer, I think he will try and direct things from down back but it will be more about us playing the way we want to play.”
There strength up forward at the moment is their breadth.
“I think it worked reasonably well for us, and the fact that we have got a few options helps,” Humphrey said.
“The fact we are also getting goals form our midfield is really important as well. We are getting a good spread of goal kickers, we aren’t relying on any one person kicking them all even though Dickfos has had a few good weeks.”
Luke Scott will skipper this side this week with Cal Carseldine missing with a hip injury, and Matt Thompson hasn’t come up with an ankle.
It was 16 year old Riley Easton who stole the show on debut last week, and this week his brother Brodie gets the chance to get one back.
UQ are going to win their second game sooner rather than later, but I think the Magpies will be too strong this week.
FOOTY RECORD: QAFL RECORD – RD 9 – UNI OF QLD VS WESTERN MAGPIES
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles