Round 16 QAFL Review

By Terry Wilson

Injury concerns for the Panthers

Morningside                             2.3, 6.9,  11.11,  16.12  (108)
Mt Gravatt                              4.3,  6.4,  7.6,  11.10  (76)

GOALS, Morningside: K. Abey 4, A. Mitchell 3, D. Frame 3, B. McNiece 2, J. Rayner 1, P. Mollison 1, H. Baxter 1, D. Cameron-Reeves 1. Mt Gravatt: A. Smith 3, S. Stubbs 2, J. Bain 2, M. Hamill 1, J. Leahy 1, B. Telford 1, C. McGuren 1.

BEST, Morningside: N. Beck, D. Cameron-Reeves, W. Pendlebury, A. Evans, T. Jeffrey, A. Nash. Mt Gravatt: M. Hamill, J. Crawley, J. Markham, C. McGuren, J. Leahy, F. Neate.

MORNINGSIDE may have some serious injury worries ahead of their big cross-Brisbane blockbuster against the Western Magpies next weekend.

The Panthers successfully saw off fellow capital city rivals Mt Gravatt with a 16.12 (108) to 11.10 (76) success at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday but look like they have been left with a few issues.

“We have two ankles and an Achilles,” said Morningside coach Steve Wildschut.

Away from those worries, it was all good for the Panthers on Saturday as they wrested control away from Mt Gravatt after giving the visitors a two-goal lead at quarter-time.

After that, the Panthers closed down Mt Gravatt’s trademark run from defence by adjusting their forward set-up that cut down on the amount of rebound the Vultures had been executing.

“We separated our forwards a bit more and created more space which changed their movement pattern,” Wildschut said.

“That enabled us to get a few goals in a row and get the scoreboard turning over.

“All the stats were even bar scoring shots at quarter-time. Then we were able to outwork them after that.”

After quarter-time, the Panthers kicked 4.6 to 2.1 and then piled it on after half-time with a third term of 5.2 to 1.2 that nailed the four premiership points.

Morningside finished with prime movers Ash Evans and Alastair Nash on the bench although Wildschut said it was more a precautionary matter to have them out of the game and resting up for next weekend’s huge derby.

At centre half-back, Nathan Beck cut an imposing figure for the Panthers in a best-on-ground effort.

Ruckman Peter Mollison, Nash in the midfield and Darcy Cameron-Reeves on-ball were others to stand out, as was rookie Tom Jeffrey, a 17-year-old in only his second seniors appearance.

Mt Gravatt coach Daniel Webster conceded that once the panthers managed to cut off supply from contests in the second term, things went pear-shaped.

“It is what it is, it was a fair result,” Webster said.

“We started the game well; then I think their bigger bodies took control of the game and we couldn’t generate outside run.

“And their midfield killed us. They were on top of clearances and we couldn’t find our way around it.”

2008 premiership player Michael Hamill was a star for the Vultures across half-back before moving on-ball in a good sign heading towards the finals.

Jayden Crawley at centre-half back and in the ruck, half-forward Corey McGuren and defender James Markham, who played on Abey, were the pick of the Vultures.

Mt Gravatt now have next weekend off with the bye and close the preliminary rounds with tough matches against Surfers Paradise (home) and Palm Beach Currumbin (away).

Demons dodge a bullet against Grange

Broadbeach                              2.1,  11.4,  13.11,  17.17  (119)
Sandgate                                3.3,  3.4,  4.5,  7.6  (48)

GOALS, Broadbeach: M. Fowler 11, J. Lyons 1, B. Erickson 1, L. Nelson 1, L. McGuane 1, J. Brennan 1, X. McMahon 1. Sandgate: B. Batchelor 5, J. O’Halloran 1, J. Patching 1.

BEST, Broadbeach: M. Fowler, A. Rayner, J. Royes, R. Pantic, B. Neal, B. Erickson. Sandgate: J. Maynard, J. Harding, B. Batchelor, D. Affleck, J. Patching, M. Crawley.

SURFERS Paradise have only just clung on to fifth spot on the QAFL ladder after a desperately close escape against Wilston Grange on Saturday.

The Demons survived a nervous finish to win the game at Bendigo Bank Oval by 10.14 (74) to 11.6 (72) – and now go into a finals-defining run of three successive matches against genuine flag contenders.

Coming up for Surfers, who are level on points with in-form Morningside, are matches against Palm Beach Currumbin (first), Mt Gravatt (third) and Western Magpies (sixth).

Little wonder coach Brad Moore stated the obvious when he said: “It keeps us with our destiny in our own hands.”

And it is clear that the Dees have to do better than they did against the Gorillas if they are to make the final five with such a touch draw.

“This game was very similar to the Richmond-Geelong game on Friday night,” Moore said.

“We got away a couple of times with 20-point leads, but we couldn’t put them away.

“We had opportunities to keep going but missed some crucial shots and made some crucial errors – and they (Grange) stayed in touch.”

In line with the closeness of the fixture it went down to the final 30 seconds when Grange could have brought off an upset.

One of their better players, Henry Leong, had a set shot from about 40 metres out but his kick sailed off to the right for a behind.

But coach Nathan Clarke said the Gorillas did not really deserve to snatch victory.

“I was pleased we gave ourselves a chance to win but Surfers certainly deserved their win,” he said.

“They had their chances to put us away but for inaccuracy.”

For the Grange, Adam Hughes and Fletcher McIvor were outstanding through the middle in what was a tough battle for contested-ball honours.

Henry (Leong) on Brody Haberfield I thought was good and Luca Mason was also good in the midfield.

“I thought our midfield group did a great job in terms of the physical intensity of the game – it was an impressive effort,” Clarke said.

Moore said the Gorilla on-ball division never let up and that they are capable of a surprise or two over the remaining three rounds.

“They didn’t allow us to use the ball the way we wanted to and I thought they were fantastic,” he said.

“Whoever comes up against them over the next few weeks are going to know they have been in a game.”

Standouts for Surfers were full-back Connor Manning, ruckman Harris Newton up against two big, strong rivals, half-forward Rene LaFeuvre and Southport-listed Cody Filewood, who started down back but kicked three goals when moved forward.

 “Chooky” crows loudly with 11

Broadbeach                              2.1,  11.4,  13.11,  17.17  (119)
Sandgate                                3.3,  3.4,  4.5,  7.6  (48)

GOALS, Broadbeach: M. Fowler 11, J. Lyons 1, B. Erickson 1, L. Nelson 1, L. McGuane 1, J. Brennan 1, X. McMahon 1. Sandgate: B. Batchelor 5, J. O’Halloran 1, J. Patching 1.

BEST, Broadbeach: M. Fowler, A. Rayner, J. Royes, R. Pantic, B. Neal, B. Erickson. Sandgate: J. Maynard, J. Harding, B. Batchelor, D. Affleck, J. Patching, M. Crawley.

BROADBEACH coach Brett Andrews knows that when his key forward Matt “Chooky” Fowler is on, the Cats benefit, just as they did against Sandgate on Saturday.

Fowler, a former Gold Coast SUNS trialist, kicked 11 goals as Broadbeach downed Sandgate 17.17 (119) to 7.6 (48) at Subaru Oval to maintain their charge towards a second-place finish for the finals.

The impact Fowler had on the game was profound, leading Andrews to come up with a classic description of his forward.

“He was more like a rooster than a chicken, the chest was out, and the feathers were flying everywhere,” Andrews said of his spearhead ripping the Hawks apart.

“An important thing was that ‘Chooky’ was leading up to the ball. When he does that he’s hard to stop – and he kicked straight.”

Fowler seems to relish playing against Sandgate because, in the earlier round clash at Lemke Road Oval he booted nine.

Twenty goals in two games against the Hawks this season says it all.

Sandgate coach Jarad Marsh admitted the Hawks just did not have the right type of player to go with Fowler given defender Ben McElligott was absent with a hamstring injury.

“Fowler is strong, and we just really didn’t have a match-up for him,” Marsh said.

“We didn’t have anybody strong and quick enough. We had some who were strong enough and we had others who were quick enough, but we did have anyone with the mix of both.”

Andrews was not overly happy with the Cats’ performance, although he revealed that five successive matches against as many finals sides could have taken the edge off his players.

“We were okay, they (Sandgate) were okay,” he said.

“We were a bit off; then Fowler turned it on when we started getting the ball to him.”

Fowler now has 51 goals for the season and is a hot favourite to take the ray Hughson Medal as QAFL’s leading goalkicker with three rounds to go before the finals.

While the Cats were happy with the efforts of a few of their rookies – namely Connor Harris, Alex Rayner and Jayden Brennan it was a feature of the clash that Sandgate were hugely competitive for three quarters yet still lost by 71 points.

All the damage was done after the Hawks took a shock eight-point lead at quarter-time. The second term was a carve-up as the Cats piled on 9.3 to just the solitary behind.

“It was only the second quarter,” Marsh noted. “We won the first, we lost the third by a goal and we won the fourth by a goal.

“We’re going out for little victories and to match a side so high on the ladder for three quarters was encouraging.

“It shows when we’re switched on and our pressure’s up we are competitive at this level.”

Sandgate’s effort was made to look even more impressive by the fact that the oldest player in their side was aged 21. The rest were all younger.

Sandgate had midfielders Jordan Maynard and Jordan Harding as their best, along with Brendon Batchelor, who excelled with five goals as a centre half-forward and midfielder.

Magpies make tough work of it against Tigers

Western Magpies                         5.3,  9.7,  11.8,  12.12  (84)
Labrador                                1.2,  4.4,  6.7,  8.8  (56)

GOALS, Western Magpies: J. Austin 3, R. Harwood 3, M. Davis 2, A. Maricic 1, S. Parker 1, A. Highlands 1, R. Easton 1. Labrador: J. Goldsmith 3, B. Retzlaff 2, W. Mills 1, S. Walker 1, D. Budarick 1.

BEST, Western Magpies: A. Highlands, R. Easton, B. Jaenke-Cain, L. Winton, D. Lawrence, W. Fletcher. Labrador: W. Mills, A. Djurovitch, M. Lakeman, R. Gilmore, S. Walker, J. Graham.

IT was far from pretty, but the Western Magpies got the job done in a bruising and at-times fiery clash against Labrador at Cooke-Murphy Oval on Saturday.

The Maggies scored by 12.12 (84) to 8.8 (56) although they did not advance from their ladder position of sixth after Surfers Paradise scraped home against Wilston Grange up in Brisbane.

The victory gave 100-games milestone celebrant Matt Davis a fitting result, but away from that it was sub-standard fare on offer.

Magpies coach Brydan Morgan hit the nail on the head when his words to describe the clash were “it wasn’t pretty”.

That it certainly was not.

Undermanned Labrador made the favourites scrap for every goal, assisting the visitors countless times with shocking disposal so bad it made you wonder if the Tigers were colour blind – instead of finding a teammate in yellow and black they consistently zeroed in on opponents in the white and black.

“I thought we were on top comfortably in the first quarter and a half,” Morgan said.

“We kicked five goals in the first quarter, which is pretty good going; then kicked four in the second – then we lost our way.”

There were a number of flare-ups in the first half as things threatened to bubble out of control but as the Magpies asserted their superiority things cooled down.

What was certainly made clear was that the Magpies do relish a tough, aggressive contest. They have plenty of strong bodies and are physical.

“Our skill execution was really poor, I thought, especially in the forward half,” Morgan said of a lack of a killer blow on the scoreboard.

“We just didn’t hit targets well and that’s the only thing holding us back.

“We would have gone inside 50 probably 60 times so our score-line doesn’t indicate that because we just gave it backwards.

“We need to fix that up if we want to compete with the top two or three in finals.”

We’re up against Morningside next week and against Morningside we won’t be able to give the ball back like we did today.”

Morgan said to give popular clubman Davis a win on his 100th seniors appearance was fitting because the wingman has been such a consistently good player over the years.

Best players for the Magpies were Aaron Highlands, Riley Easton, Luca Winton and Ben Jaenke-Cain.

Parading a number of young players and still missing plenty of experience and class from their ranks, the Tigers battle hard but poor foot and hand skills execution hurt them badly.

Evergreen defender Wayde Mills was again superb, and it was encouraging to see some younger players such as Anthony Djurovitch, Ryan Gilmore and Jarryd Graham feature in the best players list.

Photo: Pauline Powell 

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