By Beth Newman
The 2014 finals series is about to get under way, but for five clubs 2014 is done and dusted.
We’re taking a look at the wash up of each club out of the finals.
Finishing spot: 6th
At a glance: Came into the competition not fully aware of what the standard would be, like most of the clubs and spectators really. While they had their first win in Round four over UQ, their season really turned with their win over Labrador. After a 0-3 start, the Demons finished 9-9 and well within reach of a finals spot
Biggest positive: Back half
The second part of the Demons’ season showed the potential that they have. Probably a little bit green across the board, but some of their best players were their younger group.
What to work on in 2015: Recruitment
Surfers relied heavily on Southport-listed players coming back and it benefitted them a number of weeks. But the flipside of that was it showed when they weren’t. The Demons need to look to bring some of the Southport fringe players, many of whom are Surfers juniors, back home for good.
There’s not one unbeatable standout player this season in the Demons side. Ryan Dienjes had been up there a couple of times, youngster Cassidy Haberfield had a pretty good year but probably hasn’t played often enough. I think the big redhead ruckman, Mick Cunningham, will come out on top. he has shouldered much of the load on his own through the season, depending on Southport availability, and has won the battle more often than not.
Finishing spot: 7th
At a glance: A five-game losing streak in the middle of the season proved the undoing of Grange, putting them out of finals contention. Injuries and availability of NEAFL players impacted on them, but finished on a high, with a win over UQ.
Biggest positive: Stars
There’s certainly talent in the Gorillas ranks and they’ve unearthed a couple of consistent performers this year, but it’s their better players who really stand out. in some ways this is also their
What to work on in 2015: Closing the gap
Too often this year, the Gorillas relied on a game-breaking effort from Matt Trewhella or Steve Brittain. In the future, they need to develop more players to support their stars. When they had some of their NEAFL-listed players back, the issue wasn’t so obvious, but a more even spread of contributors will lift their side.
B&F tip: Matt Trewhella
You’d back Brittain in most days, but having missed a big chunk of the year, Trewhella has been the standout performer for the Gorillas. 24 goals in 17 games is a handy return as well, with the playing coach playing all over the ground this season.
At a glance: After a hot start to 2014, the Magpies fell off in the middle of the season, as their inexperience showed. They showed they could compete with some of the top teams through the year pushing Broadbeach and Mt Gravatt.
Biggest positive: Development
The Magpies got some games into their younger players this season an the improvement was obvious. That will only help them going further.
What to work on in 2015: Maturity
A really young group this year, the Magpies side looked done by the time Rd 18 came around. With another pre-season under their belt and a couple of key recruitments and they could improve very quickly.
B&F tip: Ben Jaenke-Cain.
The 23 year-old has been by far the most consistent Magpies player this season and it’d be a brave person who would back anybody else for the club’s best and fairest. He has only missed two games this season, has been in their best almost every week, and is certainly their standout player for 2014. Ruckman Dom Beer and half-back, Chris Hunt, are the smokies.
At a glance: A two win season for UQ in their first state league year. They came into the QAFL with no expectations on them and now they’ve laid a foundation for the future. The Red Lions were relatively competitive in most of their games this season.
Biggest positive: Improvement
UQ were not backed to win many games this season and they ended up with two. It was enough for them to avoid the wooden spoon and to show the rest of the competition their potential. Their win against the Magpies and a three-point loss to Surfers Paradise put the QAFL on notice.
What to work on in 2015: Big men
Bring in a couple of quality ruckmen and another key forward at least and UQ would be on the rise very quickly.
B&F tip: Al Carlson
The experienced midfielder is exactly the kind of player UQ needed, and he delivered this season. He has been their most consistent player and adds leadership to the Red Lions. Michael Stewart, will probably poll some votes and 2014 recruit, Tim Davison could be in the mix. Davison has been consistent in defence through the season and has kicked a handful of goals as well. Tom Crameri has also been relatively consistent through the year and could poll a few votes.
At a glance: It was a disappointing year for Sandgate, with just the one win and a mid-year coaching change. The Hawks showed competitiveness through the season, but struggled to maintain any real consistency. A year they’ll be happy to move on from.
Biggest positive: Rallying
It was a tumultuous season for the Hawks, but the players rallied well in the last month of the season. Big losses are hard to bounce back from, but they continued to front up each week and showed some good signs. Can’t have been easy for them.
What to work on in 2015: Maturity
Sandgate needs to recruit some older, more mature bodies to lead their promising youngsters along the way. This is something that new coach, Graham Adams, has flagged already.
Aden Rutledge hasn’t missed a game and has played a number of different roles for the Hawks this season in a tough year. At such a young age, only 19, he has coped well with all the challenges thrown at him and been a consistent performer.