By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
Labrador has been the team to beat all season, going through the home and away season undefeated with 14 wins from as many matches.
It had its only stumbling block when it went down to Morningside last week in the First Semi-Final by the narrowest of margins after leading by five-points heading into the final change. This was its only blemish on the board this season, but as the cliche goes, ‘sometimes you have to lose one, to win one’ and the loss to the Panthers could be the catalyst for two more victories to close out the season.
Palm Beach Currumbin has enjoyed an impressive finals series with two very impressive wins over the Demons and the Roos in consecutive weeks. The win over the Roos last week was particularly impressive considering they were coming into the game on the back of one of the great finals wins in week one of the finals. PBC worked hard to put the brakes on the rampaging Roos and locked itself into a contest for a place to advance to the decider.
Meeting this season
Round 7 – Labrador 12.13.85 defeated Palm Beach Currumbin 6.9.45
1 – 12
2 – 10
3 – 12
4 – 8
T – 42
Labrador has been nothing short of outstanding this season winning 42 of 56 quarters across the season *.
As expected from the number one side in the competition for most of the season (until last week), the Tigers dominated across all matches to record an impressive strike rate in most quarters. It dropped just two first and two third quarters all season, the best of any team in the competition for strike rate.
It scored heavily in the first half with 94 goals across 14 matches including 10 or more in the first half on three occasions. In the second half, it scored 70 goals, including 11 in one half mid-way through the season for a total of 164 goals.
*due to the quarter by quarter scores not entered in, the Round 8 clash with Sherwood was not included in the above details.
Palm Beach Currumbin
1 – 9
2 – 11
3 – 7
4 – 7
T – 34
PBC has been a solid contributor across the season, winning 34 of 60 quarters. It has won 20 quarters in the first half and 14 in the second half.
One of the most extraordinary statistics however is that it won every second quarter in the first eight weeks to the mid-way point of the season. Once it started losing second quarters, there was a noticeable improvement by the team to perform better in the second half with a five week stretch up until the COVID break where it performed better on average in the second half, a drastic turn-around.
With its strong start to the first half in the season, it scored 83 goals in the first half and 73 goals in the second half. What PBC need to do in the remaining two weeks is to show more consistency with a strong first half and a much stronger second half, this of course is on the basis that it continues beyond this week.
Labrador has an average winning margin of 30 points from its seven wins against teams in the top six. Its most notable wins come against Broadbeach with an average winning margin of 27 points. Its only loss of the year against a top six team came against Morningside last weekend, by one-point. Sadly, this has been the only meeting between the pair. Imagine if they went toe-to-toe during the home and away season, the battle would have been incredible.
The Tigers boast an incredible winning record against teams outside of the top six with an average winning margin of 61-points and an aggregate of 426 points. Three of its seven wins against these teams come at margins of 80 points or more. Its lowest margin was 14-points.
Palm Beach Currumbin has a mixed record against teams in the top six. It played seven of its 14 home and away matches against teams in the top six, and obviously twice more across the finals for a total of nine matches, the most of any team in the competition. It has a record of 5-4.
It has split wins against Morningside, Broadbeach and Maroochydore while clean sweeping Surfers Paradise 2-0 including a clash in the opening week of the finals. It has an average winning margin of 18-points, including three wins at two goals or less. It has an average losing margin of 23 points including a 40-point loss to the Tigers.
PBC has a 5-1 record against teams outside of the top six with am average winning margin of 37 points and dropping its one game by 14 points. It has three wins around the seven goal mark.
The Cats have an average winning margin of 42-points against teams out of the top six and an average losing margin of 25.5-points.
Key players to watch
Mackenzie Riddell – has enjoyed a solid and consistent season across the backline for much of the year. He was a force when the pressure was on the backline last week against the Panthers and is a key reason for the team conceding so few points across the season.
Ben Gibbeson – a valuable key position player who has devoted his time split between the Seniors and Reserves across the season. Any player that can slot back in and make an immediate impact in this squad and guide it to continual success is of great value to this team.
Matt Freeman – when in full flight in the midfield, he is unstoppable. Started the season in remarkable touch and was even called into the Seniors where he made an immediate impact. A fully confident Freeman spells trouble for the opposition.
Palm Beach Currumbin
Hunter Hall – a player that has spread his time between Reserves and Seniors football over the past two seasons. It highlights his tremendous talent and that he is always in the mix to play a key role across both teams. Enjoyed some solid efforts on the wing this season.
Ky Molony – a super exciting prospect across half-back for this team. He has been a tremendous player for the club, playing Reserves, Colts and Senior football all in the one season. He has had the chance to be a leader in the Colts, learn about playing a key role in the Seniors and when he plays Reserves, he combines it all together and it’s a sight to enjoy.
Cooper Portelli – a player that cannot be ignored. He has been the best-performed player in this team across the finals and if PBC stands a chance to beat the minor premiers, he will have his finger prints stamped all over it.
Labrador has been the best team all season and the loss to Morningside last week would have really hurt. It was definitely a missed opportunity. If PBC win, it will be a very famous win at that and probably the biggest win of the finals series, not only in this competition, but across all three QAFL competitions. It’s a tall-order but it’s finals football and anything can happen.
Picture by: Cheers Photography