By Terry Wilson
Former Morningside coach Martin King and current Redland captain Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds have applauded the decision to stage a NEAFL/QAFL double-header at the same venue on Saturday.
It will be the first time in a while that teams from different competitions will play on the same day when NEAFL clubs Redland and GWS Giants clash at 11.30am and QAFL arch rivals Morningside and Mt Gravatt do battle starting at 2.30pm, both fixtures at Jack Esplen Oval.
It is fitting that the Panthers and Redland have agreed to the double-header because there are many, many links between the two clubs who became serious eastern Brisbane enemies when they came up against played each other in pre-NEAFL days.
For instance, Martin King coached Morningside to three premierships before becoming Redland football manager.
He was in Panther colours when Redland, as the Sharks, were admitted to the old QAFL in 2000 and remembers when the new club changed its nickname to the Bombers to avoid any clashes with the Southport Sharks.
Redland also ended up changing their jumper design to match AFL club Essendon and get away from the red, white and black of Morningside.
He likes the idea of highlighting NEAFL and QAFL fixtures together.
“I think it’s good we can showcase a QAFL game and a NEAFL game together,” said King.
“It is a good promotion for two south-eastern clubs to have NEAFL and QAFL on the one day.”
It worth noting that King, in his Morningside days, coached one Terry Simmonds, father of Bertoli-Simmonds, who was nearing the end of his career at that time.
In his heyday Simmonds was a gun midfielder for Mayne, Coorparoo and the Panthers. He won the 1987 Grogan Medal while with Mayne.
It also adds to the flavour of Saturday that Bertoli-Simmonds was a premiership player with Morningside colts before being rookie-listed by the Brisbane Lions.
“I actually played my first seniors game for the Lions against Morningside at Jack Esplen Oval,” said Bertoli-Simmonds.
“That was in 2013 and I remember it well because I busted a foot ligament in the second quarter.
“It is pretty exciting to be back there on the weekend because away from Redland I believe Morningside is the place to have these matches, so I don’t mind at all.
“There is an obvious strong bond between Morningside and Redland. There are a lot of Morningside players at Redland and there are a lot of ex-Redland players at Morningside at the moment.”
On that note there are at least five from each club set to appear on the big Saturday match day.
Set to play for Redland against the GWS Giants are ex-Panthers Peter Yagmoor, Matt Hammelmann, Bertoli-Simmonds and Ryan Dadds, although Jack Rolls will miss as he recovers from ankle surgery.
In Morningside colours against Mt Gravatt will be ex-Bombers Brad Howard, Sam Godfrey, Luke Rogerson, Darcy Cameron-Reeves and Lachlan Niland-Rowe.
There are more ties, though.
Current Morningside coach Clint Watts was assistant under Leigh Harding at Redland for two years before taking over the role at Jack Esplen Oval, where he was an assistant to John Blair in the 2014 premiership year.
Then there is Adam Boon, a playing life member at Redlands where he played up until this year when he took over at Dittmer Park as head coach.
QAFL-NEAFL Double Header at Jack Esplen Oval
QAFL Colts: Morningside v Mt Gravatt 9:00am
NEAFL Round 11: Redland v GWS GIANTS
QAFL Round 10: Morningside v Mt Gravatt 2:30pm
QAFL Reserves: Morningside v Mt Gravatt 5:15pm