Match of the Round
Morningside vs. Western Magpies. Live blog: https://aflq.com.au/morningside-vs-western-magpies/
Under the microscope
Round 15 and 16 made for a couple of interesting weeks for the reigning premiers with close calls against Wilston Grange and the Western Magpies. This close to the finals, many that have followed the Tigers throughout the season would have expected them to steamroll both of the above sides. The reality is, Labrador won both of those games by a combined total of 16 points. That’s why the Tigers are under the microscope.
Broadbeach will have their sights on the undefeated Tigers, after a huge win over the Hawks in round 16. The Cats also have some big names back in the lineup with forward ruck hybrid Mitch Brewer and Luke Shreeve playing his second week in a row. The Cats forward line has looked a bit bare in the weeks without big ‘Brew,’ so expect them to be fired up now that they have a solid tall target.
Speaking of big names, there are none bigger in the QAFL than Barry Hall and for good reason, the former premiership Swan has averaged 5.67 goals across his outings this season. Along with Wayde Mills, Jayden Young, Bryce Retzlaff and Jake Goldsmith, the Tigers simply have the best talls in the comp, meaning the Cats will need to be wise with their ball movement and avoid those marking players if they are to succeed.
The danger zone
Morningside responded to their Mt Gravatt loss with a strong statement against Surfers, putting an impressive 173 points on the board and never taking their foot off the accelerator. This week they come up against a Western Magpies outfit that very nearly came back and ran over the top of Labrador.
The Magpies pose a different sort of threat to Surfers, their impressive forwards can hit the scoreboard quickly and cause major headaches when their midfield is on top. Particularly in the early part of the last quarter against Labrador, the Magpies dominated centre clearances and translated them to goals.
Unfortunately, the Magpies are without forward targets Charlie Pershouse and Jakob De Winter, taking a serious chunk out of their firepower. But they’re a proud bunch and even though they can’t make the finals, they’ll want to finish off their season on a high note.
A lot rests on the shoulders of high flying Magpie Val Pope, who’ll be a key target when they go forward.
Panther Nathan Kinch was in good nick last week against Surfers across half back and his experience will be a valuable commodity as finals approach. Along with Campell Wearne and Keidean Coleman, the Panthers have some fantastic creative run out of the back half that can really set them up.
It’s second taking on third for the pre-finals crown for the best contender, as the winner of this clash would appear to be the most likely challenger to defeat the reigning, undefeated premiers.
Mt Gravatt are on a blistering end of season run with monumental victories over Palm Beach, Broadbeach and Morningside. They play Palm Beach again this week and the Lions will be hungry too, after their round 29-point defeat in round 16.
Last time the two met, the Lions lined up against the Vultures without key forward Jarrod Douglas and skipper Jesse Derrick, while Mt Gravatt were minus ball winner Frazer Neate. It’s sets up this contest as a different type of ball game and an altogether new challenge for the Vultures, who have won their past five on the trot.
Within the broader contest, the midfield battle will be crucial and there will be some seriously good players in there from both sides. Vulture ball winners Zac Stone, Joe Murphy, Frazer Neate and Michael Hamill will have their work cut out for them against the likes of Jason Burge, Tyler Cornish, Jesse Derrick and Dylan Troutman. The Lion ‘pride’ is a bit more polished than the Vulture’s ‘committee,’ but boy those Vultures know how to roll their sleeves up.
Under the radar
Both the Hawks and Demons are out of the finals race and sit at the bottom end of the ladder, but these proud clubs full of exciting young talent still have a lot to play for. Sandgate regain young midfielder Cody Stackelberg for the clash, who’ll be important up against Demons Kain Ford and Sean Atkinson in the middle.
It was a tough day at the office last week for Surfers as the Panthers went about dismantling them in every facet of the game, this week, they get an opportunity to play the game more on their terms. If the Demons get their running game going, the result could be similar to the last time these two did battle, Surfers ending up on top by 66 points.
It’s also an opportunity for Sandgate to claim their second win for the season, which would be a huge boost for this group’s confidence. The Hawks are capable of playing tough, hard footy when they get going and can score too, last week they kicked over 100 points in their shootout with Broadbeach.
Let’s call this one a battle for pride.
Gorillas coach Nathan Clarke has the bye this week, so lent some insight on this round’s games. Wilston Grange came close to getting the better of Labrador in recent weeks, so the coach is in a good position to gauge their matchup against the Cats, who he thinks are in with a chance.
“They (Labrador) haven’t been beaten much over the past three years, so they’re bound to have a week or two where they’re not going to be one hundred percent energetic,” said Clarke.
“Their class just came through in the end.
“I really rate Broadbeach, I think they’re certainly nipping at the heels of the top three.”
In the Palm Beach versus Mt Gravatt battle, Clarke thinks there could be some tactics involved that influence the outcome.
“If Palm Beach can’t lose second spot, Chad’s a pretty smart operator, he might play a bit of cat and mouse and see what Mt Gravatt have got,” said Clarke.
“You might not be able to read too much into that result.
“It will be interesting none the less.”
The Hawks take on the Demons on Sandgate’s home deck and Clarke believes there could be an upset brewing.
“Their (Sandgate) sort of special is pinching a couple of wins late in the year, they’ve done that the last couple of years,” he said.
The Western Magpies face a tough challenge in Morningside, who Clarke thinks are a team that have the ingredients to press deep into the finals.
“They’ve got some really good senior players running around the Western Magpies, if they don’t fire I’d say they’ll struggle against Morningside,” said Clarke.
Morningside vs. Western Magpies
Download footy record here: Panthers vs Magpies Round 17
Labrador vs. Broadbeach
Download footy record here: Tigers vs Cats Round 17
Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Mt Gravatt
Download footy record here: Lions vs Vultures Round 17
Sandgate vs. Surfers Paradise
Download footy record here: Hawks vs Demons Round 17
By Sean Melrose