By Beth Newman
Morningside 6.4, 8.4, 13.4, 15.6 (96)
Labrador 1.3, 5.3, 5.5, 9.6 (60)
There was a surprise downpour before the match, but nothing could rain on Morningside’s parade, in a 15.6 (90) – 9.6 (60) win over Labrador on Sunday.
A six goal to one first quarter set the tone for the day, and while the Tigers showed fight as the game wore on, they couldn’t claw their way back.
Panthers co-captain Kent Abey kicked five in his first match since breaking his leg in August last year, completing an incredible comeback.
From his first touch, Abey eschewed any concerns about rustiness or mental scars back at the ground where he suffered his injury, with a strong mark and goal, his first of three in the opening quarter.
Panthers coach, David Lake, said Abey’s influence was invaluable for the side.
“He managed to kick five himself and be horribly involved in many others and just to see him catch a few of those footies, you realise what a champion he is,” he said.
“All the work that he’s done really started to show,” he said.
Morningside youngster Bill Pendlebury ran hard all day, playing the entire match, while Josh Brown gave the side some vital run out of defence.
As the conditions dried out, the Panthers’ experienced players stood up and showed their class, with some skilful passages of play.
In a massive blow to the flag favourites, though, half-back Adam Spackman dislocated his shoulder in the first quarter, and is likely to miss at least four weeks of footy.
Labrador’s Sam Folan was good in the early stages while Brayden Eddy was solid in the midfield, and forward Jason Howard finished well.
Simon Seddon kicked four in the final term, showing his potency, but it was too little too late for the Tigers.
It was the tale of the day for the home side, who were impressive in the second and last terms, but lacked consistency, coach Steve Daniel said.
“Let’s not beat around the bush, we were out classed by a better side and they’re going to take some beating,” he said.
“We learnt a hell of a lot and the playing group did too.
“At the end of the day, we played two quarters of football against the best side in the competition and we only got beaten by six goals.
“There’s a lot of positive to take out of that.”
Palm Beach Currumbin 9.3, 13.6, 19.8, 22.12 (144)
Surfers Paradise 1.3, 4.6, 6.10, 12.11 (83)
Palm Beach began its QAFL campaign in emphatic fashion, with a 22.12 (144) – 12.11 (83) win over Surfers Paradise.
The Lions’ nine goal to one first quarter was essentially the difference in the match, with key forward, Clint Kelly kicking four before the first quarter siren.
Kelly and Bryce Perry-Bolt, who finished with five before a hamstring injury forced him into an early exit, had plenty of opportunities and put the sword to the Demons.
Lions coach, Daryn Cresswell, admitted that complacency was a concern ahead of this round one clash, after an impressive pre-season, but it only took one term for his worries to fade.
“We essentially had 300 point wins over three games and there could have been a tendency for players to get ahead of themselves,” he said.
“I was pleased with how they adjusted, but it was a little bit disappointing the way we dropped off.
“I think we went kick-chasing a bit after quarter time, rectified it in the third quarter and then went away in the last quarter.”
Brock Askey and Todd Bryant were impressive for the Lions, while there is plenty of pressure for spots in coming weeks for the side, with numerous premiership players pushing their case in the reserves.
After that first term, the Demons lifted their intensity, winning the final quarter with six goals, giving coach, Beau Zorko, some positives for the match.
“I don’t think we had a clean possession for the first eight and a half minutes,” Zorko said.
“We were stuck on our haunches and they made us pay.
“The guys showed great group spirit to win the last quarter and to neutralise the game after quarter time, but the damage was done early.”
While they were missing a horde of first-choice senior players, Zorko said there was no room for excuses.
“Our kids were good. We had a combined age of 54 in our back 50 and the way they dealt with the pressure they were put under early was fantastic,” he said.
“I think it was more our senior brigade…they were hesitant, reactive instead of proactive in hunting the ball.”
The Demons will hope to welcome back players including co-captain Regan Finlay, veteran Simon Fenton and new recruit, Jesse Griffin, from injury in coming weeks.
Wilston Grange 3.3, 6.5, 12.9, 18.12 (120)
Western Magpies 2.0, 5.1, 7.5, 14.7 (91)
It was their showcase game and Wilston Grange picked up the perfect result in primetime Saturday footy, beating the Western Magpies 18.12 (120) – 14.7 (91).
In a bruising contest, a six-goal third quarter for the Gorillas in front of a bumper home crowd set up the crucial win.
Wilston Grange senior coach, Matt Trewhella, said he was surprised by the physicality of the contest, signalling the step up in intensity in the QAFL this season.
“It was really physical and quick and quite challenging being a night game,” he said.
“The speed of transition was a lot quicker than last year.
“I thought we adjusted well to the pace.”
The game had extra significance for stand-in captain, Jim McMahon, whose grandfather passed away during the week, and Trewhella said he led from the front on Saturday.
“It was the first time he’s been in that role, and justified why I chose him,” he said.
“On the field, his leadership excelled, he showed a lot of character and led the boys really well.”
After a tight first half, the Gorillas took hold in the centre stoppages, increasing their run and improving their ball movement, setting up the win for the side.
David Kettle had a strong game for the home side, while McMahon, Dan Farry and Taylor McCubbin were also impressive in the round one match.
Poor decision-making hurt the more inexperienced Western Magpies at Hickey Park, but coach, Glenn Humphrey, said he was pleased with the overall effort.
“It was a pretty hard contest, it was slippery and the ball was on ground a lot,” he said.
“I definitely think our ball handling isn’t up to scratch, we missed too many tackles, and at times our transition was slow at times.
“We had some concentration lapses, but with a reasonably inexperienced group, those things are going to happen.
“I think all in all, I’m pretty happy with the way the boys went about it.”
Matt Thompson kicked five, starting well after an injury-marred 2013, while Ben Jaenke-Cain had a solid performance on the wing.
The Magpies night was soured by a possible season-ending knee injury to Callum Carseldine, who went down with a suspected ACL.
“It’s devastating for him but we’ve got to try and rally around him and give him as much support as we can” Humphrey said.
Broadbeach 10.9 (69)
Mt Gravatt 6.8 (44)
It wasn’t pretty, but Broadbeach claimed their opening round match over Mt Gravatt 10.9 (69) – 6.8 (44), at H&A Oval on Sunday.
In suddenly wet conditions, after a torrential downpour leading up to the game, plans went out the window in a scrappy affair.
The two young sides fought hard, but turnovers hurt both as the game went on.
Cats coach, Wayne Petterd, said there was room for improvement but was happy to start the season well.
“You’re allowed to win ugly,” he said.
“You’ve got to start somewhere and today was a start. “
As conditions dried out later in the match, Petterd said the side showed more of their potential.
“The wet conditions didn’t allow either side to play the style of footy they wanted to play and it was a bit of an arm wrestle,” he said.
“When we did play it, we executed and put on scoreboard pressure and that was the result I was looking for.”
New Broadbeach ruckman, Brayde Palmer, repaid the side’s faith with a super performance on debut, stepping up to the QAFL with ease.
Midfielders James Christie and Josh Searl were also good for the Cats, while defender Michael Lindeback and Nathan Quick were solid.
It was the third quarter that set up the win for Broadbeach, but as much as it was impressive from the Cats, Mt Gravatt had some serious bad luck.
The Vultures lost two players in that term, in Mitch Harley (hamstring) and Caleb Saunter (ankle), as the Cats kicked away.
Broadbeach had its own concerns, losing Adam McKenzie (knee) and Shae Killey (dislocated kneecap).
Vultures coach, Brad Pollock, said his young side would improve from its first-up effort.
“We had opportunities to kick goals but basic skill errors or dropping easy marks created turnovers and they swept it down the other end,” he said.
“Eight of the side have never played 120 minutes of footy, they’d only be used to 80 or 100 of footy in u18 and reserves game, so it was good to see them fight it out.”
Sandgate 2.2, 7.4, 11.7, 12.8 (80)
University of Queensland 0.0, 4.3, 4.3, 7.7 (49)
Sandgate got a first-up 12.8 (80) – 7.7 (49) win over UQ in the QAFL.
Both sides battled hard in humid conditions, with an arm wrestle in the midfield, but Sandgate’s superior scoring conversion gave them the edge.
It was the Hawks’ NEAFL-aligned players who really stood up, with forward James Nelis kicking five, and Nick Jackson superb in the backline.
In the early stages of the match, Jackson stopped a great deal of the Red Lions momentum, with Hawks coach, Rob Dickfos, describing him as a “tower of strength.”
Dickfos said there was still a lot of improvement for his side, despite nabbing an opening win.
“We know we’ve got a long way to go, coming from lower division where the intensity isn’t to where some of the better sides play.
“We’ll continue to work harder and use the ball better.
Sandgate’s pre-season focus on fitness showed as the game wore on, but they couldn’t punish the Red Lions on the scoreboard, losing the final term despite their superior endurance.
“We started using the ball better and hitting targets showing more confidence (In the third quarter),” he said.
Then we went from one extreme to the other instead of finishing the game off strong and taking the bull by the horns.
“That cost us.”
Acting UQ coach, Tim Mackinley, lamented the side’s poor penetration in the forward half.
“Even if you look at the possession count, it wouldn’t have been too badly weighted to them, but we were just missing that really sharp lead up at half-forward,” he said.
New recruit Dustin Harris was sensational for UQ, racking up an estimated 35 touches, while Brodie Tebbutt was impressive off half-back.
In the energy-sapping heat, the side struggled, with cramps sneaking in from the third quarter,” Mackinley said.
“We ran out of legs, just got there and didn’t have the polish to finish,” he said.
“We had blokes cramping five minutes into the third quarter.
“We’ve got some work to do.”