Against the tide
What a weekend of QAFL footy. Just when the tipping looks line and length, two massive upsets come along to make even the most knowledgeable QAFL tipsters look like fools.
At Broadbeach it went right down to the last few minutes between the Cats and the Gorillas. Wilston Grange went into the game as favorites after an important win against the Western Magpies, but soon found out they were in for a serious challenge.
The Cats, taking advantage of having a big key forward come in to the side in Josh Baxter, put themselves up 41 to 15 early in the third. The Gorillas, lead by captain Steve Brittain, mounted a comeback but the Cats steadied through a Josh Searl goal in the 26th minute to seal the win.
It was a similar story in Surfers Paradise and another absolute cliffhanger of a game. A much-favored Morningside outfit couldn’t get things going in the first half, kicking just three goals in the two quarters.
Invigorated with the inclusion of forward Daniel Green, Surfers went into half time on top, 57 to 19. Then came the Panthers third quarter fightback, two goals each to Alex Mitchell and James Rayner, getting them back into the game at three quarter time.
Late in the game the time for Matthew Green to step up arrived and he delivered. Green’s snap at goal in the dying seconds floated, but his aim was true and he got his Demons their first win of the season.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Sam Stubbs had another day out, kicking four for the Vultures against the Hawks, bringing his total to 11 goals in two weeks. Beside him Brendan Telford kicked four of his own, as did Zac Stone. On a long day for the Hawks, Liam Rutledge was one of the few positives, kicking four goals for his side.
In the Morningside and Surfers clash, Daniel Green kicked three in his return, while James Rayner ended up with three for the visitors.
At Broadbeach Josh Baxter stepped in and kicked a valuable three goals, after being named as an emergency for the Southport Sharks in the NEAFL.
Sherrin on a string
Jake Goldsmith has been huge for the Tigers in the absence of their skipper Bryce Retzlaff, playing forward and ruck when needed. The big Tiger has also provided outlet options for the Labrador defenders, taking some big marks around the centre-half-back area. Goldsmith was important again on the weekend against the Magpies, as Labrador continues on its merry way, casting aside another QAFL challenger. Now that ‘Retzy’ is back, the Tigers look like an even tougher prospect.
Western Magpies defender Davey Lewis just continues to impress this season, he was at it again against Labrador on Saturday and with Drew Mitchell was among his side’s best.
Joe Murphy announced his 2017 arrival to the QAFL main stage, with a breakout game for the Vultures against the Hawks at Sandgate. The Vultures’ skipper was in-and-under in wet conditions and provided composure during some important stages of the match. Teammate Jesse Green’s form is also growing and the slick midfielder created some real problems for the Hawks, getting the footy on the outside and hurting the Hawks with long entries inside fifty.
Round four, despite the wet weather, was one for the key forwards. Players like Daniel Green and Josh Baxter might not mark the ball every time, particularly if it’s a waterlogged bar of soap, but they straighten up their sides and provide a target which is so important in the QAFL.
The 2017 QAFL season is shaping as the type of year in which any team, on their day, can steal a game from anyone. Wilston Grange and Morningside both found out that if you’re not at the top of your game, if you slip a little, teams like Surfers and Broadbeach can come out and make you pay.
The results this round showed that there could be some truth to sides like Broadbeach and Mt Gravatt attributing early poor form to the absence of pre-season practice matches. Both these teams missed critical practice match time, because of the floods, and are now starting to get some valuable match fitness and structural harmony.
To get a play-by-play recount of the match of the round, take a look at the live blog below.
By Sean Melrose