Queensland U18 State Academy: TAC Cup Game 2

Saturday May 9, 10:30am – H&A Oval

It’s game two of the TAC Cup for the Queensland Under 18 State Academy squad tomorrow when they take on Gippsland Power at Broadbeach.

Queensland pushed the Dandenong Stringrays for four quarters in their first game, falling just short of kick-starting their five game campaign in the bet possible way.

When they moved the ball quickly and found their run through the middle, they were all over the Stingrays, so look for them to get the ball long and deep as quickly as possible tomorrow.

They take on a Gippsland team fresh off the back of a 105-point win over the Western Jets.

The key to a Queensland win will be through stopping the tall timber of the Power clunking marks.

“They have got some tall boys in McKay, Skinner and Patullo, so we have got to get the ball to ground, we can’t let them mark it,” coach Adrian Fletcher said.

Fletcher realises they have a task ahead of them to get over Gippsland, but knows the boys are more than up for the fight.

“Country boys roll their sleeves up, they love a contest, so we know we are going to be in for a hard day,” he said.

“I’m confident in the team though, we have got some good kids running around that use the ball well.”

Queensland welcome Wylie Buzza, Curtis Marsden and Jacob Allison into the side, but will be without Max Spencer, Dylan Adkins and Jack Bowes.

Buzza is sure to create a big target up forward, which will bring guys like Reuben William into the game.

Queensland’s leadership group has now been settled upon. Ben Keays will lead the squad as captain for 2015, with Connor West and Corey Wagner being selected as vice-captains, and Dyson Budarick and Gareth Hunt as deputy vice-captains.

Keays and West come into the game in steller form.

Keays was the round 4 NEAFL Rising Star nominee after his best-on-ground performance for the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night, while West booted four goals for Southport in their win over Redland.

Fletcher says that its now time for the Queensland team to become a force to be reckoned with.

“It’s now about molding the group to together to go to the next phase in terms of skills levels and execution,” Fletcher said.

“We aren’t changing faces too much, when the pressure goes up we need to be able to hit targets, keep our feet, and run for each other.

“We are around the mark, sustaining these things will be the key to getting a few wins.”

If Queensland can use the ball well off half-back and get their running game going through the guts, they will be in this game up to their necks.

By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles

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