QAFL Season Preview – Maroochydore

Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend

The Roos from the Sunshine Coast will be eager to return to the post-season in 2023 after a frustrating and some-what disappointing 2022 season.

After powering through to the 2021 decider and going down to red-hot premiership favourites Broadbeach in 2021, Maroochydore started the 2022 season with a disappointing 75-point loss to Labrador in the season opener at home and it never really recovered.

Like 2021, the Roos defeated only one team that finished inside the top six across the Home and Away season and losing four of their last five games was tough; but perhaps the draw against Noosa in Round 16 put a stop to some key momentum heading into finals.

The draw to the Northern Tigers was followed by a 65-point loss to Palm Beach Currumbin, the team that it snuck in ahead of in 2021 to play finals and would ultimately put the brakes on the Roos’ run to September.


Maroochydore will be led again by second-year Senior coach Ben Jones who will be no doubt confident to lead the team again. Jones previously coached the Colts to the 2019 premiership and has experience with the Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans Academy.

Jones is the ideal fit for this group that has some solid experienced players across all lines and has the tremendous ability to help fast-track the development of the younger players in the squad. With 12-months and a full pre-season under his belt, the team is well positioned with him at the helm.

He is assisted this year by Simon Kay and Tim Eva while key Senior player Jordan Daniels will also provide support while managing a long-term injury.


JOSH WAGNER – Previously played at Sandgate and Melbourne Demons (40 games)
” Josh is an elite ball user and decision maker and adds class to the whenever he touches the ball.” – Jones
HARRISON KERR – Returning Maroochydore junior. Previously played Redlands (NEAFL), Redlands Victoria Point (QAFL)
“ Harrison is a powerful key forward who is a super mark on the lead and is an accurate kick in front of goals. He adds leadership to the forward line.” – Jones
LIAM JACKA – Returning Maroochydore player
“Liam spent 2022 out of the game and has returned with a real desire to chase the ultimate prize. He is a classy outside player, with elite running capacity and very accurate by foot.” – Jones
JOSH KELEHER – Returning Maroochydore player.
” Josh has a big body with an enormous work rate and competes bravely in every contest. He is an outstanding team player” – Jones
MAX McDONALD – Returning Maroochydore player and one year at Morningside
“ Max adds height and will provide a strong presence while likely to hold down Ruck duties and competing really well around the ground.” – Jones
JACK LANG – Previously played at Victor Harbour (S.A.)
“Jack is a tall backman, who intercepts marks and reads the play extremely well. He is very composed with the footy and we are looking forward to seeing him join the Maroochydore defence.” Jones
LOCHIE LAING – Lake Boga (Vic Country)
JAKE WARREN – Lake Boga (Vic Country)

Young players to watch coming up through the Colts that could play Senior football
BRAD McDONALD – Lions Academy player who is a key backman and is in the Allies Leadership group. Brad is a high-flying defender, who can run all day.
BAILEY HAHN – Small forward/inside midfielder who has had a huge pre-season and looks primed to step into Senior football. Bailey is hard, brave and wins his own footy.
WILL JONES – Strong, leading key Forward, who takes contested marks and is a very accurate shot on goal.
NATAHN JENSEN – Lions Academy player who is an emerging ruckman and is quickly becoming a dominant force.

X Factor
BEN THOMAS – Elite skills and has quickly become a key component of the Roos’ midfield and forward rotation. Hard to tackle and very clean under pressure. Looks set for a big season.
SAM McLACHLAN – The player with the silkiest skills. He is hard and tough when the ball is in dispute and is elite with disposal that makes him a very hard player to match up on.
Expectations on the season ahead 
“We have recruited a number of high quality players and have filled some gaps from last season. It’s been a very solid off season, with the focus on running power and game plan execution. We will look to push into the Top 6 and expect to play finals football after missing out in 2022. We are excited to see this year’s squad playing a brand of football that Maroochydore is known for.”
Opposition to watch and why
“The top three teams from last season are sure to feature prominently in 2023. Aspley, Broadbeach and Redlands/Victoria Point all look to have recruited well and we expect them to be at the top end of the ladder again. We know the league will improve again overall, so we looking forward to the challenge of taking on the top teams of the competition.”
Player to watch from your team
LUKAS KANGUR – Has put in a massive pre-season and looks ready to take the competition apart. He is strong through the body with a penetrating kick, and will take his game to an even higher level.
Player to watch from the opposition
WILL MARTYN (Wilston Grange) – Could easily still be playing at a higher level. Looks like he will be a top player in the QAFL this season.

Fixture rating based on 2022 final Home and Away standings (12th = 1 and minor premiers = 12)
9, 12, 7, 10, 11, 4, 5, 3, 12, 9, 1, 2, 11, 3, 8, 2, 7 = 116
The Roos have a very challenging start to the season with its first five games coming against last year’s finalists including contests against the top 3.

Round One will be on the road to Labrador; 364 days removed from the season opener against the same team in what was a shock 12-goal defeat.

The challenging start to the season won’t phase this playing group that expect to be in the mix of finals’ action in 2023. It provides the perfect platform to see where this list is at and how it can improve in the back end of the season.

The Roos made the QAFL decider back in 2021 in a COVID interrupted season where it secured the four points in just one clash against teams in the top six before surprising the competition and running the gauntlet to make the decider. The DNA of that Grand Final side is still firmly entrenched in this squad, especially with some handy returns.

There is no reason why this team can’t contend again with some handy players returning to the squad to strengthen key areas. With two massive matches against Noosa on the cards across the season, look out for the final round where the winner of that match makes finals, and the loser will watch on from the sidelines.
If this team does not play finals in 2023, it will be merely a reflection of the overall improvement of the standard of the competition.

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