U18 Preview: Queensland vs. NSW/ACT

In 2015, Queensland made history by taking out the Under 16 and Under 18 Division Two NAB AFL Championships.

This weekend, their championship defence begins.

On Sunday at Sydney’s Blacktown Oval, Queensland take on the old enemy, the team they beat to claim the championship last year, the NSW/ACT RAMS.

Let’s have a look at what we need to know before the game.

What we have learnt so far

It’s been a very interesting couple of TAC Cup games for Queensland this year. At their best, the footy has zipped around in a breathtaking manner, and the pressure around the ball has been through the roof. At their worst, lapses have let teams back into the contest, and they have been hurt in transition.

Queensland was more dominant than both TAC Cup score lines suggests, they just let the opposition work their way back in late. What got them in a dominate position was their use of the footy, and ability to spread.

The game plan

Take a can opener to the contest, rip the lid off the thing, and let the contents spill out.

Queensland will look to use the 45-degree kick to open up the angles and take the game on. They will look to use the fat side in transition, and get it into the forwards quickly. When you’ve got Shawn Watson, Elliot Himmelberg and Connor Ballenden up there as targets, why wouldn’t you?

The RAMS will look to play a more contested type of game, so Queensland must take any opportunity they get to go for a gallop and keep the ball moving.

One thing is for certain though; any less than four-quarters of footy won’t get the job done this week. If they switch off for any period of the game, the RAMS will hurt them on the scoreboard.

Expect a high intensity from the opening bounce, and a desire to put the foot on the throat if in a position to.

The stars

No doubt the NSW/ACT defensive eyes will be on the blokes in the middle like Bowes, Rolls, Allison and Scheer, and fair enough too, but they can’t put all their eggs in one basket.

Curtis Marsden has been a proven ball winner, Nate Dennis has been giving Queensland first use in the ruck, and Declan Watson down back has been the driver of the run.

It’s going to require more than just one or two blokes playing a blinder though, there has to be an even spread.
The equation

Queensland, along with NSW/ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory make up Division Two of the 2016 NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Each team will play each other once over three weeks, with the combined results of each game determining who will be crowned champions.

That means that every game counts, and getting off to a good start and keeping your campaign mathematically alive is crucial.

NSW/ACT are arguably the team to beat this year, so to take a win off them would be ideal.
The team

2 Nick Kempe
3 Jack Bowes
6 Jack Rolls
7 Curtis Marsden
9 Ryan Dadds
10 Daniel Charlesworth
15 Jacob Allison
16 Brad Scheer
17 Joel Perry Warren
18 Jack Clayton
19 Josh Williams
20 Elliot Himmelberg
22 Campbell Walker
23 Shawn Watson
24 Max Spencer
26 Luca Mason
27 Luke O`Sullivan
29 Reid Gordon
30 Nate Dennis
31 Connor Ballenden
35 Gareth Hunt
37 Declan Watson
39 Brayden Crossley

By Andrew Wiles

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