Hungry Hungry Hippos
It was party time for Val Pope in the Magpies win over the Vultures at Dittmer Park, the high leaping small forward bagging four. Early on though, it was tall target Charlie Pershouse who broke the game open, crashing packs, taking big marks on the lead and kicking goals.
Jakob De Winter top scored in the game with five, always looking dangerous when the Pies went forward and making the most of his opportunities. Trying to keep the Vultures in the contest, Sam Stubbs snagged three for Mt Gravatt in a solid display at the other end.
Morningside were in the game till just after half time against Palm Beach Currumbin, who ended up running away with a 38 point victory. The Panthers Ben Bisset showed why he was tipped for a fast start after a strong pre-season, kicking three, while Lachlan Ritchie did the damage for the Lions, kicking four.
The Tigers started off their season they way the would have wanted, after a slow start last year, getting hold of Surfers by 75 points. It was ‘fill your boots up’ time for the Labrador forwards, Darryn Thomas, Damien Hector, Bryce Retzlaff and Mickey Abbey finishing with three goals each.
Young gun Oskar Baker shined under lights at Bendigo Bank Oval for the massive ANZAC eve clash. The Gorillas half forward impressed with his run and goal sense, ending up with four goals on the night. Up the other end it was big man Connor Stackelberg, a bit of a lone hand as a tall target for the Hawks, kicking three, including a long bomb from outside 50.
Sherrin on a string
David Lewis was absolutely instrumental in the Magpies victory over the Vultures, the clever utility seemingly marking everything that came his way. Lewis just read the game so well and positioned himself perfectly to chop off Mt Gravatt’s advances.
It was a difficult night for the Hawks on such a big occasion, but coach ‘Bomber’ Adams would have been pleased with the effort from his captain, Aaron Fabian. The skipper played off half-back, but pushed forward at stages when needed and took some critical marks.
Fabian showed off his natural football talent to the large crowd at Bendigo Bank Oval, threading his way through traffic with skill and hitting targets with beautifully weighted long passes.
Against the tide
In a back 50 taking on a barrage of Labrador entries, Demons defender Brody Haberfield battled manfully all day, earning himself a mention in the best players for his side. Keeping Retzlaff to three is a job well done on a day like they had.
Isaac Corvo toiled away in the ruck for the Hawks against Grange’s Bradie Foster, giving up about a foot in height, but working hard at ground level. Corvo is a powerful athlete and looked impressive, but did turn the ball over from time to time during the game.
Wilston Grange had a really even spread of contributors and gained the upper hand over Sandgate most of the night, consistently winning the ball at ground level. That being said, they also picked the right option when they had the choice of switching the play, or going inboard to a running player. Early in the game Sandgate really looked good when working the switch at stages, but turnovers cost them dearly in the first quarter and throughout the rest of the game.
The Western Magpies have been known for being a terrific contested footy side and they looked ok in that area. Where they really excelled on Saturday though, perhaps surprising a few, was with their outside run. They worked hard to pressure the Mt Gravatt ball carriers and when they gained possession, they pushed to provide options for their teammates.
If Surfers’ run in with Labrador proved anything, it’s that the Labrador forward line is as dangerous as ever. Such a broad range of goal kickers shows they’re sharing the load, which is a big positive for the Tigers, but doesn’t bode well for the rest of the competition.
Palm Beach Currumbin came out and showed on the weekend that they’ll be a force in 2017. They were just too strong for a Morningside outfit that couldn’t compete for long enough. The Panthers won’t be dwelling too much on the loss though, they’ll fix what needs to be fixed, learn from it and move on.
Flying under the radar in the buildup to the Wilston Grange matchup with Sandgate, was the Hawks signing of ruck forward Brendan Forbes. Forbes has a coaching background and was a promising junior footballer who played for Queensland in the under 21s and spent time playing for Aspley in the NEAFL. Though coming off a limited pre-season, this is a great signing for the Hawks and Forbes will provide some needed height, not to mention leadership and experience. Look for him to get better as the season goes on.
Gorillas prolific midfielder Steve Brittain was noticeably missing from the action on Monday night. The club hasn’t given a reason as to why he sat out the game, though coach Nathan Clarke is hopeful Brittain will be ready for their round two clash with Morningside.
To get a play-by-play recount of the match of the round, take a look at the live blog below:
By Sean Melrose