QAFL weekend preview: Round 9 – Top two battle for minor premiership

A BATTLE to decide the minor premiership is what confronts top two sides, Broadbeach and Morningside this weekend, with the final round of Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) action taking place. Both sides have won every match thus far, to sit on seven wins from eight games – with one bye – heading into Round 9 of the competition prior to finals. Both teams will secure a top two spot, but first placed will take on the winner of fourth or fifth and avoid the third placed finisher in the preliminary finals.

While Broadbeach has had the much superior percentage – 239.39 per cent – Morningside has won a number of tight contests to ensure it sits on 28 points heading into the final round. Regardless of the match’s result, neither side can drop outside the top two. It is a similar story for third placed Palm Beach Currumbin that has had a strong season in response to its grand final loss last year, only dropping games to the top two sides. It has helped the Lions sit eight points clear of the mid-table crunch, and guarantee themselves third spot and facing sixth in the first week of finals.

Seven teams are still in contention for six spots, with effectively the clash between Maroochydore and Surfers Paradise determining the final spot on the ladder. Realistically, the Roos just need to be avoid getting smashed, as they are 15 per cent clear of the reigning premiers who have had just the two wins this season and had a couple of of forgettable matches in 2020. If Maroochydore win – or at least do not lose by a considerable amount – then they will play finals and potentially move up a spot in the process. The Demons must win if they are to be any chance of defending their 2019 title, but in counter contrasting to the Roos, must win, and win well. Roughly around an eight-goal win – depending on the scores – would be needed for an unlikely finals berth.

However, what makes it interesting is the fact that fifth placed Mt Gravatt – who take on Palm Beach Currumbin – hold a near-identical percentage to Maroochydore (just 1.27 per cent more). What that means is, it is possible for Surfers Paradise to have a win – realistically will need to still be a pretty healthy win – while getting into finals if Mt Gravatt suffers a disappointing loss. In the scenario that the Lions account for the Vultures well and the Demons win, then Maroochydore would actually move up to fifth despite the loss, and Mt Gravatt drop out of the six. However if Surfers only wins by a little and Mt Gravatt push the Lions, then Maroochydore can leapfrog Mt Gravatt, but the Vultures remain in sixth.

Sitting pretty in fourth is Sherwood, a side that holds its own destiny in its hands. Realistically the equation is simple – win and get third spot, lose and potentially drop as far as sixth. The Magpies have a superior percentage to the other 3-4 sides, with 98.91 per cent and no chance of any other side overtaking them on percentage – barring some 200-point shellacking – so they will have pole position in terms of home ground advantage for the elimination final if they can win. They will play one of the other three teams depending on the results, unless they lose and both Mt Gravatt and Maroochydore win, which means they will slip to sixth. They take on eighth placed Labrador which has avoided the wooden spoon – unless they cop a big loss and their percentage drops them below last placed Wilston Grange who have the bye.

Heading into the final round, Matt Hammelmann has the leading goalkicker award sewn up barring a big bag from one of his nearest rivals, having booted 33 goals in seven games at an impressive 4.7 goals per game. He leads another former Brisbane forward in Liam Dawson (26 goals in seven games), from Broadbeach’s Jordan Moncrieff (25 in six) and Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard (25). Young gun Josh Gore is fifth on the table with 16 goals in six games.

In terms of top performers for the season, Labrador duo Fraser Thurlow and Matthew Lee have stood up to be named in the best all seven times, as has Morningside’s Matthew Payne, and Wilston Grange’s Will McKenzie (seven from eight). Mt Gravatt’s Luke O’Sullivan and Maroochydore’ Jacob Simpson have featured in the best six times, while Hammelmann, Scholard, Palm Beach Currumbin’s Zac Harrison, Wilston Grange’s Isaac Corvo and Maroochydore’s Josh Govan, have all featured in the best on six occasions. When it comes to Rising Star possibilities, Wilston Grange’s Tahj Abberley, Broadbeach’s Bailey Reeves, and Surfers Paradise duo Myles Jewell and Max Pescud are all among the mix.

QAFL ROUND 9 RESULTS:

Broadbeach vs. Morningside
Labrador vs. Sherwood
Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Mt Gravatt
Surfers Paradise vs. Maroochydore

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