QAFL key match ups

With both teams fielding star studded line ups this Saturday, there will be match ups to look out for right across the ground that could change the course of the afternoon.

Here are a few to keep an eye on. 


Outside battle
Nathan Kinch vs. Adam Clarke

Two of the classiest players running around in Queensland at the moment. Kinch has found another gear for the Panthers in September. Even when he looks like he is under the pump, his poise and cool head allows him to hit targets.  Clarke has been outstanding all year for the Tigers, creating most of their run and carry. They might not be standing next to each other at each stoppage, but if either of these two take the game by the scruff of the neck, their team will be in a very, very strong position.


Inside battle
Lachlan Russ and Fletcher vs. Bill Hicks and Ryan Davey

In there two meetings this year, Morningside have been beaten in the middle.  However, they are now in the position they are because of their improvement in the contested stats. Russ and Fletcher will be the key to that continuing. Fletcher is the bull of the line up, crashing through packs, while Russ will put his head over the ball at every opportunity.

Labrador has commanded the centre square all year, with a multitude of players able to go in there and bury themselves at the bottom of packs. If Hicks or Davey get their hands on the footy first, the Tigers will be hard to stop.


X factor
Zac Brain vs. Adam McDonald

If you’re looking for a little spark, someone to create something out of nothing, to kick a goal against the flow, these two are the go.

Zac Brain was unbelievable for Labrador the last time these two met. The length in his game was superb, as he was able to work his defender right up the ground, and then lose him on the rebound.

McDonald has bobbed up out of nowhere in the last month. He kicked three against the Magpies, and four last Saturday, igniting the Panthers forward 50. If the ball gets out the back of the contest, and there’s a bit of space to work with ahead of the ball, watch McDonald go to work.


Josh Fraser vs. Riley Buntain

Fraser has been the most dominant forward in the competition in the games he has played. Buntain is the likely choice to go to him, due to his leap and reach, which is needed to get over the top of Fraser. Buntain’s job won’t be over once the ball hits the deck, with Fraser showing this year he is more than capable of kicking them out of the congestion.

What will be interesting to watch will be if Buntain gets on his bike and makes Fraser accountable on the spread.


Kent Abey vs. Blake Bantoft

Key forward up against key back. Bantoft took the points in the battle in round 15, restricting Abey’s separation all day to be able to get a hand in most marking contests. Adam Mueller lining up inside Morningside’s forward 50 this time will change the predictability of their entries, partly stopping Labrador playing a man in front of Abey all day. Bantoft will be confident heading in, but Abey has wound back the clock in recent weeks.


Andy Hollis vs. Peter Mollison

Hollis could just be the most important part of Labrador’s line up. The ruck battle will be intriguing on Saturday. No doubt Hollis was severely missed late in the season by the Tigers, asserting his dominance upon his return against Wilston Grange in week one of the finals with a best on ground performance.

Mollison will take it right to him though. The QAFL’s best ruckman in 2014 has been building nicely late in the year, and most importantly, is injury free. First use will be critical on Saturday.

By Andrew Wiles@andrewjwiles

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