U18 Preview: Queensland vs. Tasmania


The 2015 NAB AFL Under 18’s Championships couldn’t have started in more impressive fashion for Queensland. Their 72-point win over Northern Territory last week set’s them up beautifully for a trip down to Victoria for the next two games.

They got on top through their run, ball movement, and ability to find time and space in the forward line.

“It took us a quarter to get our game on, NT tackled well, full credit to them for that. Our boys took stock at quarter time and knew what they were up against,” Academy coach Adrian Fletcher said.

“We started to switch the ball well and we started to get our running game going, in the third quarter especially. Our leaders stood up early and got us off to a good start.

“Hipwood was really good when he went down back, and we loved the way William played. He played with tenacity, he was clean, he kicked it well, and it was a really great game from him.”


What needs to happen

For Queensland to beat Tasmania, they need to be able to get the ball out wide to their runners and be clean with their disposal. Their strength is in their ability to switch the ball, and pull the trigger through the middle when the opportunity presents itself.

With players like Wagner, Budarick, Keays, Hipwood and William providing some serious leg speed and foot skill, they need to get on their bike at every opportunity and open up Tasmania on the spread.

“That outside run game will become very important,” Fletcher said.What can’t happen

Queensland can’t let the game turn into a contested ball slog. Tasmania is bigger and stronger around the ball and they play their best footy when it is a contest in the middle.

“Tassie have a lot of players around the 186cm mark with the bigger bodies. We have got to win our fair share of hard ball gets, but then we have got to be able to move the ball quickly to make sure that it doesn’t become a slugfest,” Fletcher said.


Who to keep an eye on

The ruck combination of Dennis and Chol worked beautifully against Northern Terriotry, and that will again be a key to Queensland success.

“I enjoyed the ruck combination. They are different characters, and have different skill sets. Dennis is the guy who jumps in and follows up whereas Chol plays like a ruck-rover,” Fletcher said.

Ben Keays will be the go-to man in the midfield, and rightfully so, but Budarick and Wagner will also play a key role.

Keep an eye on Connor West as well. After getting over some niggling injuries in recent week he is starting to feel comfortable in his own body again. West is a quality user of the ball.


Who could set the field alight

If your looking for someone to take that next step up and take a game by the scruff of the neck, look no further than Jesse Joyce. He is excellent on both feet, poised with ball in hand, and breaks games open with his disposal.

“I think Jess Joyce is going to have a break out game. He has been solid the last few weeks, but he was one of our best early on in the TAC Cup,” Fletcher said.


Opposition watch

When you talk about Tasmania, one name continually bobs up; Kieran Lovell. The ball magnet finished with 42 possessions in Tasmania’s game against NSW/ACT on Saturday, which included 10 marks, four clearances, three inside 50’s and four rebound 50’s. Queensland have to make sure they are putting pressure on everyone one of his possessions tomorrow.

“He gets leather poisoning every time he plays, he has a massive work-rate, he is a good disposer and he has great agility. He will hurt us if he gets the time and space he did against New South Wales. They are pretty even across the board, but he stands out,” Fletcher said.


What a win will mean

A win tomorrow would make it two from two, which would ensure that, heading into the last game against NSW/ACT, the worst they could finish would be to lose the championships by percentage. I don’t think the boys will be getting too ahead of themselves somehow, tomorrow is massive.

By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles

Our Supporters