Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
With just six rounds to go until finals, each game over the next three weeks will go a long way to determine who makes the top six. Teams over the next two weeks will either see their dreams kept alive – or dashed. While the top three is firmly locked in, the merry-go-round from fourth to 10th still has a few rotations left before all spots are final. What surprises could we see when the siren sounds to end Round 14 this weekend?
NOOSA v LABRADOR
Key ins – Tyler Stack, Lachlan Flagg, Mav Pettigrove, Lachlan Dawson
Key outs – Malachi Owens, Cody Donlan, Jack Mills, Daniel Ladner
The Northern Tigers welcome back a host of stars with Tyler Stack, Flagg, Pettigrove and Dawson all coming back in with Malachi Owens the major notable out from those that have played a lot of senior football for the team.
Key ins – Luke Coombes, Lachlan Henderson, Will Derrington, Charlton Offermans, Harry Law, Caleb Back.
Key outs – Sam Mercer, Josh Young, Ky Nicholls, Jayden Young, Nick Kempe, Mitch Johnson.
The Southern Tigers will field its best team in quite some time with the return of Lachlan Henderson from injury, while Law and Offermans come back from the VFL.
Both teams will field extremely strong sides, perhaps what will be considered close to full strength. Labrador will miss Josh and Jayden Young which hurts but the players coming in will perhaps create some compensation in some areas for the team. All five VFL players (Offermans, Anderson, Law, Derrington and Lake) will play together for the team for the first time in a long time.
Labrador is playing for its season each time it runs out onto the field while Noosa will be determined to repeat the efforts of the last meeting between the pair where it travelled down the highway and played a remarkable second half to secure a famous win.
If this game ends up in a shoot-out, Noosa will win but the ins for Labrador will pose issues for the best teams in the competition and it’ll appear that the Tigers will split the results this season.
Noosa Run Home – Labrador (7th), Morningside (9th), Aspley (1st), Mt Gravatt (10th), Surfers Paradise (5th), Maroochydore (9th).
Mathematically Noosa can still make finals, but it would have to win five of the last six to sneak in. Best case is that it beats Labrador, Morningside, and Maroochydore to deny those three teams of playing in the business end of the season. At its best, this team can beat almost anyone.
Labrador Run Home – Noosa (11th), Sherwood (12th), PBC (6th), Aspley (1st), Wilston Grange (4th), Broadbeach (3rd).
Must win the next three games at the very least to secure a minimum of eight wins and then win at least one of the last three with the Gorillas very gettable. Percentage hurts this team and almost equals to an extra loss when jostling for positions toward the top six.
ASPLEY v MAROOCHYDORE
Key ins – Tom Templeton, Michael Best, Matt Payne, Will Wolbers
Key outs – Errin Wasley-Black, Lachlan Rayner, Jono Freeman, Lleyton Brown.
The words ” I’M BACK! ” were allegedly printed around the Aspley change rooms across the bye with legend Matt Payne returning to the club. Payne spent the start of the year playing with Lake Boga in the Central Murray Football League in Victoria and spent last season at Wilston Grange. He will play his first-ever QAFL senior game with the club after a decorated career in the NEAFL and VFL. Will Wolbers also returns to the team. Wasley-Black and Jono Freeman are some of the notable exclusions from the team that beat Morningside two weeks ago.
Key ins – Will Jones, Michael Palmter,
Key outs – Mitch Habgood, Nathan Jensen
Michael Palmer will make his senior debut for the Roos after spending the past two seasons in the Reserves. He has previously played for Willetton in the Perth Football League
Maroochydore is playing for its season but even a loss here won’t hurt its chances. It’s more about the level of performance that it showcases. Aspley look unbeatable and with the return of Payne and Wolbers into the midfield, it makes life that much more challenging for the competition.
Expect a fast game with lots of scoring opportunities and Aspley to truly flex its muscles under State Captain Brandon Batchelor.
Aspley Run Home – Maroochydore (9th), Broadbeach (3rd), Noosa (11th), Labrador (7th), RVP (2nd), Surfers Paradise (5th).
Great test for the reigning premiers with three matches against teams in the top five on the sprint home to finals and two other matches against teams that at present, can still mathematically make finals. Despite losing its key backman Liam Dawson for the time being, cannot see this team dropping a game between now and finals, at least.
Maroochydore Run Home – Aspley (1st), Surfers Paradise (5th), Wilston Grange (4th), Palm Beach Currumbin (6th), Mt Gravatt (10th), Noosa (11th).
Mathematically can still make finals as it sits just one game from sixth with the sixth best percentage in the competition. The romance is that Noosa will want to beat the Roos in the final round of the home and away season, but we’ll know well before then if it’s possible. Four matches against the top six and it will need to win four matches at least two make the six. Doesn’t have the best record against teams in the top six during the home and away season; finals is a different story.
SHERWOOD v MORNINGSIDE
Key ins – Deng Arok, Toara Marango, Ethan Harris, Xavier Knight and Ashley Davidson.
Key outs – Sean Ryan, Owen Collins, Pat McCarthy, Tom Fry, Luke Rundell-Gordon.
The Pies have made five changes across the weekend with Pat McCarthy and Owen Collins coming out which will take a bit of impact out of the midfield and forward line, but the inclusion of Toara Marango to the backline will be a massive key.
Key ins – Daniel Frame, Damian Martin, Shaquille McLeod, Ryan Cole, James Lewis, Charlie Cole
Key outs – Joshua Hammond, Jackson Hille, Liam Dwyer, Max Nelson, Wilson Barry, Dylan D’Roza
Six changes from the team that lost to Aspley before the bye with VFL players Wilson Barry and Jackson Hille coming out but the return of rugby star Shaq McLeod up forward will be a massive bonus to the team and will work nicely alongside Keegan Downie.
This is a big chance for Sherwood to secure its maiden win of the season. It will take in a strong line-up that will cause headaches for the Panthers, especially with the strength in the midfield.
The return of McLeod is massive for the Panthers. He kicked six goals in the Reserves on his comeback from injury and he is loaded with tremendous potential. He and Downie will be the difference in this game with the pair capable of kicking multiple goals each. Morningside is playing for its season and must win this game.
Sherwood Run Home – Morningside (8th), Labrador (7th), Surfers Paradise (5th), Broadbeach (3rd), PBC (6th), Wilston Grange (4th).
This team will secure at least one victory before the season is out. This week against Morningside is very winnable and even the following week against Labrador who are not a traditionally high scoring team. The last few games will be interesting. Just one win on the home stretch could end the finals’ hopes for one team.
Morningside Run Home – Sherwood (12th), Noosa (11th), Mt Gravatt (10th), Surfers Paradise (5th), Broadbeach (3rd), RVP (2nd).
The next three games have to be wins; that is non-negotiable. It must then upstage at least one team inside the top six, but its percentage (10th in the competition) really hurts.
MT GRAVATT v BROADBEACH
Key ins – Braydon O’Dea, Wyatt Greenaway, Jackson Griffiths, Joel Leahy
Key outs – Xavier Smith, Alex Watkins, Taj Moncur, Sam Kalbfell
The Vultures bring in four quality players into its team and have added some strength with its one-two-punch ruck combination as Wyatt Greenaway comes in to work alongside Matt Pearce.
Key ins – Sam Jasper, Riley Bowman, Cody Harrington, Taine Dawson, Joshua Zanker-Close, Leonardo Lombard, Ryan Gilmore
Key outs – Jonah Semmler, Alan O’Neill, Luke Dempsey-Ceh, Kwaby Boakye, Harry McInnes, Lachlan Huppatz, Jasper Schoenmaker
The Cats have loaded up with some quality inclusions headlined by Riley Bowman, Sam Jasper and Ryan Gilmore. Boayke and Semmler are two of the quality stars to come out as the club made seven changes.
This is a massive test for the Vultures who welcome former assistant coach Alan Flower into the role as head coach for the remainder of the season. The lineup is a strong one, but it will take on a star-studded Broadbeach team that has included some amazing talent.
Riley Bowman has been in elite form for the VFL and the State team competition in recent weeks, so expect him to have a key impact against two solid ruckman at the Vultures. Expect Broadbeach will be too strong here.
Mt Gravatt Run Home – Broadbeach (3rd), RVP (2nd), Morningside (8th), Noosa (11th), Maroochydore (9th), PBC (6th).
The next two weeks will be tough but should it compete and take on some momentum, and then storm home and win the next four games while picking up some percentage; it could just sneak in. Alternatively, it beats any of the Panthers, Roos or Lions and knocks those teams out of the race for finals.
Broadbeach Run Home – Mt Gravatt (10th), Aspley (1st), RVP (2nd), Sherwood (12th), Morningside (8th), Labrador (7th).
Unless RVP drops another game on the run home, even if Broadbeach win all six, it won’t progress higher than third. The games against Aspley and RVP will be massive to give it a true indication of where it is. Broadbeach will win at least four games on the run home, and it will drop out of third place only if the Gorillas win one extra game than them.
SURFERS PARADISE v WILSTON GRANGE
Key ins – Byron Finch, Jamison Shea, Jalen Curtis
Key outs – Josh Hall, Daniel Van De Werken, Michael Luxton
The Dees have welcomed back some key firepower with Jamison Shea and Byron Finch returning from the VFL.
Key ins – Jess Budarick, Duncan McCabe (debut), Kailem Baker, Lachlan Zakaras, Willem Pfitzner
Key outs – Brady Rees, Billy Richardson, Max Hewett, Daniel Lanthois
The Gorillas welcome debutant Duncan McCabe into the team after coming through the Colts system while captain Kailem Baker returns.
This is one of the must-watch games of the weekend with Wilston Grange desperate to claim a major scalp in the top six. If you had have said at the top of the season which team would be the surprise packet of the competition, many wouldn’t have said this team but still expected them to compete.
Both Grange and Surfers Paradise have stunned the competition and entrenched themselves in the top six, and both just a handful of wins away from securing that spot.
The Dees would be favoured to win, especially with the game at home but regardless of the result, this group is expected to challenge the top three teams and, on their day, could almost beat them. With that said, Wilston Grange don’t have that power factor yet and a win from it here will be more than just four points. Of the teams in the top six, it still hasn’t quite proven itself yet, the other five, have.
Surfers Paradise Run Home – Wilston Grange (4th), Maroochydore (9th), Sherwood (12th), Morningside (8th), Noosa (11th), Aspley (1st).
This team is the smoky of the competition, but at the same time, still very beatable. Will win at least four of its last six games and depending on the result from this weekend, will either finish fourth or fifth.
Wilston Grange Run Home – Surfers Paradise (5th), PBC (6th), Maroochydore (9th), RVP (2nd), Labrador (7th), Sherwood (12th).
Must win at least one game on the run home to secure finals, which it will. It will want to win at least three and be competitive in the remaining contests and simply not be there to make up the numbers. The clash with Maroochydore, it’s hottest rival in recent seasons, will dictate where this team finishes. Could see wins against the Roos, Labrador and Pies and make finals, but should be aiming for at least five and a competitive effort against the Sharks. Will make finals but is unlikely to stay in fourth position.
PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN v REDLAND VICTORIA POINT
Key ins – Haydn Kiel, Ben McInneny, Finn Hay, Cooper Portelli, Tyler Cornish, Frazer Neate, Jack Stringer
Key outs – Ashton Crossley, Ky Molony, James Frawley, Malachi Dumas, Zac Harrison, Cameron O’Leary, Luke Cahill.
The Lions have made seven changes from its last clash with Tyler Cornish the biggest name in the list to return. James Frawley and Dumas are the big exclusions.
Key ins – Reuben William, Brock Aston, Adrian Williams
Key outs – Jake Chapman, Mitch Stallard, Liam Eadie
The Sharks welcome back William, Brock Aston and Adrian Williams who are automatic starters in all teams in the QAFL with vice captain Mitch Stallard the notable missing star.
This game is massive for the Lions and it’s most definitely winnable able against a red-hot Sharks team. It will be a hard-fought contest and a battle between two physically imposing midfields.
If the Sharks get off to a quick start early, it will be very hard to shut down and the forward line has been very effective in front of goal with some of the best accuracy in the competition.
PBC Run Home – RVP (2nd), Wilston Grange (4th), Labrador (7th), Maroochydore (9th), Sherwood (12th), Mt Gravatt (10th).
It is an absolute non-negotiable – beat Labrador in Round 17 and finals will look more likely. Must win at least three of six on the run home but could win five. Poor percentage hurts, but should still make finals although at present, looks to be the only team that could drop out as Surfers Paradise sit two games and big percentage clear of those below it.
RVP Run Home – PBC (6th), Mt Gravatt (10th), Broadbeach (3rd), Wilston Grange (4th), Aspley (1st), Morningside (8th).
Has a tough draw with four matches against teams in the top six and has the Hornets and Cats on the sprint home. Must secure victory against one of those teams, at least. Unlikely to drop out of second spot.