Category: Brisbane Lions Academy

2020 AFL Draft recap: Brisbane Lions

BRISBANE is a side on the up and pressing hard to hit the top of the pile, with its trade and draft hauls over the last couple of years indicative such movement. The Lions again went in holding an early-second rounder and built a hand thereafter which allowed them to match incoming bids on their academy talent, before also being able to make a couple other later selections. In the end, two of Brisbane’s homegrown talents landed at the club, while the Lions’ love affair with Vic Country products continued and a developing tall also entered the elite ranks.

BRISBANE

National Draft:
#24 Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies)
#43 Harry Sharp (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
#48 Henry Smith (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)

Rookies:
Grant Birchall (Re-listed), Carter Michael (Academy), Deividas Uosis (Cat B)

Brisbane’s first point of call came as Collingwood placed a first round bid on leading academy talent Blake Coleman, which had the Lions scrambling to adjust their hand. The bid, which Collingwood also flirted with its picks in the teens, was inevitably matched at 24 and Coleman was able to join his elder brother, Keidean in the maroon, blue, and gold. He promises to bring some spark to the Lions’ attacking 50 in the long term with clean hands, speed, and terrific goal sense among his greatest weapons as a small forward.

The Lions were next put on the clock in round three, where both of their remaining two National Draft selections were made. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels graduate Harry Sharp was the Lions’ seemingly ritual Vic Country pick this time around at 43, having made a name for himself by smashing the draft combine 2km time trial record (5:28) this year. He is a bolter of sorts with obvious running strengths and high upside in his midfield development. 202cm South Australian Henry Smith then rounded out the Lions’ haul just five selections later. He spent most of his SANFL Under 18s season as a key forward who rotated through the ruck, with his contested marking and efforts at ground level key traits to build off.

Looking at Brisbane’s rookie haul, Grant Birchall and Deividas Uosis made for selections which were already made known prior to the fact. Birchall was re-listed as he winds down a stellar AFL career, Uosis is an Irish convert to the code who was born in Lithuania and committed to the club in February this year. The latter was a Category B selection, with academy product Carter Michael put onto the Category A list despite not being called out in the Rookie Draft. He was a key feature for the Lions in this year’s Academy Series while also plying his trade off half-back and on both sides of midfield for Maroochydore in the QAFL. It made for a relatively straightforward rookie intake, with five fresh talents entering the club overall along with Birchall.

Featured Image: RF Photography

2020 AFLW Draft review: Club-by-club picks

THE dust has settled on the exciting 2020 AFL Women’s Draft. Over the next week we will be delving into each club’s selections and detailing more information about those players who earned places at the elite level. Below we have listed each club’s selections from last night’s draft if you are waking up to check out who your newest stars are.

Adelaide:

#4 – Teah Charlton (South Adelaide/Central Allies)
#45 – Rachelle Martin (West Adelaide)
#47 – Ashleigh Woodland (North Adelaide)

Brisbane:

#8 – Zimmorlei Farquharson (Yeronga South Brisbane/Queensland)
#37 – Indy Tahau (South Adelaide/Central Allies)
#38 – Ruby Svarc (Essendon VFLW)

Carlton:

#12 – Mimi Hill (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
#28 – Daisy Walker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
#36 – Winnie Laing (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Collingwood:

#19 – Tarni Brown (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
#25 – Amelia Velardo (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
#26 – Joanna Lin (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
#31 – Abbi Moloney (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
#33 – Pass

Fremantle:

#14 – Sarah Verrier (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
#30 – Mikayla Morrison (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
#46 – Tiah Haynes (Subiaco)

Geelong:

#10 – Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
#20 – Laura Gardiner (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
#21 – Olivia Barber (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
#27 – Stephanie Williams (Geelong Falcons/Darwin Buffettes)
#39 – Carly Remmos (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

Gold Coast:

#7 – Annise Bradfield (Southport/Queensland)
#23 – Sarah Perkins (Hawthorn VFLW)
#50 – Maddison Levi (Bond University/Queensland)
#54 – Janet Baird (Palmerston Magpies)
#57 – Lucy Single (Bond University)
#58 – Elizabeth Keaney (Southern Saints VFLW)
#60 – Daisy D’Arcy (Hermit Park/Queensland)
#61 – Wallis Randell (Bond University)

GWS GIANTS:

#9 – Tarni Evans (Queanbeyan Tigers/ACT)
#29 – Emily Pease (Belconnen Magpies/Eastern Allies)
#42 – Libby Graham (Manly Warringah Wolves)

Melbourne:

#5 – Alyssa Bannan (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
#15 – Eliza McNamara (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
#17 – Maggie Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
#35 – Megan Fitzsimon (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
#41 – Mietta Kendall (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
#48 – Isabella Simmons (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)

North Melbourne:

#13 – Bella Eddey (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
#22 – Alice O’Loughlin (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
#44 – Georgia Hammond (Darebin Falcons VFLW)
#49 – Brooke Brown (Launceston)
#55 – Amy Smith (Aberfeldie)

Richmond:

#1 – Ellie McKenzie (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
#43 – Tessa Lavey (WNBL)
#52 – Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons/Richmond VFLW)

St Kilda:

#6 – Tyanna Smith (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
#24 – Alice Burke (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
#34 – Renee Saulitis (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
#40 – Jacqueline Vogt (Southern Saints VFLW)
#51 – Pass

West Coast:

#3 – Bella Lewis (Claremont/Western Australia)
#18 – Shanae Davison (Swan Districts/WA)
#32 – Julie-Anne Norrish (East Fremantle)
#53 – Andrea Gilmore (Claremont)
#56 – Pass
#59 – Pass

Western Bulldogs:

#2 – Jess Fitzgerald (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
#11 – Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
#16 – Isabelle Pritchard (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

AFL Women’s Draft preview: Brisbane Lions & Gold Coast Suns

THE AFL Women’s Draft is fast approaching and in the lead-up to the draft, we take a look at each of the AFL women’s sides in pairs and see what they might look for, and who might be available with the selections they have. Next up in our series are the two sides from Queensland, in Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns.

Brisbane Lions – Queensland pool

Draft selections: 8, 37, 38, 51, 52

Off-season summary:

Brisbane had a relatively quiet off-season, picking up just the one player in Queensland Taylor Smith who crossed from their southern neighbours in Gold Coast, whilst also gaining picks 37 and 51, losing Pick 24. In terms of their list changes, the Lions delisted Bri McFarlane and Hannah Millman, whilst Arianna Clarke retired.

This made for minimal chances on the primary list, effectively only losing two on difference. The Lions also picked up Courtney Hodder who as a former AFL Women’s National Academy member, could be a huge inclusion taking up the sport again from rugby union. Unlikely to use all their picks at the draft due to list numbers, the Lions will head into the draft second in the pecking order from their state.

A draft look:

The name who has been talked up the last few years at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships and is finally in her top-age year is Zimmorlei Farquharson. The most exciting player in the draft, Farquharson is capable of the impossible in the air or ground level, and while she has been piecing together consistent games over the past few seasons, she has been playing at the elite junior level for a few years now. Her huge game for Yeronga South Brisbane on the weekend helped the Devils reach the 2020 QAFL Women’s Grand Final.

Other Lions Academy players who have stood out at QAFL Women’s’ level this season include Maroochydore’s Chloe Gregory, Coorparoo’s Chelsea Chesterfield and Aspley’s Izzy Kotatis. Of course they could look to bring in some extra experience such as versatile Yeronga and former Carlton VFL Women’s co-captain, Courtney Bromage. She has enjoyed a consistent season and is still only 21-years-old, while Madison Goodwin has been another Devils forward shining this season.

Gold Coast Suns – Queensland pool

Draft selections: 7, 23, 56

Off-season summary:

Like Brisbane, Gold Coast remained a relatively settled side after making finals in the Suns’ first season in the AFL Women’s. They made a number of list changes by delisting Georgia Breward, Alexia Hamilton, Tayla Thorn and Kitara Farrar, while Maddy Roberts retired. Smith headed north to the Lions and Charlotte Hammans flew south to join Carlton, while St Kilda’s Alison Drennan was the sole inclusion for the Suns during the trade period.

It has allowed the Suns to be fairly flexible when it comes to picking up new players, with the AFL Women’s Sarah Black reporting that former Adelaide and Hawthorn forward, Sarah Perkins had nominated Queensland as her state of preference, so she could well be on the Suns’ radar as a forward target. They need more experience to add to their youth, and she could be a good fit inside 50.

A draft look:

In theory, the Academies do not guarantee only players from their respective academies, so the Suns holding the first selection in the draft could swoop on Farquharson or anyone they wish in the open Queensland draft. Though they also have the player with the largest endurance base across the board in their Academy with Daisy D’Arcy a standout prospect. She is a consistent all-round player and won the yo-yo test in the preseason by so much, she was left doing laps by herself for some time. The male and female testing is done differently, but her score was the equivalent of a 22.1 – absolute elite.

Another couple of AFL Women’s National Academy members who earned Draft Combine invites are Bond University’s Maddison Levi, and Southport’s Annise Bradfield. Both have come through the Queensland pathway system and have shown great promise in the AFL Women’s Under 18s level in past seasons. Also standing out in the QAFL Women’s competition was Coolangatta Tweed’s Ebony Peterson who also earned a Draft Combine invite. Throw in the likes of fellow Academy members Jasmyn Davison, Annie Muir and Keyshia Matenga who all had strong seasons, and the Suns Academy have plenty to pick from.

As an overall look at other Queensland options, Beth Pinchin is a lynchpin defender who captained the Suns Academy and could be ready to make the next step up, whilst a couple of dual-sport academy members Lucy Single (rugby 7s and karate) and Laura Blue (soccer) both earned invites, as did Coorparoo’s inside midfielder, Brooke Spence.

Out to impress: QAFL Seniors Grand Final preview – Broadbeach vs. Morningside

AFTER nine regular season rounds and two enthralling weeks of finals, it all comes down to this. Undefeated minor premier, Broadbeach meets Morningside (2nd, 7-1) in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Grand Final on Saturday afternoon, and there is plenty of young talent primed to impact on the big stage.

In a new-look QAFL preview, Draft Central again narrows its focus to the young guns in action across the two best sides in the competition, including a bunch of Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academy products. We take a look at who shone when the sides previously met in 2020, while also touching on the strengths of some budding AFL Draft prospects in action.

2020 QAFL Grand Final

Broadbeach vs. Morningside
Saturday, September 26 | 2:30pm
Leyshon Park, Yeronga

Previous meeting…

Round 9 – Broadbeach 13.16 (94) def. Morningside 6.8 (44)

GOALS:

Broadbeach: C. Nutting 3, C. Cameron 3, J. Moncrieff 2, J. Fisher 2, R. Gilmore, B. Chadwick, B. Reeves
Morningside: L. Edwards 2, M. Hammelmann, S. Crozier, E. Mallan, B. Coleman

BEST:

Broadbeach: K. Boakye, E. Reeves, M. Lower, C. Cameron, B. Lowe, S. Mills
Morningside: W. Pendlebury, E. Mallan, L. Russ, R. William, B. Kethro, H. Joyce

It took until the final home-and-away round for the season’s two undefeated outfits to meet, with Broadbeach the side which would stand clear after a statement-making 50-point victory. The Cats’ range of scoring options ensure they pulled away strongly in the second half, overcoming some early woes in front of goal to put Morningside to the sword. Usual suspect and former Gold Coast forward Connor Nutting booted three goals in the winning effort, with fellow SUNS Academy graduate Ryan Gilmore and Bailey Reeves also hitting the scoreboard. For the Panthers, who showed plenty of room for improvement, current Brisbane Academy prospects Saxon Crozier and Blake Coleman also found the big sticks, but 24-year-old leading goalkicker Matt Hammelmann was kept to just one major in a big tick for Broadbeach’s defence.

The finals journey…

After both earning a week’s rest as the top two ranked teams, the preliminary finals proved a relatively straightforward stage for either side. Broadbeach scrapped to beat Sherwood, who employed some defensive tactics, to the tune of 43 points to book its spot in the decider. It should prove a handy tune-up for the Cats as their defence held up well, though the finishing up forward could do with some sharpening. Meanwhile, Morningside held off a pesky Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC) to advance via a 19-point victory. Crozier, Coleman, and Hammelmann were all again among the goals, but Victorian recruit Matthew McGannon was named best afield for his efforts through midfield. The Panthers will need another big effort from their forwards this coming Saturday.

Ones to watch…

A race against time will determine whether leading Queensland draft prospect Alex Davies returns to action for Broadbeach. The big-bodied inside midfielder has only managed one outing for the Cats in 2020, and is recovering from an elbow injury which saw him miss the Academy Series. It could be a risk to play him ahead of next month’s draft combine, but he would add clean extraction skills in what is usually the most hotly contested game of the season.

Conversely, another current SUNS Academy player in Aiden Fyfe promises to break the game open for Broadbeach, with his sharp ball use by foot and outside run making for valuable assets when the Cats are in need of a spark. Set to be stationed either off half-back or on the wing, Fyfe looms as a good counter to some of Morningside’s runners. Namely, Saxon Crozier‘s capacity to penetrate on the outer will be a key to much of the Panthers’ success, along with Blake Coleman‘s creativity in attack. Both make up two of the leading Lions Academy prospects for 2020, and have adjusted well to senior football.

Staying with the midfield battle, Broadbeach’s Bailey Reeves has a good mix of ball-winning traits both inside and out, and should battle well against the likes of Toby Triffett and Matthew McGannon, two of Morningside’s prime movers. Up forward, livewire small Josh Gore will look to go big having turned heads in his over-age year. The SUNS Academy graduate should keep a Panthers defence which boasts Nathan Colenso busy alongside the likes of Connor Nutting and Ryan Gilmore. Both Gore and Nutting have booted 17 goals this season.

Tip: Broadbeach by 15

Featured Image: Broadbeach young guns Alex Davies and Josh Gore celebrate after a goal | Source: Russell Freeman Photography

QAFL Scouting notes: Semi-finals – Morningside and Broadbeach book spots in decider

IT was semi-final weekend in the QAFL, and the competition’s two best sides performed superbly after their week off. Broadbeach were far too good for Sherwood, keeping them to just four goals in a 43-point victory. Morningside led comfortably for the majority of their clash against Palm Beach Currumbin on the back of strong performances from Matthew McGannon, Nathan Colenso and William Pendlebury. They ran out 19-point winners, thus ending Palm Beach’s recent stranglehold on Grand Final day and setting up a blockbuster. It will be Morningside’s first QAFL decider since 2015, while the undefeated Broadbeach will be hoping to avenge their 2018 Grand Final defeat. When the two teams played each other earlier this month, Broadbeach got the chocolates with a thumping 50-point victory. This was a Broadbeach home game and Morningside’s only loss of the season to date, so fans should expect a closer contest next Saturday.

MORNINGSIDE:

#23 Blake Coleman

Coleman has had a fantastic draft year and put in another impressive performance against Palm Beach. The Brisbane Lions Academy prospect started the game on fire, kicking the first goal of the match just two minutes in. This came from a set shot after he earnt a free kick for a hold in a one-on-one contest deep inside forward 50. Coleman is such a dangerous threat in one-on-one situations because of his amazing combination of strength, speed and agility, so his defenders often panic in these situations and give away cheap free kicks. Coleman showed how skilled he is when he produced a brilliant handball in the first term on the up, out of congestion, to a teammate in the corridor. This started some great running play by his teammates and resulted in a goal. Coleman has great versatility too, because he can fly aerially with his fantastic leap or stay down and use his pace to crumb the contest. Despite predominantly being a forward, he usually also gets some midfield minutes because he is a clever stoppage player. However, he was not given many opportunities in the middle on Saturday.

#27 Saxon Crozier

This was one of the best games I have seen Crozier play, which speaks volumes given that it was a semi-final. He played his usual wing role and ran very hard to impact the contest offensively and defensively. Crozier pushed forward on multiple occasions to take uncontested marks inside 50 and earn shots at goal. Although he missed one shot in the first term, he made up for it with a lovely set shot in the third. Crozier’s great fitness level and willingness to push to the next contest made him very difficult for the opposition to stop, as he got a lot of handball receives and frequently found himself with plenty of space on the wings. He has clearly mastered the art of controlling possession as well, as he chipped the ball around a lot in the defensive half with teammates. This helped his side regain composure when Palm Beach started to get back into the game, and it was handy in the last quarter because it took some time off the clock. Crozier’s performance was fantastic and he will undoubtedly be one to watch in next week’s Grand Final.

#32 Nathan Colenso

Colenso had an outstanding game at half-forward for Morningside. He started the match with a beautiful front and centre crumb on the 50, and then quickly gave the ball on the up to a teammate running past. This early possession gave him some confidence, and it led to him flourishing for the rest of the match. His game style is very well suited to finals footy, as he shows a lot of aggression towards the contest and his opponents when they have the ball. This was highlighted when he laid a strong tackle in the forward half to earn a holding the ball decision in the first term. Colenso is a great long kick of the footy, as shown when he nailed a set shot from just inside the 50-metre arc. He followed this up just moments later by setting up another goal with a lovely weighted kick to a teammate. Throughout the day, Colenso applied some strong forward pressure and used his strength to shrug off tacklers and keep his feet after contact. His body use in marking contests was fantastic and he linked up well with other forwards, including Coleman and Liam Dwyer, to set up scoring opportunities. Colenso had a passage of play in the second quarter that was definitely one for the highlight reel. It started at half-back when he took the ball cleanly, drew an oncoming tackler and fed the handball inside to a teammate. He then pushed hard forward to get on the end of the play and kick an important goal for his side on the run. Colenso was a strong contributor for Morningside and he will be hoping to thrive once again in next week’s decider.

#35 Toby Triffett

Triffett had some good moments for Morningside in their victory. In the first term, he took a fantastic overhead mark on the wing whilst under pressure and linked up well with teammates to transition the ball forward. He spent time in the midfield throughout the day, where he read the ball nicely off the hands of the ruckmen and won some contested possessions and clearances. In the second half, he laid plenty of strong tackles and gave no space to his opponents at stoppages. He capped off the game with a smart kick inside 50 to find Dwyer in the last quarter for a scoring opportunity.

BROADBEACH:

#31 Aidan Fyfe

Fyfe is an athletic half-back that played his usual intercepting role beautifully for Broadbeach. He has a great leap and strong hands, and he sits off his opponent while getting into great positions behind the play so he can use these attributes to stop the opposition’s forward bursts. This was evident just before quarter time when he took a brilliant intercept mark in the middle of the ground and delivered the ball nicely to forward Jordan Moncrieff. Although Moncrieff’s marking attempt was well spoiled by a defender, the play still led to Broadbeach’s fourth goal of the day. Fyfe is a good ball user in defence, as he has an effective left foot kick and can also deliver cleanly on his right. He is a crafty player as well, which was shown when he cleverly snapped a pass around an opponent to find a teammate on the wing in the second quarter.

#35 Josh Gore

Gore was very lively up forward once again for the Cats. He applied some great forward pressure by using his electric pace and strong tackling ability. At forward 50 stoppages he frequently burst through the contest at speed and took opposition players with him, thus creating space for his teammates. Gore was also good at pushing up to the wings to provide a lead-up option for teammates coming out of defence. He was confident taking marks in the hands and his kicking was quite efficient. Gore only kicked one goal for the day, but it was an absolute gem in the second quarter. He drifted off his opponent into the pocket to take a nice mark, then he went back and kicked a difficult checkside from tight on the boundary. This gave Broadbeach a healthy lead and they never looked back.

#56 Bailey Reeves

Reeves had a solid impact for his team on the wing. He is one of the hardest runners offensively and defensively in the Broadbeach side, and his willingness to produce second, third and fourth efforts was on show once again in this game. This was particularly evident in the second quarter, when Reeves worked hard to get across and commit an important spoil inside his side’s attacking 50. He also regularly picked the ball up cleanly, held his own in marking contests and attacked the footy with ferocity. Although he did make some disposal errors as the day wore on, he never dropped his head and always worked to redeem himself at the next contest.

SHERWOOD:

#45 Jack Briskey

Briskey was one of Sherwood’s best performers on Saturday. He played as a deep defender for most of the match and was extremely reliable, frequently using his size and strength to win or halve one-on-one contests. Broadbeach were great at locking the ball in their forward half and getting repeat inside 50s, so Briskey and the other Sherwood defenders were under constant pressure all day. Despite this, Briskey continually stepped up for his team defensively. He always positioned himself well, gave his opponent no space to work with and saved some certain goals with fantastic spoils. Briskey also laid some strong tackles in the defensive 50, attacked the ball hard in congestion and provided an option for teammates to link up with coming out of defence. While his performance was mostly strong, Briskey did make some skill errors throughout the day. In the third term, he took a brilliant intercept mark in the defensive goal square but immediately turned the ball back over with a poor kick down the middle, luckily resulting in just a behind. In the final term, Briskey was pushed forward to give his side a strong leading option. He took some nice marks and provided a decent presence up there, but unfortunately it was too little too late for Sherwood.

Picture: RF Photography

Out to impress: QAFL Seniors weekend preview – Semi Finals

AFTER nine regular season rounds and a bumper elimination weekend, semi-finals time has arrived in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL). Week two of the postseason sees the top couple of sides return from a week off; as undefeated minor premier, Broadbeach hosts Sherwood (4th, 4-4), while Morningside (2nd, 7-1) takes on Palm Beach Currumbin (3rd, 6-2).

In a new-look QAFL preview, Draft Central again narrows its focus to the young guns who will look to make a splash on the big stage this weekend. Get to know the prominent Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academy players set to take the field, as well as the other young prospects who have impressed over the course of the season.

Semi Final 1:

Broadbeach vs. Sherwood
Saturday, September 19 | 2:30pm
Subaru Oval, Broadbeach

Sherwood will hope an upset is brewing when it travels to face undefeated minor premier, Broadbeach on Saturday. While the Cats were able to put their feet up in a well-earned bye week, the Magpies toiled for a five-point win in their knockout clash with Maroochydore. The competitive nature of the game should bode well for the underdogs, who could jump the highly-fancied hosts out the gates. Conversely, it could see Broadbeach come in the much fresher side.

The Cats’ bench is littered with young talent, headlined by prolific goalkicking small, Josh Gore. The crafty forward booted four majors in the Round 4 meeting between these two sides in 2020, so will again look to make a splash. Fellow Gold Coast SUNS Academy members Aiden Fyfe and Bailey Reeves join Gore on the five-man interchange, both top-aged prospects. Fyfe is a terrific user of the ball on the outer, while Reeves can play both sides of midfield and find plenty of the pill. 20-year-old SUNS Academy graduates Connor Nutting and Ryan Gilmore have both been named up forward for Broadbeach. Meanwhile, leading Queensland prospect Alex Davis remains on the sidelines with an elbow injury.

Over-age Brisbane Lions Academy gun Bruce Reville again takes his spot up on the wing for Sherwood, looking to provide plenty of drive going forward. Look for him to potentially rotate through the front six, or even into the centre bounces should the Magpies require a spark. Raw 20-year-old tall Samson Ryan will ply his trade in the ruck, with the ultra-athletic Jack Briskey set to provide some key position support from the bench. Fellow Lions Academy top-ager Connor Bulley has been named as an emergency for Sherwood.

Semi Final 2:

Morningside vs. Palm Beach Currumbin
Saturday, September 19 | 2:30pm
Jack Esplen Oval, Morningside

Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC) will be tasked with completing a 52-point turnaround against Morningside since the two sides’ previous clash in Round 8, as they meet again at the semi-final stage. The Lions enjoyed a 50-plus point win of their own to advance to this stage, having finished just one game shy of the Panthers in third. Last week’s hitout puts PBC in winning form, but is hardly the competitive finals outing they may have sought before this clash.

A couple of leading Brisbane Lions Academy prospects – Blake Coleman and Saxon Crozier – again take their place in the Panthers’ side. Coleman will look to rotate forward off the bench, providing clean hands and speed at all levels. Crozier will ply his trade off half-back with a booming kick and outside run in his arsenal. Another academy product, Toby Triffett comes in on the bench alongside Coleman, while Nathan Colenso has been named at full back, and 20-year-old Gippsland Power graduate Matthew McGannon roams through midfield.

Exciting smalls Ethan Hunt and Liam O’Brien will look to provide plenty of drive for PBC on the outside, having both fit in on the Lions’ interchange alongside 19-year-old Ashton Crossley. Top-age Gold Coast Academy prospect Jack Johnston comes in at centre half-back and will have his hands full, while Riley Buckland is another to keep an eye on with his run and attack in the forward half. Former Northern Knight Jamison Shea, who averages over two goals per game, should also make an impact in the front six.

Featured Image: Blake Coleman hunts the ball for Morningside | Source: RF Photography

QAFL Player focus: Carter Michael (Maroochydore/Brisbane Lions Academy)

IN our latest edition of the Player Focus, we take a look at how Brisbane Lions Academy prospect Carter Michael fared in Maroochydore’s QAFL Elimination Final against Sherwood. Although his side went down by five points, Michael showed glimpses of why Brisbane fans should be excited about his potential. His strongest asset is his booming left foot kick, which makes him an ideal person to take the kick ins for his side. Most of his disposals in Saturday’s final came from kick ins as a result, but he had some effective moments in general play as well.

Q1:

Despite spending time in the midfield during last week’s clash, Michael started this game on his customary half-back flank. He was in the thick of the action straight away, running past for a handball receive that did not quite him as he would have liked. Once the ball hit the deck, he dove into congestion to cause a stoppage. He started the game with a defensive approach, as he stayed very tight on his opponent and did not run off to provide an attacking option as much as usual. At a stoppage in the defensive 50, Michael won a contested possession but was immediately tackled for a ball up. A few minutes later, he ran hard in transition to pick up a loose ball in defensive 50, got the arms free of an oncoming tackler and dished out a handball.

After a Sherwood behind, Michael took the kick in and used his booming left foot to get the ball to a contest just in behind centre wing, and it trickled over the boundary line. He tried to be more conservative with his next kick in by going short to the pocket, but uncharacteristically he missed his target and it went out on the full. With his next one, Michael chose to go long to a contest down the line. Sherwood kicked 14 points for the match and Michael received 11 or 12 extra kicks as a result.

Late in the quarter, Michael started to get more involved in the game. Shortly after laying a solid tackle in defensive 50 to stop Sherwood’s forward momentum and force a stoppage, he ran around the back of a teammate that received a free kick and delivered a beautiful short pass to a teammate leading up on the wing. When Sherwood next went inside 50, he flew as a third man up into a marking contest to spoil the ball nicely over the boundary line.

Q2:

Michael had a very quiet second term. He took a kick in at the seven-minute mark and went long down the middle and hit ruckman Jacob Simpson lace out. This kick was fantastic because it opened up the game for his side and cleared the defensive zone.

He also had a nice moment where he contested a mark at half-back, collected the ball with one take at ground level and then dished it forwards cleanly to two running teammates. This started a great passage of offensive transition play which resulted in a goal over the back of Sherwood’s defence. Although Michael did not have any impact for the remainder of the quarter, his side was playing well and went into half time with a 10-point lead.

Q3:

Michael took another kick in early in the third where he went long down the line. Although it was marked by the opposition, this was because his teammate did not read the flight of the ball well. From his next kick in a minute later, he went up the middle and found a teammate in the centre square in between three Sherwood players. This was an incredibly difficult kick to pinpoint, yet he had the confidence to go for it (in a tight elimination final, no less) and executed it effectively which was outstanding.

His next kick was from an out-on-the-full free kick in the back pocket, from which he cleared the defensive zone and found a teammate on the wing. Although most of his kicks were great, at this stage they were all coming from behinds or other free kicks, which showed that Michael was struggling to find his own footy in general play.

At the 11-minute mark, Michael ran back to take a nice intercept mark in front of Sherwood’s Zane Lovell. He followed it up by delivering a nice short kick to a teammate on the wing. From his next kick in, Michael smartly ran wide to push the defenders in that direction before pulling his kick straight down the corridor to find teammate Thomas Holt. It was very windy at this point, so Michael’s ability to hit a flat 50 metre kick was very handy for his side coming out of defence.

Michael went up for another intercept mark in defence shortly after, but he and his teammate got in each other’s way. Fortunately for them, the crumber for Sherwood only snapped a behind. With that kick in, he went long to a contest on the wing. A few minutes later, Michael got a handball receive and fumbled it, but cleaned up his own mess and handballed back to an open teammate.

There was a lot of spice in the game late in this quarter, and the ball was consistently locked in Maroochydore’s defensive 50. Sherwood failed to take their chances though, so Michael had a couple more kick ins where he just went long to one-on-one contests on the wing. He and the other defenders held up well under immense pressure and got their side to three quarter time with a 20-point lead.

Picture: RF Photography


Q4:

At the opening centre bounce of the final term, Michael came off the back of the square, collected the ball cleanly, used his pace to break away with a few quick steps and delivered the ball inside 50. This is the type of running play that Michael has done well in the last few weeks but did not do often on Saturday. After the next stoppage, Sherwood got the ball forward but Michael worked back to take the ball cleanly and dish it out the back to a teammate.

From a kick in, Michael found a teammate 50 metres away for an uncontested mark. This was an important kick to hit because Sherwood had just slotted back-to-back goals so his side was under the pump. At the 12-minute mark, Michael gave an important handball over the top to start a link-up chain for his side down the wing. Shortly after, he affected a spoil on his opponent that was leading up at the ball carrier. Michael had two more kick ins where he simply bombed it long down the line to a contest, which was definitely the safest option at the time given that his side was only up by a goal.

When Sherwood kicked another goal and took the lead, Maroochydore’s coaching staff immediately threw Michael into the midfield. This demonstrated how much trust they have in him as a young player, and he rewarded them by having a decent impact in there. He got a couple of quick touches, rushed an important kick forward and applied good body pressure on the opposition. On the back of good midfield work from Michael and others, Maroochydore had multiple shots on goal and took a one point lead late in the quarter. However, they could not capitalise on the hard work by kicking a goal.

Sherwood and former Brisbane Lions player Ryan Harwood then kicked a miraculous goal from a stoppage in Sherwood’s forward pocket to put them five points ahead. A few minutes later, the siren sounded and Sherwood ran out victors in a thriller.

Closing Thoughts:

Competing in an elimination final at League level will prove valuable experience for Michael, as this level of football is not something that many young prospects get exposed to. His skills were typically outstanding throughout the game, and there is no doubt that his left foot will be a major weapon at any level of football that he plays. He has shown in recent weeks that he is also a good contested player, but he did not get many opportunities to showcase this on Saturday. In saying that, it was great to see Michael get some midfield time late in the contest after his inspired bursts in that role last weekend. Although half-back is probably his strongest position at this stage, he has a great size and speed that could help him become a very effective midfielder in the years to come.

For more news and updates about the AFL Draft, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

Out to impress: QAFL Seniors weekend preview – Elimination Finals

AFTER nine regular season rounds, finals time has arrived in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL), with the top six sides set to battle it out for premiership glory. Week one provides a pair of elimination finals, as Sherwood (4th, 4-4) hosts Maroochydore (5th, 4-4), while Palm Beach Currumbin (3rd, 6-2) takes on Mt Gravatt (6th, 3-5). Undefeated minor premier Broadbeach and second-placed Morningside (7-1) await in the semi finals stage, and have both earned a week off.

In a new-look QAFL preview, Draft Central narrows its focus to the young guns who will look to make a splash on the big stage this weekend. Get to know the prominent Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academy players set to take the field, as well as the other young prospects who have impressed over the course of the season.

Elimination Final 1:

Sherwood vs. Maroochydore
Saturday, September 12 | 2:00pm
McCarthy Homes Oval

Two sides with identical records will do battle as Sherwood takes on Maroochydore in the first elimination final, set to play out at McCarthy Homes Oval. The clash serves as somewhat of a reverse fixture to the clubs’ Round 6 meeting, which the ‘Roos won by 31 points on home turf. Despite that result, it’s the Magpies who hold a superior ladder position on account of their percentage buffer.

Bruce Reville is a name which jumps off the hosts’ team sheet, named at half-forward. An over-aged Brisbane Lions Academy member, Reville ran out in this year’s Academy Series in between his five outings for Sherwood. Listed at 185cm, Reville is a smooth moving and versatile prospect who can play both sides of midfield, and find the goals while stationed up forward. He proved as much with two goals against Labrador last week and his run-and-carry could serve to open up the contested nature of finals football.

Fellow Lions Academy products Jack Briskey and Connor Bulley have both been named as emergencies for the Magpies, while former academy ruckman Samson Ryan has been tasked with the ruck duties. Briskey, a promising athlete with raw potential, faces a fight to squeeze back into the side despite recently earning a National Combine invite.

Potentially a matchup for Reville on Maroochydore’s side is Carter Michael, one of the leading Lions AFL Draft prospects in 2020. The 187cm left-footer moves well and while he may start on the wing, can also move to half-back or into the midfield. Another couple of academy products will line up for the ‘Roos, with 19-year-old bigman Max McDonald named on the bench, while top-ager Ben Thomas slots in at half-back for just his third game at the level in 2020.

This game promises to be a cracker, with both sides evenly matched across the park and some young talent primed to make an impact. With even more prospects waiting in the wings for a late change, all of the aforementioned players could prove game-changers for either side.

Elimination Final 2:

Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Mt Gravatt
Saturday, September 12 | 2:00pm
Salk Oval

Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC) will fancy its chances of advancing into week two of finals, but can take nothing for granted as Mt Gravatt comes to town. The Lions are the top-ranked side in action this week, and come up against the only finalist with a negative record. The Vultures will be up against it, especially given they went down to PBC by 48 points just last week.

18-year-old Liam O’Brien is among the young Lions to be taking the field, named alongside former Suns Academy midfielder Ashton Crossley on the bench. O’Brien is a state Under 16 representative who can craft on the outside, while Crossley provides a big body on the inside. The Lions have also named Riley Buckland, a promising 19-year-old who has played into some great late-season form and retains his senior spot. Ethan Hunt was not so lucky, listed as an emergency after seven top flight appearances.

Diminutive, but tough Lions Academy bottom-agers Lochlan Harrop and Sam Winterbottom are both set to line up for Mt Gravatt, named in the midfield and forwardline respectively. Harrop should bring some good hardness and versatility to the fore, while Winterbottom is a classy small who could wreak havoc inside 50. Others around the academy traps to be named include Ethan Kerr (interchange) and Zac Young (half-forward). While the deck is stacked against Mt Gravatt, the Vultures’ young talent should benefit from the finals experience, and give it a red-hot crack against good opposition. The Lions’ experience depth bode well for them after a solid regular season. They’ll be raring to go.

Featured Image: PBC’s Ashton Crossley gets a kick away | Credit: Jerad Williams/Gold Coast Bulletin

QAFL scouting notes and wraps: Round 9 – Cats seal top spot as finals order determined

BROADBEACH solidified itself as the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) premiership favourite following a 50-point victory over second placed Morningside in the final round on the weekend. The victory guaranteed the Cats top spot and the minor premiership, whilst the Panthers finished second. Palm Beach Currumbin locked up third spot with a comprehensive win over Mt Gravatt, while Maroochydore and Sherwood both picked up vital wins ahead of finals.

In the top of the table clash between the Cats and Panthers, Broadbeach overcame an inaccurate start of just 1.7 in the opening term, to boot 12.9 after that, and run away with a 50-point win. The Panthers booted four last quarter goals, bu still fell well short despite the efforts of Will Pendlebury and Edward Mallan. Clay Cameron and Connor Nutting both kicked three goals apiece, while Kwaby Boakye, Ethan Reeves and Max Lower were named the Cats’ best in the win.

Palm Beach Currumbin enjoyed a comprehensive eight-goal win over Mt Gravatt, booting nine goals in the first half on their way to a strong 15.12 (102) to 7.12 (54) victory. Max Spencer was best on ground with five majors, while Jamison Shea (four) and Brayden Crossley (three) also stood out. For the Vultures, Jonah Licht was a shining light in attack, snagging five goals, while Joel Leahy and Todd Carbone were named among the best. The win knocked Mt Gravatt down to sixth, which means the two sides face off again this weekend.

Maroochydore ensured it booked itself a finals spot and avoided sixth placed with a 37-point triumph over Surfers Paradise. It was the final nail in the reigning premiers coffin, as the Demons failed to make finals after holding the cup aloft last year. Mitchell Scholard continued his goalkicking form this season with three goals for the Roos, as Carter Michael was one of four players to kick a couple of goals, but was also named among the best with Jacob Simpson. For the Demons, Max Pescud kicked a couple of majors, named in the best with Jack Prestegar and Daniel Charlesworth.

In the final game of the round, Sherwood nabbed fourth spot courtesy of a hard-fought 18-point win over Labrador. The Magpies did the bulk of the work in the opening term, booting six goals from 14 scoring shots to lead by 32 points at quarter time. The Tigers cut the deficit to eight by the main break but Sherwood was the better side after half-time, booting four goals to three, and dominating possession in what could have been a larger margin in the 11.18 (84) to 10.6 (66) – 13 more scoring shots. Liam Dawson kicked the three majors in the win, while Claye Beams and Bruce Reville were named among the best booting a couple each, and Errin Wasley-Black was named best on ground. For the Tigers, Blair Rubock snagged four majors and Bryce Retzlaff kicked three, while Thomas Miller was deemed best.

SCOUTING NOTES:

The following scouting notes focused on the top of the table clash, Broadbeach vs. Morningside and the last-chance saloon sixth-against-seventh Surfers Paradise vs. Maroochydore.

Blake Coleman (Morningside) [Brisbane Lions Academy]

Coleman backed up his outstanding game last week with another strong performance in a losing side. He started the game well by impacting clearances and creating some effective link-up play through the middle of the ground. Coleman always provided an option for teammates moving the ball forward and has a clean grab, evidenced by a nice mark in the hands from a kick out in the first quarter. He has a great leaping ability and is very athletic for his size, so opposition players have trouble defending him in the air.

Coleman drifted out of the game in the second term but had a solid second half. He spent most of his time up forward and rolled through the midfield in short bursts. His impact as a midfielder was more profound, as he won plenty of contested possessions and always picked the ball up cleanly. This was highlighted when he burst through a stoppage at pace, plucked the ball off the ground one-handed and got the clearance in the last term.

He did have his moments as a forward despite the minimal opportunities. This included a nice front and square in the third quarter and a great mark he took in the goal square just minutes later. He got the mark by reading the flight of the ball better than anyone else, and then he finished off the good work by putting the goal through. Morningside were a long way behind in the last term, but Coleman never stopped working tirelessly. This was validated when he produced a magnificent run-down tackle in the final term to cause a turnover (holding the ball) in the middle of the ground. He did well to not fall in the player’s back as well, as his momentum could have easily launched him forward and caused him to give away a free kick. Coleman will play a major role for Morningside this finals series.

Saxon Crozier (Morningside) [Brisbane Lions Academy]

Crozier drifted in and out of the game on Saturday but still showed some positive signs. He played on a wing most of the time and worked hard defensively and offensively to get involved in the contest. When the ball was in his area, Crozier attacked it hard and won some strong contested footy. He gave some nice handballs in congestion and positioned himself well defensively. Morningside continually bombed the ball forward though rather than looking for runners, so this meant Crozier was unable to provide much of the link-up run that he is known for. In the second term, he took a nice intercept mark, won a 50-metre penalty and put through the set shot from about 40 out to kick his side’s first goal for the day.

Nathan Colenso (Morningside) [Gold Coast Suns Academy]

Colenso played up forward for most of the game, and it was a very tough day to be a Morningside forward. The delivery was rushed and rarely to Colenso’s advantage, so he never had much of a chance to make a major impact. To his credit, he did not drop his head and worked very hard to keep providing an option and apply pressure on the opposition. Late in the game he got thrown into the midfield to try and give his side a much-needed spark, and he had some nice moments where he picked the ball up cleanly and dished it out to teammates. When he gets the footy he always looks to move it quickly, which is important at half-forward because it means other forwards can get one-on-one opportunities before the opposition flood their numbers back.

Bailey Reeves (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns Academy]

Reeves played as a defensive wingman and was absolutely outstanding. He has a fantastic work rate and was more than willing to put his head over the footy, take contact and create space for his teammates. Reeves positioned himself well around the contest so that he could impact at clearances but also could spread quickly into open space when his side won the footy. Second and third efforts are a trademark of Reeves’ game, as he never gives up on a contested situation, never stops running and always follows up his possessions.

As the commentators noted during the match, Reeves’ kicking is known to let him down at times. However, his short kicking was reasonably effective in this match and he delivered some very nice inside 50s to the advantage of his teammates. One of these was in the final term, where he demonstrated that he has good vision by finding an open teammate inside on the 45. Reeves also collected some nice half-volleys in congestion and impacted aerial contests with some excellent spoils.

In the final term, Reeves had a great moment that exemplified the type of player he is. He stood under a high-ball on the 50-metre arc and got crashed into by others flying for the mark. While he could have stayed down, he popped straight back up and hunted the footy, immediately winning a contested ball amongst a big pack of players. For his efforts, he won a free kick and then went back and kicked a well-deserved goal. Reeves will be very important for Broadbeach throughout the finals series.

Josh Gore (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns Academy]

Gore had a strong game for the Cats. He is a lively forward that impacted the game in multiple ways, but mainly through his pressure inside 50. Gore used his pace to make the opposition panic when coming out of defence, highlighted in the second quarter when he laid two strong aggressive tackles to win holding the ball decisions. He also used his pace to consistently get to ideal crumbing positions and break away from opponents when he got the ball. Gore showed great composure in the final term when he quickly got off the ground with the ball in hand to turn, deliver a short kick inside 50 and set up a goal.

Aidan Fyfe (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns Academy]

Fyfe played at half-back for the Cats and had a solid game. He was quiet in the first quarter, but this was mainly because the ball barely went to that end of the ground. In the second, he lifted to apply some outstanding pressure and impact aerial contests in the defensive 50. He regularly went up to spoil as the third-man-in to help his fellow defenders combat the opposition forwards’ marking abilities. Fyfe was very clean in the second half, particularly when picking the ball up in congestion and handballing to teammates. Although the service to Morningside’s forwards was not great, Fyfe proved very difficult to out-mark and looked very comfortable in one-on-one contests.

Carter Michael (Maroochydore) [Brisbane Lions Academy]

Michael’s strong season continued will another stellar performance for Maroochydore on Saturday. The Brisbane Lions Academy prospect started the game on fire, running around the back of a teammate to receive a handball on the 50-metre arc and kick the first goal. His opponents clearly did not learn from this occurrence, as about 15 minutes later he made the exact same play to kick his second from a similar distance. Michael’s booming left foot kick is his strongest asset, so he looks to get onto that side of the body whenever possible and his teammates always look to give him the ball. This resulted in a lot of great ball movement out of the defensive 50, as Michael effortlessly found teammates by foot on a consistent basis in the first half. He also took the kick outs and showed-off the range in his kicking by launching one all the way to centre-wing in the opening term.

Late in the game, Michael spent a bit of time in the midfield and did not look out of place. He was willing to put his head over the ball, win his own footy and use quick hands to release open teammates. Throughout the game he also applied some strong pressure on the opposition, as shown when he stuck a tackle in the second term to win a holding the ball decision. After this, he immediately looked into the centre corridor and found a teammate with a typical spearing kick. When Michael plays with this type of confidence, he is very difficult to stop.

Max Pescud (Surfers Paradise) [Gold Coast Suns Academy]

Pescud was one of Surfers Paradise’s standout players on Saturday. He kicked his team’s first goal after producing a nice lead up at the ball carrier and taking the mark with strong hands. In the second term, he showed poise with some clean takes and quick hands on the up to teammates. He also took a spectacular hanger with a great leap in this term. Although this was definitely one for the highlight reel, he unfortunately missed the set shot at goal. This was a theme for Pescud on the day, as he kicked two goals but could have easily had five or six if he had kicked straight. Regardless, he was very lively up forward by consistently hunting the ball and applying plenty of pressure on the opposition. He also took a nice intercept mark in the last quarter, worked hard on the lead and demonstrated that he has good speed.

Picture: RF Photography

Scouting Notes and Player Focus: QAFL – Round 8

IN a huge round of Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) action, the top two teams have secured their spots on the ladder heading into the final round of the season where they will face off for the minor premiership. Both Broadbeach and Morningside remain undefeated but that will change in Round 9 when they go head-to-head to determine who finishes on top of the table.

At the other end of the ladder, it looks like the top six sides are also locked in barring a huge loss in the final round, with Surfers Paradise now needing a massive percentage boost to jump into sixth, with Labrador and Wilston Grange ruled out being eight points behind sixth. Of the Round 8 results, Morningside’s 52-point thumping of Palm Beach Currumbin was the most impressive, while Broadbeach smacked Wilston Grange to the tune of 93 points. In the slightly closer games, Sherwood was too good for Surfers Paradise (28 points), and Maroochydore got the better of Labrador (26).

For this week, we focused on some of the outstanding Northern Academy members running around in the QAFL for the various sides in the four matches.

RESULTS:

Maroochydore 9.13 (67) defeated Labrador 6.5 (41)
Morningside 16.17 (113) defeated Palm Beach Currumbin 9.7 (61)
Sherwood 12.13 (85) defeated Surfers Paradise 8.9 (57)
Wilston Grange 4.7 (31) defeated Broadbeach 18.16 (124)

 

Scouting notes:

Maroochydore vs. Labrador – Tom Cheesman
Morningside vs. Palm Beach Currumbin – Tom Cheesman
Wilston Grange vs. Broadbeach – Peter Williams

 

Tahj Abberley (Wilston Grange) [Brisbane Lions]

Had another standout game for the Gorillas and just keeps winning the ball through the middle with ease. His attack on the ball and his quick disposal work in his favour, while his tackling pressure, and more specifically his technique are what makes him a tough player to shake even for much bigger opponents. Abberley’s ability to bounce up after being poleaxed is admirable, and he has just about the highest work rate going around. In terms of his disposal, he is more impactful when handballing to space, or being a link in the chain going forward running down the ground. When he is up and running, he is a huge metres-gained player, so has the advantage of often running 30-odd metres before kicking long down the ground and get it well out of the danger zone. His reading of the taps from the stoppage is also a highlight of his game, but his willingness to compete and keep it moving was great.

Shatna Cashen-Harris (Wilston Grange) [Brisbane Lions]

A raw prospect who hits the contest at a million miles an hour. His closing speed is worrying for an opposition player with the ball, and he spreads well around the ground to win it in space. His tackling is first class and when inside 50, he has the goal sense to be clever, such as a nice snap off the left eight minutes into the third quarter, which was unfortunately marked on the line. He did set up the first goal of the match by lowering his eyes and hitting up Angus O’Brien. As mentioned, Cashen-Harris is still a raw prospect because his kicking at times can be inconsistent and float in and out of games at times, but of his matches this year, it would definitely be up there with one of his more consistent efforts. Cashen-Harris can often also win free kicks for opponents holding onto him, knowing he has the breakaway speed to shake off opponents.

Blake Coleman (Morningside) [Brisbane Lions]

Coleman is one of the most exciting draft prospects to watch and had another fantastic performance in this clash. The Brisbane Lions Academy member spent a lot of time up forward, where he provided a great option for teammates coming out of defence and up the wings. Coleman has a good size and looked dangerous in marking contests, as he regularly used his athleticism to rise above opposition players and get his hands to the ball first. He always forced a second defender to go with him in the air to bring the ball to ground, thus creating more space for crumbers at his feet. Coleman also rolled through the midfield in short bursts, and his clearance work was definitely a highlight. He won many clearances and provided an electric moment in the first term where he burst through the front of a stoppage on the wing, collected the ball cleanly, took a bounce and then delivered a beautifully-weighted long kick to the advantage of his key forward. There was nothing Palm Beach’s defence could do in this situation and it was a great example of how unstoppable Coleman can be when in full flight. Around the ball he used quick hands effectively and laid some strong aggressive tackles, including a bone-crunching spear tackle in the second term. He can improve defensively with regards to running back and stopping opponents from getting cheap handballs around the back, but his work rate at stoppages was good. Coleman kicked two goals for the day, which were an amazing drop punt from the boundary and a clever snap around his body out of congestion. The youngster has the explosiveness and X-factor that many recruiters look for in draft prospects, and he will only get better with more experience at senior level.

Nathan Colenso (Morningside) [Gold Coast Suns]

Colenso played all across the ground for Morningside and did not seem out of place in any position. He started at half-back and played the role of positioning himself out the back of stoppages so that he could apply strong defensive pressure on attacking opposition midfielders. This was highlighted by a fantastic run-down tackle in the first quarter, which caused a turnover. He then pushed up onto a wing, and in this position he dropped into holes well and always looked to centralise the ball whenever he got the opportunity. Colenso was also clean in congestion and showed courage by taking a mark running back with the flight in the third term. He spent more time up forward throughout the second half, where he used his strong tackling ability to apply pressure and used his size to provide a good option for teammates going inside 50.

Saxon Crozier (Morningside) [Brisbane Lions]

Crozier spent most of his time on the wing and had a solid performance against Palm Beach Currumbin. He was composed ball in hand, clean below his knees and delivered some fantastic long kicks inside 50. Crozier often got involved in switches of play and worked hard to ensure his side controlled possession across the wings. In the air he usually made a good contest and regularly provided an option for teammates coming out of defence. The two main highlights of his game were a strong mark down the line in the second term, and a nice goal on the run after taking a bounce in the third term. Although Crozier did make some mistakes, he showed some very promising signs.

Aidan Fyfe (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns]

He does not need a lot of touches to really hurt the opposition, because like Abberley, he is a metres gained player. Fyfe looks to run and carry or take the game on at every opportunity, and is a good size coming off half-back. He can push up to a wing to impact and hold a firm line as an interceptor behind the play. One-on-one he can match it with most and has the athleticism to spin out of trouble as he did in the first term by turning his opponent inside out and kicking inside 50. Sometimes Fyfe can do a bit much with ball-in-hand, and had a Hollywood handball behind his head that missed the target but was luckily cleaned up, but the next overuse by hand was coughed up and turned over trying to run down the middle. Nonetheless, it is Fyfe’s ability to move the ball in transition and run down the wing that sets him apart. He took a couple of bounces in the third term and his movement helped set up a Josh Gore goal. In the final term, Fyfe intercepted off half-back with another one-on-one mark and then hit the scoreboard himself in the 12th minute, intercepting at half-forward this time, taking a run and launching from just inside 50 for it to sail home.

Josh Gore (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns]

Had another solid game playing as a small forward in a big win, and mostly took his chances when they came. He worked up to the wing at times and while he was still a bit fumbly at ground level when under pressure, once he is able to control the ball, he rarely wastes an opportunity. He did well in the first term to gather the ball under pressure and fire out the handball to a teammate, then led out and marked inside 50 to convert his first major of the game from a set shot. His second came 14 minutes into the next term, when he chucked it on his preferred left following a handball receive and did not mind it with an equally-fitting goal celebration to put his team up. Later in the term he looked like creating some magic off the back of some great defensive pressure – corralling an opponent and tackling him over the boundary line and winning the free kick – only to put the ball out on the full from 50m. His third goal was what you could describe as his bread and butter, roving the ball off hands inside 50, Gore reacted quicker than his opponents, got goal side and with an open goalsquare put it through. He had another chance late in the term but his set shot drifted and fell short, then had a final term chance close to goal but copped a “Jack Crisp-like” bounce which went behind him and the defence were able to save the day.

Carter Michael (Maroochydore) [Brisbane Lions]

Michael is one of Brisbane’s leading Academy prospects and he gave Lions fans more reasons to be excited in Maroochydore’s 26-point victory. He spent time at half-back and on the wing, where he worked hard to facilitate switches of play and provide an attacking option for teammates. Sometimes Michael’s hard running went unrewarded, but this did not bother him and he never stopped creating an option, which was a great sign. At stoppages, Michael positioned himself well (usually at the back) and attacked the ball whenever it went near him. He was frequently willing to put his head over the footy, take contact and then give quick hands on the up to teammates. Michael rarely fumbled all day, which was fantastic because it showed how comfortable he is at senior level against the stronger bodies. When in the defensive 50, Michael used his booming left foot kick to clear the area and launch some fast attacking transitions for his side. He did have one bad turnover in the last term kicking across goal, but he usually keeps his kicks flat so that they get to his intended targets very quickly and cannot be intercepted. Michael also applied some strong tackling pressure throughout the match, earning a holding the ball decision in the second term for his efforts.

Rhys Nicholls (Labrador) [Gold Coast]

Gold Coast Academy prospect Nicholls was one of the best players for Labrador on Saturday. He found plenty of footy in the first quarter when Maroochydore did most of the attacking, and this set the tone for an outstanding performance. His run off half-back was highly impressive, as he used his express pace to break-away from opponents and create some link-up play with teammates. Nicholls is very evasive and willing to take the game on, and although this meant he got himself into pressure situations at times, his pace and agility got him out of these predicaments more often than not. After getting caught holding the ball late in the second term, one of Nicholls’ coaches (or fans) was overheard saying, “head up Rhys, that’s what we want.” I thought this was great because, being a young player, Nicholls could have otherwise dropped his head after this incident, but instead he continued to take the game on and provide some much-needed run for his side. Nicholls’ spearing left foot kick was very effective and he took some nice intercept marks in defence. He also attacked the footy with aggression, followed up his possessions and applied strong defensive pressure whenever required. Nicholls is a great size for his position and skillset, so he should have a bright future.

Bailey Reeves (Broadbeach) [Gold Coast Suns]

Reeves aided Fyfe as one of the better players on the day, predominantly for his ability to clear the defensive zone with his long raking kick. He always looked to switch play on a number of occasions, and was strong one-on-one such as his intercept mark in the first term. A terrific tackle on the slippery Cashen-Harris allowed Reeves to win the ball back for his side, and in the second term, his long bomb inside 50 set up a goal to Clay Cameron. Given Reeves’ ability to penetrate inside 50, he can afford to bomb long and put it to 15m out and worry defenders into punching which then brings Broadbeach’s crumbers – such as Gore – into play. His strength on the inside of the contest was great, showing his ability to rip the ball away from an opposition player and kick forward. While he has a tendency at times when under pressure to rush his disposal, he will often follow up with a second effort to apply pressure to the opponent or help out a teammate. He had a crack off the right with a snap from 50m good enough but just missed to the right. Reeves had quite a number of inside 50s and pressure acts on the day, and overall had an impressive performance for the Cats. 

PLAYER FOCUS:

By: Fraser Stewart

Max Pescud (Surfers Paradise) [Gold Coast Suns]

The QAFL Player Focus is chosen prior to the round and after his six-goal haul last week, Pescud was picked as the player to watch for Round 8. Unfortunately things did not go his or the Demons’ way for the exciting Gold Coast Suns forward, who kicked just one major this time after 12 goals in four games. Nonetheless, here’s how Fraser Stewart saw his performance:

Q1:

Plying his trade at full-forward did not get much use of the ball in the first quarter as he did not quite get the service he needed to have an early impact on the game or on the scoreboard. He got a few touches here and there, but nothing of significant notice as he was relatively quiet. He nearly had a score assist after giving out a handball when he was being tackled, however his teammate sprayed his shot wide and went in for a behind, apart from that he could not really get going.

Q2:

After being shut down for most of the first quarter, there were signs that he was starting to come to life, as he got more hands on the football, as well as moving up the ground to be around the contests more. He showed more desire to try and have an impact on the game, especially after kicking six goals last week, as he freed up space and made more of an effort leading for marks. His work paid off as he earned himself a set shot at goal midway through the second quarter after collecting a mark on the lead, however, his set shot went wide as he scored a behind.

Q3:

Started the third quarter leaving his full forward position to be on the wing in a bid to try and impact the game on his terms. He set up an attacking play on the left wing as he wanted to play on quickly which led to a behind, apart from that he was quiet. Ventured up forward late in the third quarter, and after the Surfers Paradise Demons cut open the Sherwood Magpies defence as they went through the corridor, he finally kicked his first goal of the afternoon and his first for the game running into an open goal and kicking it on the goalline.

Q4:

Went back to where he started the game at full-forward but once again he did not get the service he needed as the Sherwood Magpies nullified his impact. Early in the quarter he got caught holding the ball but made amends when he went in for his second effort and smothered the free kick. He tried to make things happen midway through the quarter to try and spark a demons attack as he collected a loose ball from a stoppage but managed to kick behind. He ventured down back in the later stages of the fourth term and got his hands on the footy a few more times to limit the scoring of the Sherwood Magpies.

Picture: RF Photography