By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend

After a pulsating 21 rounds in the home 2023 QAFL Senior Men’s Home and Away season, we finally have the top six locked away with the opening week of finals fresh on our doorstep.

It took one key domino to fall into place to secure the top six;,but it wasn’t without its moments of madness as Broadbeach held on to beat Labrador by five-points to send Palm Beach Currumbin into the finals and Labrador crashing out.

With Labrador trailing in the final minute; a long kick into the middle of the ground saw multiple attempts at long kicks from them smothered as the siren sounded to end the contest in the same  spot where it started, in the middle of the ground. Labrador needed to win to make the top six and with PBC tasting victory over Mt Gravatt, saw them move into that spot.

Noosa ended a big week for the club with popular coach Chris Rourke stepping down mid-week to see interim and Reserves coach Tait Niddrie guide his team to a famous victory over cross-town rivals Maroochydore, sending their opponents hopes of playing finals into the ground by 27-points.

Wilston Grange made sure they went into the finals with successive wins as they took down a spirited Sherwood by 35-points, Redland Victoria Point welcomed back star forward Matt Hammelmann who helped dismantle Morningside’s backline and finals hopes with nine goals in the 56-point win.

Aspley edged out Surfers Paradise by 18-point in one of the great arm-wrestles of the 2023 season; and Palm Beach Currumbin travelled to Mt Gravatt with two gifts; four points and a ticket to the 2023 QAFL Senior Finals.


BROADBEACH 6.7.43 defeated LABRADOR 5.8.38

This was the most important game of the 2023 Home and Away season with Broadbeach playing for a potential double chance and Labrador playing for their place in the finals.

Labrador is always a tough proposition at home and despite a disappointing loss to Wilston Grange on the road in Round 20 to secure their place in the top six; they had an impressive victory at home in Round 19 against the reigning premiers.

The opening quarter set the scene for how the game was going to unfold with both sides locked at 1.2 each. Broadbeach edged away in the second term with 2.1 to 1.2 from three scoring shots each to lead by five-points.

The third term netted the Cats two crucial goals to push ahead to a game-high nine-point lead into the final change.

With an epic final quarter on the cards; the Cats kicked the opener; before Harry Law was the beneficiary of a down-field free kick that had him slot a big-time goal at the 10-minute mark of the term. The game was battled bravely between the arcs with high intensity before Nathan Wright found himself on the end of a great pass at half forward; 40 metres out. With ice in his veins, he slotted the goal to cut the margin to less than a kick with little time left on the clock.

Broadbeach was able to kick a point from the resulting bounce before Labrador’s kick into the corridor was met with multiple defensive efforts to lock the ball in the centre with the siren sounding and sending Broadbeach into the finals with a big win.

For Broadbeach – Sam Jasper was crucial with three goals, Taine Dawson put up a late case to take the Rising Star award with another stellar effort, enjoying 44 hit-outs; 23 touches; six inside 50s and seven clearances in a monster performance, while Max Lower had 29 touches.

For Labrador – five players shared five goals; Matt Lee had the most disposals on the ground with 36 in an effort that included six clearances; Luke Coombes had 23 touches and 12 marks, while Jayden Young had seven intercept marks.

Broadbeach led the inside 50 count by 18 – 54 to 36; the clearance count 42 to 39 contested marks 18 to 4; while hit-outs were even at 51-each; Labrador led the tackle count 60 to 59; intercept marks 23 to 19 and disposal count 393 to 362.


PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN 13.11.89 defeated MT GRAVATT 9.9.63

In the second biggest match of the season; Palm Beach Currumbin played their part of making the top six with a hard-fought 26-point win over Mt Gravatt at Dittmar Park.

The Lions knew the task was going to be a challenging one; and they headed into the contest on the back of their highest score for the season; 144 points, just the second time they cracked the century mark all season.

The Vultures started the 2023 season with great promise and looked a genuine contender mid-season before some key losses in the back end of the season had them slip out of the race for a finals placing.

PBC led a pulsating opening term by six points; 4.3.27 to 3.3.21. The scoring dried up a bit in the second term as both teams dug deep and fought hard, as PBC kicked three goals to two and opened up an 11-point half-time lead.

With a place in the finals on the line, PBC came out in the second half to make a statement; and it did so by playing well defensively and creating scoreboard pressure. They kicked six goals to four after the break to push away to a 26-point win; while waiting anxiously to see if Broadbeach would do the favour and beat Labrador to ensure both teams face off in a Gold Coast blockbuster in week one of the finals; mission accomplished.

For PBC – 2023 recruit Carl Nicholson was outstanding with five goals which takes him to 13 goals in four games, all resulting in wins. Dean Katsiris kicked three goals. Captain Tom Thynne was in remarkable form with 36 touches – 23 of which were contested; 16 clearances; eight inside 50s and six tackles in a big captain’s effort to guide his team to the finals.

For Mt Gravatt – Kyah Moncur kicked two goals, Jake Torney had 23 touches while Joel Leahy had 20 touches (including eight tackles and four inside 50s and Fletcher Clare continued his outstanding run towards the end of the year with eight tackles and 16 touches.

PBC led the inside 50 count 54 to 41; hit-outs 56 to 35; clearances 46 to 37 and effective spoils 18 to 5; while Mt Gravatt led the intercept marks 18 to 13; and tackle count to 63 to 48.


NOOSA 12.10.82 defeated MAROOCHYDORE 7.13.55

One of the great frustrations of the 2023 season is that Noosa didn’t make it to back-to-back finals appearances. This club has been the sleeping giant of the competition and lived up to the hype of being able to beat anyone on its day with key wins over Labrador, Mt Gravatt, Palm Beach Currumbin and now their cross-town rival Maroochydore, in a victory that will be celebrated until next season. Additionally, this group really challenged Wilston Grange and Surfers Paradise in matches this year.

With coach Chris Rourke stepping down from the role as head coach in the lead up to the game, Reserves coach Tait Niddrie made it one win from one game in the coaches box in one of the most challenging games for the club this season.

Maroochydore had one focus and that was to win to give themselves every chance of making finals, pending other results.

The first quarter started promisingly for the Roos on enemy soil, when they led by eight-points in an exciting first term; 4.3.27 to 3.1.19. The second quarter was tight with scoring hard to come by with both teams kicking just one goal, as the margin increased to nine-points at the break.

Noosa made the most of their opportunities in the third term with four goals from as many shots on goal, while at the opposite end of the field Maroochydore kicked 3.4 and the margin was cut to just one-point.

The stage was set for an epic final term and the Northern Tigers, in front of an adoring home crowd, stormed home with four goals to nil to power home to a famous 27-point win.

For Noosa – Aaron Wilson was outstanding with two goals; five contested marks (12 overall) and five marks inside 50 from 15 touches; Aaron Laskey was full of class with 30 touches; six tackles and five inside 50s; while Lachlan Dawson enjoyed 24 touches, seven clearances and two goals.

For Maroochydore – Josh Wagner capped off his first season as a Roo with an impressive outing enjoying 31 touches and five intercept marks; Sam McLachlan starred again with 31 touches; eight tackles; four clearances and nine inside 50s while Ben Thomas tried his heart out with eight clearances and kicked 2.5.

Both teams were locked away with 50 inside 50s each; Noosa had 18 marks inside 50 to four; led the tackle count by 17 and clearances 41 to 38 while Maroochydore led the hit-outs 51 to 38.



With a double chance on the line for the Sharks and the Panthers playing for their life in an attempt to sneak in through a small window to make finals; this contest was always going to be of great interest with so much riding on the outcome.

Morningside stormed out of the blocks to lead a tight first time by two-points. In-accurate kicking may have proved costly as it sent through 2.6 from eight shots. The second term belonged to RVP who converted their chances better from eight shots at the same end to register 5.3; mean-while Morningside kicked 2.4.

RVP led by 15-points at half-time and knew that if the Panthers were to fire a big shot; it was going to happen early in the third term. Morningside proved to be more accurate in front of goal with 4.0; but it faced the number one attack in the competition who slotted through 6.5 to open up a match-winning 32-point lead.

RVP continued to make a stand in the final term with five goals to one to make sure that they heads into its final with Aspley in two weeks with lots of momentum and a big 56-point win.

For RVP – Matt Hammlemann returned to the side and enjoyed a day out with 11 of his 12 marks coming from inside 50 and kicked 9.5 from 15 kicks; Adrian Williams had 21 touches and 10 intercept marks while Brock Aston had one of his most complete performances of the year with 35 touches; six clearances and tackles; 11 inside 50s and two goals.

For Morningside – Mitch Robinson capped off his first season following his decorated AFL career with a staggering 42 touches; 13 marks; eight clearances; 12 inside 50s and two goals; Dylan Swann enjoyed 23 touches; four tackles and six inside 50s, while Brad Hodge had 35 hit-outs; seven clearances and four inside 50s.

RVP led the disposal count by 89 (395 to 306); inside 50 count by 15 (66-51); tackle count by 34 (60 to 26) and clearances by 9 (37 to 28).


ASPLEY 9.13.67 defeated SURFERS PARADISE 6.13.49

In a potential preview of the 2023 Grand Final; Aspley and Surfers Paradise went head-to-head in an explosive encounter at Graham Road.

The form for the Demons under coach Matt Lappin has been nothing short of impressive in the back end of the season and they has beaten some quality opposition along the way, so it was fitting that their biggest challenge of the Home and Away season came at the end; the Boss, Aspley in the first meeting between the pair this year.

Aspley secured the Minor Premiership after their impressive win against RVP at home in Round 20 and knew that the visitors were going to be a force.

One inaccurate kick separated the pair at quarter-time with Aspley leading by five-points; 2.4 to 1.5. Goals became a bit easier in the second term with both teams kicking three each as the margin pushed out to six-points at the main break.

The premiership quarter, the third term, proved to be the match-winner for the game as Surfers Paradise failed to kick a goal; kicking 0.4 from its four scoring shots in the term; meanwhile Aspley had kicked 2.2 from four scoring shots to open up a 16-point lead.

Both teams kicked two goals each in the final term as the reigning premiers secured their 15th win of the season, by 18-points.

If not for that third term where Surfers failed to kick a goal; the result could have been different but it’s clear that both teams gained so much with Surfers Paradise proving it can run with and challenge the best, while Aspley knew that they could withstand a tremendous amount of pressure from the opposition to hold firm and win; and that’s the intensity that they will receive in the finals.

For Aspley – Liam Dawson continued his impressive return from injury with 10 intercept marks; four spoils and three inside 50s; Connor Stackleberg kicked 3.4 from seven marks inside 50; while Jono Freeman had nine contested possessions from a total of 14; 23 hit-outs and a goal; while James Nelis enjoyed 28 hit-outs and alongside Freeman; enjoyed a combined 51 hit-outs for a make-shift ruck combination in the absence of Will Wolbers.

For Surfers Paradise – Cameron Topping had 27 hit-outs; 15 touches; nine contested possessions; and seven clearances; Jamison Shea had 23 touches; four clearances and two goals; and Harrison Fraser enjoyed eight clearances and kicked a goal.

The inside 50s were even with Aspley leading that space 52 to 46; clearances 52 to 33; hit-outs 55 to 33; tackles 63 to 44; marks inside 50 by 13 (17 to 4) and effective spoils 17 to 6.


WILSTON GRANGE 11.10.76 defeated SHERWOOD 6.5.41

This was the only game on the card that had zero impact on the ladder with both teams playing for pride and confidence; for Wilston Grange – building confidence into a return to the finals; for Sherwood – to have a more confident post-season and 2024 pre-season to improve on the many great signs of development across the year.

Wilston Grange has enjoyed a solid 2023 campaign with mixed results and perhaps not really living up to their full potential, with big wins over finalists Broadbeach and Palm Beach Currumbin but some disappointing losses along the way.

Sherwood has had an exceptional back end of the season with some highly competitive performances and there was little doubt that they were going to finish the season at home on a high.

The Gorillas led a tight opening term by nine-points; before kicking away in the second term with four goals to one to lead by 28-points at half-time.

The contest heated up in the third term as Sherwood showed their typical fighting spirit in the quarter with two goals to nil; the only time that they restricted a team to a goal-less quarter all season – to close the margin to 15-points heading into the final term.

Wilston Grange held firm in the final quarter with four goals to one to seal a challenging 35-point win against a red-hot opposition.

For Wilston Grange – Zac Derksen impressed up forward with three goals alongside Marly McGregor, Fergus McFadyen a gifted young star who kicked two goals. Daniel Bowles was a stand-out with 29 touches and nine inside 50s.

For Sherwood – Connor Bulley capped off a wonderful season up forward with three goals from five kicks; Owen Collins was outstanding with 32 touches; one goal and six clearances while Will Fletcher was at his usual best with 22 touches; seven clearances and seven tackles.

Wilston Grange led the inside 50 count by 21 (49-28); had a staggering 17 marks inside 50 and led the tackle count 57 to 44. Sherwood won the clearance count 34 to 33 and competed well in the hit-outs 38 to 49.


Photo credit: Craig Slaney Photography

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