By Terry Wilson
Photo: BC Sleep Photography
Western Magpies v Palm Beach Currumbin
At McCarthy Homes Oval, 2pm
Ins: Will Fletcher (Aspley), Tom Ielasi, Brenton Saunders, Liam Dwyer (Redland).
Outs: Doug Lawrence (Aspley NEAFL), Mitch Stallard (Redland NEAFL), Sam Copland (Redland NEAFL), William Johnson (Brisbane Lions NEAFL).
Palm Beach Currumbin:
Ins: Stephen Thynne, Brock Askey, Callum McBurnie, Zach Callinan, Jarryd Douglas, Ben Denton, Jon Croad, Mitch Johnson.
Outs: John Anthony (hand), Tom Thynne (thigh), Hunter Hall (omit), Dean Katsiris (omit), Jayden Verdoorn (omit), Jim Cahill (omit), Jack Wingrave (omit), Jesse Beame (omit).
The last time they met: Palm Beach Currumbin 12.16 (88) d Western Magpies 11.9 (75), Round 4 at Salk Oval.
THE Western Magpies have provided the perfect example of what life in football can be all about in the days of players going between AFL and NEAFL.
For their clash against premiers Palm Beach Currumbin at McCarthy Homes Oval, the Magpies have lost four players to the NEAFL – Doug Lawrence (to Aspley), Mitch Stallard and Sam Copland (to Redland) and William Johnson (Brisbane Lions reserves).
But the Magpies regain Will Fletcher (Aspley) and Liam Dwyer (Redland) to offset their losses in some way.
This is a big game between ladder leaders PBC and the sixth-placed Magpies.
The latter have five wins and a good percentage of 130.71 while the Lions lost for the first time this season last weekend away to Morningside.
While most onlookers believe that if the Magpies lose to the Lions, they will find making the top five very hard, Magpies coach Brydan Morgan did not seem overly concerned when asked about the situation.
“There are still six games to go, so I’m not too worried about this week,” he told aflq.com.au.
“That’s because we don’t have the bye for the rest of the year.”
“We’re coming off a 41-point win over Mt Gravatt so the boys are feeling pretty good.”
PBC made a surprising eight changes to the side that went down to Morningside last round.
Among a number of key inclusions are forward Jarryd Douglas, on-ballers Steve Thynne and Brock Askey, ruckman Jon Croad (after a broken collarbone in the second round) and Southport forward Mitch Johnson.
There is certainly a lot of experience in that group, something that coach Chad Owens feels is necessary against a side such as Western Magpies.
The Lions omitted a number of teenagers who had been filling in well while the bigger names were out.
And they lose forward Jack Anthony (hand) and Tom Thynne (thigh).
“We identified the need to have stronger bodies in there, especially against the Magpies, who are a physical team,” Owens said of the PBC selections.
Despite losing for the first time last week, the mood at Salk Oval has been positive, according to Owens.
“The week’s been good and training’s been good,” Owens said.
“The loss was a wake-up call but the way they’ve trained this week we’re looking for a positive response.
“All games are hard but this is a tough one. Western Magpies are never an easy game and they’re coming off the bye so they should be fresh.”
The Western Magpies will also celebrate their 1978 & 2008 premierships, the latter a thrilling 1 point victory over Saturday’s opponent, the Lions.Rd14 - Magpies v Lions
Surfers Paradise v Broadbeach
At Sir Bruce Small Park, 2pm
Ins: Elliot Bath, Jaylen Curtis.
Outs: Dan Green (unavailable), Connor Manning (unavailable).
Ins: Luke McGuane, Josh Searl, Nelson Sorrenson.
Outs: Darcy Dienjes (omit), Harrison Kerr (omit), Nick Upton (omit).
The last time they met: Broadbeach 10.14 (74) d Surfers Paradise 7.13 (55), Round 3 at Subaru Oval.
THE return of one of the club’s best AFL recruits in Luke McGuane to Broadbeach and a major milestone for captain Nathan Quick all add up to a Gold Coast derby with a difference on Saturday.
The neighbours clash at Surfers’ home ground of Sir Bruce Small Park in a key showdown between second (Broadbeach) and third (Surfers) on the ladder.
And what an occasion it should be with the return of McGuane, who is among the Cats’ best junior products, joining Quick for the afternoon.
After 112 AFL games with Richmond (105) and Brisbane (seven), McGuane has agreed to play out the season with the Cats as they strive for their first flag since 1996.
Quick is also a special story given his Trojan service to the club since he started there as an eight-year-old.
An unobtrusive yet highly efficient specialist defender, Quick made his seniors debut for Broadbeach in round 14 of the 2008 season against Zillmere and played on former Brisbane hard man Rob Copeland.
After so many years playing in a side that rarely flattered, Quick believes the Cats are ready to pounce and win an elusive title.
“That’s one of my highlights here, the way we were and not going well then starting to challenge,” Quick said.
“To get to where we are as a club has been pretty impressive.
“There has been a gradual improvement in the professionalism of the club over the past few years.”
This derby is vital, Quick agreed.
“If we can win this week we will go a long way to getting second spot,” he said.
“Yet for some reason we always have had hard games against Surfers because they never go away.”
At selection time, Surfers suffered a significant blow after learning of the unavailability of forward rock Dan Green, who has family commitments.
Elliott Bath and Jaylen Curtis are the new faces to the side that beat Labrador last weekend.
In the Broadbeach camp, the Cats have three changes, bringing in McGuane, Josh Searl and Nelson Sorrenson for Darcy Dienjes, Harrison Kerr and Nick Upton.
Surfers Paradise coach Brad Moore acknowledged the importance of the occasion for the Cats with the hype around McGuane and Quick.
“Good luck to Broadbeach getting Luke back because that’s where he played his junior footy,” Moore said.
“And with Nathan Quick’s 150th they’ve got a big day.
“But it was always going to be a big game anyway, no matter who was to play or not.”
Moore agreed not having Green is a blow but is confident the Demons have suitable contingency plans in place to cover for him.Rd14 - Demons v Cats
Morningside v Wilston Grange
At Jack Esplen Oval, 2pm
Ins: Daniel Frame, Brad Dale (Aspley), Nathan Kinch, Harry Baxter, Tom Jeffrey.
Outs: Campbell Wearne (collarbone), Alastair Nash (calf), Michael Graham (hamstring), Lachlan Russ (hamstring), Ryan Dadds (Redland NEAFL).
Ins: Isaac Corvo, Jackson Coulter, Luca Mason.
Outs: Jack James (concussion), Nathan Clarke (omit), Scott Dalton (unavailable).
The last time they met: Morningside 10.16 (76) d Wilston Grange 6.12 (48), Round 3 at Bendigo Bank Oval.
THE standing and respect that Morningside veteran Kent Abey has in the QAFL is obviously significant given the response to his 300th game for the Panthers on Saturday.
The 36-year-old has drawn praise from far and wide, not just from Morningside people but also from numerous rival players congratulating the key forward on his career spanning 17 years.
Which is why the home match against Wilston Grange is such a special one for both club and player as they honour the club games-record holder.
“It’s a massive day,” Morningside coach Steve Wildschut said.
“With Kent, what comes to mind is that he finds a way in a world where people make excuses and blames others. He doesn’t.
“He is the best prepared and most resilient player I’ve come across.
“He still prepares and fronts up like he’s a 20-year-old.”
Naturally, the Gorillas would like to be party poopers for the special occasion.
Coach Nathan Clarke has the utmost respect and admiration for Abey which goes back to the days when he was coaching in Canberra.
“We tried to get him down there but we missed out,” Clarke said.
“He is a wonderful player, but as much as I respect him and the club respects Morningside, once the ball starts bouncing you just go and chase the footy and the sense of occasion drops off.”
For Abey’s 300th, the Panthers have made five changes to the side that beat premiers Palm Beach Currumbin last weekend.
Aspley listed Brad Dale, co-captain Nathan Kinch and Daniel Frame will be joined by first-gamers Harry Baxter and Tom Jeffrey, the latter a son of former regular first-grader Nick Jeffrey.
Among the losses is red-hot midfielder Campbell Wearne, whose season may be over after breaking a collarbone in the first contest against PBC.
Wilston Grange, who eased away from the wooden spoon by beating Sandgate last weekend, regain Isaac Corvo, Luca Mason and Jackson Coulter.
This match will also play host to the return match of the Legacy Cup which the Panthers claimed back in Round 3. The cup has been named the Coulhurst-Abey Cup in honour of two of the club’s greatest local legends.Rd14 - Panthers v Gorillas
Mt Gravatt v Labrador
At Dittmer Park, 2pm
Ins: Jarrod Huddy, Rhys Estall, Joel Leahy, Andrew Smith, Dominic Nash.
Outs: Kyle Walsh (ankle), Kailem Baker (Redland NEAFL), Tom Ansell (omit), Matt Pearce (omit), Dominic McEwan (omit).
Ins: Bryce Retzlaff, Zac Brain, Jarrod Mills, Cooper Portelli, Hayden Greentree.
Outs: Dylan MacCombie (suspended), Joel Baxter (shoulder), Steve Eilola (back), Michael Lakeman (ill), Nick Jackson (leg).
The last time they met: Mt Gravatt 14.9 (93) d Labrador 9.15 (69), Round 3 at Cooke-Murphy Oval.
MT Gravatt have to arrest a concerning form slump or face the real prospect of putting themselves in danger of missing a spot in the QAFL finals.
Coach Daniel Webster conceded that four losses from their past five games does not look good heading into a must-win clash against struggling Labrador at Dittmer Park.
The Vultures have definitely hit a wall following their eighth-round bye.
They were smashed by 101 points against Morningside, they then lost to Palm Beach Currumbin by 13 points, they beat Sandgate by 59 but have lost their past two against Western Magpies (by 41 points) and Broadbeach last weekend (by 15 points).
That run has resulted in Mt Gravatt dropping from outright second to a position of finals vulnerability sitting fourth on the ladder on 28 points But with Morningside (24) and Western Magpies (20) on their tails.
“There are a lot of factors that go into it, it’s not a straight-out ‘we need to fix this’ area,” Webster said when asked if he could identify any major reason for.
“We’re not going as bad as it looks and I thought last week we were quite good (the Vultures were beaten away to Broadbeach).
“Two of those losses were against the top two sides and we’ve pushed them both.
“We’ve been training well and I’d expect there will be a jump in performance in the next few weeks.”
For the Labrador clash, the Vultures have made five changes, including the loss of Kailem Baker to NEAFL club Redland.
But they get top ruckman Andrew Smith back from injury, as well as goal sneak Rhys Estall and ruck option Jarrod Huddy from Redland.
Now out of finals contention, Labrador have skipper Bryce Retzlaff and utility Zac Brain back from injury and they named youngsters Jarrod Mills, Cooper Portelli and Hayden Greentree for the trip up the M1.
On paper, the Vultures look too strong for the Tigers, although Webster said any side that has Bryce Retzlaff and champion centre half-back Wayde Mills has to be respected.Rd14 - Vultures v Tigers_