2016 QAFA (B) Central Grand Final
Zillmere vs. UQ
Friday August 26, 7:30pm, Giffin Park, Coorparoo
It’s fitting that these two teams are squaring off tonight, because they have been the teams to beat all year.
Their ability to put their heads over the ball in the middle, and then spread in transition has been unrivaled.
To put it simply, this is going to be a dogfight in the middle.
They will both hope to control the stoppages, before moving the ball as swiftly as possible into the forward 50.
It was only two weeks ago these two teams played off in the first final.
That night, Zillmere got the job done thanks to an impressive performance in the guts.
It wasn’t a high scoring affair, and I don’t think this will be either. Both teams will have to earn every single goal they kick.
The Eagles are extremely good at creating space forward. They are patient when looking for that kick into the forward 50, get at the feet of their big blokes well, and their midfield run forward hard.
UQ have got to make sure they are accountable in transition.
They also can’t afford to let Dickfos set up a kick behind play. He is destructive with the footy in hand, so they have to make him accountable.
The Red Lions will probably have a ruck advantage, and they have to use it.
Out wide, they are quicker than Zillmere. If they can get first use, and feed the ball out to the wing, they are a very good chance at taking this out.
I reckon if you looked at both whiteboards of the coaches, Ben Long and Peter Rosengren pre-game, contested ball will be item number 1.
This will be a corker.
QAFA (B) Northern Rivers Grand Final
Byron Magpies vs. Ballina Bombers
Saturday August 27, 2:00pm, Byron Bay Sports Complex
Some say you have to lose one before you win one. Byron is hoping that is the case this year.
In the back of the Magpies minds will be this day one year ago…it has to be.
Their one point loss to Tweed was a heartbreaker, something they don’t want to be put through again.
If anyone can beat the Magpies this year though, it’s the Bombers; they showed that two weeks ago when they got within eight-points in the first final.
On that day, it was the Magpies who just had a touch more poise when the going got tough late in the day, but there wasn’t much in it.
For the Bombers to be any chance, you would think Kieran Atkin would have to be kept reasonably quite in front of the sticks.
From his 14 games this year, he has booted 70 goals. Ballina have got to sit someone in front of him, or limit the delivery coming out of the middle.
To do that, Bombers players like Kris Davis and Joe Ward need to continue their good form to date. If one, or both can get off the chain, Ballina will be up and about.
Byron have short arms reaching in to deep pockets in defence, they don’t give you a thing.
They set up really well behind the footy, so Ballina are going to have to be patient going forward. If they bomb it in there, it will come firing straight back out.
I think Byron is going to find an extra gear in the final minutes if it is tight. For Ballina to win, they need to be a couple of kicks up late in the game, which is more than possible.
Maroochydore vs. Caloundra
Saturday August 27, 2:00pm, Maroochydore
Caloundra can smell blood in the water.
Maroochydore need to rebound.
It sets up a tantaliaing clash for a spot in the Grand Final next week.
The Roos were beaten in every aspect last week. After such an outstanding year, a straight sets exit wouldn’t seem right.
That’s exactly what Caloundra are hoping to do though, coming in to this one red-hot, getting the job done over Noosa last week.
Both teams are capable of kicking a massive score; it’s going to be about their defensive work this week.
Semi Final 2
Coorparoo vs. Springwood
Saturday August 27, 2:00pm, Giffin Park
Last time these two played, it was Springwood who overran the Kings late.
If this week is anything like that, we are in for a cracker.
It’s going to be fast, it is going to be open, and both teams are capable of kicking over 100.
Coorparoo need to get active around the stoppages, keep moving, and get the Pumas in transition.
If Springwood is able to make it more contested, and control the tempo, they will win.
Semi Final 1
Yeronga South Brisbane vs. Bond University
Saturday August 27, 2:00pm, Leyshon Park
If you’re going to this game, do your neck stretches before hand, because it is going to be end-to-end.
Both teams love to run with the footy and take the game on. It has all the makings of one of the games of the year.
Yeronga has the senior heads, but Bond knows how to win them.
The two forwards, in Boyd and Merret are also going to have a big say in this one.
Think the Devils might take this out, but it’s going to be close.
Semi Final 2
South East Suns vs. Kedron
Saturday August 27, 2:00pm, Tansey Park
Are we witnessing a Grand Final preview?
These two teams have been the pace setters all year, and have shown over the back end of the year how powerful they can be.
Kedron couldn’t come in to this in better form, after dismantling Park Ridge in consecutive weeks.
But they can’t rest on that, up against a refreshed Suns side, they need their a-game.
The Suns got the job done last time they met quite comfortably, and I think that will be the case again, especially if Trent McIntyre cannot be stopped.
Semi Final 1
Park Ridge vs. Pine Rivers
Saturday August 27, 2:00pm, Park Ridge
Hard to get a read on this one.
Park Ridge has had a less than memorable two weeks, which would on put a dent in the confidence, but on paper, they should win this.
Having said that, footy is as much of a mental game as it is physical, so if they can’t put the last two weeks behind them, the Swans are ready to pounce.
For the Swans to win, you feel they are going to have to turn this into a bit of a grind. The uglier the better.
If it’s open, I think the Pirates have too many weapons.
Semi Final 1
Yeronga South Brisbane vs. Coolangatta Tweed
Saturday August 27, 10:00am, Leyshon Park
Last week couldn’t have gone any better for both of these teams.
If they didn’t believe they had the artillery to win this, they certainly should now.
Last times they met, Coolangatta got up in a one-point thriller. I think that says a bit about how this should play out.
First quarter is going to be massive.
Semi Final 2
Maroochydore vs. Jindalee
Saturday August 27, 12:15pm, Leyshon Park
There is no two ways about it; Maroochydore has been the team to beat this year.
They are yet to put a foot wrong, but finals is the ultimate leveler.
All the hard work can be backed up, or lost in an instant.
Both teams have the stars. Jemma Abbott is as dangerous as anyone in the league for Maroochydore, and Kate Williams hasn’t played a bad game this year.
It was way back in round 1 these two teams played there last game against each other, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.
Don’t see Maroochydore letting the opportunity to book a Grand Final slip though.
Colts Division 1
Prelim Final 1
Maroochydore vs. Western Magpies
Saturday August 27, 9:15am, Maroochydore
Four teams left, and it’s the top four teams on the ladder. Fitting.
If this goes to script, it’ll be the Roos booking a spot in next week’s Grand Final.
They were too good the last time they played the Magpies, and I have the feeling that will be the case again tomorrow.
For the Magpies to win, they can’t afford it to be a quick and open game. They need to turn it ugly… and the uglier the better.
Prelim Final 2
Mt Gravatt vs. Southport
Saturday August 27, 10:00am, Dittmer Park
Don’t be putting this one in the books just yet.
Mt Gravatt will start favorites, and rightfully so, but Southport are more than a sniff here.
They showed that last time they played. They got within five-points of the Vultures, becoming the team who got the closest to knocking them off this year.
So what do they have to do? Score.
I feel like it goes without saying, but the Sharks best chance of getting up here is to out-gun Mt Gravatt.
But, if the Vultures control the tempo, and play like they have all year, they will book a date with destiny next week.
Colts Division 2
Burleigh vs. Noosa
Saturday August 27, 12:30pm, Dittmer Park
This is a very interesting contest.
Burleigh earned the right to a double chance, but arguably, Noosa are in the better form.
It makes the first 10 minutes crucial. Whoever sets the tone early, will be in the box seat.
It’s going to be won down the corridor, that’s for sure. It’s on each side’s midfield group this week.
By Andrew Wiles