By Terry Wilson
Mt Gravatt v Palm Beach Currumbin
At Dittmer Park, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Mt Gravatt – Todd Carbone, Braydon O’Dea, Nathan Morgan , Daniel Morgan, Jack Wratten. Palm Beach Currumbin – John Macansh, Josh Lys.
Outs: Mt Gravatt – Troy Jamieson (inj), Dom Nash (inj), Jim Markham (inj), Jonah Licht (inj), Jack Coghlan (Aspley NEAFL). Palm Beach Currumbin – Harry Hulls (suspended), Ethan Hunt (Suns Academy).
Last time they met: Palm Beach Currumbin 17.17 (119) d Mt Gravatt 16.8 (104) at Salk Oval, Round 19, 2018.
Mt Gravatt have rewarded brothers Nathan and Daniel Morgan for good form in the reserves by promoting them for a big clash against premiers Palm Beach Currumbin at Dittmer Park on Saturday.
But some sobering news for the Vultures came via playing coach Adam Boon, who has had knee surgery and will most likely miss the remainder of the season as a result.
Boon said the Morgan siblings and Redland NEAFL rookie Jack Wratten, who has kicked more than a dozen goals in the reserves, deserved their promotions for what will be a baptism of fire against the hot Lions.
There are five changes in total for the Vultures who have lost Troy Jamieson, Dominic Nash, Jim Markham and Jonah Licht to injury on top of having Jack Coghlan go back to NEAFL club Aspley.
Season 2018 champions Palm Beach Currumbin have only two changes to the side that beat Sandgate before the Easter bye.
Youngster Harry Hulls is out suspended and Ethan Hunt is with the Gold Coast Suns Academy.
But 2017 grand final defender Josh Lys and handy utility John Macansh are back into the top side.
Boon said a clash against the premiers at this stage of the year is a good early test for his side and he is confident of a bold showing.
“We’re happy to have them on our own deck and I believe if we can go with them early, hopefully match them physically on the inside, that we can do all right,” said Boon.
Mt Gravatt started the new year off with a narrow win over the Western Magpies, then lost a thriller by a point to Broadbeach.
PBC have so far accounted for Broadbeach (by 57 points) and last-up beat Sandgate by 76 points, so they are certainly in fine fettle so early in the season.
“But we’re under no illusions it’s going to be a tough game,” said PBC coach Jess Sinclair.
“I watched their game against Broadbeach and they have some quality players and are strong in the midfield as well.”
A key for the Lions will again be big former Collingwood and Fremantle forward Jack Anthony, who has kicked 13 goals in two matches and is a headache for opposition coaches to find a match-up on him.
Western Magpies v Broadbeach
At McCarthy Homes Oval, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Western Magpies – Aaron Highlands, Lachlan Dennis, Harry Marshall, Liam Dwyer. Broadbeach – Jack O’Shea, Xavier McMahon, Kai Sheers, Jake Hinds.
Outs: Western Magpies – Val Pope (unavailable), Jack Goodall (unavailable), Zane Lovell (inj), Callum Carseldine (inj). Broadbeach – Harry Arnold (Suns NEAFL), Rhys Finn (unavailable), Lleyton Cottrell (omit), Connor Harris (omit).
Last time they met: Broadbeach 13.15 (93) d Western Magpies 10.7 (67), Round 11, 2018, at Subaru Oval.
Team Sheets: Magpies v Cats
A trek up the M1 to take on the Western Magpies is always fraught with danger as far as Broadbeach coach Beau Zorko is concerned.
Not only does Zorko rate the Magpies as an extremely tough opponent on their home turf, but also he has added concerns given the west Brisbane outfit will be smarting after their Good Friday thumping from Wilston Grange.
“For me it’s a massive danger game because the Magpies are (A) at home and (B) they’re on the rebound,” said Zorko.
“They’re a very, very good side at home and they’re coming off probably not one of their best performances against Wilston Grange.
“So we’ll have to be at our best.”
Take it for granted, the Magpies will be fired up for the clash against last year’s beaten grand finalists.
Most certainly the players have taken the big loss at the Grange to heart, according to coach Brydan Morgan.
“To be honest the players were quite embarrassed with the effort they put in (against Wilston Grange),” he said. “They took ownership for that.”
The major focus since the Hickey Park thumping has been on competitiveness in and around contests. This was an area the Magpies fell down badly in.
“Our main focus is getting our fierceness and competitiveness around the contests back up where they need to be,” said Morgan.
After having been forced to make seven changes prior to the Good Friday loss the Magpies have four this time around.
They regain key forward Aaron Highlands, ruckman Liam Dwyer, defender Lachlan Dennis and Harry Marshall after losing two players through injury and another two through unavailability.
Broadbeach will boast a significant number of current or former Southport NEAFL players in their side.
Already with ex-Sharks, Grogan Medallist Blake Erickson, Xavier McMahon, Brandon Chadwick, Ryan Pantic, Ben Hancock, Matt Fowler and Nick Burton on their list, the Cats will take three current Sharks on their road trip.
They are Kai Sheers, Jack O’Shea and Jake Hinds.
This is a key clash for the Magpies who have started the new season 0-2 after losses to Mt Gravatt and Wilston Grange.
Surfers Paradise v Labrador
At Sir Bruce Small Park, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Surfers Paradise – Charlie Ford, Jack Mentha, Trent Goldfinch, Josh Matulis, Noa Corbett, Dan Green. Labrador – Cooper Anderson, Ben Fagan, Jarrod Mills, Daniel Middleton.
Outs: Surfers Paradise – Cody Filewood (inj), Matt Doran (Southport NEAFL), Mitch Comben (moved to Victoria), Cassidy Haberfield (unavailable), Joel Foster (omit), Connor McKenzie (omit). Labrador – Matt Daniel (suspended), Anthony Djurovitch (Suns NEAFL), Jaicob Kenny (family), Ben Walker (inj).
Last time they met: Surfers Paradise 14.12 (96) d Labrador 7.10 (52), Round 1, 2018, at Cooke-Murphy Oval.
Team Lists: Demons v Tigers
Unbeaten Surfers Paradise have made six changes for their Gold Coast derby against Labrador at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday.
One of the Demons’ losses is a big one – dynamite on-baller Cassidy Haberfield, triple club best and fairest – will not play because of an impending muay thai bout.
But the gains include some firepower in forwards Dan Green and Noa Corbett as well as Southport-listed Charlie Ford.
“We’ve got six changes, all but one of them forced on us,” noted Surfers coach Brad Moore as he prepared to take on the club he coached in 2012 and 2013.
Moore said Haberfield’s loss was expected because in the pre-season he had two muay thai fights and had committed to a third.
“This should be it until after the end of the season because we knew he had three bouts on his schedule,” said Moore.
One of the new faces for Surfers is Trent Goldfinch, son of club legend David.
Labrador cross town with four changes to their side that lost to the Western Magpies.
Under-18s wingman/flanker Cooper Anderson will be making his seniors debut while an interesting newcomer is Ben Fagan, nephew of Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan, who was last year playing with Mansfield.
Labrador coach Liam Burke used to play with the Tigers when they were at their peak and Surfers were among the strugglers of the competition.
But he knows the Surfers of old are long gone and this time around has nothing but respect for the Demons, who finished fourth last year.
“They’re up and about, a hard running side and always hard to beat at home and we don’t expect it to be different this time,” said Burke.
Burke said two of the changes, Jarrod Mills and Daniel Middleton are well versed in senior football and has full confidence in them handling the swift-moving Demons on the wide open spaces of Sir Bruce Small Park.