By Terry Wilson
Image: RF Photography
Palm Beach Currumbin v Morningside
At Salk Oval, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Palm Beach Currumbin – Liam McNeven, Jordan Gribble, Jack Marino. Morningside – Sam Cunnington, Lachlan Russ, Eddie Mallan, Isiah Edwards, Jai Kennealy.
Outs: Palm Beach Currumbin – Jackson Emblem (overseas), Adam McKenzie (wedding), Josh Lys (knee). Morningside – Alex Mitchell, Brock Aston, Tyler Hausfield, Daniel Frame (all omit), Luke Rogerson (inj).
Last time they met: Morningside 12.12 (84) d Palm Beach Currumbin 10.13 (73), Round 12, 2018, at Jack Esplen Oval.
Rookie Morningside coach Clint Watts does not know what to expect when the Panthers trek down the M1 for a big clash against premiers Palm Beach Currumbin on Saturday.
The reason for Watts’s apprehension is the unusual circumstances that put his players out of action for three weeks because of the QAFL draw.
The last time Morningside played was against Surfers Paradise on April 13.
“We had Easter off then it was our bye,” said Watts.
“It is extraordinary because it’ll be 21 days between games for us.
“We have done our best to keep our players’ minds on the job – we’ve trained them hard and got plenty of work into them over the break.
“When we knew our draw this was all part of our planning, to get through this tricky period.
“But it is a bit of the unknown, an X-factor because of it all.”
The Panthers have made five changes for the journey to the small confines of Salk Oval.
Heading the list of ins is Redland NEAFL-listed Sam Cunnington, brother of North Melbourne ace Ben.
Also back for the Panthers is smart midfielder Lachlan Russ, goalkicking flanker Eddie Mallan and another Redland player in Jai Kennealy.
Palm Beach have lost defenders Jackson Emblem, Adam McKenzie and Josh Lys.
The Lions get specialist full-back Liam McNeven back and they named two new faces in Jordan Gribble and Jack Marino.
“Jordan is a first-gamer and is a really talented young kid,” said PBC coach Jess Sinclair.
“The other new one is Jack Marino, a left-footer who came over from Tallem Bend in South Australia. He was formerly up in Cairns.”
Sinclair expects nothing but a tough contest from Morningside, a side that has plenty of height in its ranks.
“It’s going to be a tough one, a massive game for sure,” said Sinclair.
The Lions are resigned to being without Lys for a number of weeks and are going to miss classy flanker Josh Woolley for a while.
Woolley has broken down with groin issues and, at best, could be out until after PBC’s two-weeks bye break.
It will be hectic in the middle where PBC have Tyler Cornish, Tom Thynne and Jason Burge running hot and with Morningside to look at Harry Joyce, Brad Howard and Russ to negate their influence on the game.
Labrador v Mt Gravatt
At Cooke-Murphy Oval, 2pm Saturday
Ins: Labrador – Ben Fagan, Jaicob Kenny, Emmanuel Baru, Rob Clements, Anthony Djurovitch. Mt Gravatt – Daniel Daye, Kailem Baker (Redland), Bill Sam, Jack Coghlan, Dominic Nash, Jonah Licht.
Outs: Labrador – Nick Jackson, Danny Middleton, Jarrod Graham, Jess Maple Josh Deacon (all omitted). Mt Gravatt – Todd Carbone (inj), Mitchell Hart (unavailable), Dane McDonald (omit), Brayden O’Dea (omit), Harrison Hunkin (Redland NEAFL), Daniel Morgan (inj).
Last time they met: Mt Gravatt 15.19 (109) d Labrador 8.5 (53), Round 14, 2018, at Dittmer Park.
Last weekend’s numbing loss to Surfers Paradise may turn out to be the spark needed to lift the Labrador Tigers against Mt Gravatt today at Cooke-Murphy Oval.
Coach Liam Burke has sensed a new mindset among players after their 95-point thrashing and feels a complete turnaround in form is on the cards when they host Mt Gravatt.
“There was a fair bit of pride lost last weekend,” said Burke.
“But the response on the track has been brilliant and there has been a clear will to turn it all around.”
Burke said the Tigers had worked on a number of things during the week, in particular the need for a four-quarter effort.
“Physically we can compete but mentally is probably where we’re falling away,” he said.
“It’s just application across the four quarters. We’ve got to realise that if we lose a one-on-one we’ll be dirty and do something about it.”
For the clash against the Vultures, who lost to Palm Beach Currumbin last weekend, the Tigers have five changes.
The Tigers have Southport listed players Rob Clements and Anthony Djurovitch available to them and they should have Ben Fagan, nephew of Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan, in for his first game.
Hagan was named for last weekend but hurt a calf during the warm-up.
Also back in action, is utility Jaicob Kenny, who was on the Southport list last year.
Mt Gravatt have six changes for their trip to the Coast.
Into the side are midfielder-forward Daniel Daye, utility Calen Baker (Redland listed), defender Bill Sam, mid-forwards Jack Coghlan and Dom Nash and key position utility Jonah Licht.
The Vultures are one and two for the season, having beaten the Magpies by a goal then losing by a point to Broadbeach before going down to PBC by 51 points last weekend.
It has been a shaky start for new coach Adam Boon yet he remains confident that, as key players return to the side, things will get better and better.
“I’m confident with the blokes we have in this week we can get the job done,” he said.
Sandgate v Western Magpies
At Lemke Road Oval, Saturday 2pm
Ins: Sandgate – Casey Barber, Josh Patching, Jaiden Patching, Ky McKenzie, Adam Fry. Western Magpies – Jack Goodall, Brodie Lumber, Doug Lawrence.
Outs: Sandgate – Lachlan Harrop (Lions U16), James Nelis (Aspley), Michael Hutchinson (Aspley), Dan Haynes (inj), Blake Hartley (unavail). Western Magpies – Dave Lewis (inj), Logan Murray (inj), Monte Vine (omit).
Last time they met: Western Magpies 16.23 (119) d Sandgate 8.10 (58), Round 18, 2018, at McCarthy Homes Oval.
Sandgate people are hoping that newest recruit Ky McKenzie can turn into another gem from the ranks of the Aspley juniors.
The Hawks named teenager McKenzie for his QAFL seniors debut against Western Magpies at Lemke Road Oval, ironically to replace 16-year-old Lachlan Harrop who was also a junior at Aspley.
Harrop has been called in to play for the Brisbane Lions under-16s after a sterling start to his senior career with Sandgate, where he was named Rising Star Award nominee for the second round.
“Ky has been named as an emergency for that same Lions side, so there is a chance he could go there as well as Lachlan,” said Sandgate coach Jarad Marsh.
Marsh said McKenzie elected to sign with Sandgate in the higher level QAFL and where there is a pathway to a possible future as a NEAFL player.
The inclusion of McKenzie is one of five changes the Hawks made for their cross-Brisbane battle with the Magpies.
Included in the losses are James Nelis and Michael Hutchinson, who have been called up by Aspley for NEAFL duties this weekend.
The Magpies, coming off a narrow loss against Broadbeach last weekend, have three changes with defenders Jack Goodall and Doug Lawrence and forward Brodie Lumber all back in the firsts.
The Magpies will start firm favourites to win this one although coach Brydan Morgan is taking nothing for granted.
“I know it’s a cliché but there are no easy games in this competition,” he said.
“Sandgate have got an extra year of football into their young kids and I watched them play against Wilston Grange.
“They’ve got speed and they’ve got energy.”
Morgan was satisfied by an improvement in contested possessions against Broadbeach and wants that rise in output to continue.
“Last week we played some solid football and we have to make sure we back up, especially with our ferocity and energy around the contested ball,” he said.
The Sandgate faithful are looking for another competitive contest, but need it to be for longer periods, as noted by Marsh.
“We’re just looking for consistency over four quarters,” said Marsh.
“I think we have proved that at our best we can be competitive, but we want to limit those lapses and keep that competitiveness going for much longer.”
Broadbeach v Surfers Paradise
At Subaru Oval, 2pm Sunday
Ins: Broadbeach – Alex Aurrichio, Seb Rogers. Surfers Paradise – Cassidy Haberfield, Harrison Fraser, Jasper Graham.
Outs: Broadbeach – Jack O’Shea (Southport), Kai Sheers (Southport).
Surfers Paradise – Dylan Mutu (Southport), Charlie Ford (Southport), Nick Harrison (hamstring).
Last time they met: Broadbeach 7.11 (53) d Surfers Paradise 7.8 (50), Round 14, 2018, at Sir Bruce Small Park.
Question marks hover over the likelihood of skipper Matt Fowler lining up for Broadbeach in the big Gold Coast derby against Surfers Paradise at Subaru Oval tomorrow.
Last season’s leading goalkicker, Fowler was a noticeable inclusion in Broadbeach’s emergency list in a 26-strong squad named by the Cats.
Coach Beau Zorko was not giving anything away when asked about Fowler being named in a squad of 26 but not actually in the club’s first 22.
Because of the Sunday game, Broadbeach are entitled to name a squad only and they will settle on their match 22 after a training run on Saturday morning.
“He’s in our squad of 26,” was all Zorko would say of Fowler.
The key forward has had heavy strapping on a knee this season and is understood to have had surgery on a broken finger as well.
The Cats have gained NEAFL pair Alex Aurrichio (Southport) and Seb Rogers (Redland), who was a regular in their side for the past two seasons.
American Aurrichio is the interesting inclusion.
“He is a man mountain, he has height to go with his frame and is an imposing figure,” said Zorko of the former Carlton-listed and SANFL player.
The Cats lost Jack O’Shea and Kai Sheers to Southport in the NEAFL.
Surfers have named triple best and fairest winner Cassidy Haberfield, who elected not to risk injury as he prepared for a muay thai bout (to be held on Saturday night).
All going well Haberfield will come through his third bout in the martial art unscathed and line up against the Cats.
Also back in the firsts are midfielder Harrison Fraser and small forward Jasper Graham.
Fraser was best on ground for Surfers reserves last weekend in his comeback game from finger surgery.
Last year when the sides last clashed there was nothing more than a goal between the rivals throughout in a dour battle in which neither side could deliver a knockout blow.
That was when Zorko was an assistant at Surfers and it ended in a 53-50 result for Broadbeach in a game of very few highlights.
“We haven’t performed that well against Broadbeach in terms of results,” said Moore.
“They beat us both times last year so we need to step up.
“Generally we’ve had close games but they’ve had the better of us. They’ve played in a grand final and that’s something we need to achieve.”