By Beth Newman
MATCH OF THE ROUND
LABRADOR v MORNINGSIDE
Sunday April 6, 2pm Cooke-Murphy Oval
A live blog of this match will run from 1:30pm on Sunday
Many prefer to err on the side of caution going into round one, but Morningside coach, David Lake, is more than confident his side will stack up from the get go.
The hot pre-season favourite, Lake said his players would meet every expectation put on them.
“We’ll be there ready as ever,” he said.
“It’s a chance to pay back everyone who has helped us over the summer and we’ll do everything we can to make our mark.
“The physios, the trainers, all those people, they’ve had four or five months of no payback and this is our first chance to give back to them.”
Lake said their intensity on the training track would translate into game day, and laughed off the idea the Panthers could suffer from a bout of complacency.
“We had one of our best weeks on the track this week, it was brutal,” he said.
“That’s the level they’re at. They’re a really good group.”
The Panthers are boosted by the incredible inclusion of co-captain, Kent Abey, named for his return from a broken leg.
While they are not short of experience, the Panthers will also have four debutants in the side to take on Labrador, with Callum Kinch, Dan Daye, Bill Pendlebury and James O’Donnell named.
Kinch, Daye and O’Donnell all played in Morningside’s undefeated reserves team last year and Lake said it was exciting to be able to give the players a chance.
While Morningside features many familiar faces, Labrador has only five players who played for the club in 2013, which could prove to be the make or break factor for them on Sunday.
Tigers coach, Steve Daniel, said facing Morningside was the dream start for his team.
“When I first looked at the competition, I said I hoped that we would get Morningside early and then we got them first round,” he said.
“We’ve got three or four tough weeks to start and we are looking forward to that challenge.”
Daniel said a positive round one could inject some much-needed confidence into the side, some of whom have had some tough years at the Tigers, but a win wasn’t the be all and end all
“It all depends on the game,” he said.
“We’ve got Morningside and no one really expects us to win, but we have to think that we are ready for it.”
The Tigers have three under-18 debutants in their side, in Kieran Lejeune, Dyson Budarick and Matt Daniel.
PALM BEACH v SURFERS PARADISE
Saturday April 5, 2:00pm Salk Oval
Palm Beach has a chance to throw itself into premiership calculations on Saturday, against an emerging Surfers Paradise side.
Having already impressed in practice matches, the Lions have a chance to show the competition they mean business, against an old rival on their home ground, and coach, Daryn Cresswell said they were prepared for a contest.
“I think this game is going be fought out in the midfield and it will be really tough early,” he said.
“It’s important early on to get some wins.
“We’ve had good pre-season form but that doesn’t count for anything unless we can get to a good start.”
The inclusion of four Southport players, Dylan Troutman, Nicholas Crowley, Zac Callinan and Liam McNevan, will be a major boon for the side, Cresswell said.
“They are all quality players and they will fit in with us and our style well,” he said.
They will officially unveil one of their youngest players ever, in 15 year-old Brad Scheer, who has impressed Cresswell in the pre-season.
The Demons are relatively undermanned ahead of the round one clash, with a number of player including Daniel Green, Jesse Griffin, Regan Finlay and Simon Fenton all in the wings.
Demons coach, Beau Zorko, said their injury list would be irrelevant tomorrow.
“We’re going to be a very young side, but we’re not making any excuses,” he said.
“All of the 22 players who are playing on Saturday have earned it and have the chance to prove their worth tomorrow.”
Surfers Paradise’s side will include Southport’s John Macansh, Nathan Kenny and rookie, James Farley-Smith.
WILSTON GRANGE vs WESTERN MAGPIES
Saturday April 5, 7:30pm Hickey Park
One of the first elements of successful teams is creating a home fortress, and Wilston Grange has the chance to shake off some bad home history against Western Magpies on Saturday night.
Gorillas coach, Matt Trewhella, didn’t mince his words when discussing their 2013 home record (3-5), and said it was crucial to start well in the QAFL.
“We sucked at home last year,” he said.
‘We have worked really hard over the last four months on executing and we want to start well in what is a showcase game for us,” he said.
Missing Bradie Foster, the Gorillas will have the same ruck combination as last year, with Ben Haire back from Aspley, along with Jim McMahon, while young forward, Harris Andrews will debut.
Andrews was impressive in recent state trial games, and could be a handy addition to the side this weekend.
For the Magpies, youngster Luke Mitchell has been given a massive endorsement, included for his debut after a number of years away from footy.
Magpies coach, Glenn Humphrey, said the teen hadn’t put a foot wrong in the pre-season.
“Luke has earned himself the right to play,” he said.
“He has done all the right things and I would say he’ll play for us a bit.”
Redland players Dylan Byrne, Blaec Ablett and Cory Hopkins, who Humphrey said would be handy additions to their defensive half.
BROADBEACH v MT GRAVATT
Sunday April 6, 2:00pm H&A Oval
The two youngest teams in the competition will face off when Broadbeach and Mt Gravatt meet at H&A Oval on Saturday, in what is an intriguing match-up.
Broadbeach coach, Wayne Petterd, said a win first-up would be significant for his side.
“It’s important that we win the 50-50 games,” he said.
“There are games we probably aren’t going to win against teams that are more experienced and bigger than us but it’s those 50-50 game that keep you in it.”
“We see this as one of those.”
After a second-half fade out in their practice match against Palm Beach a fortnight ago, Petterd said his team would need to take control early to maintain intensity.
“If you’re constantly running the other way, then that saps your energy,” he said.
“The biggest thing with a young group is that there’ll be ebbs and flows, but I think they’re pretty ready.”
Broadbeach will see Adam McKenzie, Darin Stewart and Nick Burton from Southport’s list.
For Mt Gravatt, a win first up away against another young side would be an invaluable confidence boost, coach Brad Pollock said.
“When you’re dealing with an inexperienced side, confidence is a big factor and we want to get one on the board early,” he said.
“We’ve been training well and I just don’t want these guys to be overawed by senior footy.
“If they can do that and we can continue to do what we’ve been training for, then the rest will take care of itself.”
Redland’s Jesse Green, Mitch Harley and Adam Boon will return to the Vultures side this week.
UNIVERSITY OF QLD VS SANDGATE
Being the first to an achievement is something no one can ever take from you, and it’s a place in history that all of UQ’s 22 will gain tomorrow when they face Sandgate.
Acting senior coach, Tim Mackinley, said the side would embrace that in their first state league match.
“These are the first guys to play QAFL and we wouldn’t mind silencing a few doubters on the weekend,” he said.
“We expect Sandgate to come out like a bull at a gate and we’re ready for a red-hot contest, because they’re thinking they’re a chance at four points.
“We want to play every game like it’s our last and a strong round one is crucial to building some momentum.”
The Red Lions have almost half a team of changes since their practice match against Wilston Grange a fortnight ago, and should be expected to look far better than some of their pre-season hit-outs.
Sandgate will take plenty of lessons from its pre-season fixtures ahead of tomorrow’s clash, senior coach Rob Dickfos said.
“The guys are pumped and ready to go, and we’re glad the start is here,” he said.
“We’ve learned a lot from those two matches and we’ll be continuing to focus on our defence and structures.
“A win is vitally important to build belief at the start of the year.”
The Hawks have six debutants in their round one team, with Aspley rookie Nick Jackson, Blake Hartley, Corey Wagner, Jacob Huisman, Jordan Maynard and Nick Warren all coming into the side.
Download the QAFL Rd 1 Record here