By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
The stage is set for an epic final round in the QAFL Senior Men’s competition with just two positions locked in following the completion of the penultimate round.
Reigning premiers Aspley secured the minor premiership when it took down second-placed Redland Victoria Point by 45-points; Broadbeach kept their hopes of a double chance alive when they beat finals hopeful Morningside by 53-points; Surfers Paradise had to fight all the way to the final siren with a 21-point win over 1th placed Noosa; Wilston Grange did their best to upset Labrador’s hopes of playing finals with a commanding 44-point win; Palm Beach Currumbin kept their finals hopes intact with a barnstorming second half to secure a 75-point win over Sherwood; while eighth-placed Maroochydore kept their aspirations of making finals alive with a runaway 58-point win over Mt Gravatt.
ASPLEY 17.16.118 defeated REDLAND VICTORIA POINT 9.9.63
As expected, Aspley responded to their disappointing Round 19 loss to Labrador with a commanding victory over premiership contenders Redland Victoria Point at home.
With perfect conditions greeting both sides, the contest served as a potential preview of the 2023 Senior Grand Final.
The Sharks went into the contest without spearhead Matt Hammelmann, with his role ultimately filled in by returning Reuben Williams. The Hornets had a solid team on the park and looked to make a statement.
The opening quarter was a free-flowing affair with both teams trading blows in a highly entertaining contest. The Hornets led at the opening change by nine-points; 5.4.34 to 4.1.25.
The game then lifted in intensity and defensive efforts. Aspley kicked 2.5 for the quarter to 2.6 as the margin was trimmed down to eight-points at half-time; 51 to 43 to set up an epic second half.
The third term belonged to the Hornets who sprinted out of the blocks with the first four goals of the quarter to open up what appeared to be a match-winning 35-point lead deep into time-on.
The Sharks responded with two quick goals against the trend of play to trim the margin back to 23-points. A late goal from Connor Stackleberg in the shadows of three-quarter time extended the margin back to 34-points.
The final term belonged to the Hornets who kicked five goals to one and sealed the contest on the back of 10 goals to three in a monster second half.
For Aspley – Connor Stacklerg kicked six goals from nine scoring attempts in an effort that included eight marks inside 50. Liam Dawson led the disposal count for the team with 25 – eight of his 14 marks coming from intercept kicks while Will Wolbers enjoyed 43 hit-outs and four clearances.
For Redland Victoria Point – Josh Brown and Reuben William combined for five of the team’s nine goals, Brad Murdock impressed with nine tackles to go with his eight touches and Brock Aston worked hard with 30 touches, six inside 50s and six tackles.
Aspley led the inside 50 count 51 to 45; hit-outs 52 to 23 and effective spoils 17 to 5 while RVP led the clearances 35 to 34 and tackle count 69 to 31.
WILSTON GRANGE 15.7.97 defeated LABRADOR 7.11.53
Wilston Grange continued one of the most intriguing individual seasons in recent memory when it toppled Labrador by 45-points.
This team has beaten Broadbeach (+26), Noosa (+38) and Palm Beach Currumbin (+62) in the past few months but have lost to Aspley (-69), Surfers Paradise (-79), Maroochydore (-43) and RVP (-40).
For a team heading into finals; it’s almost impossible to get a genuine feel for where their form truly lies.
What we do know is that they played an impressive brand of football to take down a Labrador team that outclassed Aspley at home in the previous round.
Labrador kicked the only goal for the first term in this clash to lead by nine-points. Wilston Grange responded with five goals to one in the second term and seven goals to one in the third term to lead by 51-points at the final change.
The Southern Tigers won the last quarter; but it was to no avail in a contest that they absolutely needed to win to secure a place in the top six. If they had secured victory, it would have been one game and percentage in the top six. The loss means that ninth-placed Morningside are still a chance to take their place in the top six.
Labrador led the disposal count (+48), tackles (+5), inside 50s (+1) and clearances (+7). Wilston Grange led the effort spoilt count by 10 but was otherwise beaten in most statistical areas of the game; but won on the scoreboard which is the key area that mattered.
For Wilston Grange – five players kicked two goals and 10 players contributed to its 15 goals; Bailey Gordon enjoyed 29 touches; and Billy Richardson had a day out with 20 hit-outs; five inside 50s; four clearances and two goals.
For Labrador – Matt Lee was unstoppable with 36 touches, six clearances and eight inside 50s; Harry Law and Lachy Henderson each kicked two goals, while Campbell Lake had 26 touches and five clearances.
SURFERS PARADISE 9.18.72 defeated NOOSA 7.9.51
Surfers Paradise kept their hopes of moving into third place alive with a hard-fought 21-point win over Noosa at home.
The Northern Tigers have been no easy beats this season with impressive efforts against most opposition.
The Demons led a tight opening term by 11-points; 2.5 to 1.0. The Northern Tigers returned fire in the second term with 4.3 to 0.2 to take a 14-point lead into the final break.
Surfers Paradise stormed out of the blocks in the third term with five goals to two to secure a nine-point lead at the final change before kicking two unanswered goals in the final quarter to win a real arm-wrestle.
Surfers Paradise led the inside 50 count 48 to 43; and intercept marks 26 to 14 but was otherwise beaten in other key statistical areas with Noosa winning the hit-outs (+28), marks inside 50 (+6), tackles (+31), clearances (+6) and effective spoils (+11).
For Surfers Paradise – nine players shared nine goals with Ben Woodburn (1.4) and Jamison Shea (1.3) the most damaging despite some wayward efforts; Shea enjoyed seven inside 50s to go with 26 touches while returning Matt Doran enjoyed 28 touches, five inside 50s and a goal.
For Noosa – Matt Field had a field day with 28 touches and four spoils; Jesse Tuohey had six inside 50s to go with his 28 touches while Callum Crisp had a game-high 41 hitouts to go with four clearances and 15 touches.
MAROOCHYDORE 20.9.129 defeated MT GRAVATT 11.5.71
Maroochydore kept their slim finals aspirations alive when they beat Mt Gravatt on the road by 58-points.
Needing to keep winning and results to go their way; Maroochydore bounced out of the blocks in the opening term with six goals to one to lead by 30-points.
Mt Gravatt stepped up the intensity in the second term to impact the scoreboard more frequently; with the margin edging out to 39-points at the opening break.
With the game and season on the line for the Roos; they responded to the challenge that was delivered by the Vultures in the third term; kicking four goals to five in a highly entertaining quarter as the margin reduced to just 33-points heading into the final quarter.
Maroochydore weathered the storm from the Vultures in the final term with a power-house finish to the game; sending home seven goals to three to win by 58-points; bookending the game with 13 goals either side of the second and third quarters.
Maroochydore led the inside 50 count 58 to 36; clearances 55 to 34; hit-outs 72 to 38 and marks inside 50 – 16 to 10.
Mt Gravatt led the tackle count 54 to 34 and intercept marks 18 to 14.
For Maroochydore – Mitch Scholard kicked five goals to take his tally to 51 for the season (3 x 50 goals in all three seasons of the club being in the QAFL excluding the first in 2020 with the season cut back to half due to COVID); Ben Thomas kicked five goals from 30 touches, eight clearances and seven inside 50s in one of the most complete games of the season for any player in the QAFL; while Sam McLachlan enjoyed 34 touches.
For Mt Gravatt – Fletcher Clare had a career-best performance with three goals and 23 touches in just his 12th game of Senior football after making his debut through the Colts last year; Daine Macdonald had 26 touches while Zac Young laid eight tackles, had four inside 50s and kicked a goal.
BROADBEACH 16.6.102 defeated MORNINGSIDE 7.7.49
In what was marketed as a mini final for Morningside on the road at Broadbeach, quickly turned into a disappointing performance as they went down by 53-points.
Only 10-points separated the two teams at both quarter and half-time with both teams kicking two goals in the second term and neither prepared to concede an inch.
The third term proved to be the landing blow for Broadbeach when they kicked three goals to nothing in the term to increase the lead to 28-points.
The carnage continued in the final term with the Cats purring away with six goals to two in an impressive outing and keeping their hopes of a double chance firmly alive. The loss means Morningside must beat the Sharks this week and need results to go their way to make the top six.
Broadbeach led the inside 50 count 46 to 44; disposal count by 95, took 17 marks to 7 inside 50; led the clearance count by 15 and tackle count by 6. As expected, Morningside led the hit-out count, 63 to 33.
For Broadbeach – Gold Coast VFL listed Cody Harrington had his best performance as a Senior player with five goals from nine kicks; Southport listed Jye Lockett kicked three goals while Southport and Gold Coast Academy listed Taine Dawson continues to mature and develop in front of our very eyes with 25 touches, six clearances and 32 hit-outs in another mesmerising performance in just his eighth game of Senior football.
PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN 22.12.144 defeated SHERWOOD 10.9.69
PBC understood the brief on the weekend when they played host to Sherwood – to win and get some percentage; they ticked off both.
PBC stormed out of the blocks in the opening term with six goals to one to lead by 32-points. We all know that Sherwood is a team built on strength and pride and they most definitely showed those traits in the second term with four goals to close the gap to 26-points at the main break.
Knowing that Sherwood was going to play strongly for their pride in the second half; PBC had to play some of their best football of the season to win and win well.
PBC kicked six goals to two in the third term to lead by 48-points at the three-quarter time and kicked a further seven goals to three in the final term. They kicked an impressive 13.4 in the second half.
This was just the third time PBC reached triple figures this season; eclipsing their previous best score (17.10.112 v Morningside in Round 12).
This was the fifth time Sherwood had kicked 10 goals or more in a game this season; and the first time it had done so since Round 10 (12.6 to 11.22 v Surfers Paradise); showcasing the fight in this team.
PBC led the inside 50 count 56 to 32; marks inside 50 by 19 (23-4); hit-outs by 18; intercept marks 20 to 9 and clearances 45 to 40.
For PBC – David Armitage returned for his first game since Round 1 with a team-high 29 touches and also gathered five inside 50s; captain Tommy Thynne had a remarkable 13 clearances from his 19 kicks; while Carl Nicholson, Cory Beaman and Dean Katsiris each kicked four goals.
For Sherwood – Will Fletcher returned from injury with 33 touches, 11 clearances, laid eight tackles and kicked a goal, Will Radcliffe enjoyed seven inside 50s and 16 touches; while Luke Mitchell and Josh James both kicked two goals.
Summary of race to finals
LABRADOR – beat Broadbeach and will make finals (if PBC beat Mt Gravatt and don’t make up the 2.35% percentage gap) – Broadbeach will finish 3rd
REDLAND VICTORIA POINT – beat Morningside and secures second position. Morningside will miss finals.
PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN – beat Mt Gravatt and will make finals if Broadbeach beat Labrador; or if Labrador wins, makes up a difference of 2.35% in percentage. Lose and it doesn’t make finals.
MAROOCHYDORE – beats Noosa and will need to rely on Morningside to lose to RVP, Labrador to lose to Broadbeach and PBC to lose to Mt Gravatt. The twist is; they needed to beat Mt Gravatt on the weekend to keep their finals hopes alive but then needs Mt Gravatt to win this weekend to potentially make finals.
1 – ASPLEY (58 – 183.49%)
2 – RVP (52 – 153.43%)
3 – BROADBEACH (50 – 141.10%)
4 – SURFERS PARADISE (48 – 124.46%)
5 – WILSTON GRANGE (40 – 104.99%)
6 – LABRADOR (30 – 87.60%)
7 – Palm Beach Currumbin (30 – 85.26)
8 – Maroochydore (28 – 104.40)
9 – Morningside (28 – 86.28%)
10 – Mt Gravatt (20 – 79.01%)
11 – Noosa (20 – 76.99%)
12 – Sherwood (4 – 50.65%)
Photo by Highflyer Images