Match of the round
Wilston Grange vs. Mt Gravatt. Live blog: https://aflq.com.au/wilston-grange-vs-mt-gravatt/
Welcome to the jungle
At this time of year, towards the ‘pointy end’ as it’s fondly referred to as, there’s normally a stronger idea of the QAFL pecking order. This year though, as round 13 opens, some significant uncertainty has entered discussions thanks to improvement from certain sides and the fading of others.
The one constant this season has been Labrador, who has every chance of rolling through the year undefeated. The Tigers now have Barry Hall in place for their home games and the big fella is gelling nicely with the rest of the lineup. All reports indicate that Barry will be on the Tiger train for the finals, so it will take something very special to get the better of them. Footy though, has a funny way of making the amazing happen . . .
Morningside is the talk of the league at the moment, with pundits expecting them to be a strong finals performer given their recent form. This comes after a less than stellar 2-4 start, leaving the Panthers sitting in seventh after seven rounds. They’ve now been on a blistering, three-win rampage, and appear to have timed their run well with six rounds to go.
Interestingly, the Panthers will now meet the Hawks, another side whose back end to the season is becoming better than their beginning. Sandgate is on a high after their first win of the season over Wilston Grange last week and look more of a threat to the Panthers this time around.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, some key outs could really hurt, up against a more or less full strength Morningside lineup including Aspley’s Ryan Holman. The absence of Brendan Forbes and Tom Overington makes things particularly difficult; put those two back in and the Hawks pose a completely different challenge.
The danger zone
Palm Beach Currumbin has been on the downward slope over the past few weeks, losing their last three games. There’s too much quality in their lineup, however, to keep them down for very long and this week they get their skipper back. Last year’s Grogan winner Jesse Derrick adds an extra dimension to the Lions midfield with his marking ability, hard running and leadership. As the finals approach, Palm Beach need to remind the rest of the league why many tipped them for the 2017 flag.
Surfers Paradise is squarely in the danger zone this week against the Lions, despite being in good form recently, beating Broadbeach and putting in a good showing against Labrador. While the Demons remain capable of shaking the top sides, they just need to be wary of the wounded Lions, who have the capacity to blow up the scoreboard. After the rare occurrence last week of Daniel Green going without a score, expect the solid Demons full forward to get his hands on a few snags this week.
Under the radar
Coming in to the Broadbeach lineup for the first time this week is Papua New Guinean export Hapeo ‘Hapex’ Bobogi, fresh from a strong effort for Queensland at Under 17 state level. Hapex brings some much-needed x-factor to the Broadbeach 22; he has speed around the packs, can be evasive and doesn’t mind putting his head in dangerous places.
The Cats also welcome important half forward Josh Searl back into the team, adding extra firepower to a forward line that can look empty without the long shadow of Mitch Brewer.
The Broadbeach versus Western Magpies contest shapes as an exciting one, with the Magpies forward line at full strength. Jakob De Winter ‘Is Coming’ is ticking along nicely and kicked three in his last game against Morningside (is it a coincidence that Game of Thrones is back on TV?), while old campaigner and fellow jack-in-the-box forward Val Pope comes back into the side. Add-in fast paced, mobile tall target Charlie Pershouse and there’s all the ingredients for a winning score.
Labrador coach Aaron Shattock has the bye this week, so took some time to provide his thoughts on round 13’s games.
First up is the Broadbeach versus Western Magpies clash, at Ord Minnett Oval.
“Magpies you’d probably think, off recent form, but it probably evens itself out being down at Broadbeach,” said Shattock.
According to Shattock, Palm Beach go into their clash with Surfers as slight favorites and should be buoyed by the return of their captain.
“They’ve got a fair few personnel missing, which makes a big difference. I suppose every team throughout the year goes through their lull periods,” Shattock said.
“I’m sure they’ll find form again at the right time of year.”
Wilston Grange has had trouble in recent weeks with player availability and this week it doesn’t get any easier, as they look to take on an in-form Mt Gravatt without skipper Steve Brittain.
“Going on recent form you’d have to back Mt Gravatt on that one,” said Shats.
“Brittain’s pretty important to them, I think when he plays well they play well.”
Sangate surprised Wilston Grange with a big win in round 12, but Shattock thinks Morningside poses a different type of problem.
“They’ve got some good players there (Sandgate), they’ll probably need a little bit of luck I would have though, to get over Morningside,” said the Tigers coach.
“A couple of their (Morningside’s) older, more experienced players have started playing well, so I think they’re going to be right there at the pointy end of the season that’s for sure.”
Wilston Grange vs. Mt Gravatt
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Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Surfers Paradise
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Morningside vs. Sandgate
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Broadbeach vs. Western Magpies
Download Footy Record: Cats vs Magpies Round 13
By Sean Melrose