By Chris ‘Yeendy’ Yeend
Maroochydore will be forever remembered for the best 10-minutes of football in the QAFL that has ever been witnessed in recent memory as it locked itself a sport in the 2021 QAFL Grand Final against Broadbeach.
At the 22-minute mark of the last quarter in its Preliminary Final bout with Labrador, it was 22-points down and plenty of punters jumped in the car to head home, believing the result was settled. 10-minutes and 5.2 later, the Roos pounced over the Tigers to seal the most unlikely victory of the season and in recent years and to secure a spot in the decider.
In just its second season in the QAFL, the Roos produced the best performance in the finals of any team that made its way there. They tasted just one victory against teams in the top six across the entire season, but showed to the rest of the competition that finals is well and truly a different ball game and it turned on three inspiring performances to make an unlikely Grand Final.
Maroochydore fell away after half-time, perhaps a sign that maybe the moment was not theirs for the taking just yet, but perhaps it told an even greater story that suggested that it should not have waited until the finals to put in that sort of performance, and consolidate in 2022 to produce those level of performances from the opening round, through to the Grand Final.
The Roos beat the teams that they needed to in 2021, and they looked great doing it. They had some tough losses against good opposition, and was able to learn from them in the finals. There has never been a team that has played better in a last quarter across the finals with their backs against the wall in the last decade like this team has; but there lies another lesson; why cannot it not produce that level of football across four quarters?
Maroochydore said goodbye to Senior Coach Andrew Cadzow at the end of the 2021 season and now welcome Ben Jones, a Senior Assistant Coach last year and in the heart of the rise of this playing list in the 2021 finals. Jones has an impressive CV that will be the envy of many clubs with experience at the Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans Academies, and the Colts at Maroochydore.
The credentials of Jones speaks quality to what this team needs. With a quality list of mature bodied players in the prime of their career; his ability to build that next generation of stars to compliment the experienced bodies across all lines is just the tonic this team needs to go harder for longer. He has experience of having an AFL mindset and developing players to play a more professional game style that can be altered as the situation of the game unfolds.
Jones will be supported by Wally Gallio, Tim Eva and Simon Kay as this group look to continuing on that impressive touch from the 2021 finals.
Lukas Kangur – Big bodied Midfielder from South Australia. Previously played with Glenelg (SANFL) and BMW, where he was the League Medalist in the Northern Areas Football Association
Darcy Hansen – Strong Half Forward from South Barwon in the GDFL, where he was Co-Captain
Mark Neilsen – Tall Defender from Mt Lofty in S.A. Terrific intercept marker.
Jahron Ostrom – Strong, tough player from Pearcedale in the MPNFL (Vic)
Young players to watch coming up through the Colts that could play Senior football
Tom Cuthbert – an inside player, who loves winning the contested ball, in and under and product of Maroochydore Colts.
Jordan Michael – an athletic player that can play tall. Colt’s-aged player, who has plenty of speed and skill.
Damon Eastwell – first year out of the Colts and has a promising career in front of him. He has all the traits required to be in senior company. Speed and evasive skills are elite.
James Packer – a reliable, tough fefender, who competes well, either in the air or on the ground.
Riley Matheson – is on the comeback after serious injury, he is a utility who can play inside and outside of the contest, and is a great team player.
Lachie Laing – is an outstanding 1-on-1 player, who is capable of turning a game and making it his own.
Jake Warren – is a tough, in and under on-baller, who also creates elite pressure when he goes forward.
Jackson Bury – has quickly become one of the best attacking defenders at MAFC and will continue to become one of best attacking defenders in the QAFL.
Ben Thomas – he is a creative, smart half forward, who can consistently impact the scoreboard
Expectations on the season ahead
“We fully expect the QAFL to have improved significantly again this season. With the injection of AFL experienced players, along with many players coming out of out of other states, the competition will be a step up again. We look forward to taking on very well-drilled teams every week. Expectations of our team this season will be to be highly competitive and hard to play against, week in, week out.” – Ben Jones
Team/s looking forward to play the most and why
”We always love to play against our traditional rivals and none bigger for us than Noosa. We will be playing our traditional ANZAC Day clash at Noosa this season, which always pulls a large crowd. We also look forward to hosting teams at our home venue and putting on a really competitive display in front of our loyal and supportive members, sponsors and supporters.” – Ben Jones
Player to watch from your team
“Sam McLachlan hasn’t missed a beat this preseason and looks in great shape. He was outstanding in his first season last year and we predict he can be even more damaging this season.” – Ben Jones
Player to watch from the opposition
“We are looking forward to watching a number of new players to the competition. Liam Jones (Labrador), Matt Hammelmann (Redlands/Victoria Point) and Matt Eagles (Wilston Grange) will provide a great challenge to match up against for our players this year.” – Ben Jones
The loss of Jacob Simpson in the ruck will hurt the team greatly in 2022 as he was so highly rated by so many opposition teams. The only losses with the likes of Giles, Hill and Filo take away that bit of grunt on the ball and at half-forward but the quality of players coming into the team to take over and make those spots their own will be fantastic to watch.
Look out for Kangur to crash packs and win plenty of the hard ball in the midfield while junior players such as Eastwell and Michael look to make a massive impact in the squad and impressing the competition.
There is no reason to doubt that this group shouldn’t be locked inside the top three for much of the year and be one of the teams to be hunted. The effort in the 2021 finals was no fluke, and it will be out to prove that in the opening month of football.