Round 19 QAFL Preview and Teams

By Terry Wilson

Final-round frenzy as seven into five doesn’t equate.

It is a QAFL premiership race featuring nine clubs.

In one of the most absorbing seasons for years seven of those nine clubs remain in contention for places in the top five heading into this weekend’s 19th and final round of preliminaries.

The contenders, and possible outcomes, are:

Palm Beach Currumbin (56 points, 182.46 per cent): Guaranteed the minor premiership and home ground advantage for the second semi-final.
Surfers Paradise (44 points, 130.77 per cent): Even if they beat Western Magpies this weekend the Demons are not assured of second possie for the finals because Morningside are playing bottom side Sandgate and are looking at a percentage booster.
Morningside (44 points, 122.24 per cent): Should beat Sandgate, but it all depends by how much. The Panthers will go second if Surfers and Broadbeach both lose.
Broadbeach (40 points, 151.20 per cent): The Cats are keen on second spot but can get there only if they beat premiers Palm Beach Currumbin and both Surfers and Morningside lose. Can get the double chance (at third) if they beat the Lions and either Surfers or Morningside lose.
Western Magpies (24 points, 96.84 per cent): Simply have to beat Surfers Paradise then wait on the result between Mt Gravatt and Labrador because it will all go down to percentages.
Mt Gravatt (24 points, 95.74 per cent): The Vultures can grab fifth spot for the finals only if they beat Labrador and Surfers do the job against Western Magpies.
Labrador (24 points, 82.64 per cent): The Tigers need everything to go their way. Firstly they have to beat Mt Gravatt, then rely on Surfers doing a number on Western Magpies. But you never know your luck in a big city.

Broadbeach (4th) v Palm Beach Currumbin (1st)

At Subaru Oval, 2pm Saturday

Ins: Broadbeach – Harrison Arnold, Darcy Irwin, Isaac Miller, Jimmy Rayner, Ben Hancock. Palm Beach Currumbin – Jon Croad, Steve Thynne, Brock Askey, Trent Stubbs, Harrison Hulls.
Outs: Broadbeach – Matt Fowler (inj), Xavier McMahon (inj), Ryan Gilmore (NEAFL), Nelson Sorrenson (omit), Isaac Dineen (omit). Palm Beach Currumbin – Reyne Harris (omit), Cory Beaman (omit), Glenn Screech (omit), Tom Frazer (omit), Ashton Crossley (omit).

Last time they played: Palm Beach Currumbin 15.15 (105) d Broadbeach 6.12 (48), Round 1 at Salk Oval.

Team Lists Cats v Lions

Armed with an extension to his contract to coach Broadbeach again next year, Beau Zorko is now focussed on finding ways to lower the boom on G old Coast rivals Palm Beach Currumbin.

The Cats and the Lions clash in a rematch of the 2018 grand finalists at Subaru Oval on Saturday in what is a major derby heading into the finals.

Zorko is rapt to have been reappointed for 2020 after his first season at the club where he has overseen significant changes in playing personnel.

But now it is getting to the pointy end of the season and there would be no bigger confidence-booster for the Cats than to knock off their arch rivals in this big final-round derby.

PBC are coming off a terrible loss to Surfers last weekend, their first loss of the season, while Broadbeach were sitting back relaxing with the bye, so they should be nice and fresh.

What does this fixture mean to the Cats who can finish as high as second or as low as fourth, depending on other results?

“We’re embracing this as fantastic preparation for the finals,” said Zorko.

“Absolutely we want to finish as high as we can and we’re looking at this one as a finals dress rehearsal.”

Like Zorko said, there are a multitude of scenarios for the weekend including the unfavoured one of the Cats slipping back into an elimination final next weekend.

“I think with the way things are we need Surfers or Morningside to lose to get second or third,” he said.

Team selection time was interesting in both camps with the Cats making five changes.

They lose key performers in skipper Matt Fowler and hardman Xavier McMahon but regain some classy types in Isaac Miller, Darcy Irwin, Jimmy Rayner, Ben Hancock and Southport-listed Harrison Arnold.

PBC have some good inclusions headed by ruckman Jon Croad, skipper and on-baller Steve Thynne, small forward Brock Askey, Southport-listed Trent Stubbs and youngster Harrison Hulls.

It does not matter if PBC lose because they have already stitched up the minor premiership, although coach Jess Sinclair does not want to limp into the finals on the back of successive losses after their thrashing from Surfers last weekend.

“We had a good chat during the week because the whole club been in a lull for a few weeks – but we’re looking to make amends.

“We don’t want to go into the finals in bad form.”

The Lions were irresistible the last time they played the Cats, winning the 2018 grand final rematch in emphatic fashion with big Jack Anthony kicking eight goals, more than the entire Broadbeach team could put on the scoreboard.

There are those who say Broadbeach have improved immensely since then and the Lions have slipped a bit.

Surfers Paradise (2nd) v Western Magpies (5th)

At Sir Bruce Small Park, 2pm Saturday

Ins: Surfers Paradise – Dale Eames, Nathan Trevena, Harrison Fraser, Alby Jones. Western Magpies – Lachlan Dennis, Ben Jaenke-Cain, Macauley Lonergan.
Outs: Surfers Paradise – Harris Newton (inj), Jack Taylor (inj), Josh Matulis (inj), Nathan White (omit). Western Magpies – Samson Ryan (NEAFL), Bruce Reville (NEAFL), Caleb Franks (NEAFL).

Last time they played: Western Magpies 7.16 (58) d Surfers Paradise 4.8 (32), Round 10 at McCarthy Homes Oval.

Team Lists Demons v Magpies

The Western Magpies season goes on the line when they travel to the Gold Coast to take on Surfers Paradise at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday.

This is something of an elimination final come early for the Magpies who hold down fifth on the ladder, a mere 1.10 per cent ahead of Mt Gravatt, who are playing Labrador in a clutch fixture in Brisbane.

Even a Magpies victory may not be enough for them to hold on to fifth because, depending on what Mt Gravatt do against the Tigers, it would go down to percentage and 1.10 per cent can easily be made up.

“We’ve just got to win,” said coach Brydan Morgan.

“Get the win first and foremost then let the result look after itself.”

It was in the same game last year, at Small Park, that the Demons bundled the Magpies out of the finals race with a 22-point win after the scores were level at half-time.

This time around and there are two in-form sides ready to go head-to-head and the Demons are expecting nothing but a fired-up Magpies unit arriving at their big ground.

“We’re very conscious that were coming up against a side that is going to fight tooth and nail because their season is on the line,” said Surfers coach Brad Moore.

“For us there is a chance to host a big game like a qualifying final so we want to consolidate the double chance.”

If Surfers lose, and Broadbeach roll Palm Beach Currumbin, the Demons would finish fourth and go into a home-ground elimination final.

To mark the special clash on Saturday, Demons pair Matt Green and Nick Scott will celebrate their 50th games for the club.

At selection time the Demons made four changes, losing young ruckman Harris Newton, creative half-back Josh Matulis and defender Jack Taylor through injury.

But they get some good players back in Alby Jones, Dale Eames, Nathan Trevena and Harrison Fraser.

The Magpies have copped a heavy pre-finals hit after losing Samson Ryan, Bruce Reville and Caleb Franks to the NEAFL.

But a significant gain is veteran Ben Jaenke-Cain, back after an injury.

Mt Gravatt (6th) v Labrador (7th)

At Dittmer Park, 2pm Saturday

Ins: Mt Gravatt – Mitchell Hart, Troy Jamieson, James London, Corey McGuran, Jack Coghlan, Kailem Baker, Zac Briggs. Labrador – Matt Fraser, Blake Grant, Dane Watmuff, James Smith.
Outs: Mt Gravatt – Mick Hamill (inj), Jack Wratten (inj), Daniel Daye (inj), Luke O’Sullivan (NEAFL), Darcy Marsh (NEAFL), Daine MacDonald (omit), Harrison Gobbie (omit). Labrador – Anthony Djurovitch (NEAFL), Nick Jackson (inj), Michael Lakeman (omit), Tyler Brown (omit).

Last time they played: Labrador 13.13 (91) d Mt Gravatt 4.10 (34), Round 5 at Cooke-Murphy Oval.

Team Lists Vultures v Tigers

No doubt he will be kept up to date with events down the M1 on the Gold Coast but Mt Gravatt coach Adam Boon insists his undivided attention will focus on the Vultures when they take on Labrador in a finals-defining clash on Saturday.

It is a match between sixth (Mt Gravatt) and seventh (Labrador) on the table where the loser will most likely be in mothballs for the year.

Yet there is every chance that even if the Vultures win they can still miss the final five, depending on what happens to fifth-placed Western Magpies against Surfers Paradise.

Going into the final round 1.10 per cent separates the Magpies and the Vultures, so it is a mathematical Rubik’s cube as to what may happen.

“If we win and win well we’ll be fine – even if the Magpies win in a tight one,” said Mt Gravatt coach Adam Boon.

Boon said he will not be swayed tactics-wise, dependent on proceedings at Sir Bruce Small Park Park, as the afternoon progresses.

“We’ll just focus on winning,” he said.

Labrador obviously need a miracle to make the final five.

They are seventh, level on points with the Magpies and the Vultures, and simply have to win and rely on the Magpies getting beaten.

“So both sides have plenty to play for,” said coach Liam Burke.

It has to be remembered that, the last time these sides met, Labrador had perhaps their best win of the season, beating Mt Gravatt by 57 points in the fifth round.

The Vultures have made their now customary number of changes, seven in all, while the Tigers have three.

Significant losses at Mt Gravatt are NEAFL-bound Luke O’Sullivan and Darcy Marsh while the Tigers lose Anthony Djurovitch to Southport in the NEAFL.

The Vultures will blood rookie 17-year-old Zac Briggs for his seniors debut  and the Tigers are doing the same with Queensland under-17 rep James Smith.

Sandgate (9th) v Morningside (3rd)

At Lemke Road Oval, 2pm Saturday

Ins: Sandgate – Tahj Abberley, Ky McKenzie, Jordan Maynard. Morningside – Sam Cunnington, Saxon Crozier, Daniel Frame.
Outs: Sandgate – Harry Sweeney (omit), Jarrod Bond (omit), Tom Mabin (colts). Morningside – Brad Dale (NEAFL), Lachlan Dignan (omit), Matt Serrurier (omit).

Last time they played: Morningside 16.16 (112) d Sandgate 2.7 (19), Round 6 at Jack Esplen Oval.

Team Lists Hawks v Panthers

Morningside are poised to grab second spot and with it the vital finals home ground double chance.

The Panthers will wrap up second spot for the play-offs if they can beat bottom-placed Sandgate at Lemke Road Oval on Saturday and on form should win.

But there remains a bit of a bogy for them to survive at a venue where their 2016 predecessors fell into the same trap as 2017 premiers Palm Beach Currumbin did.

And that was to fall to the underrated Hawks in the final round.

It was Morningside who fell to Sandgate in n2016 and were knocked out of the finals race.

The following year, eventual premiers crashed by 96 points at Lemke Road – so the message is loud and clear for the Panthers on Saturday – do not underestimate the Hawks.

“I have been told this so I am aware of it,” said Morningside coach Clint Watts.

But with second spot there for the taking the Panthers should be switched right on even if the home side players are hoping for history to repeat itself.

Sandgate coach Jarad Marsh said he would like nothing better than to throw a spanner into the works and bowl over a premiership contender in what will be the club’s last appearance for 2019.

“It has been a trying season for us but our young group has come along and closed the gap a bit,” he said.

Going into the game the Panthers are third, sitting on 44 points (122.4 per cent) and if they win, and Surfers Paradise (second) lose to Western Magpies, the Panthers will get second place.

Surfers have a percentage of 130.71 but could conceivably be overtaken if the Panthers record a landslide victory.

For the trip across Brisbane the Panthers have three changes, including the return of gun defender Daniel Frame and the inclusion of Sam Cunnington from Redland.

Sandgate have good quality young players Tahj Abberley, Ky McKenzie and Jordan Maynard back on deck for the season-ender.



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