By Beth Newman
MATCH OF THE ROUND:
MORNINGSIDE v PALM BEACH
It’s a top two clash down at Esplen Oval this weekend, but neither coach is counting their chickens before the round three clash hatches.
Morningside coach, David Lake, said the match would give his side an idea of where they sit against another top team, but ultimately it’s one part of a bigger dress rehearsal.
“We happen to be the top two sides after two games but this’ll be a great measuring stick,” he said.
“The preliminary rounds are all just to get pole position to go into finals – that’s what we all strive for.
“The sooner we can get a look (at top sides) and the more we can get a feel to make sure we’re competitive at the end, the better.”
The Panthers welcome Tyson Upton back into the side for the clash, while Nick Bertoli-Simmonds returns from concussion, onto the bench.
Palm Beach will miss some key players, including Jackson Emblem, Tim Fielding, Zac Callinan, Liam McNeven but the return of experienced defender, Matt Derrick, will be a handy boost for the team.
Lions coach, Daryn Cresswell, said his side was looking forward to proving themselves on the bigger ground at Morningside.
“We sometimes get frustrated at our ground because there’s not a lot of room to run and spread,” he said.
“The boys played on a bigger ground in the pre-season, at Labrador and really enjoyed it.”
“Our blokes are fit, no question.
“One thing about Palm Beach is they will be able to run.”
The Morningside match kicks off a month of tough match ups for Palm Beach and
Cresswell said it would give them a clear idea of their spot in the pecking order.
“It’s going to be quite evident in the next four weeks, where we sit,” he said.
“This month is going to be a telling month and it will tell us what we need to do to get better.”
Live coverage of this game will be on https://www.aflq.com.au
BROADBEACH v UQ
Two developing sides will be pitted against each other at H&A Oval tomorrow, when Broadbeach hosts UQ.
A win against UQ would give the Cats a 2-1 start, a record senior coach, Wayne Petterd said he’d be more than happy with.
“That’s a ripper start considering the turnover we had this year,” he said.
“It’s important that you do win these kinds of games and then when you go up against sides like Morningside, Labrador and Palm Beach, you can go in with a bit more confidence.”
Petterd said his side learnt more from their round two loss to Morningside than their opening win against Mt Gravatt, and would look to continue to improve against the Red Lions.
“We could run and match it with them (Morningside) at some points but when we turned the ball over they hurt us,” he said.
“It’s all about improvement and patience.
“We will match kids on kids this weekend and that’s good for their confidence and then it comes down to their ability to handle that.”
UQ coach, Matt Stewart, sees the match as an even one and said his team would embrace the challenge of H&A Oval’s wide expanses.
“I think we’re two very similar sides,” he said.
“We’ve got lots of run and it’s really going to be a good match up and a great game.”
UQ’s pre-season ruck concerns will be diminished this weekend, with Patty O’Shaughnessy joined by Queensland U18 player, Nate Dennis, in his first game for UQ.
Senior coach, Matt Stewart, said the pairing would give them a great foundation for stoppages against the Cats’ Brayde Palmer.
“To have Patty and Nate in there is the dream,” he said.
“It’s really important for us to have a good match up for Palmer as well.”
The Red Lions will also have NEAFL players Cain Tickner and George Hannaford in their side again, with Tickner a significant inclusion for their forward line.
“(Cain) was exceptional last week and really imposed himself on the game,” he said.
“A definitive target for any side straightens you up and gives you a good direction.”
The Red Lions will miss some key players, including captain Adam Culvenor, Alastair Carlson, Dustin Harris (heel) and Zac Southern (hip flexor) all out.
SURFERS v MAGPIES
They’re fielding their strongest team of 2014, but Surfers paradise Demons coach, Beau Zorko, looking good on paper wouldn’t be enough against the Western Magpies.
The Demons will welcome NEAFL players, John Macansh, Dane Grant and Nathan Kenny into their side as well as a handful of state U18 and NEAFL rookies, who have been on SUNS reserves duties in recent weeks.
Zorko said the inclusions sounded good, but his players needed to deliver.
“It’s stronger than any side we’ve fielded this year,” he said.
“We’ve obviously had a injection of players and quality with NEAFL-aligned players and it looks great on paper.
“But we have to execute.”
Significantly, 250-game player, Simon Fenton, returns to the side, providing some vital steadiness to the Demons’ back six.
After a disappointing match against Mt Gravatt, Zorko said he would be pivotal for the side tomorrow.
“His class, his poise, his mentoring and nurturing is really important,” he said.
“We’ve got a young back six, so to have him in that mix gives them a little more some reassurance in what they’re doing and makes them more comfortable.”
“It’s an injection of experience that fully understands what we want to do.
“Seasoned mature footballers that can understand and execute along with some youth and enthusiasm I believe is a very, very good mix.”
Ruckman Braydon Preuss will debut for the Demons tomorrow, with plenty of eyes sure to be on the 205cm ruckman.
The Magpies will have a full complement of NEAFL aligned players too, with four in their side for tomorrow’s match, but coach, Glenn Humphrey isn’t preoccupied with individuals.
“Their abilities are obvious, no doubt but I don’t want to single out individual players,” he said.
“The boys are fitting well into our side and working well.
Humphrey said his side would be looking to shut down Surfers’ run at Sir Bruce Small Park.
“We’ll be aiming to take the space away from them and take run out of their legs, work them over around the contest and deny them the football,” he said.
Young forward, Matt Uebergang, will make his debut for the club, returning from state U18 and Lions reserves duties.
Aaron Yusia (shin splints) and Richard Wenham will both miss for the Magpies.
LABRADOR v MT GRAVATT
The names are the same, but the Labrador and Mt Gravatt sides that will clash at Cooke-Murphy Oval tomorrow couldn’t be much more different to their 2013 NEAFL counterparts.
Both coming into the match with a 1-2 record, the match is likely to prove another strong litmus test for the sides.
Mt Gravatt’s Chris Murphy is back for his first game in over a year against the Tigers, and senior coach, Brad Pollock said he was confident that his players step up.
“As each week goes by, they’re starting to step up and improve but it is a little bit unknown as to how we’ll go,” he said.
A Round two win over Surfers Paradise injected plenty of positive energy into the side, but Pollock said success would be measured by more than one good day.
“It’s great to have one win but if you want to develop as a football team you need to back up that performance,” he said.
“As a building young team, you need to keep that momentum going and that’s what we’re aiming to do.”
The Vultures will lose some of the experience of recent weeks, with NEAFL players Adam Boon and Sam Godfrey ion the mix for Redland’s match against the Thunder, while youngster Alex Jokovich will make his debut.
Tigers captain Ryan Davey is back for the home side this week, which will give them an extra midfield boost.
Labrador will be looking to build upon their first two performances, and rid themselves of lapses that have caused coach, Steve Daniel, some concern.
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Michael Conlan – AFLQ CEO (3)
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Breeanna Brock – AFLQ Female Programs Co-ordinator
Jack Barry – AFLQ State Coaching, Volunteer & Affiliates Manager (3)
Craig Millar – AFLQ Football Operations Manager (4)
Beth Newman – AFLQ Community Football Writer (4)