By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
Semi Final – 1 | Labrador Oval
Labrador v Morningside
These two teams have been the bench mark of the 2021 Reserves season. Labrador has continued its extraordinary rise as a football club, going undefeated across all 14 games this season and will hope go two steps further than last year when it bowed out of the finals race in the Preliminary final to Broadbeach.
It has the best attack in the competition with 1233 points at an average of 88 points per game, and the best defense with 592 points conceded at an average of 42 points; and thus being a 46-point better team on average every time it walks onto the park.
Morningside have a lot to be proud of this year and has done little wrong in its quest for back-to-back premierships. After saluting in the decider by eight-points at Yeronga last year against Broadbeach, the form guide this year and in its premiership year has been quite similar during the home and away season, 75-percent last year and 77-percent this year.
The Panthers have positioned themselves nicely and are ready to attack. It has the second best attack in the competition with 1056 points at an average of 81 points per game and is second best in defense with 660 points at 51 points.
Meetings this year – NONE
Players to watch
Luke Coombes – a proven handy runner across half-back with quality pace and ball use. He is a stand-out in any team he plays with and will be a key to many forward thrusts in this game.
Jackson Brumley – a man-mountain in the ruck who is unstoppable on his day. He can press forward and apply scoreboard pressure, as highlighted by his haul of four-goals earlier in the season. A product of the Colts competition and with Senior experience this year, he will a force to be reckoned with.
Patrick Turner – is one of six players to kick 14 goals or more in the team and has 23 to his name to lead them all. He has 20 goals at Senior level this year to be unstoppable in any team he plays in. Has a best effort of seven against Wilston Grange. His season has seen him produce 2, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 5 goals in his six matches.
Jordan Brown – has 19 goals on the board to his name this year and has played two games at Senior level. He is a player that stands up in the big moments. On new fewer than six occasions, he kicked two goals or more in a game.
O’Neill Moncrieff – has been a consistent performer across the season and his recent run of form in the lead up to the COVID closure saw him establish himself as one of the most improved players in the team. After stepping up from the Colts last year, he is loaded with class. His four-goal effort against Mt Gravatt was a major statement.
Campbell Aston – one of the hardest and intense midfielders in the competition. Has embraced the benefit of playing lots of Senior football this year and steps into this team as one of the major leaders. His omission from the Senior team is a sign of the depth at the club, but his addition to this team makes it stand out so much greater in its quest for back-to-back premierships.
How will this match unfold
This is the first meeting between the pair all season with both teams doing a lot right this year. Labrador has an outstanding forward line with a strong midfield that has gifted the inside 50 targets plenty of opportunities each week. It has kicked 10 goals or more in 12 of 14 matches, while Morningside have 10 goals or more in 10 of 13.
History says this will be a shoot out with both teams kicking 10 goals or more. Labrador haven’t done a lot wrong this year and could salute to a famous win and Grand Final appearance.
Semi Final – 2 | Morningside (Jack Esplen Oval)
Palm Beach Currumbin v Maroochydore
Palm Beach Currumbin come into this game on the back of a remarkable performance last week against Surfers Paradise. After trailing by four-goals at quarter-time on enemy territory, PBC slammed home 12.3 to 2.1 across the second and third quarters to lead by 38-points heading into the last quarter in a staggering 62-point turn around.
Maroochydore led by more than a goal late in the game against Broadbeach before scores were tied deep into time-on. A late goal just before the siren secured a thrilling six-point finals-type victory.
Both teams are evenly matched in attack but its the defensive side of the Roos that has caused headaches, ranking eighth overall across the home and away season.
Meeting this year
Round 13 – Maroochydore 10.9 (69) defeated Palm Beach Currumbin 9.7 (61)
Players to watch
Palm Beach Currumbin
Lewis McNally – a quality performer in the ruck and is very difficult to beat. He will be crucial with his ruck work around the ground and staying back that kick and a half back behind the play when Maroochydore try and clear the ball across half back.
Cooper Portelli – with solid experience in the Senior team last year, he has made his mark in the midfield this year. He kicked two crucial goals last week and won the crucial hard-ball when the team turned its fortunes around after quarter time.
Brinn Little – a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy program where he gathered 30 disposals and laid 12 tackles across two games; he will be key to watch in the backline. Has lots of Senior experience this year and is really starting to develop his game. His best footy is ahead of him, and if PBC win, he will play a key part in that victory.
Sam Nelson – the small forward has 13 goals to his name this season and is a quality ball winner. His tackling pressure is relentless and that was evident last week against Broadbeach.
Ben Thomas – a massive addition to this team. Has some Senior experience under the belt in 2021 and is a goal kicking midfielder. His two goals in the win last week was like capturing lightening in a bottle. He has 10 goals at this level including a bag of five in a best on ground performance against fellow semi finalists and reigning premiers Morningside.
Lockie Stewart – very hand player and clever around the goals. He has 18 goals for the season and is a very key contributor to this team. Stepped up from the Colts at the end of last season and a Senior debut won’t be too far away if his performances continue on the level it is.
How will this match unfold
The best of both teams was on display last week with some remarkable performances. With Maroochydore having its Senior team in action, it has denied them that little bit of extra depth that PBC will be afforded, but it’s a good problem to have for the club as a whole. Both teams have conceded 10 goals or more on five occasions.
This will be determined later in the game, and the player to watch, without putting more pressure on him, is Brinn Little. He has a massive performance and PBC may just get up on the back of that by a few goals.
Picture credit: @rileyjohno_