By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
The foundations of the QAFL Senior Men’s competition was rocked to the core on the weekend as Round 16 produced some stunning results that will shape the rest of the home and away season in a way that few would have expected.
Broadbeach celebrated the 200 game milestone of club legend Josh Searl in fine fashion with a remarkable 47-point win over previously undefeated and reigning premier Aspley; Morningside responded from the loss to previously winless Sherwood with a remarkable 79-point win over Noosa; Redland Victoria Point spoiled the celebrations of Mt Gravatt’s Round 13 win over Broadbeach with a statement making 73-point win; Labrador returned to the winners’ list with an impressive 46-point win over Sherwood; Surfers Paradise headed to the Sunshine Coast and returned to the Gold Coast as conquerors of Maroochydore by 20-points; while the real Wilston Grange was asked to please stand up, and it did with a powerhouse performance against Palm Beach Currumbin, securing a 62-point victory.
BROADBEACH 15.10.100 defeated ASPLEY 8.5.53
With the Subaru Oval christened with the words “#searly200” on centre wing; there was a special feeling that the Broadbeach team were going to produce something extra special for the much-loved player and star backman of the competition, Josh Searl.
The pair faced off in the 2022 decider where the undefeated Broadbeach went down to the hungry Aspley to be crowned premiers. The pair met in Round 1 as the Hornets unfurled the premiership flag; and the pair would face off in a memorable draw; leaving the Hornets with points in all games this season in the lead up to the weekend.
The Cats started the game much stronger; sprinting away to an 18-point lead at quarter-time. When they kicked the opening goal of the second term, the lead ballooned out to 26 points.
The game turned late in the quarter, with the scores 34-8, Jasper Craven pounced on a ball in the right forward pocket and kicked a team lifting goal for the Hornets. As is so often the case for this team, one quickly turns into multiple goals in a hurry.
With Will Wolbers resting on the bench, Aspley threw Lachy Rayner into the ruck to take on Riley Bowman and Rayner single handedly turned the game in his team’s favour.
The Hornets quickly hammered through three goals to cut the margin back to seven-points, all occuring while Rayner was in the ruck.
The Cats led by seven-points at the break and kicked the opener of the third term. Aspley’s quest was to not only fight back; but hit the front, especially when they trailed for most of the game.
The Hornets levelled the score 6.4.40 apiece during the term and then Broadbeach took over. Jacob Townsend was thrown into the midfield and Adam Hull teamed up with young star Taine Dawson and the Cats kicked four-unanswered goals to close out the term to lead by 25-points.
Aspley had the stronger bodies; Broadbeach had the younger legs and it was expected that the reigning champs were going to fight back, and hard.
Riley Bowman sensed a moment was his for the taking and he elected to go into God-Mode. Bowman kicked four last quarter goals in one of the most commanding performances from a ruckman in a quarter this season. Jared Eckersley (23 touches) had a coming-of-age performance across half-back with the Gold Coast SUNS Academy and VFL player dominating in somewhat of a changing of the guard from his experienced milestone teammate and club icon Josh Searl. Eckersley kicked a goal at Heritage Bank Stadium in the VFL the previous Saturday and was dominating across half-back in a re-match of the 2022 QAFL decider the next.
Broadbeach kicked 9.6 to 2.1 from mid-way through the third-quarter until the final siren; in a result that was not fitting of such a margin; especially with the talent through the fabric of the Hornet’s team.
For Aspley; Connor Stackleberg kicked four goals from limited opportunities; Jackson Allen (25 touches) was rock-solid across half-back; Michael Best (15 touches and seven inside 50s) was outstanding on the wing and half-forward and Mitch Crawley (14 touches with five intercept marks) was outstanding down back and is one of the most underrated backman in the competition.
Broadbeach was well serviced by Allies listed Leonardo Lombardo (22 touches), Bowman had 21 touches including five tackles and six clearances and due to an injury to Fraser Thurlow is likely to spend time with Southport (bye this weekend) in the VFL, while Josh Searl had a dozen touches in a serviceable performance at half-back.
*Chris Yeend was on the call with Taylor Smith for this game.
MORNINGSIDE 21.10.136 defeated NOOSA 8.9.57
The Panthers stormed right back into the race for finals with an impressive performance against Noosa at home.
Morningside welcomed back Wylie Buzza and Wilson Barry from Brisbane Lions duties in the VFL (bye) and embraced the return of Mitch Robinson and Kelly Castle as regular names in a star-studded line-up.
Noosa went into the game with confidence after beating Labrador in Round 13 and at their best, would challenge any team in the competition.
It was a challenging day at the office for the Northern Tigers with the Panthers turning in an exhibition, led by none other than Dylan Swann who had a day out with two goals, 24 touches, multiple inside 50s and tackles and nine contested possessions. Wilson Barry was typically outstanding with 36 touches and a goal to go with four clearances. Brad Hodge enjoyed 39 hit-outs, six tackles, four clearances and two goals and Wylie Buzza impressed with four goals and six marks inside 50.
For Noosa; Will O’Dwyer impressed with 38 touches, seven inside 50s and five clearances to go with a goal. Jesse Touhey had 36 touches, Mav Pettigrove had 15 touches and nine of which resulted in inside 50s, while Aaron Wilson was outstanding with 26 touches and 10 inside 50s.
REDLAND VICTORIA POINT 18.23.131 defeated MT GRAVATT 9.4.58
The Sharks have made yet another massive statement to the rest of the competition with a commanding victory over the Vultures.
This game had the potential to be one of the closest of the weekend on the back of Mt Gravatt’s impressive win over previously third-placed Broadbeach, showing that they can run and beat the best teams in the competition.
Mt Gravatt stormed out of the blocks in the opening term with a handy nine-point lead; 4.2.26 to 2.5.17. Phil Carse fired up his team at the quarter-time break and they turned into a wrecking machine with seven goals to one (from 12 scoring shots) to bring about a 40-point turn-around in the space of a quarter to lead by 31-points.
Both teams traded blows in the third term with the Vultures determined to hang tight and press hard against quality opposition, kicking four goals and closing the gap to 28-points at the main break.
After kicking 7.5 in the second term; Redland Victoria Point repeated the effort at the same intensity in the final term to the same end of the ground with 6.9 to nothing to win by 73 points.
The Sharks led the possession count by 119, 396 to 277 and the inside 50 count by 35, 66 to 31. They took 30 marks to 12 inside 50, but led the other key areas by smaller margins; clearances 41 to 32, hit-outs 32 to 25, contested marks 12 to 10 and tackles 50 to 49.
Matt Hammelmann and Josh Brown couldn’t be stopped with 14 and seven scoring shots respectively for a combined tally of 8.13 with Hammelmann (6.8) taking 15 marks inside 50 and Brown (2.5) taking six. The midfield trio of Caleb Franks (39), Brock Aston (33) and Jack Rolls (28) combined for 100 touches.
The Vultures were well serviced by Joel Leahy (30 touches, six inside 50s, five tackles and a goal); Matt Pearce (21 hit-outs, three clearances and five tackles); Bailey Tome (20 touches, a goal and seven tackles) and Dylan Smith with three goals.
LABRADOR 14.19.103 defeated SHERWOOD 8.9.57
The Southern Tigers are back on the winners’ list after a strong performance at home against Sherwood.
With both teams featuring a high number of VFL players from Brisbane and Southport, it was going to be a fascinating contest from the opening bounce.
Labrador led by 21-points at quarter-time against a Sherwood team still riding high from their amazing win against Morningside the previous week.
The Tigers held firm in the second term with three goals to one to edge ahead to a 34-point half-time lead.
With the game riding in the balance at the main break; Labrador hit the scoreboard more frequently in the third term, kicking 4.7 to 3.2 to edge out to a match-winning 45-point lead heading into the final change. Both teams kicked three goals in the final term with the home team getting the job done and keeping the conversations alive in the race for a place in the finals with a 46-point win.
Labrador had plenty of the ball with 397 touches to 275 and dominated the inside 50 count by 32, 60 to 28. With a more experienced midfield and ruck stocks, Labrador led the hit-outs 50 to 18 and the clearance count 34 to 22.
Harry Law continued his impressive return to Labrador colours with four goals to be one of the best small forwards on the Gold Coast; Lachy Henderson kicked three goals, young gun Campbell Lake played his best game as a Tiger with 31 touches, six clearances, four tackles and eight inside 50s to go with 10 marks while Darcy McEldrew had a staggering 46 hit-outs.
For Sherwood, Connor Bulley backed up his five-goal effort the previous week with three goals, Bruce Reville was outstanding with 30 touches and six clearances and Will Cruice worked hard for his 144 touches and seven marks.
SURFERS PARADISE 13.10.88 defeated MAROOCHYDORE 10.8.68
This game was massive for both sides with Surfers Paradise eager to keep its impressive run of performances continuing against quality opposition and Maroochydore determined to keep their finals hopes alive and finally take down a contender in the process.
The Dees started strong in the first term to open up a 10-point lead at quarter-time before the Roos responded with three unanswered goals in the second term to take a 10-point lead of its own into the half-time break.
The third term was a genuine arm-wrestle with both teams trading goals and the Dees clawing the margin back to less than a kick heading into the final quarter.
Both teams showcased their strengths and weaknesses in the final term with Surfers Paradise showcasing their capacity to be fast-finishing and Maroochydore fading away in last quarters (as they did late against Aspley the previous week). Surfers Paradise slammed home six goals to two in the final term to secure a 20-point victory.
Maroochydore led most of the key stats, except the one that mattered most – the scoreboard. They led the inside 50 count 59 to 40; hit-outs 74-25; clearances 39 to 26 and forward 50 marks 12 to 9.
Surfers Paradise was outstanding with their small forwards showing great touch as Byron Finch and Harrison Ireland kicked three goals, Harrison Fraser was outstanding with 12 tackles from 10 touches, Zai Millane had 18 touches and took five intercept marks while Marlin Corbett enjoyed 21 touches.
Maroochydore was well led by Mitch Scholard with five goals and five marks inside 50, Josh Wagner with 32 touches and six intercept marks and Ben Thomas had 30 touches.
WILSTON GRANGE 18.18.126 defeated PALM BEACH CURRMBIN 10.4.64
After a recent number of ordinary performances, perhaps we’ve now seen the real Wilston Grange make its mark on the competition on the back of a 62-point win over an outstanding Palm Beach Currumbin.
The Lions arguably had the better form line heading into the game and on paper; perhaps had the greater momentum to secure a key win on the road based on some of their in-form players; but it was the master-mind of former AFL midfielder Brent Moloney that was a tad too witty for former AFL utility Jess Sinclair in the coaches box when the final siren sounded.
The Gorillas led a highly entertaining first term by six-points; and the goals continued to flow for both teams in the second term with the Gorillas kicked five goals to four in the second term to open up a 13-point lead at the main change.
Wilston Grange made a statement in the third term – to the entire competition with a remarkable 11 scoring shots to one (5.6 to 0.1) to open up a 48-point lead at the final change.
While the Lions fought back in the final term; the Gorillas had all of the answers with five goals to three to win by 62-points.
PBC led the disposal count 304 to 299, clearances 43 to 27, tackles 50 to 40 and hit-outs 46 to 35; while Wilston Grange led the inside 50 count 58 to 36 and took a staggering 22 marks to six inside 50.
Six players kicked multiple goals for the Gorillas with Daniel Bowles the most outstanding of the group with 32 touches, 10 inside 50s and seven intercept marks. Lachy Rhook kicked two goals on his return while Joel Budarick had 20 touches, six inside 50s and seven tackles.
For PBC, Ben McInneny kicked four goals and Corey Beaman kicked three; while captain Tommy Thynne (36 touches, eight clearances, seven inside 50s) and AJ Dawson (31 touches, eight clearances, four tackles and a goal) also impressed.
1 – ASPLEY (50 – 196.11%)
2 – RVP (48 – 170.82%)
3 – BROADBEACH (38 – 134.04%)
4 – SURFERS PARADISE (36 – 117.90%)
5 – WILSTON GRANGE (36 – 108.96%)
6 – LABRADOR (24 – 87.17%)
7 – Morningside (24 – 86.17)
8 – Palm Beach Currumbin (24 – 77.92)
9 – Mt Gravatt (20 – 82.83%)
10 – Maroochydore (16 – 96.08%)
11 – Noosa (16 – 74.31%)
12 – Sherwood (4 – 53.49%)
Photos by Highflyer Images