By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
Round 12 is going to be another crucial round for the QAFL with not as many headline acts as previous weeks; but contests will see some quality teams needing to bounce back after big losses.
Palm Beach Currumbin and Morningside will put on the must-see game of the weekend with both coming off major losses in Round 11 and both now sitting on the fringe of the top six, separated by just percentage. As a neutral, it will be more about which team can respond the best and edge itself back into the top six calculations.
Can Noosa topple the injury-hit Broadbeach team and take down another scalp from the Gold Coast? Could Sherwood record its maiden win of the season against Maroochydore? Can Mt Gravatt return to the winner’s list at home against a Wilston Grange team that was absolutely shell-shocked by the reigning premiers? Will Redland Victoria Point and reigning premiers Aspley continue their surge at the top of the ladder?
NOOSA v BROADBEACH
Key ins – Jezz Butler (debut), Dawson, Alan O’Neill, Dempsey-Ceh, Schoenmaker, Kasey Nicholas.
Key outs – Riley Bowman (VFL), Jared Eckersley (VFL), Cody Harrington (inj.), Sam Jasper (inj.), Major (inj.), Lombard (sick)
Sixteen-year-old Jezz Butler makes his debut after an impressive outing last week against Sherwood in the Reserves with six goals. Jezz is from the Cairns City Lions, with the Senior team coached by Aaron Davey. He is part of the Gold Coast Academy program and played two games in the Coates Talent League earlier this year.
Broadbeach played some of its best football last week to run away to a 96-point win over Sherwood. After a tight first-half in general play, it was able to fully break the shackles of the Pies to record victory.
Noosa was outstanding with another major win on the Gold Coast and saluting back up the M1 with a 46-point win over the Lions. The second half was explosive and it was some of the best football it had played this season. To take 20 marks inside 50 from 60 attempts; one in three; shows its efficiency going forward and drive to play an attacking brand of football.
This is Noosa’s Grand Final here; especially with AFL legend Matt Richardson on the sidelines watching another Tiger team look to extract another victory over the Cats (2020 AFL Grand Final, anybody); and a win here will be ultra massive for its confidence.
Broadbeach has been stung by more injuries again which has impacted the side building more momentum as a tight unit. It has the pleasure of bloodying another young debutant which is tremendous for the club and getting games into the future of its team with Jezz Butler lining up.
This will be one of the more fascinating games to watch of the round and with Broadbeach in top form; it’s certainly favoured to win; however given Noosa has taken down Labrador and PBC on away turf, the record against the Gold Coast teams, on the road, has been impressive so there is no reason why it can’t secure a scalp here.
SHERWOOD v MAROOCHYDORE
Key ins – Izak Gejas, Tom Kearney, Luke Rundell-Gordon
Key outs – Xavier Knight, Tom Carey, Julian Cruice
Maroochydore becomes one of the first teams this year to take an unchanged line-up into the game the following week as it looks to snap a four-game losing streak. The greatest losing margin in that stretch was against Broadbeach and Labrador; both by nine-points. Its last five matches have produced a total margin of 38 points; one which included an eight-point win against Morningside back on May 13.
Sherwood showed some tremendous spirit against Broadbeach in the first half; and while the scoreboard didn’t truly reflect those efforts, the ability to tackle and put pressure on the opposition was outstanding and a testament to its desire to compete. Broadbeach pounced away in the second half which doesn’t come as a surprise considering the whole-sale changes that it’s had to make each week and the team getting accustomed to playing together.
This is such an important game for both teams who are not only looking for respectability but confidence to reignite themselves mid-season. This is a very winnable game for Sherwood who will be aided by a fast deck at home and a key level of intensity. Expect quite a few goals and a highly attractive brand of football that you wouldn’t expect from two bottom teams in the competition.
We could either see Mitch Scholard kick a bag of seven or more for the Roos; or the Pies to prevail at home for its maiden win of the season.
MT GRAVATT v WILSTON GRANGE
Key ins – Brandon Stewart
Key outs – Marcus Khoo
After a competitive effort against the Dees on the Gold Coast; the Vultures have made one change with Stewart coming in for tall Marcus Khoo.
Key ins – Hugo Thew, Jack Campbell, Fergus McFayden, Ryan Thomson,
Key outs – Ned Rosenbrock, Gavin Thompson, Matt Eagles, Taylor McCubbin
Fergus McFayden comes in for his Senior debut which is a wonderful reward for effort. Fergus has played four games with the Brisbane Lions Academy in the Coates Talent League and played Reserves and Colts football. He has shown some great talent around goals and kicked a staggering 33 at Colts level last season which carried into his string of strong performances for the Brisbane Lions Academy.
Jack Campbell returns while young gun Ned Rosenbrock comes out alongside Matt Eagles as some of the key outs.
This is do or die for the Vultures who absolutely must win this game in order to keep the gap nice and close between the top six and those on the fringe of it.
Their performance last week was solid and showed a high level of intensity with great balance of performances across the ground before Woodburn caught fire for Surfers Paradise in the final term and the defence for the Vultures couldn’t shut him down; and it couldn’t return fire at the other end.
Both teams play contrasting styles of football with the Gorillas playing a more open and pulsating brand most suited to quick playing surfaces; while the Vultures provide a more close and intense game style that prohibits a more free-flowing brand of football; and if they get this one on their terms, it won’t be a high-scoring affair and perhaps won’t beat their opponents in a shoot out.
Saying this; Mt Gravatt has outscored Wilston Grange this year by seven-points; but has leaked an extra 104 points; or 10 points per game on average in defence.
Wilston Grange had a reality check last week in its loss to Aspley, a game that could have gone deeper into the last quarter if played at its best. It’s a massive test to respond to that.
Mt Gravatt at home, this is must-win and it will add more intrigue to how this season will unfold.
ASPLEY v LABRADOR
Key ins – Daniel Joseph
Key outs – Tom Templeton
On the back of a remarkable win over the Gorillas last week; the reigning premiers lose one star and bring in another with Dan Joseph slotting into the backline.
Key ins – Josh Deacon, Tyler Brown, Matt Wattmuff, Ayden Punter
Key outs – Cooper Anderson (VFL), Harry Law (VFL) Will Derrington, Matt Hoy, Charlton Offermans (VFL)
There have been a number of forced changes for the Southern Tigers headlined by Cooper Anderson making his debut for Southport in the VFL against GWS tomorrow. This is massive for Cooper who has enjoyed a tremendous season at Labrador and now getting reward for effort. He will also be joined by Harry Law and Charlton Offermans in the starting line-up.
Aspley, just how awesome is this team. Aside from a draw in the 2022 Grand Final rematch in the season opener; it has been a near-flawless season from the reigning premiers; causing the same level of destruction that Broadbeach executed with that title last season.
The Hornets were simply awesome in the win over Wilston Grange last week; ending the game in the first half with a classy performance and really flexing its muscles in a game where the opposition was prepared to provide a major challenge.
Labrador went up to the Sunshine Coast, at night and recorded a gutsy hard-fought win against Maroochydore. After a slow start; the effort and application was nothing short of tremendous and the team worked hard as a defensive unit to get victory.
With good performances from great players it means opportunity has come knocking with at least three players from last week’s win going into the VFL this weekend. As a club, this is an incredible achievement especially with Cooper Anderson making his debut; but the club would so dearly love them lining up against the reigning premiers in such a crucial contest.
Aspley has replaced one big gun with another big gun and it’s in some scary form. This group could challenge some of the best VFL teams in the country, that’s how well its playing.
SURFERS PARADISE v REDLAND VICTORIA POINT
Key ins – Jake Prestegar, Harris Lee, Nicholas Williams
Key outs – Joel Foster, Cam Topping, Michael Luxton
After a gritty win over the Vultures, the Dees have made three changes for the match against the Sharks with champion leader Jake Prestegar coming in for just his third game of the season, and third since 2021. Ruckman Cam Topping is one of the major outs.
Redland Victoria Point
Key ins – Jake Chapman, Liam Eadie,
Key outs – Jack Rolls, Reuben William
Just two changes for the Sharks with Eadie and Chapman coming in for Rolls and William after an impressive win over the Panthers.
The Demons were impressive last week in a hot contest against Mt Gravatt at home. It wasn’t going to be a pretty contest; but it was surely one of the most physical contests of the weekend, due to the effort from both sides.
Ben Woodburn played his best Senior game for the club to win the Rising Star nomination with his four-goal performance from 19 touches. Ben originally crossed from Yarrawonga in the Ovens and Murray Football League for the 2022 season and has gradually built his craft to improve as a player. He kicked two big goals in the last quarter when the game was on the line last week and that’s team lifting stuff.
The Sharks took down the Panthers by 130-points. It was a near-flawless performance and speaks great volumes of how this club is able to ride the lows into some pretty big highs. It was +176 for disposals and +39 inside 50s along with 24 marks to 1 inside 50; those are remarkable numbers from a team that is back to playing its best.
Surfers Paradise is a very dangerous outfit and its danger will be put to the test when it takes to the field against one of the most in-form teams of the competition. The result of this game will give everyone some idea of where it’s at; and an insight into its big charge toward finals.
PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN v MORNINGSIDE
Palm Beach Currumbin
Key ins – Tyler Cornish, Cooper Portelli, Harrison Day, Cory Beaman, Lewis McNally, Carden Skalij
Key outs – Cal McBurnie, Cameron O’Leary, Tai Hayes, Dylan Patterson, Tom Fraser, Frazer Neate,
The Lions have made six changes to the team that lost to Noosa last week by 46-points with star midfielder Tyler Cornish, Cory Beaman and Harrison Day headlining the inclusions; while star Under 17 junior Dylan Patterson headlines the outs.
Key ins – Flynn O’Toole, Ben McCarthy, Lachlan Niland-Rowe
Key outs – Mitch Howson, Wilson Barry, Frasier Lay
The Panthers didn’t make many wholesale changes to the team that lost to the Sharks by 130-points last week with just three inclusions headlined by the return of Lachlan Niland-Rowe who comes in for his first game since Round 5 while Wilson Barry returns to the VFL.
This is arguably the most important game of the weekend with both teams sliding out of the top six after either impressive starts; or solid mid-season runs.
Morningside simply needs to respond in a positive fashion after its performance last week which will draw more eyeballs from neutral supporters. There is so much talent and potential in this line-up that the loss to the Sharks was likely a reflection of where that club is at. Jackson Hille and Tom Griffiths are making household names and Jake Godwin is really making his mark. There is potential.
The Lions were outgunned in the second half by the Northern Tigers in a hot, pulsating game of football where the opposition and eventual winners had the game on their terms after half-time.
The Lions do regain the services of some quality players headlined by Tyler Cornish and Cory Beaman. This will add strength, agility and versality around the ball and it’s just what the team needs.
This is going to be an interesting contest with both teams really needing to respond after tough losses to high-attacking teams.
The Lions at home may be too strong.
1 – ASPLEY (38 – 220.71%)
2 – RVP (32 – 165.47%)
3 – BROADBEACH (26 – 120.18%)
4 – SURFERS PARADISE (24 – 112.33%)
5 – WILSTON GRANGE (24 – 108.70%)
6 – LABRADOR (20 – 92.00%)
7 – Morningside (20 – 85.10%)
8 – Palm Beach Currumbin (20 – 79.86%)
9 – Mt Gravatt (16 – 86.41%)
10 – Noosa (12 – 80.04%)
11 – Maroochydore (8 – 83.63%)
12 – Sherwood (0 – 53.75%)