QAFL: The story so far

With the bye week now complete, and QAFL action set to resume on Saturday, I had a look back at the seven rounds so far, and how each team is placed heading forward, ranking them 1-10.


1. Labrador (7-0)

The first seven games for the Tigers have been pretty much blemish free, as expected when your 7-0 and are the first team to knock off Morningside in 25 games. Their biggest issue so far this year has been their inaccuracy in front of the sticks. They kicked 11.19 against Sandgate in round 1, and 18.19 against Wilston Grange last start. When they kick straight, they kick massive scores.

Their ball movement has been breathtaking at times this year. New boy Billy Hicks has given them some real run and carry, and their much-hyped forward line is bigger than just Fraser and Lappin, proven last round when Josh Baxter and Matt Daniel stood up. The pressure they have put on opposition ball carriers is what will stand up later in the year. Confidence levels down at Cooke-Murphy Oval must be sky-high at the moment, and rightly so.


2. Morningside (6-1)

A speed hump against Labrador two weeks ago shouldn’t place any doubts in your head about Morningside, they will be around when the whips are cracking. It might not have been an ideal result to go down to the Tigers pretty convincingly, but premierships aren’t won in May. One thing is for sure though, they have to be on their game week in, week out, or else they will get beaten.

With a relatively young list, players like Adam Spackman, Alastair Nash, and Ben McNiece have been prominent in the red white and black all year. Kent Abey looks capable of kicking a bag every week, and Mollison has been good in the ruck.

I think that loss could have been the wakeup call they needed for an assault on back-to-back flags.



3. Western Magpies (4-2)

The surprise packet of 2015. They pushed Morningside in round 1, which made the QAFL pundits perk up a little bit, but then were disappointing against Labrador the following week. Combine that with two weekends off in a row, with the bye and a wash out, it meant they were a little bit hard to read. They have showed what they are capable of lately. A come from behind victory against Surfers showed a lot of ticker, and then to back it up with a big win over Palm Beach last round proved they are more than capable of mixing it with the best in 2015.

Their good form has come off the back of some ferocious contested ball work. The injection of co-captain Callum Carseldine has been pivotal to their success, and Luke Scott has been getting the job done from both ends. With a game in hand, they are setting themselves to go deep into finals.


4. Wilston Grange (4-2)

Like a top-shelf bottle of Penfolds, Wilston Grange is building nicely towards the business end of 2015. Like the Magpies, they have a game in hand over the rest of the competition due to the wash out, so to be sitting in the five at the moment shows how well they are tracking. Apart from a big win over Sandgate in round 3, they haven’t put teams away by any stretch of the means, but they are doing what they need to do each week to get the win. Their only two losses have come at the hands of Morningside and Labrador, which says a lot for where they are at, at this point of the season.

Their strength this year has been their muscle around the ball. With Brittain, Trewhella, (who is out for another three or so weeks with a plantar fascia injury) and Kettle on ball, they are hard to budge. Then when you throw in Albert Proud to the lineup as of three weeks ago, another key string to the bow is added. They have the list and game style to upset a few come September.


5. Palm Beach Currumbin (3-4)

It’s been a bit of a hot and cold year for Lions so far. When they are good, they can beat anyone, but if they are off, they are scored against pretty easily. They haven’t really had a settled line up yet, due to injuries and unavailability, which never helps the cause. Their contested numbers have been good, but with reasonably small lineup height wise, it’s the outside run that has won them games of footy. If they don’t take the game on, they have struggled in patches.

What they have done is blood a few young kids, which always helps. Tyler Cornish, Zac Harrison, and Sam Davidson have all played massive roles for the Lions this year, and that’s only going to help them down the stretch.


6. Sandgate (3-4)

It’s been a revival of sorts for the Hawks in 2015. Three wins on the board, all things considered, is a fantastic result. Yes, they are still having their ups and downs, as seen through their results this year, but when it clicks they have played a good brand of football. Their round 2 win over Palm Beach really set the tone for the year, and put a lot of belief in the group. It has been their bigger bodies around the ball that have done the job. Blokes like Overington, the Rutledge boys, and Ben Beaven have put the team on their back and delivered when it’s counted.

The next step for Sandgate will be to use their contested ball prowess to match it with the sides in that next group above them. If they can do that, finals aren’t out of the equation. The direction they are heading under Graham Adams is the right one.


7. Surfers Paradise (3-4)

It was a difficult start to the year for Surfers. Sitting at 0-3, and after losing a couple of close ones, they got the ball rolling with an important win over Mt Gravatt. Their inside work has been good all year. The Haberfields’ and Agita haven’t missed a beat this year, and when McIntyre and Green clunk a few up forward they look like very dangerous. The last month has definitely been an improvement, and there is a good feeling around the club at the moment.

The key to the Demons playing well this year is getting their outside game going. When it works, they can bust a game open beautifully.


8. Broadbeach (2-5)

2015 hasn’t gone to plan for the Cats, but after a line in the sand win against UQ in round 7, the tide may be changing. The effort has been there all year, it’s just the disposal that has let them down. Like a few teams around them, they crack into the contest, but can torch the footy a little bit once it gets outside. A one-point win over a hard charging Mt Gravatt in round two showed the character of the group.

Brade Palmer has been good in the ruck all year, giving guys like Pantic and Dienjes the opportunity to get the ball moving the Cats way. If they can piece together four quarters of football more often than not, they will climb the ladder.


9. Mt Gravatt (1-6)

The season started on the right foot for Mt Gravatt with a huge second half performance against UQ, but it has been tough going from there. Big injuries to key personal, including skipper Joe Murphy, hasn’t helped the Vultures cause this year. They have struggled to stay in games for four quarters, and at times, their use of the footy has let them down. They got close to Sandgate in round 6, but were comprehensively disposed of by the Magpies last start. With a young, well paced line-up, getting their outside running game up and about will be key to salvaging this year.

Rhys Estall has looked dangerous up forward all year, and Frazer Neate, as stand in captain, has been good through the middle, but they are just lacking that run and spread they need to get the four points. They have got two massive games coming up against Wilston Grange and Labrador, so good showings against two strong sides will be very important.


10. UQ (1-6)

An overhaul of game plan was always going to take time, as UQ have found out in the opening part of 2015. Watching them, it’s obvious the direction they are trying to head, and when it clicks, it’s hard to stop. Lacking a few talls, they look to run and carry as much as possible, but if skills errors creep in, they become susceptible to the rebound attack.

They proved they are cool under pressure with their win over the Demons in round 2, but have also been on the end of a couple of big losses as well. D’Roza has given it his all each game, and with a lot of young guys coming through, like Harry Milford, the future looks bright. They are going to get better each game as they become accustomed to the style of play, don’t be surprised if they take a scalp or two before the end of the year.

By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles

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