Submitted by Chris Yeend
Back-to-back wins for the might of the Noosa Tigers is just what this competition needed to cause some unpredictability and chaos in 2022. After going winless in its opening season in the QAFL, the Tigers have pushed the reigning premiers, taken down a former VFL side and held on against the Gorillas in a Good Friday classic to establish that they will be a contender this season.
The QAFL saw just one game take to the field last weekend with Wilston Grange superstar Matt Payne inflicting pain on the statisticians as he registered 31 touches to crack the century in three games in that department but it wasn’t enough as Thomas Baulch kicked three goals on debut for the Tigers to guide them to a 13-point win. The Tigers trailed by 19-points at quarter-time before kicking 11 of 15 goals to win the game.
In Round 2; Broadbeach made it back-to-back wins at Cooke-Murphy Oval with a thrilling two-point win over Labrador in a rematch of the second-semi final where it won by four-points; PBC held off a fast-finishing Morningside to win by four-points on the back of its opening round win by two-points against the Demons; Matt Hammelman kicked his second consecutive haul of eight to guide the Sharks to a 116-point win over the Pies; Wilston Grange kicked seven goals to two in the second term over Mt Gravatt to set up a 45-point win; Jono Freeman kicked four goals to guide Noosa to a shock victory over Aspley by 13-points; and Maroochydore, after losing to Labrador by 75-points in round one, responded with a jaw-dropping 55-point win over Surfers Paradise on the road in a 130-point turn-around.
MORNINGSIDE v WILSTON GRANGE
Morningside – 11th (0-2 | 2L)
Wilston Grange – 9th (1-2 | 1L)
Round 4 – 2021
Morningside 11.17.83 defeated Wilston Grange 6.7.43
After trailing by three-points at half-time; the Panthers clawed their way back into the contest with 7.12 to 1.5 in the second half. Nathan Colenso (five goals) and Tom Jeffrey (three goals) were the headline acts for the winners while Will McKenzie kicked four goals in the first half for the Gorillas.
HOW DO THE PANTHERS RESPOND AFTER 2 DISAPPOINTING STARTS?
Disappointing is probably not the correct word to use; their opening round loss was a shock and the loss to PBC was a solid recovery against a team that is expected to get close to, or actually make finals. There is nothing to see here, just play their normal game but start strongly in that first term.
WHERE DOES MATT EAGLES PLAY?
The captain is best suited to the backline because of his capacity to lead the defensive push up the ground; ability to take strong contested marks and spoil in big contested situations. He can swing forward as required and play in the ruck; and his six goals from his last two games have been handy, but keep him down back and allow the forward line to grow and connect.
MATT PAYNE ONE HAND ON THE GROGAN MEDAL?
He is three games in and has more than 100 touches to his name; and he is cutting the opposition midfield to shreds. It’s two early to call as we’re less than a month in but it would be surprising if he didn’t have at least 6 votes to his name after three games in a team that is 1-2 on the ladder.
This is one of the more interesting games of the weekend. The Panthers need this win, much like Surfers Paradise does. The pair will be 0-3 if they both don’t get up considering they both played off in an Elimination Final against each other. Wilston Grange has shown more upside than the Panthers and have a competitive game in the bag too in order to show that. The Gorillas in a thriller.
NOOSA v MAROOCHYDORE
Noosa – 4th (2-1 | 2W)
Maroochydore – 7th (1-1 | 1W)
Round 16 – 2021
Maroochydore 20.21.141 defeated Noosa 13.9.87
The Roos kicked 13.13 in the second half to motor away to a nine-goal win after leading by 14-points at half-time. Jono Freeman played his only game for the Tigers for the season and kicked three alongside Aaron Wilson while a dozen Roos jumped on the scoreboard in a great team effort.
COME ON, HOW GOOD ARE NOOSA
They are good, really good and yes, there is still genuine unknown surrounding Aspley, and Wilston Grange is a younger team on the rise, so those wins are handy, but the efforts against Broadbeach were outstanding. This is the game where we truly see just how good this Tiger team is.
HOW UNDER-RATED IS SAM MCLACHLAN?
In a word, extremely. He is the most versatile player in this competition right now and his body of work over the last 6 or 7 games dating back to last year is the best of any player in the competition. He can play all over the ground and runs through the packs and takes to the air with confidence. He doesn’t get the respect that he deserves, and he prefers it that way. No-one plays all three areas of the ground like he does, right now.
IS THIS THE GAME TO WATCH FOR THE WEEKEND?
Absolutely it is. The Sharks and Cats will bring the house down and both teams are established, and the loser of that game will bounce back immediately and rip through everyone else over the next month, so the result doesn’t matter as much. If Noosa takes the scalp of last year’s Grand Finalists and hot rivals, it will be a massive boost. If Maroochydore wins, it’s back in the hunt, if it loses, it could be a real challenge to climb back to the top. The winner establishes more credibility, the loser has a fight on their hands. The result impacts both sides in a big way.
Maroochydore played some quality footy against Surfers Paradise; but Noosa is setting itself up for a fairytale run from last to finals in the space of 12-months and they’ll just get over the line here in a barn-burner.
SHERWOOD v ASPLEY
Sherwood – 12th (0-2 | 2L)
Aspley – 6th (1-1 | 1L)
LAST MEETING – First time
IF YOU ARE A PIES FAN, ARE YOU WORRIED?
Only if they don’t get within six or seven goals of Aspley and don’t compete. It faces Noosa (on the rise but winnable), PBC (on the rise but winnable), Wilston Grange (winnable) and Morningside (winnable) in the next month. If it competes against the Hornets like it did against the Vultures, that will provide some momentum to win at least two, maybe three games to get their season back on track.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM WILL O’DWYER?
After starting the season off in the Reserves before playing against his former side in the last game, Will is an outstanding and truly gifted young small forward who is good below his knees and is an impact player. He kicked 18 goals to finish runner-up in the Tigers’ leading goal kicking last year and he has enormous upside in this Hornets team to inject that sting it needs up forward. His defensive pressure in attack is a treat to watch.
MATCH UP TO WATCH?
It would be great to see Ryan Banks-Smith of Aspley go toe-to-toe with Sherwood’s Will Fletcher. The pair would be incredible to watch in the midfield and both have great influence on the centre-clearance count. This match up could determine who wins more of the ball from the midfield.
Aspley need to win, don’t they? We’ve seen how good they are in Round 1 against a young team; it just fell away against the Tigers. This team will be too strong and get the win but as a neutral support, the margin will be of interest. If the Pies can hang in there for much of the game, it provides momentum to see the next month ahead as an opportunity to launch its season.
SURFERS PARADISE v LABRADOR
Surfers Paradise – 10th (0-2 | 2L)
Labrador – 5th (1-1 | 1L)
Round 15 – 2021
Surfers Paradise 9.10.64 defeated Labrador 8.15.63
The Tigers led the game for the opening three-quarters including holding a 16-point half-time lead in a low scoring encounter before Sam Hilton-Joyce sprung to life with two goals and helped the Dees kick four of five goals to lead by eight-points to start the second half. Just one goal was kicked in the final 16-minutes as the Demons held on for a famous one-point win. Dan Charlesworth was best for the winners while Cooper Anderson kicked four goals for the Tigers.
CAN THE DEMONS BOUNCE BACK FROM A 0-2 START?
The game against Maroochydore was an early season eye-opening. The tough, hard-hitting Surfers Paradise style of football was played against them by Maroochydore. The 55-point loss was not a fair indication of the talent in this list. A loss here will be massive as Broadbeach awaits the following week and a 0-4 start to the season will make finals a tough achievement and this is a finals-playing list.
HOW WILL THE LOSS TO BROADBEACH IMPACT LABRADOR?
It won’t at all. If anything, it gives the Tigers more credibility. To go within 10-minutes of a Grand Final last year exceeded all expectations and to back up with two dynamic performances against last year’s Grand Finalists is a massive plus. This team is the real deal.
HOW IMPORTANT IS ALBY JONES FOR THE SURFERS PARADISE?
When he went down with a ham-string injury against Maroochydore at quarter-time, the game slipped away instantly. As of writing, an update on that injury is not clear, but with Jones as the general in the backline, it frees up Nick Hay to contest more of the aerial contests defensively. Hay was arguably the Dees’ best against the Roos; and under the leadership of Jones, the backline is so much stronger.
Labrador has a pretty challenging run over the next few months and given that it has established itself as a genuine threat for the QAFL Throne, it will be just too strong here as Surfers Paradise then contemplate its bout with Broadbeach to keep its season alive just a month in.
REDLAND-VICTORIA POINT v BROADBEACH
RVP – 1st (2-0 | 2W)
Labrador 2nd (2-0 | 2W)
Round 11 – 2021
Redland-Victoria Point 14.6.90 defeated Broadbeach 11.10.76
After leading by four-points at the half, the Sharks kicked five-goals to three in the third term to create some separation at three-quarter time to lead by 16-points en-route to a 14-point win. Harrison Kerr kicked four goals and Jarrod Huddy starred in the ruck while Nick Burton and Jordan Moncrieff kicked three each for the Cats.
CALLING IT EARLY, THIS THE 2022 GRAND FINAL MATCH UP
If the finals started today, these two teams would be the two that punters would tip to play off in the decider. The problem is, the Sharks have taken down the Panthers (who were disappointing) and the Pies (by almost 20-goals); while the Cats have beaten Noosa (will at least play finals this year you’d think) and Labrador (a power-house team). Broadbeach has proven itself already, and you can only beat the teams put in front of you. This is the match early in the season that says where the Sharks are at.
So the answer is no, don’t bank on it but we as fans would love to see it because it would be huge.
WHO BENEFITS FROM THIS WIN MORE?
The Sharks will absolutely benefit more. Broadbeach could lose this one and drop a few more in the next two months and it won’t be a cause for concern. It is the best team in the competition of the past few seasons and is the team to beat this year on the back of coaches from opposition teams. The Sharks need a scalp here to further establish itself as legit.
HAMMELMANN v MONCRIEFF, HOW EXCITING WILL IT BE?
Fans of football in Queensland only had to wait a month until the fantasy pairing of these two appeared at opposite ends of the ground. It will be shades of Dunstall at one end, Lockett at the other. The two best forwards in this competition will shine in this game and we hope we see a shoot-out. Moncrieff led the league for goals last season and has six on the board from two games; Hammelman has 16 from two games this year. As of writing, it’s 48 hours until kick off and this is already getting the excitement juices flowing.
Can’t it just be a draw? Everyone wins by seeing these two titans go head-to-head. Broadbeach wins if it’s low scoring, RVP win in a shoot-out. RVP has the most exciting, attacking brand of football in the competition, but Broadbeach is the best defensive team. The Sharks kicked 90-points on them last year, the highest score kicked against them all season. The Sharks have kicked 100 points or more in eight games since the start of last season.
PALM BEACH CURRUMBIN v MT GRAVATT
PBC – 3rd (2-0 | 2W)
Mt Gravatt (0-2 | 2L)
Round 11 – 2021
Palm Beach Currumbin 15.10.100 defeated Mt Gravatt 10.11.71
In a real arm-wrestle, the Lions edged out the Vultures with four goals to one in the last term to win by 29-points in a brilliant game of football. Ethan Dawson was outstanding for the winners while Benji Neal was outstanding for the Vultures.
HOW MUCH WILL THE SECOND QUARTER AGAINST THE GORILLAS COST THE VULTURES?
That second quarter could have been the difference between the Vultures sitting 2-0 and looking confidently at being 3-0, and 1-1. After trailing by eight-points at quarter-time, the Gorillas put on seven goals in the second term to lead by 39-points at half-time. The first quarter and the second half were even. This team can ill-afford to have a slip-up of that magnitude in winnable games, but it can respond positively.
IS IT TOUGH BEING A LIONS FAN?
Sometimes as fans, we wonder why we put ourselves through so much duress, but when our team comes away with the four-points, it is all worth it. The Lions have been exceptional with two wins against two of last year’s finalists (Demons and Panthers) and that is a great booster heading into the this next phase of the season. PBC face off against the big three (Cats, Sharks and Tigers) in the next month, and if it is to cause an upset, it will go down the same way as the first two matches did; so if you’re a Lions’ fan, be optimistic and get the stress pills out.
HOW IMPORTANT WILL LIAM JONES BE?
He is like gold for the Lions. If you take him out of this game, match-ups across the ground will appear to be very even, and that makes for an ultra exciting contest. If the Vultures can reduce his influence and put a winning score on the board, it will be incredible for their confidence heading into the next month.
PBC missed finals last year and will be desperate to start 3-0. The next month of football is massive for its quest towards finals and it’s a side that can get there and make some noise, especially after playing off in a decider just three years ago. The Lions will roar to an entertaining three-goal win.
Watch this game live and exclusive on Clutch TV
Picture by Queensland Sports Photography