Submitted by Chris Yeend.
MORNINGSIDE v SURFERS PARADISE
Morningside – 9th (1/6)
Surfers Paradise – 11th (0/6)
MORNINGSIDE ARE ON THE BOARD, HOW DID THEY DO IT?
Keegan Downie was in fine form with the opening three goals for the Panthers before finishing the day with 6.2. He presented well and commanded that forward line space. He looked awesome. They started to build momentum in the opening quarter before kicking 7.7 to nothing in 35 minutes. When Craig Malone went off the ground in the second term and returned to the forward line in the second half, Brad Hodge (40 hit outs) and young gun Max McDonald (31 hit outs) dominated in the ruck. Tom Jeffrey (22 touches) was outstanding across half back and Darcy Cameron-Reeves was a big impact player at half forward.
DEMONS SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR
After recently going down to Noosa in the wet after holding on to a solid lead, the Dees went down to the second Sunshine Coast team Maroochydore after being in front in key stages of the game. It took something miraculous (Mitch Scholard kicking 10 goals for the Roos) to deny them of their first win. Alby Jones had 29 touches across half-back, the Dees led the contested ball by 44 and despite losing the inside 50 count by 23, they scored 71-percent of the time they went inside the forward 50 (27 scoring shots from 38 attempts) to record one of the best inside 50 efficiency for the season.
INSANE MOMENT OF ROUND 9
With both Morningside and Surfers Paradise chasing their first wins of the 2022 season, both teams led their respective opponents 70 to 62 in the last quarter with Morningside going on to record its maiden win of the season.
Surfers Paradise is the only team to kick 100 points in a game this season and unfortunately, lose. The next highest score was Maroochydore (90) in the loss to Wilston Grange in Round 5.
Morningside played well last week in a great team effort. Surfers Paradise are knocking on the door and getting oh-so-close to a victory. Based on its efforts last week, this is its time to shine and take the four points back down the M1 by a single figure margin.
SHERWOOD v LABRADOR
Sherwood – 12th (0/7)
Labrador – 5th (4/3 – 149%)
ALMOST THE UPSET OF THE SEASON
Sherwood almost stunned the football world with the boil over of the season. The win-less Pies went toe-to-toe with the undefeated reigning champs on the Gold Coast, trailing by one-point at quarter-time, leading by two at half-time, four at three-quarter time before eventually going down by 16-points. This effort is not surprising given the Pies were giant-killers of the competition in 2021 and have started to show some of that form in recent weeks.
The Pies led the tackle count and clearances while Luke Mitchell was outstanding with 27 touches and 10 clearances. Abdullah Haddad impressed with 20 touches and three goals while Jaspa Fletcher dominated in the midfield with 10 contested touches, four inside 50s and a goal. Twin forwards Moncrieff and Nutting had just 13 touches and 1 goal between them. This was one heck of an effort.
LABRADOR MISS GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
Conditions weren’t ideal at Labrador last week but it should have played more into the hands of the Tigers against the number one scoring team of the last two seasons, Redland Victoria Point. After leading for much of the day, the Sharks charged home in the final term to win by a point. The Tigers led the inside 50 count, dominated the contested marks, crushed the Sharks in the tackle count (99 to 52) and Cam Ellis-Yeolman had 11 clearances to curb the influence of the Sharks midfielders.
CAN THE PIES CAUSE MORE CHAOS AGAINST A CONTENDER?
Of course they can. To do what they did last week was nothing short of extraordinary, and Labrador isn’t quite to the level that Broadbeach is, yet. With a blend of youth and developing experience, the Pies are going to get better as the season progresses after a rocky start. Abdullah Haddad played his best game in a Pies’ jumper last week with three goals, 20 touches and seven tackles at half-forward. Combined with Mitchell, Goodall and Fletcher; that midfield and half forward pressure is looking quite solid. The key for this group is to not rest on last week as a job well done, but actually look to better it.
We haven’t seen the best of Labrador this year but this is a crucial game where not only can it win, but also make a statement by winning well. It is ranked sixth in attack this year but third in defense, so it won’t be a high scoring contest if the game is played on its terms.
PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN v WILSTON GRANGE
Palm Beach Currumbin – 6th (4/3 – 119%)
Wilston Grange – 7th (4/3 – 90%)
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS GAME?
This is not just an important game for both teams, but it’s important in the context of how the top six looks. A win for PBC opens up a four-point gap and at least a 30-percent gap in percentage between sixth place and seventh. Should the Lions get over the line, it will be an eight-point game.
Considering last week’s performance against Aspley, this shapes as being the most important game of the season for Wilston Grange. Anything worse than a three-goal loss is going to make it a long road back in the quest for finals.
WHERE DOES PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN WIN THE GAME?
This is a tough one because the midfield is quite strong but most of the key work comes from defense. Wilston Grange will look to win the ball from the centre and half back at break-neck speed, so it’s vital that the backline for the Lions, particularly across half-forward, stands strong and prevents that easy kick inside the forward 50. The forward line has good structure but Liam Jones is either going to float forward (3.4 from seven kicks last week) or push back. Still, the win comes from the backline.
HOW CAN WILSTON GRANGE BOUNCE BACK FROM LAST WEEK?
Aspley lost a heart-stopper against the Sharks the previous week and was always going to come out with ruthless aggression the following week. Wilston Grange just happened to be that target. Wilston Grange at its best, is quite solid with Dan Bowles, Matt Payne and Dan Lanthois great in the midfield and Zac Westerberg is only getting better. A returning Matt Eagles helps. Both teams have the same issue as Hugh Fidler is the main forward for the Gorillas as Cam O’Leary is for the Lions. Eagles and Jones (Lions) can swing from attack to defense as needed. The Gorillas have a better midfield set up and must simply win the clearances and get the ball inside 50 quickly.
At their best, both the Lions and the Gorillas can win this game. Because it’s a Lions’ home game and the deck is going to be heavier under-foot, a slower game will suit their game style more and be enough to secure victory.
MT GRAVATT v MAROOCHYDORE
Mt Gravatt – 10th (1/5)
Maroochydore – 8th (3/4 – 87%)
HOW GOOD IS MITCH SCHOLARD?
Let’s be honest, when Mitch Scholard is in full flight, he is the one of the most influential forwards in the competition. He arguably has equal to or greater importance in his team than reigning Grogan Medal winner Jordan Moncrieff and any other forwards.
In matches that he has played this season, Scholard in goals alone has kicked 31-percent of Maroochydore’s scores; Moncrieff by comparison has kicked 23-percent of the scores kicked but Broadbeach has won both games he hasn’t played (inc. A 23-point win over RVP). Maroochydore has lost one game without Scholard.
If Moncrieff misses, Nutting and Jasper take over the forward line. If Scholard misses, Laing is the main avenue to goal along with the smaller forwards. It’s a big gap to fill.
Maroochydore do rely on Scholard being the key up forward.. He kicked 10.3 last week from 13 kicks and single handedly won the game against Surfers Paradise. Moncrieff kicked 10 against the same opposition and the Cats won easily.
IT’S GETTING TIRING MENTIONING IT, BUT HOW MUCH DO THE VULTURES RELY ON MALONE?
Mt Gravatt looked awesome in the first term with Malone playing in the ruck. He was absent during the second term and spent the second half playing deep forward. In that second term, the Vultures were smashed by the Panthers with Hodge and MacDonald combining for 71 hit-outs, just a few more than Malone’s tally on a weekly basis. For the majority of the time Malone was off the ground, the Panthers put on 7.7 to nothing to spark a 49-point turn-around. Khoo tried hard against the Hodge and MacDonald but as a stand-in ruckman against two big talls, it was always going to be a battle.
CAN THE VULTURES PUT UP A FIGHT?
Expect the ground to be heavier than most, and with a tough and gritty midfield with Joel Leahy (outstanding last week), Sullivan and Macdonald; the game will be played on the Vultures’ level a bit more than the Roos who have a quicker transition through the midfield into the forward line. The Vultures will contest hard, but they face a team that is so desperate to climb up the ladder.
Can the Roos revive its season and keep in touch with the top six and can Mitch Scholard kick another bag? Both look likely and look out for Ben Thomas to have a major influence as a classy small forward.
REDLAND-VICTORIA POINT v NOOSA
Redland-Victoria Point – 2nd (7/1 – 175%)
Noosa – 3rd (6/2 – 137%)
IS REDLAND-VICTORIA POINT THE BEST TEAM IN THE QAFL AT PRESENT?
With absolute full respect to undefeated ladder leaders Broadbeach, the last two weeks for the Sharks has been as courageous as any two-week period by a top tier team in recent seasons. To hold on to a thrilling two-point win in the rain against contenders Aspley and then come from behind to beat Labrador by a point; it’s nothing short of extraordinary.
The Sharks are the best scoring team in the competition and the past two weeks have shown that when conditions, opposition and ability to score are all tough, they can get the job done. Right now, this Sharks outfit is the best team based on quality of wins; and let’s not disregard the recent win over a competitive Lions outfit in the rain three weeks ago.
IS THIS NOOSA’S GRAND FINAL?
This is Noosa’s biggest challenge to date and perhaps for the finals, based on form. ‘Grand Final’ is a bit extreme but this will give a perfect indication of where this list is at, especially on the road. To come from no wins last year to potentially finishing in the top three or four, is nothing short of extraordinary. The feel in the pre-season is that this team would be the most improved and one of the box office hits of the season, we’re at Round 10, nothing has changed. This match has ‘box office hit’ stamped all over it. Morningside, Sherwood, Mt Gravatt, Maroochydore and Surfers Paradise all await the Tigers in the next five games, if they can challenge here, and on current moment, they could win all of those five games and lock in a top three spot.
HOW DO THE MIDFIELDS OF BOTH TEAMS STACK UP?
The Sharks have Brock and Campbell Aston, Jack Rolls and Caleb Franks while the Tigers have Tyler Stack, Tom Baulch, Aaron Laskey and Tom Templeton. Based on present form, this quartet of midfielders for both sides match up pretty well and will play a key in winning the game for their respective teams. This is going to be one incredible battle.
It’s impossible to tip against Redland-Victoria Point against anyone at the moment. This will be a great test for Noosa to see where it’s at. Almost 12-months ago, this fixture had the Sharks win by more than 10 goals at this venue. We’re likely to see a margin of 10-points if it’s a sign of how much the Tigers have improved.
ASPLEY v BROADBEACH
Aspley – 4th (5/2 – 195%)
Broadbeach – 1st (7-0 – 206%)
MICHAEL SELSBY IN THE TEAM, THAT’S A BIG IN FOR THE CATS?
Absolutely. He is a brilliant ball winner and transitions the play well between the arcs. He is a ball winning machine and he’ll link in brilliantly with Liam Nelson and Brad Lynch across the middle of the ground.
WHO IS IN FORM FOR THE HORNETS?
James Nelis has made the switch from the forward line to have a key role down back to assist with the synergy in the team and the new dynamics that has worked an absolute treat. Ryan Banks-Smith has taken on the best midfielders in the competition and held his own while Will Peppin, Leyton Brown, Josh Champman and Will O’Dwyer have been critical. Will Wolbers in the ruck and Dan Joseph across half-back have been outstanding.
HOW WILL THIS MATCH UNFOLD?
There is high expectations on Broadbeach and there always will be as long as it is on top and being the hunted. Aspley will be tested in the backline with the great forward options for the Cats that hit the scoreboard frequently and from a wide range of players. This game will be run and won in the midfield with the reigning premiers comprising of incredible experience and physicality that may be a bit too much for the emerging Aspley midfield.
This is a bold prediction but Aspley might just pinch this one. This is going to be a tremendous battle and the way it went into Boss Mode against a handy Wilston Grange outfit and kept that touch against most teams, it may sneak home in a thriller.
Catch this game on Cluch TV