Cats and Panthers set for massive encounter
MORNINGSIDE and Broadbeach have set up a crackerjack QAFL finals prelude next weekend.
Whoever wins the final-round clash on the Gold Coast will claim the minor premiership and with it the number one spot for the two preliminary finals the following weekend.
On Saturday Broadbeach stayed on top of the ladder with a big away win against Wilston Grange, by 93 points, while across Brisbane Morningside thrashed last year’s grand finalists Palm Beach Currumbin by 52 points.
The Cats and the Panthers, both unbeaten after eight rounds, have 28 points. Broadbeach’s percentage is 239.39 while Morningside’s percentage is 161.65.
Morningside’s performance at Jack Esplen Oval was simply outstanding.
They won by 16.17 (113) to 9.7 (61) against a side that has played in the last four grand finals, winning two of them back-to-back (in 2017 and 2018).
But the way they were dictated to by a totally committed Panther pack suggested that the Lions may be a spent force.
They looked slow, lacked anywhere near the same intensity as the home side players and, putting it mildly, looked very much like an ageing, tired side.
The Lions headed to Brisbane without coach Jess Sinclair, who lives over the border at Kingscliff and, as such, could not go to Brisbane.
That was only the continuation of a rot because Jackson Emblem, Mitch Johnson and Steve Thynne were out injured, then they lost Jarryd Douglas (hamstring) and Zac Harrison (knee).
There may be more pain with the video review people set to look at a few incidents during the clash.
Rarely, if ever, over the past half dozen seasons has a PBC side been dictated to by the way Morningside went at them.
A statistic of +37 clearances was damning evidence of a domination of possession by the Panthers.
With a midfield boasting class and workers like Matt Payne, James Cowlishaw, Henry Joyce, Lachlan Russ and Jack Rolls, Morningside have arguably the best midfield in the business.
And they have a winner up front in ex-Brisbane AFL player Matt Hammelmann, whose haul of 5.2 took his season’s tally to 33 majors. He was joined up front by Luke Edwards (3.1) and stylish swingman Blake Coleman (2.3) in the scoring stakes.
“I can’t be prouder of them,” said coach Clint Watts, mentioning the work at the back by Matt McGannon and Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds in particular.
Now with a flag firmly in his sights, Watts declined to be drawn into making predictions about what lies ahead.
“There are no clichés,” said Watts.
“We’re aware of where we sit and how we should play and how we conduct ourselves.”
Perhaps the best post-match comment came from PBC’s ageless stalwart Jesse Derrick, whose description was that it was ‘a good old fashioned touch-up’.
Fill-in coach Craig Crowley hit the nail on the head when he said: “We had a group today that was flat, not up to it and undisciplined.”
Crowley added that not having Sinclair calling the shots could have been a factor, but not the overriding reason for the poor effort.
“I might have put things in place that might not have sat well with them or they’re not used to but today we just had too many players down,” he said.
At Hickey Park Broadbeach had far too many big weapons as they disposed of Wilston Grange by 18.16 (124) to 4.7 (31).
Without Jordan Moncrieff up front, Connor Nutting (4), Clay Cameron (4) and Josh Gore (3) were all among the majors and Aiden Fyfe was best.
Over at McCarthy Homes Oval, Sherwood took care of ailing premiers Surfers Paradise by 12.13 (85) to 8.9 (57), which assured the Magpies of finals action but put a big question mark over the chances of a Surfers finals appearance.
Ethan Sivijs, Errin Wasley-Black and Caleb Franks were best for the Magpies and for Surfers it was ever consistent Jack Prestegar and Perry Lewis-Smith the best two.
Maroochydore should be playing finals in their first year in the competition after they beat Labrador by 9.13 (67) to 6.5 (41) at Maroochydore Multisports Complex.
In-form Josh Govan was again best for the Roos while over in the Tigers camp it was hard-working midfielder Alex McKay who was best.
NEXT WEEKEND (ROUND 9)
Broadbeach (first, 239.39 per cent) v Morningside (second, 161.65 per cent) at Subaru Oval.
Labrador (eighth, 68.76 per cent) v Sherwood (fourth, 98.91 per cent) at Cooke-Murphy Oval.
Surfers Paradise (seventh, 65.94 per cent) v Maroochydore (sixth, 80.50 per cent) at Sir Bruce Small Park.
Palm Beach Currumbin (third, 146.02 per cent) v Mt Gravatt (fifth, 81.77 per cent) a Salk Oval.