By Terry Wilson
Surfers Paradise (3) v Morningside (2)
At Sir Bruce Small Park, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Surfers Paradise – Dan Green, Noa Corbett, Nick Harrison, Tom Miller (Southport). Morningside – Eddie Mallan, Cameron Spence, Aaron Robertson, Lachlan Niland-Rowe, Ethan Hunt, Keidean Coleman, Michael Graham.
Outs: Surfers Paradise – Haydn Kiel (inj), Cassidy Haberfield (suspended), Matt Green (unavail), Sam Hilton-Joyce (omit). Morningside – Matt Surrier (inj), Jim Rayner (inj), Hiovake Lisevey (inj), Ben McNiece (unavail), Luke Rogerson (concussion), Louis McCormick (omit), Anthony Stewart (omit).
Last time they met: Surfers Paradise 13.7 (85) d Morningside 12.7 (79), Round 2 at Jack Esplen Oval.
Outright second place on the ladder is up for grabs when Morningside make the trip down the M1 to play Surfers Paradise at Sir Bruce Small Oval on Saturday.
Both last start losers, the Demons and the Panthers have each won six games and are separated by a miniscule .36 of a percentage points with the Brisbane club holding slight advantage in the race for a home-ground advantage for the qualifying final later in the year.
Morningside hold on to second place on 117.57 per cent and Surfers have a percentage of 117.21.
The loser here could conceivably drop to fourth should Broadbeach (20 points, 126.69 per cent) beat Western Magpies in their clash down the road at Subaru Oval.
So there is plenty at stake between two sides that have undergone significant player changes since last weekend when the Panthers fell to Palm Beach Currumbin and Surfers were poor in their loss against Labrador.
Surfers have made four changes and Morningside a significant seven alterations to last weekend’s side.
The Panthers seem to have fared the better with Eddie Mallan, Redland pair Cameron Spence and Aaron Robertson back and exciting Lions prospect Kidean Coleman also returning.
Panthers coach Clint Watts denied making seven changes was a reaction to last weekend’s big loss to the Lions.
“No, because five of them have been forced,” said Watts of events at Esplen Oval.
“This weekend is a test of our depth but we do have to bounce back because enthusiasm was down last weekend.”
Likewise, Surfers need to lift because they were downright terrible in losing to Labrador.
In fact the Dees have struggled for a fortnight and coach Brad Moore conceded that his side is in a form slump.
“We haven’t played well over the past couple of weeks but that doesn’t mean we have lost our ability,” he said.
Still without ruckman Harris Newton and gun midfielder Jack Yelland, the Demons have lost Cassidy Haberfield to suspension, Matt Green through unavailability and Haydn Kiel to injury and they decided to rest 17-year-old small forward Sam Hilton-Joyce.
Dan Green and Nos Corbett return to add bite to a misfiring forward set-up and they get Southport-listed Tom Miller this weekend.
Broadbeach (4) v Western Magpies (7)
At Subaru Oval, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Broadbeach – Kwabe Boakye, Jake Hinds, Matt Fowler, Nelson Sorrensen, Luke Dempsey-Ceh, Isaac Dineen, Aiden Fyfe. Western Magpies – Aaron Highlands, Kale Reed, Harrison Kerr.
Outs: Broadbeach – Nick Burton (concussion), Jayden Rymer (concussion), Ethan Reeves (NEAFL), Alex Davies (NEAFL), Kai Sheers (suspended), Darcy Irwin (omit), Nelson Pollard (omit). Western Magpies – Drew Mitchell (inj), Lachlan Dennis (unavail), Zane Lovell (omit).
Last time they met: Broadbeach 10.16 (76) d Western Magpies 11.6 (72), Round 4 at McCarthy Homes Oval.
Broadbeach coach Beau Zorko promised some sweeping changes after the Cats lost to Mt Gravatt by a point last weekend
The Cats have done just that with seven fresh faces into their side – although five of them have been forced by NEAFL commitments on top of two cases of concussion to Nick Burton and Jayden Rymer after incidents that Zorko was not too happy about.
“Two of our starting mids are not playing after concussions last weekend,” the Cats mentor said.
On top of this, Kai Sheers has been suspended for a week from the same match while Ethan Reeves and Alex Davies are on NEAFL duties as the Cats looked to their lower grades to prepare for a big match against Western Magpies at Subaru Oval on Saturday.
So it’s over to the support cavalry as the Cats chase a victory that would help immensely in their chase for a top-three finish for the finals.
“If we win go to third, if we lose we’ll fall out, so we have a lot on the line,” he said.
Among the changes at the Cattery are the promotions of Luke Dempsey-Ceh, the return of captain Matt Fowler from a broken finger, the availability of Southport-listed Jake Hinds and the pending debut of teenager Aiden Fyfe, a former Southport colts player.
“Aiden came across looking for senior opportunities and to his credit he has been good in the colts,” Zorko said of the 18-year-old left-foot half-flanker.
With Fowler and Hinds back and with big Jason Cloke in good form, the Cats have a number of forward options to tackle the Magpies who themselves will have several tall options in attack with through Aaron Highlands back in the side.
An interesting addition is Redland-listed Harrison Kerr, who has played with Broadbeach until switching to Redland last year.
The Magpies are coming off the bye that followed a big win over Surfers Paradise and coach Brydan Morgan gets the feeling his side is just starting to settle into finals mode.
But the Magpies have some ground to make up because they are seventh on standings and remain two wins and percentage out of the five.
“It was a really positive performance against Surfers and if we can go in with the same mindset and get a majority contributing to the result we’re confident we can win,” he said.
“But I’m also wary that Broadbeach have some quality players.”
Wilston Grange (8) v Mt Gravatt (6)
At Hickey Park, 4.45pm Saturday
Ins: Wilston Grange – Glendon Woosup, Michael Linnane, Zac Puncken, Myles Lawler, Harry Milford. Mt Gravatt – Jack Wratten, Kyle Walsh, Justin Currie, Luke O’Sullivan.
Outs: Wilston Grange – Dylan Reid (inj), Luke Hedger (inj), Jackson Coulter (inj), Luca Mason (inj), Jack Lipscombe (NEAFL).
Mt Gravatt – Dominic Nash (unavail), Harrison Hunkin (unavail), Tarj Townson (omit), Bill Sam (omit).
Last time they met: Mt Gravatt 12.13 (85) d Wilston Grange 10.14 (74), Round 6 at Dittmer Park.
Long-serving Mt Gravatt midfielder Frazer Neate feels that the Vultures are just starting to fire up and are ready to launch a serious assault on the QAFL finals.
Best on ground last weekend in his 100th seniors appearance for the club, Neate senses a team on the move after a slowish start to the season under new coach Adam Boon.
The Vultures face a danger game away to Wilston Grange at Hickey Park on Saturday (4.45pm first bounce) and Neate knows a loss would seriously damage the club’s top-five aspirations at a stage when t5hey are sixth on the ladder on 16 points, a win behind fifth-placed Labrador.
Victory over the Gorillas would mean the Vultures displace the Tigers from fifth spot.
Given the Gorillas were upset by previously winless Sandgate last weekend, Neate is wary of what a side smarting from a loss can do, and especially remembering early the season when Mt Gravatt won by 11 points at Dittmer Park.
“It has been a slow start but it’s starting to work out for us now,” said Neate.
“We get a couple of wins and we get the season rolling.”
Neate has been a part of the Vultures since the age of five and, apart from a season in country Victoria, has worn the blue and white stripes for two decades.
At selection time Mt Gravatt came up with four changes – all Redland-listed players in Jack Wratten, Kyle Walsh, Justin Currie and Luke O’Sullivan.
Among the losses are unavailable pair Dominic Nash and Harrison Hunkin.
Wilston Grange coach Barry O’Brien elected not to think too much about the Loss to Sandgate at Lemke Road Oval last weekend.
All he can do, he says, is to continue to work with what he has and, as he put it, to have a decent crack.
“At the end of the day we were beaten in most parts of the game last week so it’s up to us if we’re going to get any better,” he said.
Palm Beach Currumbin (1) v Sandgate (9)
At Salk Oval, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Palm Beach Currumbin – Jack Anthony, Glenn Screech, Hunter Hall. Sandgate – Lochlan Harrop, Tom Mabin, Sam Lubke, Cody Caugh.
Outs: Palm Beach Currumbin – Jackson Emblem (overseas), Riley Buckland (NEAFL), Mitch Johnson (NEAFL). Sandgate – Aaron Fabian, Brandon Batchelor, Tahj Abberley, Michael Hutchinson.
Last time they met: Palm Beach Currumbin 24.13 (157) d Sandgate 12.9 (81), Round 2 at Lemke Road Oval.
It is a case jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire for Sandgate when they take on the QAFL’s toughest road trip away to Palm Beach Currumbin at Salk Oval on Saturday.
A week after notching their first win of the season, and the first in more than a year when they beat Wilston Grange last weekend, the Hawks are up against the best in the business in the unbeaten Lions and in their home hunting range.
And while the Hawks may have been hoping that the Lions would miss forward Mitch Johnson, who is back at Southport after 13 goals in two matches for PBC, up steps the formidable frame of leading goalkicker Jack Anthony in his place.
Anthony, the 2018 Joe Grant Medallist from the gran d final, has been out for five matches with an ankle injury but coach Jess Sinclair says all is well with the bearded spearhead.
Experienced Glenn Screech and rookie Hunter Hall are in for the Lions who have lost Johnson, key defender Jackson Emblem (overseas) and Riley Buckland who has been called up to the NEAFL.
Hall is the son of former Surfers Paradi8se and Labrador star Gavin Hall, who was a handy player in the old Gold Coast competition.
Hall Jnr has electric speed but can, as Sinclair has noted, be wasteful with his disposal.
“That’s all he has to do – tidy up his disposal a bit,” said Sinclair of the teenager.
Still on a high after their season-breaking win over the Gorillas, the Hawks can do only their best and coach Jarad Marsh is asking for four quarters of consistency from his troops.
“It’s an opportunity to test ourselves against the premier side in the competition,” he said.
“We have a few changes due to sickness and in injury but we need to accept the challenge.”
Among Sandgate’s losses are Aaron Fabian, Brandon Batchelor and last week’s Rising Star Award nomination Tahl Abberley.
But they regain another Rising Star Award nomination Lochlan Harrop among four changes.