By Terry Wilson
Morningside (2) v Palm Beach Currumbin (1)
At Jack Esplen Oval, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Morningside – Saxon Crozier, Jesse Quint, Henry Joyce, Darcy Cameron-Reeves. Palm Beach Currumbin – Jack Anthony, Jason Burge, Riley Buckland.
Outs: Morningside – Lachlan Dignan (inj), Ash Evans (inj), Aaron Roberts (unavail), Anthony Stewart (omit). Palm Beach Currumbin – Glenn Screech (inj), Nathan Carr (inj), Alex Dawson (omit).
Last time they met: Palm Beach Currumbin 14.13 (97) d Morningside 3.6 (24), Round 5 at Salk Oval.
Morningside have elected to throw two rookies in against the best in the QAFL competition when they host premiers Palm Beach Currumbin at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday.
Lions Academy members Saxon Crozier and Jesse Quint have both been named to play against the Lions, who are unbeaten so far this season as they chase an unprecedented hat-trick of premiership flags.
Ominously, as the same time as the Panthers decided to blood two teenagers, PBC get back two of their biggest guns in forward Jack Anthony and midfielder Jason Burge after recovering from ankle and foot injuries respectively.
Crozier is a 17-year-old former Wests junior and Quint is a Morningside junior product and coach Clint Watts is confident they can do the job against the rampant Lions, who thrashed them in the fifth round down on the Gold Coast.
That drubbing, by 73 points, was a low point because the Panthers kicked one goal up to three-quarter time.
Still, they have not lost since, so clearly learnt a lot from that exercise.
“I’ve been trying hard not to think about that one but I feel it was a bit of a turning point for us actually,” said Watts.
“We knew we had to tidy up a few areas and I believe we’ve done that.”
Watts noticed the ‘couple of handy ins’, as he put it, for PBC in a clash between first and second on the ladder.
There is no question the danger that Anthony and Burge represent, although the Lions have quality across every line on the field and the Panthers will have to be right on their game.
Watts said the game is not too important in the overall scheme of things relating to the finals coming up but it is a good chance for a strong hit-out against quality opposition.
Similar to the Panthers, PBC elected to hand teenager Riley Buckland his seniors debut after a number of games for the SUNS in the NEAFL.
Coach Jess Sinclair is clearly expecting a much tougher game against Morningside this time around.
“Obviously their last loss was to us in that one and the boys tell me they smacked us up there last year.,” he said.
“They touched Broady (Broadbeach) up a few weeks ago and they’ll be up for us.”
Labrador (5) v Surfers Paradise (3)
At Cooke-Murphy Oval, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Labrador – Matt Daniel, Ben Walker, Pat Murtagh, Dyson Budarick, Joel Baxter. Surfers Paradise – Nathan Trevena, Mitch Hopkins, Jasper Graham, Dale Eames.
Outs: Labrador – Bryce Retzlaff (unavail), Jaicob Kenny (unavail), Andy Hollis (unavail), Jacob Sands (omit), Michael Lakeman (inj). Surfers Paradise – Elliott Bath (omit), Rene LeFeuvre (omit), Tom Smith (omit), Daniel Stubbs (omit).
Last time they met: Surfers Paradise 19.16 (130) d Labrador 5.5 (35), Round 4 at Sir Bruce Small Park.
Gold Coast football legend Col Bourke has been honoured for his long service to both Labrador and Surfers Paradise by having a trophy struck in his name.
A premiership coach at both Surfers and Labrador in his time on the Coast since the early 1980s, the veteran will present the Col Burke Cup to the winning captain after the arch rivals clash at Cooke-Murphy Oval on Saturday.
His connection with the rivals is not the only one because Surfers coach Brad Moore has coached senior sides at both clubs and, in fact, he revealed that one of his sporting coaches at St Hilda’s School is ruckman Pat Murtagh, who has been named to debut for Labrador.
“It’s a small world because I actually teach his sister there,” said Moore.
Moore said it is a ‘privilege’ to be playing for the Col Bourke Cup.
“I think it is great that Col is being honoured like this because I learned a lot from him in my time at Labrador,” he said.
On the playing front Labrador have been hit by the wedding of former player and runner Mark Sanford.
Skipper and key forward Bryce Retzlaff and last weekend’s best on ground Jaicob Kenny will both miss the Coast derby because of the nuptials.
Labrador coach Liam Burke gets defender Matt Daniel and midfielder Dyson Budarick back to cover in some way the losses of Retzlaff and Kenny.
The last time the sides met Labrador turned in a shocker after kicking five first-term goals but not one more in a 95-point hiding at Sir Bruce Small Park.
“We got absolutely embarrassed on ANZAC weekend so from our point of view we just need application for four quarters,” he said.
And Burke had some nice words to say about his phonetic namesake Col, who remains chairman of selectors at the Tigers.
“We’re rapt for the old bloke and I will say that he has been walking around with a spring in his step this week.”
Mt Gravatt (6) v Broadbeach (4)
At Dittmer Park, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Mt Gravatt – Harrison Hunkin, Zac Stone, Daine MacDonald, Todd Carbone, Dylan Smith, Tarj Townson. Broadbeach – Ethan Reeves, Jack O’Shea, Ryan Dienjes, Alex Davies.
Outs: Mt Gravatt – Ben Daly (omit), Harry Gobbie (omit), Justin Currie (Lions NEAFL), Jack Wratten (unavail), Kyle Walsh (unavail), Troy Jamieson (inj). Broadbeach – Xavier McMahon (inj), Darcy Dienjes (omit), Branden Deslandes (omit), Kwabe Boayke (unavail).
Last time they played: Broadbeach 8.19 (67) d Mt Gravatt 9.12 (66), Round 2 at Subaru Oval.
It is getting near make-or-break time for Mt Gravatt who could ease some serious pressure if they can beat Broadbeach at Dittmer Park on Saturday.
The Vultures go into the fixture sitting sixth on the ladder after three wins and five losses while Broadbeach are third with five wins and three losses.
But, as usual, Mt Gravatt coach Adam Boon has had to deal with another significant player turnover at selection time – this week the Vultures having six changes to take on the Cats in a battle between clubs placed sixth and fourth on standings.
“Yes, another six changes and unfortunately that’s about what we’ve had all year,” said Boon.
“Maybe one week we had five but I guess that’s life these days because I reckon we use more NEAFL players per week than the other clubs.”
To this end the Vultures have lost a number of Redland-listed players and have handed the chance for Lions rookie Tarj Townson for his club debut.
Dylan Smith, a rookie with Aspley, will play at centre half-back and hopes are high for a youngster who was with the Sydney Swans Academy last year.
Broadbeach have four changes coming off a two-week break and heading the list is 17-year-old Alex Davies a student at All Saints Anglican College which produced one Nick Riewoldt and one Kurt Tippett.
“He is a serious athlete,” said Broadbeach coach Beau Zorko of Davies, who moved down from Cairns late last year to be a part of the Gold Coast Suns Academy.
“He is a mid-forward and he came down from Cairns as a highly-touterd prospect so we’re excited to see hos he plays at this level,” said Zorko.
The last time the sides met produced a strange game with Broadbeach jumping the Vultures early, going to sleep after half-time then managing to kick five straight behinds in the final term – yet they still won by a point.
“Two points better this time hopefully will be enough for us,” noted Boon.
Sandgate (9) v Wilston Grange (8)
At Lemke Road Oval, 4.45pm Saturday
Ins: Sandgate – Casey Barber. Wilston Grange – Ryan Thomson, Jimmy Aganas, Hugh Campbell. Luke Hedger.
Outs: Sandgate – Dom Paino (omit). Wilston Grange – Hamish Warren (omit), Lachlan Nixon-Smith (inj), Noah McFayden (Qld U16s), Jordan McDonald (work).
Last time they played: Wilston Grange 10.17 (77) d Sandgate 9.7 (61), Round 4 at Hickey Park.
Sandgate coach Jarad Marsh can not remember the last time the Hawks made only one change for a QAFL premiership match.
The inclusion of small forward Casey Barber for the northern Brisbane derby against Wilston Grange is the only difference to the side that played against Labrador the previous weekend.
“I just can’t remember the last time we had that her at Sandgate,” said Marsh in the build-up to the clash at Lemke Road Oval on Saturday.
Across town in the rival Grange camp things were different.
The Gorillas came up with four changes – regaining 2018 best and fairest runner-up Ryan Thomson, Aspley-listed Jimmy Aganas, captain Hugh Campbell and Luke Hedger for his first seniors game of the season.
There is always added spice whenever the Hawks take on the Gorillas and it is this rivalry that Grange coach Barry O’Brien hopes will bring out the best in his players.
“We don’t want to drop any game but the rivalry with Sandgate kicks up a level,” he said.
“We just want to continue the improvement we’ve had.
“Sandgate are young and will have a crack so we have to make sure that the match-up end in our favour.”
O’Brien took plenty away from last weekend’s loss to Palm Beach Currumbin, which was a continuation of some promising form.
“We’ve been happy with our form over the past few weeks and to be competitive with Palm Beach away was a step forward for us as a group.”
Hawks boss Marsh said a victory would be a tremendous boost for the battling club which has not tasted victory since their shock mid-2018 season in against Morningside.
“I thought we were pretty good against Labrador last weekend and I reckon we have an okay side so hopefully we can put four quarters together,” said Marsh.