By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
ASPLEY v BROADBEACH
Aspley will take to the field at home in the re-match of the 2022 Grand Final with 16 of its premiership heroes taking the field in the season opener.
Tom Templeton and Jonathon Freeman (Noosa and former Aspley); and Tom Jeffrey and Josh Chapman and Jonathon Freeman headline the inclusions that will suit up for the Hornets as new additions.
Connor Stackleberg is a noticeable exclusion from the team, while Dan Joseph will line-up after missing the decider due to a hamstring injury. Reigning Grogan Medal winner Ryan Banks-Smith and Finn Delbridge moved on in the off-season.
Broadbeach has a few key changes in the off-season with the addition of some key personnel. It has just 11 players from its 2022 Grand Final team lining up. Jacob Townsend will be a force up forward in place of retired Grogan medallist Jordan Moncreiff. Kasey Nicholas slots in nicely at centre half back after crossing from the WAFL in the off-season while Jye Lockett will have some opportunities after not being named in Southport’s VFL team to take on North Melbourne. Expect Jonah Semmler to develop nicely in this hit-out alongside key back man James Gledhill and arguably one of the best runners in the game, Lucas Jellyman-Turner. The addition of Sam Banks-Smith into the backline is a big plus for the Cats after he captained Tasmania in the NAB league last season. Reid Polak is named at centre half forward and will be a key target for his new club.
Grand Final rematches don’t get more interesting than this with 10 players pulling on a Broadbeach jumper for the first time. Could this version of Broadbeach be better and stronger than the one that went down to the Aspley in the Grand Final?
Catch the game tomorrow with Kayne Browning and Hannah Davies – https://www.youtube.com/live/JZDm-GXB2-o?feature=share
SURERS PARADISE v PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN
Surfers Paradise will be boosted by the return of Brody Haberfield into the line-up where he’ll play alongside Alby Jones in defence. Alex Mitchell and Tom Smith will be handy up forward while young gun Ben Woodburn will look to impress at half forward as the Demons look to flourish under new coach Matthew Lappin
Palm Beach Currumbin will be led by the recent signing of new coach Jess Sinclair. He will have past AFL talent David Armitage (half forward) and James Frawley (centre half back) as key personnel to bounce off alongside co-captains Jonathon Croad (ruck) and Tommy Thynne (midfield). Look out for Jed Foggo up forward will be difficult to beat in the air after crossing to the club full-time after finishing up with the Suns VFL team in the off-season.
Expect a bold showing from both teams in a physical season opener.
SHERWOOD v MT GRAVATT
Sherwood will be led by new coach Jarad Marsh who was an assistant in Aspley’s QAFL premiership win. The Pies have welcomed Pat McCarthy from Aspley who will provide a good forward option and has VFL experience. Will Fletcher will dominate out of the centre after the Pies secured his services for the full season. Izak Gejas is young but a valuable 195cm utility who will offer support for McCarthy up forward. John Baker lines up at half forward after crossing back to the club in the off-season and will spend time up forward.
Mt Gravatt continues to develop its young talent with Harry Milford set to step up a few more levels after a highly impressive 2022 campaign. The classy half forward is agile for his size and will take some beating. Captain Jonah Licht has been named at half back alongside Gavin Grose; who will be well supported by fellow key defender Austin Brent.
Both teams have improved their playing stocks in the off-season with Sherwood, a team that finished 2022 in 12th position tipped to just edge ahead.
MORNINGSIDE v WILSTON GRANGE
Hang onto your hats as Morningside will be led by new coach Paul Egan. The former junior and senior Panther comes into the role with NEAFL experience and was assistant last year. He will have the addition of Mitch Robinson who plays his first game in the QAFL, fresh off a stint in the NTFL and 240 games with the Lions and Blues. Wilson Barry has been named in the team after not playing with Brisbane in the VFL yesterday while the club wlecomes back James Cowlinshaw from a long-term injury.
Wilston Grange will be without captain Matt Eagles in the season opener. His role will be taken by new recruit Kailem Baker who crossed from Redland Victoria Point in the off-season. Lachy Rook makes his debut for the club at half-forward and he is expected to have a major impact on the scoreboard. Shaun Allan makes his debut in the ruck and will be supported by former Richmond player Will Martyn in the midfield.
This has the potential of being one of the best matches of the round and a great stepping stone for the winner.
REDLAND VICTORIA POINT v NOOSA
The Sharks have made just a handful of changes to its team with Luke O’Sullivan crossing to the club in the off-season and is expected to start at half-forward. The losses of Baker, Waters and Warren in the off-season hurt but very little has changed otherwise. The backline of Miller, Stallard, Hunkin, Hambelton, Williams and Currie is arguably the best back six in the competition.
Noosa has welcomed a few new faces to the team in the off-season with Cal and Ryan Crisp in the additions. Hard runners Buntain, Flagg and Pettigrove will be handy across half back while X-Factor Jai Fitzpatrick has been named in the backline but expect him to push forward. Bussey, Langan and Wilson will command the forward line.
Both teams have entered strong line-ups for the season opener; and while the Sharks are expected to be one of the top two or three teams to beat in 2023, the northern Tigers will give them a mighty push.
LABRADOR v MAROOCHYDORE
Maroochydore hasn’t made too many changes in the off-season but what it has brought in, will take some mighty beating. Josh Wagner will be a force in the midfield with his physicality stemming from his AFL run while former Shark Harrison Kerr will present well up forward to assist Mitch Scholard. Brent Pearson takes on the captaincy duties for the contest over Josh Govan who is out of action on the day.