Category: Queensland

Tasmania proves too strong for Queensland in Under 17s triumph

THE team from Australia’s southernmost state flexed its muscle on their most northern counterparts, with a commanding 37-point victory over Queensland earlier today. On a lovely morning in Yeronga, the two sides faced off, with the best Under 17 talents of both states ready to impress spectators. In the end, Tasmania’s midfield was too dominant, constantly winning both centre and stoppage clearances around the ground that drove them to their triumph. The Queensland defence was frequently under pressure, due to both repeated entries by Tasmania, but also the immediate forward pressure that was created. Queensland was able to deliver patches of promise, but it was far too strong an outing for Tasmania to create a close contest.

In a contest that was months in the making, the first quarter saw a slight scoring deadlock, with the drought broken by Tasmanian backman Lachlan Cowan, who delivered a powerful set shot from range after earning a free kick. In the opening minutes of the game, it was evident that Tasmania were on top in the midfield, winning nearly all of the clearances.

It was also clear that the most dominant player on the ground during this time was Tasmanian ruckman Cameron Owen, who was giving his side clearance ascendancy and also setting up his team’s next two goals. It was a brilliant tap from Owen deep in his side’s forward line that led to a clever major from Declan Lee, but Queensland hit back through an intercepted switch kick in their forward line, and Izak Gejas had no problem converting. A major to Riley McMillan saw Queensland close the margin, and the game looked tense for a period of time.

Tasmania soon began to get the upper hand, starting with a Connor Leeflang major that was set up by an excellent handball from Owens. Two goals in a row to Tassie’s Seth Campbell and a major to Bryce Alomes saw Queensland begin to lose control of the score, with Tasmania taking a strong lead into the main break. Queensland found themselves constantly on the back foot, with immense forward pressure from Tasmania leading to mistakes in the Queensland backline. A hallmark of Tasmanian football over recent years has been slick ball use and they were living up to this reputation in the first half, with plenty of work for Queensland ahead.

The third quarter saw Queensland start to regain control of the game at stages, booting three of the next four goals to reduce the margin to a more manageable number. McMillan was starting to exert his influence on the contest, as was teammate Levi Fyffe, who generated plenty of much-needed run for his side. Queensland had admirably chipped away at the deficit, but it was not long before Tasmania were able to put their foot down and put the game away, dominating most of the final quarter and a half to run away with a convincing victory.

For the victors, Owens was outstanding in the first half, giving his side first use with a towering performance in the ruck, while teammates Colby McKercher and Liam Jones impressed for all four quarters, and Campbell finished the day with four majors. For Queensland, Fyffe and McMillan gave it their all, and were a class above others for large periods of the game.

QUEENSLAND 2.0 | 3.2 | 6.3 | 9.5 (59)
TASMANIA 4.3 | 6.5 | 9.10 | 14.12 (96)

GOALS:

Queensland: C. Langan 2, K. Baines 2, I. Gezas, R. McMillan, L. Fyffe, J. Young, T. Ryschka.
Tasmania: S. Campbell 4, J. Callinan 3, L. Cowan, D. Lee, C. Leeflang, B. Alomes, T. Beaumont, T. McCallum, H. Ollington.

DC BEST:

Queensland: R. McMillan, B. McCarthy, B. Tome, K. Reynoldson, L. Fyffe, L. Hude
Tasmania: R. Sanders, C. Owen, C. McKercher, L. Cowan, S. Campbell, T. Beaumont

Photo: Tasmania Devils Facebook

Suns run out game stronger to go back-to-back over Lions

GOLD Coast Suns Academy have gone back-to-back with wins over the Brisbane Lions Academy at the AFL Women’s Under 17 Championships. After conceding the first goal of the game in the opening two minutes, the Suns did not concede another one for the match, booting 5.9 to 0.2 in that time to run out 31-point winners over the Lions. It was an even spread of contributors for the Suns, with a couple of stars across both sides sore post-game.

After only kicking one goal in the first half last week, the Lions had a point to prove up at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, as Jacinta Baldwick marked leading out from a pinpoint pass from Kadie Fletcher just 90 seconds into the match. Less than two minutes into the game, Brisbane got on the board through Baldwick, though little did anyone know, that would be their only major of the day.

The final scoreboard did not resemble the tightness of the game – similar to the first match between the sides on Sunday, though Brisbane maintained a one-point lead over Gold Coast following Maggie O’Connell’s equaliser later in the term from a strong contested mark. After battling well through midfield through Ava Seton and Charlotte Mullins – the latter spent time in defence in the opening term – it would be a crunching tackle on Mullins early in the second term which would end her day early with a shoulder injury. By half-time, not much had changed with the Suns adding three behinds for the quarter to lead by just two points, 1.3 (9) to 1.1 (7)

Losing a key player, the Lions were already down on the rotations, but still battled hard with some inside 50s, but the 2006-born Tara Harrington again starred, gobbling up anything that came her way. Game one best on ground Alana Gee was not as dominant despite still having some classy moments going forward, and instead it was Jasmine Single and Jasmyn Smith who took control. They won plenty of it through the game, and allowed the likes of Isabella Iverach and Kayla Giles to hit the scoreboard, for the visitors to lead 3.5 (23) to 1.1 (7) at the final break.

Not having it all their own way, the Suns were just making the most of their chances, and whilst occasionally the likes of Nyalli Milne tried to break the game open – but ran about 20 extra metres through the middle and was called for too far – the Lions were more often than not able to restrict the Suns’ run. It was more the Lions struggling to get it deep and provide forwards with better looks, as Iverach became a multiple goalkicker in the third, and then Ella Calleja – who was eye-catching with her vertical leap and kicking – who added her name to the scoreboard.

Unfortunately for the home team, they only added the extra behind since the first quarter, but not through a lack of trying with Seaton battling through four quarters, and Kiara Hillier‘s work off half-back also noticeable. Daisy Carter was impressive through the middle, while Christine Watson provided a great duel with Gold Coast’s Fleur Davies in the ruck, as Davies played an outstanding game, impacting throughout the four quarters. The Suns indeed had no shortage of standouts, with Monet Feris joining the likes of Single, Smith, Iverach, Harrington, Davies, Calleja and Gee in the best.

Spending time at full-forward in the last term, Gee finished the game with ice on her hamstring, but had shown enough throughout both games to suggest she has affirmed herself as Queensland’s top prospect for 2021. With impressive players over the next three draft crops, both Academies will be pleased with what they produced over the series and will look to have a big preseason ahead of a hopefully more stable 2022.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 1.0 | 1.3 | 3.5 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:

Brisbane: J. Baldwick.
Gold Coast: I. Iverach 2, M. O’Connell, K Giles, E. Calleja.

DC BEST:

Brisbane: K. Hillier, A. Seton, D. Carter. C. Watson, K. Fletcher
Gold Coast: E. Calleja, J. Single, J. Smith, F. Davies, T. Harrington

 

Picture credit: RF Photography / AFL Photos

Up the Grades: Which youngsters cracked senior footy?

WITH state leagues around the nation now embedded in respective finals series, there are plenty of young guns hoping to impact on the big stage. In a look Up the Grades, we highlight some of the National Combine invitees, state squad members, and academy products who plied their trade at senior level this past weekend.

Pick one contender Jason Horne-Francis was again the main event this week, lighting up the field in South Adelaide’s semi-final win over Norwood. The teen sensation contributed 17 disposals and five inside 50s as his Panthers progressed to this week’s preliminary final, with one particular highlight seeing him confidently burn an opponent down the wing before pumping the ball inside attacking 50.

Fellow draft prospect Matthew Roberts also turned out for South, notching 10 touches, six tackles and a goal having also established his League spot. In the same game, small forward Henry Nelligan (12 disposals, one goal) and tall defender Jack Heard (16 disposals, four marks, six rebound 50s) were among the Redlegs’ best youngsters.

South Adelaide will face Glenelg for a spot in the League grand final, but the Tigers’ twos booked their spot already on the back of a win over Woodville-West Torrens. First round talent Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera was squeezed out of the top flight, but responded well with 16 disposals, three marks and three clearances for the Bays. Meanwhile, Max Litster again showed good touch in Eagles colours with 26 touches and six rebound 50s as Brayden Calvett snared two goals.

In the other Reserves semi, Central District booked a preliminary berth by dispatching Sturt on Saturday. A bunch of youngsters contributed, including the likes of Isaiah Dudley (14 disposals, 2.2), Luca Whitelum (11 and one), and Lachlan Grubb (10 and two), who all hit the scoreboard. Midfielder Shay Linke was another out there in red, white and blue, laying five tackles to go with his 13 touches.

State Under 19 vice-captain Mani Liddy continued his strong run of form to lead Sturt’s disposal tally with 22, as he got his hands dirty for seven tackles and four clearances. Defender Zac Becker was also amongst it, launching eight rebound 50s among his 21 touches. Will Spain and Jacob Lochowiak also turned out for the Double Blues, whose season came to an end.

Over in Western Australia, 193cm midfielder Matthew Johnson caught the eye with another impressive performance at Reserves level. He collected a game-high 27 disposals and four marks as Subiaco beat Swan Districts, setting up a meeting with Claremont with grand final honours up for grabs. Johnson has now put together a month of footy in the Reserves, averaging 25 disposals and 7.6 marks in his last three outings.

Meanwhile, Fremantle Next Generation Academy product Jesse Motlop added to his League experience as South Fremantle went down to Subiaco. The exciting small forward registered five inside 50s and a goal among his eight disposals, and can look forward to a preliminary final opportunity against Claremont despite his side’s loss.

Broadbeach was crowned the 2021 QAFL Seniors premier on Saturday, defeating Maroochydore 90-52 in Queensland’s big day. Bottom-age Gold Coast SUNS Academy prospect Cody Harrington notched up a 10th senior game for the victors, suiting up along with top-age tall Ryan Pickering. Brisbane Lions Academy prospect Daniel Lanthois also came back into the Roos’ lineup.

Featured Image: Jason Horne-Francis in action for South Adelaide | Credit: Cory Sutton via SANFL

QAFL: Broadbeach storms home to claim maiden senior flag

OVER the weekend, the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) held its grand final matches across all three competitions (seniors, reserves and colts). In what proved to be a cracking day of football, there was a club’s first flag, while another took home two of the three premierships up for grabs on the day.

Seniors:

Broadbeach 14.6 (90) def. Maroochydore 8.4 (52)

Broadbeach proved too strong for Maroochydore in the deciding clash, justifying their tag as the team’s strongest team for 2021 by taking home their first ever QAFL premiership. The ladder-leaders had powerful second and fourth quarters to claim the contest as their own and walk away with a comfortable 38-point victory.

There were doubts heading into the game as to whether or not the Cats could live up to the first-placed tag, given they had only played one match in four weeks leading into this contest. Maroochydore also entered the match with plenty of momentum courtesy of their three previous finals wins. This looked to be a contest that could go either way, and the first term started in such fashion. Maroochydore opened the scoring through Michael Steven, and their second through star forward Mitchell Scholard had Broadbeach worried about their outlook for this game.

It took Broadbeach seven minutes to conjure up an answer through Max Lower, but it only took the minor premiers less than a minute to deliver their second goal, courtesy of Tyrone Armitage. Each team scored two more goals for the rest of the term, and Maroochydore took a one-point lead into the first break. The second quarter was one-way traffic, with Broadbeach booting five goals to one (including two to Ryan Gilmore) to take a commanding lead into half-time, as they looked to put the game away early in the third term.

Their opponents had other ideas, bringing themselves back into contention by booting two goals to none in a low-scoring third quarter. Suddenly the margin was only 15 points and Maroochydore were on the charge, but Broadbeach proved too good as their talent rose to the top. They delivered another five goal to one term to stamp their authority on both the game and the league.

Broadbeach’s Liam Nelson was judged best afield in a promising display, while he was well-assisted by Brandon Chadwick while Gilmore and Bradley Lowe booted three goals apiece. For Maroochydore, Jonathan Giles worked tirelessly all day and should be commended for his efforts.

Labrador took out both the reserves and the colts premierships in a solid day out for the club. Their reserves side led all day in a dominant display, as did their colts team to claim two out of the day’s three flags.

 

Image Credit: Broadbeach Cats FC

QAFL finals wrap: Cats’ Colts join Seniors in the big dance

GRAND finalists have been set across the QAFL Senior, Reserves, and Colts grades with Gold Coast clubs Labrador and Broadbeach represented across two of the three levels. The Cats will face Maroochydore in the senior decider after the Roos jumped minor premier Labrador in an epic comeback win, but the Tigers’ Reserves and Colts downed Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC) and Morningside respectively to set up final week appearances.

Maroochydore’s epic last gasp victory in the top flight sets up an intriguing grand final meeting with Broadbeach, who will be out to rectify last year’s loss to Morningside after earning the week off. The Roos got the jump with a five goals to one opening term but fell 18 points behind at half-time, and were 22 points down with less that 10 minutes left to play. As Labrador began to rest its guns, a five-goal swing ensued and the Roos saluted to the tune of 10 points, 13.10 (88) to 11.12 (78).

Sam McLaughlin was outstanding for the victors and slotted a key late major, as the likes of Michael Steven (four goals), Lochie Laing and Mitchell Scholard (both three) also found the big sticks throughout. Former-AFL Irishman Pearce Hanley booted five goals for Labrador, while Alex McKay played a key role through the engine room. From an Academy sense, products Mackenzie Riddle (Gold Coast) and Ben Thomas (Brisbane) featured for either side.

While the seniors were done-in, Labrador’s second side defeated PBC by 22 points to secure a spot in the grand final alongside Morningside. Minor premiers across both grades, the Tigers were able to convert on this occasion having set up an early buffer and lead at every break.

Northern Territory native and Gold Coast eligible tall Ned Stevens snared a goal in just his fourth game for the season, having battled a niggling groin injury. Fellow tall Thomas Hofert also got a run for the victors, along with 2002-born SUNS Academy products Bailey Reeves, James Smith, Shaye Walsh, and Riley Johnson. Top-ager Luke Coombes notched his 12th reserves game, while Brinn Little turned out for PBC.

In the Colts grade, Labrador will take on Broadbeach after the Cats downed Morningside on Saturday, restricting the second-ranked Panthers to just two goals from 11 scoring shots in a dominant 46-point victory. State Under 17 squad members Jared Eckersley and Kye Reynoldson were among the Cats’ best, while Cooper Parkes snared four majors in the win. For Morningside, representative selectees Harry Taylor, Thalayn Ryschka, and Bryce Longland all featured in their side’s final game for the season.

Image Credit: Brooke Sleep Photography via AFLQ

QAFL Player Focus: Bodhi Uwland (Broadbeach)

EXCITING Gold Coast SUNS Academy talent Bodhi Uwland returned to the QAFL Seniors grade on Saturday, lining up in defence as Broadbeach downed Labrador to book a grand final spot. A high flier who chimes in with eye-catching intercepts, Uwland has represented the SUNS Academy at NAB League level and got six VFL games under his belt in 2021. His form saw him named as Gold Coast’s male academy player of the year, having previously earned Allies and National Draft Combine selection.

We put Uwland’s semi-final performance under the Player Focus microscope this week, breaking down his game quarter-by-quarter.

>> Up the Grades: Prospects playing senior footy

POCKET PROFILE

Bodhi Uwland
Broadbeach/SUNS Academy/Allies

DOB: 25/07/2003 (18)
Height/Weight: 185cm/84kg
Position: Medium Defender/Midfielder

Strengths: Vertical leap, intercept marking, kick penetration

2021 Averages:

VFL: 6 games | 12.5 disposals | 4.0 marks | 1.8 tackles | 0.7 inside 50s | 1.7 rebound 50s | 0.1 goals (1 total)
NAB League: 2 games | 24.0 disposals | 4.5 marks | 5.5 tackles | 5.0 inside 50s | 3.5 rebound 50s | 1.5 goals (3)

2021 QAFL Seniors, Semi-Final 1 | Labrador 9.13 (67) def. by Broadbeach 9.17 (71)

#40 Bodhi Uwland (Broadbeach)

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1

Looking to make good on his call-up from the Reserves, Uwland started brightly with his most productive quarter in terms of pure numbers. He was stationed in a familiar defensive post but roamed high up the field, tracking his opponent and taking up aggressive positions behind the ball.

A capable intercept marker, Uwland was sometimes caught out when looking to intercept, running under the ball as the seniors moved it a touch further and more efficiently to start off. It meant he had to rove front and centre at times, rather than flying for marks.

One of his forays up the ground ended in a score, as Uwland snuck free in the corridor to mark uncontested, before moving straight on and unleashing a shot with bounced over the back for a behind. He looked to use that booming kick up the other end too, launching a kick-in to half-back with good penetration.

Uwland was overall quite effective with his ball use, notching three kicks and two handballs including one breach of either arc to showcase his ability to impact on the attack.

Q2

The second quarter was easily Uwland’s most quiet, as essentially all of his work was done without the footy. He again tracked the play all the way up to his attacking half and helped set a high line for Broadbeach’s defensive press, but could have been a touch more urgent on the way back.

Uwland did make some better follow-up efforts as the term wore on though, laying tackles which interrupted a couple of quick Labrador breaks in transition. In a ball winning sense, that reaction-based movement meant he saw less of it, despite working into space on the outer.

Q3

Uwland came back relatively well in term three after a quiet second quarter, picking up four kicks, two marks, and a couple of rebound 50s as his booming kick came to the fore from defence.

He positioned a little deeper and was made to do some defensive chasing, including one effort to pressure Pearce Hanley inside defensive 50 which showed he was warming well to the finals intensity.

His two marks were taken uncontested, but Uwland looked to move the ball on quickly with one, kicking laterally to the wing, while the other was sent long down the line to a contest. Uwland got similar meterage with another kick-in and overall produced a handy period of play as Broadbeach fought off Labrador’s run of play.

Q4

Uwland again did not see as much of the ball as Broadbeach got back on top for the win, but he popped up with an absolutely clutch tackle late in the piece. He also finally got a good run at the aerial ball, launching in packs to impact a couple of opposition set shots which fell short.

His highlight for the day was the aforementioned tackle, which may well have been a goalsaving one at half-back as Labrador surged through the corridor and looked to be headed deep inside 50. With his couple of disposals, Uwland was again effective and played the percentages, rounding out a promising performance as the Cats held on for a spot in the decider.

Up the Grades: Which youngsters cracked senior footy?

WITH finals time finally upon us in state leagues around the nation, there are plenty of budding AFL Draft prospects who are stepping up on the big stage. In a look Up the Grades, we highlight some of the National Combine invitees, state squad members, and academy products who plied their trade at senior level this past weekend.

A talented quartet of South Australian Under 19 representatives plied their trade in the SANFL top flight this past weekend, headlined by pick one contender Jason Horne-Francis. After a relatively quiet National Championships dig by his lofty standards, the explosive midfielder-forward sent a reminder of his talents with 24 disposals, five clearances, nine inside 50s and a goal as the Panthers downed West Adelaide. Matthew Roberts also featured as South secured finals, snaring two goals from 13 disposals.

First round bolter Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera also returned to the League grade, though his Glenelg side lost its first game for the season right on the eve of finals. The 18-year-old wingman notched nine disposals and four marks for the Bays. Elsewhere, top-ager Max Litster was productive on debut with 23 touches and seven marks as Woodville-West Torrens trounced Central District. Raw Bulldogs defender and combine invitee Leek Alleer took two marks from eight disposals, while Tasmanian Oliver Davis (16 disposals) turned out for Adelaide’s last game of the season – a loss to Norwood.

There were a few more debuts in the Reserves, including North Adelaide midfield pair Hugh Jackson and Harvey Harrison. Both managed 11 disposals with the latter, an emergency for last week’s championships clash, also kicking a goal. Under 18s skipper and Adelaide Next Generation Academy (NGA) candidate Blayne O’Loughlin also featured for the Roosters, who beat Sturt.

The Double Blues were served well by state vice-captain Mani Liddy (26 disposals, eight clearances) who is in good touch, while Zac Becker also built on his representative form with 22 touches and a whopping 13 rebound 50s in the loss. Up the other end, it was a quieter day for fellow tall Morgan Ferres.

Woodville-West Torrens and Central Districts were the other two sides to field a bunch of Under 19 state squad members, as the Eagles got up by 15 points. Most of them turned out in Bulldogs colours, including debutant Luca Whitelum (21 disposals, nine marks) and Shay Linke (18 disposals, nine marks, eight tackles), who narrowly missed the starting squad.

Adelaide NGA small forward Isaiah Dudley was productive with 15 touches and a goal, while the speedy Lachlan Grubb had it 12 times. For the Eagles, bottom-ager Adam D’Aloia ran out at the level once more and laid six tackles to go with his 14 disposals. Northern Territory native Ronald Fejo was another to watch in the two’s, booting a goal from 24 disposals as West Adelaide downed South.

Over in Western Australia, a trio of state squad guns hit League level after helping the Black Ducks to last week’s Under 19 win. Peel Thunder utility Brady Hough was arguably the pick of the bunch, registering 22 disposals, nine marks, five inside 50s and a goal in his sparkling top flight debut.

Backman Jack Avery took five marks for Perth in a loss to West Perth, while Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop booted 2.2 from his 13 touches as South Fremantle beat West Coast. Classy Subiaco midfielder Matthew Johnson was also set to line up for the Reserves, but did not end up taking the field at any level.

Three seperate age groups were represented among the Tasmania Devils players to turn out in Sunday’s TSL preliminary final, which saw Launceston qualify for this week’s decider with a big win over Clarence. National Combine invitee Baker Smith was among the Roos’ best in the loss along with Darcy Gardner (one goal), as Noah Holmes again got stuck into his ruck duties.

Bottom-agers Tom McCallum and Bryce Alomes also lined up for Clarence, as did the 2002-born Lachlan Borsboom. In the navy blue of Launceston, Zach Morris continues to provide quality with his versatility, while top-agers Jayden Hinds and Bailey Gillow played their parts off the bench with a grand final appearance up for grabs.

The QAFL entered its second week of finals, leaving a couple more left to play, with a scattering of Brisbane and Gold Coast academy products hitting the senior grade. Suns Academy player of the year Bodhi Uwland turned out for Broadbeach, who secured a spot in the grand final by downing Labrador.

The exciting defender-midfielder was joined by Cody Harrington (one goal) and Ryan Pickering in the winning side. For Labrador, top-ager Bailey Reeves and Mackenzie Riddle were among the squad which will get a second chance at grand final qualification next week.

Maroochydore is the team the Tigers await, after the Roos defeated reigning premier Morningside in style on Saturday. Daniel Lanthois booted a goal for the victors, while big-bodied midfielder Toby Triffett was named the Panthers’ best, as fellow top-ager Saxon Crozier managed a goal and Max Nelson again played his part.

Featured Image: Brady Hough (left) earned a WAFL League debut this week | Credit: Shazza J Photography

State leagues preview: VFL done, and final games loom for some

THE VFL has been officially cancelled but there is still plenty of footy happening in a big weekend across the country. The QAFL and TSL finals continue, while the WAFL and SANFL home-and-away seasons enter their final round. We’ll take you through all the key matches for this weekend.

South Australia (SANFL):

All five matches of the SANFL final round feature a top five team against a bottom five team, with the most at stake for South Adelaide and Sturt. The Panthers will just need to defeat bottom side West Adelaide to ensure they make the first week of finals. It might not be an easy task though judging from the last time they met when the Panthers narrowly defeated the Bloods by three points in Round 9.

Sturt meanwhile will be hoping the Panthers lose and they can defeat North Adelaide who themselves are looking for victory to cling onto a second chance come finals. The two teams played out a thriller in Round 8 when the Roosters won by three points.

A victory to Glenelg against Port Adelaide can make it 18 from 18 for the season. The Tigers welcome back Michael Virgin who had 27 disposals and 16 marks when the two sides met in Round 4, while Lachie Hosie and Liam McBean will both line-up down forward after they combined for eight goals in that contest.

Elsewhere, Norwood host Adelaide, who have strengthened their side with a host of AFL-listed players including James Rowe and Will Hamill, while Central Districts tackle second-placed Woodville-West Torrens at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval.

 

Tasmania (TSL):

It’s Preliminary Final week in Tassie with minor premier Launceston facing Clarence. The Roos came away with a two-point victory when the sides last met in round 20, and they will welcome back Josh Green, who booted three goals in that contest, after he missed last week through injury. Launceston has had the edge over the Roos this season however with two big wins in their first two meetings. With a Grand Final spot on the line, this could be an intriguing battle.

 

Queensland (QAFL):

With Redland-Victoria Point and Surfers Paradise eliminated last week, just four teams remain in the quest for QAFL premiership glory.

Top two teams Labrador and Broadbeach will face-off with the winner becoming the first team in the Grand Final. Both teams had a bye last weekend, so will be looking to find their home-and-away season form again quickly. The home team won on both occasions when they met during the season, so it’s up to the Cats to break that trend if they want to progress first to the big dance.

Meanwhile, with a chance to play the loser of the top two battle, Morningside meet Maroochydore with no second chances. The Panthers won by 22 and 20 points in their two home-and-away meetings, but with it all on the line anything can happen. Mitchell Scholard is in deadly touch for the Roos, kicking another seven goals in last week’s final, and will be hoping for more goals to get his team over the line.

 

Western Australia (WAFL):

With the final five all set, the top five teams will battle it out for finals positions in the last round of the WAFL this weekend. Peel host Subiaco who will assure themselves of the minor premiership with a win over the Thunder. Last time the two sides met, Subiaco won by 44 points, and they will be hoping for more of the same.

Meanwhile, Claremont are in that battle for top spot when they host Swan Districts. It was a high-scoring affair when they faced-off in round one with Alexander Manuel (Tigers) and Thomas Edwards (Swans) both kicking four goals. South Fremantle will also be hoping Subiaco go down as they remain four points off the top. The Bulldogs play the Eagles, a contest Jimmy Miller (five goals) and Haiden Schloithe (35 disposals) enjoyed earlier this year when the Bulldogs won by 11 goals.

In the other match, Perth welcome West Perth to Mineral Resources Park, with the Falcons looking to snag a top three position with a victory, and a loss to one of Claremont or South Fremantle. Perth, however, came out on top in their last contest, a low scoring affair in Round 8, where they won by 10 points.

 

New South Wales/Queensland/Victoria (VFL):

There has also been an update on the VFL with the season officially cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in New South Wales and Victoria preventing any games from occurring for the foreseeable future. A decision was made by the AFL to end the season with the 10-0 Bulldogs to be recognised as minor premier, but no premiership cup and no J.J. Liston Medal (VFL best and fairest award) will be awarded for the 2021 season.

Picture credit: Andrew Woodgate

Academy watch: Lions return for QAFL finals impact

THE 2021 QAFL finals series kicked off this past weekend, with a pair of elimination finals seeing the two lower-ranked sides pull off memorable upsets. Those teams in question were Morningside and Maroochydore, who will now face off in Saturday’s second semi-final after their narrow victories.

As this year’s reigning premier, the Panthers have plenty of work to do to defend their crown from fifth, but started off their finals campaign strongly. They raced out to an early lead and were over 40 points in front at stages, before holding off a fast-finishing Surfers Paradise to come away six-point victors on the road.

Among Morningside’s squad was a couple of very handy inclusions, namely Brisbane Lions Academy products Saxon Crozier and Toby Triffett. Both made just their second QAFL appearances for the season after runs in the VFL, while Max Nelson lined up down back alongside bottom-ager Ben McCarthy.

Max Pescud made up the Gold Coast Academy representation for Surfers, rotating forward from the wing to be one of the better Demons afield. We take a look at how all five of the aforementioned northern academy prospects fared on the elimination final stage, in a special QAFL edition of Academy Watch.

SCOUTING NOTES

Surfers Paradise 9.11 (65) def. by Morningside 10.11 (71)

#5 Toby Triffett (Morningside)

One who appears to have gained a wealth of confidence and knowledge from his time in the VFL, Triffett was a dominant contested ball winner on Saturday. The blue-booted midfielder proved strong with his ability to fire away handballs under tackling pressure and even break a few, looking quite effective by hand. He did tend to hack his clearing kicks a touch, but had no trouble finding the ball with his wickedly clean hands and solid frame. In a tone-setting act, his lone major for the game came during Morningside’s opening term flurry, as he burrowed in to rip the ball free from a forward 50 pack and snapped it home. A top performance.

#27 Saxon Crozier (Morningside)

Returning to QAFL action alongside Triffett after his own VFL tenure, Crozier took up a very familiar role on the wing for Morningside. He proved a little scratchy with his very first touch, but fixed up quickly to level with the pace of the game. Crozier had some unlucky moments in the first half with free kicks against, but clunked a nice intercept mark and looked promising when released into space via hand. That trend continued as he worked into either arc and proved productive by foot, spearing the ball to teammates. He also hit the scoreboard in term three, tracking the ball well off a stoppage with gut-run inside 50 to get the spill and convert into an open goalsquare.

#44 Ben McCarthy (Morningside)

The sole bottom-ager in this lot, McCarthy has played 13 games for the Panthers’ senior side this year and looks a settled member of the lineup. He played in defence on Saturday but was sighted trailing his opponents all the way up to half-forward, ensuring they wouldn’t get an easy kick rolling up the ground. A touch light-on, McCarthy often knew to stay down as contests formed down the line, helping to mop up the spills and kick forward. He had a couple of nice moments in the third quarter, laying a holding the ball tackle and smothering his opponent under a minute later after he had turned the ball over.

#52 Max Nelson (Morningside)

Nelson was one of the Panthers’ most important players in their elimination final triumph, playing a key role down back with plenty of work to do. He was tasked with the kick-in duties and often roosted the ball well beyond defensive 50, while also providing a bit of dash on the rebound with a good amount of confidence to take on opponents. He looked to crash packs from behind if the ball came back his way and managed to chime in with some important intercept possessions, making for a really solid game across the defensive arc.

#61 Max Pescud (Surfers Paradise)

Having taken up a starting spot on the wing, Pescud made arguably his most profound impact up forward. He showed a good turn of speed and quick skills when stationed further afield, before bringing his overhead marking ability to the fore inside 50. Pescud produced a few key plays during term two upon his switch; cutting across a pack to mark inside 50, manufacturing a goal assist with his twists and turns, and splitting a 1v2 situation which lead to another major. While he looked to be unselfish when in possession near goal, Pescud nabbed a major of his own in term four to help sustain Surfers’ fightback. His tackling intent and pressure was also terrific throughout the game.

Featured Image: Saxon Crozier in action for Morningside | Credit: RF Photography

State leagues preview: Finals have arrived in Tassie and Queensland

IT’S a big weekend ahead with QAFL and TSL finals action happening and plenty up for grabs for teams in the SANFL and WAFL looking to cement places in their upcoming finals campaigns. We’ll take you through all the key matchups to look out for this weekend.

 

South Australia (SANFL):

Round 18 action continues after the first two matches of the split round were played last weekend, and there are some big finals ramifications on the line.

North Adelaide will have the chance of securing a double chance if they are to beat Norwood when they meet at Prospect Oval on Saturday. The Roosters are currently two points above the Redlegs, so a win in this matchup will not only see them finish in the top three, but it will also put the Redlegs in danger of missing finals all together. Rooster Lewis Hender kicked 6.2 in his side’s 92-point demolition of the Redlegs in round three, and an improved Norwood will still have to snap North Adelaide’s six-game winning streak if they are to keep the pressure on the third-placed side.

Sturt can jump above the Panthers (who have already played their 17th match) if they are to beat the second placed Eagles at home. Last time the two teams met it was the Menzel brothers who dominated the match kicking seven goals between them (Troy four, Daniel three) in a 46-point win to the Eagles.

In the other matchup, West Adelaide face the daunting task of hosting the undefeated Glenelg, and while they’ll be searching for their third win of the year, the Tigers will be looking to continue their form with finals fast approaching.

 

Tasmania (TSL):

The finals have arrived in Tassie with two mouth-watering clashes to look forward to. The top two sides Launceston and North Launceston will square off at Windsor Park with the winner progressing into the Grand Final, and the loser to play the winner of Clarence and the Tigers. The Blues have won two of the three meetings with the Northern Bombers this season, but with finals on the line a good contest is to be expected.

The Roos and Tigers will square off in a do or die contest, with both teams only having one chance of progressing to the next round. Clarence won the first meeting between these two teams, before the Tigers won the second and went on to win a great contest in round 19 by just five points, giving fans plenty to look forward to on Sunday. Josh Green has been kicking plenty of goals this season for the Roos and will be hoping to add to his tally here, while Luke Graham has been a focal point up forward for the Tigers.

 

Queensland (QAFL):

While the top two teams Labrador and Broadbeach will be enjoying a week off, Redland-Victoria Point (third) will face Maroochydore (sixth) in the first elimination final. Their last meeting in round seven ended with the Sharks winning by 16 points. Mitchell Scholard will be one that the Sharks will need to keep a close eye on with the Roos forward having booted 49 goals this season including five in their last battle. There should be a great contest in the ruck too with Jarrod Huddy (Sharks), who likes to drift forward and kick a goal, facing off against Jacob Simpson (Roos) whose ruck craft is as good as it gets.

In the second Elimination final, Surfers Paradise (fourth) come up against Morningside (fifth). The Demons won their last duel in round 11 by 15 points and will be looking for a repeat to progress to the semi-final. With 28 and 27 goals for the season, Demons forwards Brody Haberfield and Sam Hilton-Joyce will be looking to hit the scoreboard, while Ben Warren will be searching for a repeat of the round 11 contest where he bagged five goals.

 

Western Australia (WAFL):

Round 21 of the WAFL gets underway with the top five already decided, but plenty of spots up for grabs within the final five. South Fremantle and Swan Districts face off on Saturday in the only battle between two top five teams. The Swans will need to win to push up into double chance contention, while the Bulldogs are eying top spot if Subiaco are to slip up. Last time out, the Bulldogs won by 36 points, with Mason Shaw bagging five goals and Jacob Dragovich, Tom Blechynden and Haiden Schloithe all racking up 30+ touches.

Subiaco play East Perth at Leederville Oval as they look to bounce back after a loss to East Fremantle in their last outing. Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal each had three goals when the two sides last met. Meanwhile, West Perth face East Fremantle with both teams looking to make it three wins on the trot. The Falcons can still claim the minor premiership with wins in their final two matches.

Claremont host the last placed Eagles, with the Tigers also in that mix for the minor premiership. This contest is one Eagles midfielder Jye Bolton fancies averaging 39.5 disposals in the two sides’ last four meetings, including 49 touches in the round nine matchup.

In the other match Peel welcome quite a few AFL-listed players into the team after Fremantle’s season ended last week. Blake Acres, Bailey Banfield, Mitch Crowden, Lloyd Meek, and Joel Western are all listed to play alongside the recently delisted Tobe Watson against Perth at the David Grays Arena on Saturday.

 

Picture credit: WAFL