Match of the round
Labrador vs. Broadbeach. Live blog: https://aflq.com.au/labrador-vs-mt-gravatt/
It’s been a while since the Vultures faced off against the Tigers in round five, going down by 36 points. In the last couple of months Mt Gravatt have improved dramatically with some impressive victories over strong sides, while the Tigers haven’t changed too much – they just keep winning games like they don’t know how to do anything else.
Star forward for the Tigers Bryce Retzlaff will miss this one through injury, though there’s still plenty of star power in the forward 50 with Barry Hall again suiting up for Labrador. At the other end, Vultures forward Sam Stubbs is missing, resting plenty of responsibility on the shoulders of tall tower Andrew Smith and leaping ‘Creepy’ Crawley.
Mt Gravatt aren’t short of replacements either, with another big Vulture coming in to fill the void left by Stubbs – coach Troy ‘Monkey’ Moncur. The big fella averaged just over four goals a game last season and kicked a total of 37, so could provide a bit of x-factor and a different dimention to the Vultures lineup as they take on the Tigers.
Then there’s the midfield battle where Vultures Zac Stone, Michael Hamill and Frazer Neate will go up against Adam Clarke, Billy Hicks, Jayden Gleeson and a returning Zach Brain. It should be a ferocious contest between a few players that only know one way. Brain is a welcome return to the Tigers lineup and adds an edge to their game that makes them even more formidable. His aggression at the contest and his ability to run and put on pressure when he doesn’t have the footy is absolutely first rate.
Too close to call
Broadbeach versus Morningside, fifth taking on third; what a cracking matchup and one that has ramifications for the top five heading into finals. Depending on wins, losses and percentages, the top five could look different when it all kicks off. Should the Cats get up over the Panthers and the Vultures lose to the Tigers, Broadbeach can still jump as high as third place.
Both of these sides have had their moments throughout this season, where they’ve looked bulletproof, so much so that they’re only separated by two points on the ladder.
The boys from Papua New Guinea are back and after conquering the 2017 International Cup, Hapex and Kelly will trade their Mozzies guernseys for Broadbeach ones. No doubt about it, when these two play the Cats are a better team, they add some speed and excitement, which seems to be the last piece of the puzzle for Broadbeach.
The concern for the Cats would have to be the Panthers full forward line, which reads Abey, Mitchell, Murray – three players capable of marking overhead and kicking a bag. Broadbeach will also miss arguably their most important duo in big man Mitch Brewer and the skillful Luke Shreeve.
Here we are. The last round of the home and away QAFL season and the last game of the year for those sides that won’t be playing finals footy this year. Such is the backdrop for the Surfers Paradise versus Wilston Grange clash at Surfers; there’s one last opportunity for these guys to strap on their boots and strut their stuff.
The Gorillas have added motivation with Matthew Trewhella playing in his farewell game, having called time early this week. Right down to his last game, the big forward will pose a threat to the opposition’s defenders and shutting him down will go a long way toward Surfers getting their noses in front in this one.
Jack Prestegar has been in some solid form off half back for the Demons and through the middle and shapes as an important player for the contest on Saturday. Key forward Danny Green will sit out, leaving a lot of the scoring load to their runners in Atkinson and Ford, both who like to get forward.
The danger zone
It’s danger signs in the last game of the year for the Sandgate Hawks, after one of their highlights of the year last week in their draw with Surfers Paradise. They’ll square up to a Palm Beach Currumbin outfit, fresh off a commanding victory over fourth placed Mt Gravatt and fine tuning for the finals.
The Hawks are fielding a full strength lineup and have looked stronger in recent weeks, setting them up with some much needed confidence.
Interestingly so far this season, Palm Beach on average has a higher winning margin (66 points) than even first placed, undefeated Labrador (44 points), suggesting that when they put the foot down it can be a tough day at the office for their opponents. When the Lions get the taste of blood . . . enough said.
Sangate will need to bring the tough approach to the contest that they’ve become known for on Saturday, otherwise it could be a long day. It’s up to their leaders and experienced players, the likes of Aaron Fabian, Brendan Forbes, Tom Overington and Aden Rutledge, to set the tone from the first bounce.
Magpies coach Brydan Morgan’s side has the bye in the final round and he took a moment to share his thoughts on round 18’s matchups. The Magpies went down at the hands of the Panthers in round 17, so he’s in a good position to analyse their chances against the Cats; a contest he thinks could be a close one.
“If you can tip a winner here, you’re a better tipster than me,” said Morgan.
“I’ll have to go with Broadbeach I think they’ve got the defenders to go with Mitchell, Abey and Murray, and if those PNG boys are playing as well, I think they add a bit of speed and x-factor to their lineup.”
Elsewhere Labrador will be taking on the Vultures, in a game that Morgan thinks might have a different result than a lot of people might think.
“I actually think Mt Gravatt might cause an upset, I think they’ve got enough speed and aggression around the ball,” said the Magpies coach.
“They’ve got enough grunt to really compete hard with Labrador inside the contest.”
Though he might be tipping against the consensus in the Labrador versus Mt Gravatt clash, Morgan agrees Sangate face a tough challenge in Palm Beach Currumbin.
“I feel like they’re on another level at the moment Palm Beach,” he said.
“I can only go on what they did to us and that was an absolute demolition.”
In the remaining game it’s a question of hitting the scoreboard, something Morgan believes the Demons will be able to do against the Gorillas.
“I think Surfers will be too strong,” said Mogan.
“They had, I think, 25 scoring shots last week, probably inaccuracy cost them – and I think for Grange to win history sort of says Trewhella has to kick a bag.”
Broadbeach vs. Morningside
Download Footy Record here: Cats vs Panthers Round 18
Sandgate vs. Palm Beach Currumbin
Download Footy Record here: Hawks vs Lions Round 18
Labrador vs. Mt Gravatt
Download Footy Record here: Tigers vs Vultures Round 18
Surfers Paradise vs. Wilston Grange
Download Footy Record here: Demons vs Gorillas Round 18
By Sean Melrose