By Terry Wilson
Image: BC Sleep Photography
Palm Beach Currumbin v Broadbeach
At Salk Oval, 2pm Saturday
Palm Beach Currumbin: Ins: Jon Croad, Caleb Graham, Jack Anthony, Liam McNeven, Ashton Crossley, Brock Askey. Outs: Steve Thynne (quad), Ben Denton (knee), Tom Frazer (omit), Alex Dawson (omit), Nathan Robertson (omit), Lachlan Ritchie (omit).
Broadbeach: Ins: Xavier McMahon, Rhys Finn, Jayden Brennan, Timakoi Bowie, Jordan Andrews. Outs: Ryan Pantic (spleen), Benji Neal (shoulder), Nelson Sorrensen (ankle), Luke McGuane (hamstring), Brandon Chadwick (hamstring).
Results this season:
R6: Palm Beach Currumbin 11.17 (83) d Broadbeach 8.14 (62) at Subaru Oval.
R15: Palm Beach Currumbin 13.7 (85) d Broadbeach 9.13 (67) at Salk Oval.
BROADBEACH, as expected, have been forced into five changes to take on defending QAFL premiers Palm Beach Currumbin in the Second Semi-Final on Saturday at Salk Oval.
Following last weekend’s horror injury toll the Cats have had to replace Ryan Pantic (spleen), Benji Neal (shoulder), Nelson Sorrensen (ankle), Luke McGuane (hamstring) and Brandon Chadwick (hamstring).
They were all injured in that gutsy win over Morningside and in Pantic and Neal two of the midfield generals have gone.
But that has not fazed coach Brett Andrews who, while admitting his losses are significant, believes the Cats’ great depth this season can stand them in good stead.
“Obviously it’s hard to replace the ones who are out but we have plenty of depth – and we usually play well there (at Salk Oval),” Andrews said.
The Cats brought back hardman Xavier McMahon and Rhys Finn as players with first grade experience and added Tomakoi Bowie from the SUNS academy in their five changes.
The Cats decided not to risk dual best and fairest Josh Searl, who will give his suspect hamstring a solid hit-out playing in the reserves.
Nor could the Cats consider rpobert Blood, who is not fully over his quad problems.
Surprisingly PBC made six changes after a number of key players declared themselves right to go.
Among those out of the side are Steve Thynne (quad) and Ben Denton (knee) but the list of inclusions is impressive.
Jack Anthony, Jon Croad, Brock Askey, Liam McNeven and top colts Ashton Crossley and Caleb Graham comprise the ins for a club that is rich in talent across the board.
Still, playing PBC at Salk Oval, one of the tiniest grounds in the competition, is not at all a concern for Andrews.
It was there in the 15th round that Broadbeach led the Lions by two goals at three-quarter time only to be overrun by the home side.
And it was in last season’s second semi-final that the Cats led until the shadows of the post before letting the Lions escape their clutches.
PBC coach Chad Owens said it was a difficult job to have to leave so many players out of a big finals match but he felt there is a need to bring more option to the table.
“It’s hard to leave anyone out, isn’t it, because no one wants to miss out on a final,” Owens said.
“But a lot of the blokes coming in can play midfield or forward and we now have about eight options to go through the middle.”
Keys will be the attacking power of PBC pair Jack Anthony and Jarryd Douglas and Broadbeach’s Matt “Chooky” Fowler.
Fowler heads the QAFL goalkicking list with 63 from 17 matches while Anthony has 46 from only nine appearances, including 37 from his past six at an average of better than six a game.
Morningside v Surfers Paradise
At Jack Esplen Oval, 2pm Sunday
Morningside: Ins: Keidean Coleman, Nathan Kinch, James Johnson. Outs: Darcy Cameron-Reeves (ill), Ash Evans (hamstring), Isaiah Edwards (foot).
Surfers Paradise: Ins: Jack Taylor. Outs: Elliott Bath (omit).
Results this season:
R2: Surfers Paradise 11.12 (78) d Morningside 11.9 (75) at Jack Esplen Oval.
R11: Surfers Paradise 11.8 (74) d Morningside 9.10 (64) at Sir Bruce Small Park.
MORNINGSIDE coach Steve Wildschut is banking on a horse for courses theory to get his Panthers home in the QAFL First Semi-Final against Surfers Paradise on Sunday.
The Panther boss could not be happier at having to play the in-form Demons at Jack Esplen Oval rather than on the Gold Coast at Sir Bruce Small Park where the Gold Coast side have, over the past fortnight, eliminated Western Magpies and Mt Gravatt.
But this finals eliminator is on in Panther country, a much small ground and a venue Wildschut works well in favour of his troops.
“The pleasing thing is that it’s our home deck and we play our ground very well,” Wildschut said.
“Absolutely it’s a big, big advantage for us because it suits our game and they (Surfers) won’t have the space to run around here.”
It really looks like a battle between the pace, spread and exuberance of Surfers against the height and physical advantage that the Panthers do have in abundance.
Surfers have won both clashes between the sides this season, although there has not been much in it.
The Dees took the first by three points at Esplen Oval, then the second by 10 points in the Gold Coast.
Morningside were forced into the First Semi-Final stage when they lost badly to Broadbeach last weekend while the demons were way too good for Mt Gravatt in their elimination final.
The task for Morningside to beat Surfers is to eliminate the sheer hard work rate the Demons have highlighted so many times this season.
But it will hurt the home side that they have lost midfield general Ash Evans to a hamstring twinge although they have a similar type in Nathan Kinch coming back from injury.
Kinch is one of three changes made by the Panthers although the Demons have just the one, regaining tall defender Jack Taylor who comes in at the expense of unlucky Elliott Bath.
Surfers coach Brad Moore acknowledges the task of containing the tall Morningside forwards, headed by Kent Abey, Alex Mitchell and Will Wolbers.
Yet he has full confidence in the group of Connor Manning, Taylor, Sam Jewell and Brody Haberfield to get the job done.
“We feel we have the right match-ups for them but the key element is when the opposition has tall forwards you have to limit the flow of ball to them,” Moore said.
First semi-final: Broadbeach v Labrador at Salk Oval, 11.30am Saturday.
Second semi-final: Mt Gravatt v Palm Beach Currumbin at Jack Esplen Oval, 11.30am Sunday.
Last weekend PBC smashed Western Magpies in the elimination final and Labrador were impressive in beating Mt Gravatt in the qualifying final.