By Beth Newman
WESTERN MAGPIES v SANDGATE
The Western Magpies overcame a sluggish start to claim their first 2014 home game, against Sandgate, 17.14 (116) – 12.5 (77).
After trailing by four goals at the first break, the Magpies looked as they though they’d flicked a switch in the second term, lifting their intensity and pressure immediately.
Magpies coach, Glenn Humphrey, said it was a pretty simple message at the first break.
“I just told them to pull their finger out and start having a crack at the football and the contest,” he said.
“I think they just came out and thought it was going to happen, without having to do the work.
“I was impressed with the way they came back.”
Led by a sensational effort from Val Pope, whose one goal return doesn’t tell the full story of his influence, the Magpies negated that first term and ran away from there.
The Magpies’ three Redland-listed players, Blaec Ablett, Cory Hopkins and Jordan Bain (four goals) were all strong for the side, bringing some valuable experience to Chelmer.
With nine changes to their side this weekend, the Hawks fielded an inexperienced group, with four debutants, and that showed after quarter-time.
Small forward, Corbin Dickfos, was a shining light for the Hawks, continuing to run hard all day, but he was a lone figure among the side as the game went on.
Hawks coach Rob Dickfos said the side’s bigger bodies needed to take more of a stand.
“We’re struggling to have a big bloke who marks consistently around the ground, and that makes it very difficult,” he said.
“Especially if your leading key targets up forward aren’t grabbing the ball, then it’s very hard for the little blokes to really get into the game.
“We seem to be running around like headless chooks at times.”
As the game’s intensity took its toll on the Hawks, Dickfos said fatigue took control of their decisions.
“When tiredness gets the better of you, you’re not making real good choices ,you’re making self-survival choices,” he said.
“ They’re not team choices and that’s what happened today, we started to get lazy, we didn’t look out for one another and we used the ball poorly.”
Hawks midfielder, Ben Beaven, was stretchered off the ground in the last quarter with a knee injury, the severity of which is still uncertain.
WILSTON GRANGE v LABRADOR
A strong third quarter set up Labrador’s first QAFL win, over Wilston Grange, 10.15 (75) – 7.8 (50).
The Tigers were on the back foot early, after an ankle injury to Kieran Daley and inaccuracy in front of goal, but their superior decision-making got them over the line.
Labrador coach, Steve Daniel, said there were still some inconsistencies to be ironed out but was pleased with their fight in humid conditions.
“I suppose a big positive was we played virtually with a man down,” he said.
“To hang in there and in the last quarter to run it out (was good).
“We’ve been doing a lot of work on our fitness sand boys believed in that and that was telling.”
Daniel said his side’s poor scoreboard conversion was a concern, after a first half return of 2.8, which saw them 10 points down despite having more scoring shots,
“It’s just a little bit disappointing because in the first quarter, we had the first five shots at goal and they were all behinds,” he said.
“When you come up against a quality side, you should be hitting the scoreboard with three or four goals early, so that’s a little bit worrying.”
The arm wrestle between Grange’s full forward, Matt Trewhella and Tigers Kurt Niklaus, was one of the most enthralling battles of the match and while Trewhella ended up with two goals, Daniel said the honours were evenly split.
“It was great to watch Kurt Niklaus and himself battle it out,” he said.
“It brought back real memories of one on one football with two quality players.
“They were both competitive and it was great to watch.”
Gorillas coach, Trewhella, said the match proved his side’s ability to compete with the QAFL’s top contenders, but lamented small lapses that gave the Tigers a chance to get away.
“We controlled the game well until third quarter but then we rushed our delivery forward,” he said.
“It was pleasing to play against good opposition and mix it with them and play well at home.”
“It just showed that if you have a lapse of concentration, if you go away from structures for short periods, the opposition will hurt you.”
The Gorillas’ Taylor McCubbin was one of the side’s best, while Jack James continued his strong start to the season.
For the Tigers, midfielder Jesse Ridd was a standout, while youngster Matt Daniel held his own up forward, finishing with two goals.
PALM BEACH v UQ
The UQ Red Lions didn’t pick up a win at Salk Oval, but coach, Tim Mackinley, said they took a great deal of belief out of their 16.14 (110) – 8.9 (57) loss to Palm Beach.
After a competitive first half, which saw the Red Lions well within reach at the major break, the home side kicked away, but Mackinley said his side took plenty of positives from the game.
“We take a lot of confidence in that we can compete with a top side for long periods of time,” he said.
“I think the guys are starting to believe they’re in the right competition and that we can compete with the better sides.”
The Red Lions uncovered some more depth in their ruck stocks on Saturday, with Patty O’Shaughnessy outstanding for the side on debut.
“He was terrific in the centres and he barely lost a tap,” Mackinley said.
The Red Lions’ first half effort was particularly impressive, given they had to wait until late in the first term for Brodie Tebbutt to enter the game, and then being reduced to two on the bench after injuries through the match.
In draining conditions more suited to February than April, Mackinley said he was glad with the way the side hung in, kicking the last two goals of the match.
The inclusion of Aspley-listed forward, Cain Tickner, gave the Red Lions a focal point up forward, with the 19 year-old kicking three goals, and helping to fill a much-needed role in the side.
Palm Beach coach, Daryn Cresswell, said he wasn’t surprised by the closeness of the scores at half time, and was pleased with his side’s latter half effort.
“I think they took about 50 marks in the first half, but then we adjusted well in the third and really shut that down,” he said.
“I think we struggled a bit in the first half and they really took it to us.”
Cresswell lamented his side’s inability to convert on opportunities without key forward, Bryce Perry-Bolt, something that they will want to improve on ahead of their Rd 3 blockbuster against Morningside in a fortnight.
Fifteen year-old Brad Scheer had another brilliant game for the Lions, kicking five goals, while Brock Askey was strong in the midfield and Brent Pearson was a rock in defence.
The Lions have some injury concerns with Tim Fielding facing a 3-4 week absence with a hamstring, while Shaun Wilson rolled an ankle.
MORNINGSIDE v BROADBEACH
At first glance it looked like a blow out, but Morningside coach, David Lake, said his side’s 21.15 (141) – 8.8 (56) win over Broadbeach was anything but.
A seven goal to one first quarter set the tone for the day, but the Cats’ inexperienced brigade fought well, with the rest of the match a lot closer.
“The margin probably wasn’t fair to Broadbeach,” Lake said.
“They were impressive and you could see how they could potentially finish top five.
The Panthers’ depth shone through with Blane Delbridge (five goals) and Rhys Power among their best, after being elevated from the reserves for the match.
It’s those players who Lake said are key to the side this season.
“I reckon I’m growing my group in the sense of giving guys opportunities,” he said.
“We’ve got a bloke like Blane Delbridge, who played reserves last week, who kicked five today and was basically our best, and Rhys Power who wasn’t far behind.”
With two big wins under their belt now, Lake said the key for his side was to continue to work hard.
“We need to continue to have respect for what we’re involved in,” he said.
“Broadbeach were good today and they will hurt some people on the way through.”
Broadbeach coach, Wayne Petterd, said the game was a major learning curve for his side, but there was plenty of confidence to be taken from it.
“There is a lot of upside,” he said.
“They blew us out of the water early, but we stuck to our guns.
“The will and the want is there. That’s the hard thing to train. The other things we can work on.”
Cats’ midfielder Jackson Rolfe had a brilliant game for Broadbeach, giving his side crucial clearances, impressing both coaches.
“Rolfe towelled us up at the clearances,” Lake said.
“For a 20 year old kid, he was sensational and close to the best player on the ground.”
“We dominated in the taps, but we didn’t win the clearances.”
The Panthers lost Jamie Hackett to an ankle injury and were down to two rotations on the bench for part of the game.
SURFERS PARADISE v MT GRAVATT
Mt Gravatt pulled off their first win of 2014, with a convincing 13.16 (94) – 6.4 (40) win over Surfers Paradise.
A nine goal to one second half sealed the game for the developing Vultures, who will take plenty of confidence out of the unexpected result.
Mt Gravatt’s Jayden Crawley continued his super 2014 form, the Vultures’ best at centre-half back while captain Joe Murphy, vice Fraser Neate, Redland-listed Sam Godfrey and young ruckman, Wiley Buzza, were all impressive.
Vultures coach, Brad Pollock, said the win was a major confidence boost for the side, who were considered one of the QAFL underdogs.
“You could just see (how much it meant) on their faces,” he said.
“For a young group, there’s nothing worse than going into a game knowing the odds are stacked against you.
“They know now that every game’s a winnable one and I think it’s going to give them the confidence to know that if they do the right thing, they’ll be a chance every week.”
For the Demons, the Easter bye is a timely one and coach, Beau Zorko, said the side would have plenty of thinking to do over the break.
Zorko expressed his frustration over the game and said he was disappointed in his players’ individualistic approach to the match.
“We’ve got a senior side who refuses to play as a unit and when they don’t, you get exposed and get exposed very quickly,” he said.
“There were a lot of very one out and individual efforts today, as opposed to players sticking to the plans and executing to instruction.
“When we did execute, we blew them out of the park and were able to wrestle it back on our terms.”
Zorko praised the efforts of half-back duo Chris Mitchell and Sean Atkinson, who were impressive on a tough day for the Demons, and said he would be looking to his senior players to take the lead.
“It’s even more important for us to play our brand of footy, which is a selfless and team first brand,” he said.
“We’ve got a few weeks to work on that.”
A major positive for Surfers Paradise, who play the Magpies in a fortnight’s time, is their next game should include a far stronger side, with numerous senior players to return from injury.