Tag: Pearce Hanley

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

State League Preview: The show goes on

DESPITE the VFL being cancelled this weekend due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak seeing Victoria head into lockdown for the near future, the remaining state leagues will go ahead with business as usual as another huge round of action is set.

SANFL:

This weekend’s SANFL action kicks off with an enticing clash as Norwood travel to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval to take on the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Norwood will be confident heading into this clash, having won one more game than their opponents, but the Eagles will have the home ground advantage, and are fresh off a 100-point belting of West Adelaide last week. The Eagles are yet to confirm any changes, with the side likely to enter the clash with just the one change as Troy Menzel will miss with a wrist injury, and don’t be surprised if Norwood enter the match unchanged.

Moving to Flinders University Stadium, the Central District Bulldogs will be looking to cause an upset as they take on the South Adelaide Panthers on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have won just two games for the year but are riding a wave of confidence following last round’s 10-point win over Sturt. The Panthers will prove a tough task, as they enter the clash heavy favourites thanks to their spot in second-place on the ladder. The Bulldogs will include Thomas Graham into a forward pocket as they attempt to boost their scoring output.

Over at Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide are gearing up for their clash with West Adelaide on Saturday afternoon in a match that has significant ramifications for both sides. West Adelaide’s hunt for the finals is slowly slipping away on a weekly basis, with the side winning only two games for the year. A win here would put them only one victory away from entering the top five. Port Adelaide currently sit at the bottom of the top five, and a loss would close the gap for those below them quite substantially. The inclusion of Jono Beech for West Adelaide will only increase the chances of an upset here.

Glenelg will attempt to keep their remarkable undefeated streak going, as they prepare to take on the Adelaide Crows at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Given Glenelg are yet to lose a game, they will enter the match heavily favoured over the Crows, who have won just one game so far this season. However, teams rarely remain undefeated for this long, so the Crows may just be smelling an upset here. Glenelg’s loss of Lachie Hosie to a hamstring injury will only compound this. Keep an eye on this one.

The final match of the round sees the Sturt Sabres travel to Prospect Oval to take on the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon. Both sides currently sit with a 2-5 record after seven rounds, and a win here for either team will be crucial in the race for the finals. Both sides suffered a loss of 11 points or less last round, so redemption will play a big factor here. It is just a matter of which side will rise to the occasion and which side will crumble.

WAFL:
The WAFL action for Round 8 starts over at Leederville Oval as the Peel Thunder will attempt to upset Subiaco when the two sides face off on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco are one of the form sides of the competition having only lost one match, while the Peel Thunder have been solid but not spectacular so far with three wins and three losses. Subiaco are expected to win here, but Peel Thunder will throw everything they have at this side. Subiaco will regain Brandon Matera to add some experience to their forward line.

Two teams in the middle of contrasting seasons will face off, as East Perth travel to Revo Fitness Stadium to take on Claremont on Saturday afternoon. Claremont currently sit on top of the ladder with a 5-1 record after their first six games while East Perth have won just the one solitary game so far this season. Claremont are heavy favourites heading into the clash, but there are no certainties in football. Both sides are yet to confirm their changes.

West Coast’s struggles are likely to continue as they take on South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. West Coast had their best opportunity to claim their first win of the season last round and couldn’t capitalise, and they face an even tougher opponent this weekend, with South Fremantle looking to use this as an opportunity to climb up the ladder. To make matters worse, South Fremantle will regain on baller Jared Doney to boost their midfield stocks.

Steel Blue Oval will be home to a crucial clash as the Swan Districts will host East Fremantle on Saturday afternoon. Only percentage separates the two sides with East Fremantle narrowly in front by four percent, good enough to see them in the top five. The winner of this clash will move into the top half of the ladder, so the stakes are certainly high for both sides. Keep an eye on Swan Districts on baller Samuel Fisher, who has been in fantastic form of late.

The final clash of Round 8 will see West Perth head over to Provident Financial Oval to take on West Perth on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit outside the top five only by percentage, having both recorded three wins and three losses for the season so far. With plenty of teams currently holding a similar record, expect both sides to enter this clash with plenty of passion and determination. West Perth have included Jason Salecic into their squad while Simon Hayward will return for Perth.

QAFL

QAFL action returns for a ninth round of football, starting at Rococo Oval, where Noosa will host Broadbeach on Saturday afternoon. This is shaping up as a one-sided affair, with Broadbeach undefeated from their six games, having established themselves as a competition powerhouse. Noosa’s season is almost a polar opposite. The side is yet to register a win for the 2021 season, and look fairly off the mark. A boilover here would send shockwaves through the league, but if Jordan Moncrieff can get off the chain for Broadbeach again, it will be game over.

Over at Cooke-Murphy Oval, Labrador are preparing for their clash with Wilston Grange on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have won just the one game for the season, and are currently in the middle of a five game losing streak. They are desperate for a win, and they will be fighting tooth and nail for an upset on Saturday, but Labrador will be a tough egg to crack. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley will be leading the troops from the midfield, so Wilston Grange will need to keep a close eye on him at stoppages.

In arguably the most exciting match-up of the round, Maroochydore will travel to Jack Esplen Oval to take on Morningside on Saturday afternoon. The two sides occupy the second and third spots on the ladder, only separated by percentage (although Maroochydore has played and lost one more match so far). With Broadbeach undefeated so far this season, these two sides will need as many wins as they can if they are any hope of snatching top spot on the ladder should Broadbeach slip up. Mitchell Scholard has booted 14 goals in the past three matches and is named to line up on a half-forward flank for Maroochydore, so keep an eye out for him.

Next up for the QAFL action, Palm Beach Currumbin will play host to Sherwood Districts at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Just one win separates these two sides, and a loss here for Palm Beach Currumbin would see them lose a grip on the top half of the ladder. Sherwood Districts will be looking for a rise up the ladder to join the top five. Palm Beach Currumbin midfielder Corey Joyce has enjoyed a stellar start to his 2021 campaign so expect him in the thick of it on Saturday afternoon.

The final QAFL match of the round will see Mt Gravatt head over to Sir Bruce Small Park to take on Surfers Paradise on Saturday afternoon. The sides are just one victory apart, so there is plenty to play for here for both sides. Mt Gravatt dominated Noosa last week, with their victory nearing the triple digit mark, while Surfers Paradise got the job done against Redland-Victoria Point last round. With both sides coming off a win, there will be plenty of confidence around the change rooms, it’s just a matter of who can back it up on the field.

Tasmania:

The TSL will hold their ninth round of football this weekend, and it all kicks off at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon, as Clarence host Glenorchy. Clarence are well-known to perform better on their home deck, so Glenorchy face an uphill battle in this clash.  Clarence skipper Jeromey Webberley returned to the lineup last week, and was excellent off half-back, so don’t be surprised if he cops some attention from the opposition, as they try to slow down the ball movement of their opponents.

Moving to Lauderdale Oval, Lauderdale will be hosting the Tigers in an interesting match-up on Saturday afternoon. Lauderdale have still only won the one game, but certainly look a better side when skipper Allen Christensen is in the side. This was displayed when they gave Launceston their biggest challenge of the year to that point, and looked certainly capable of beating anyone. This will be put to the test on Saturday as they take on the Tigers, a side that is chugging along nicely, and have a list full of guns such as Elijah Reardon.

The final game of the round looks to be fairly one-sided, as North Launceston head to North Hobart Oval to take on the Demons on Saturday afternoon. North Launceston did the – previously – impossible and defeated cross-town rivals Launceston last Friday night, a result which stunned the league, given Launceston’s start to the season. The Bombers played unbelievable footy, and got themselves a win that could be the key moment in a premiership quest. The Demons will face a tough challenge stopping them, having claimed only one triumph themselves this year. They will need to put some work into nullifying the effect of North Launceston midfielder Jay Foon who was best on ground last weekend.

Picture credit: Solstice.Digital and Photography

State leagues preview: Pressure on undefeated sides

AS the weekend approaches, state leagues around the country prepare for another big round of footy. With high stakes across the board, don’t be surprised to see some thrilling contests.

Victoria:

The VFL will be holding less games this week, with eight teams set to have a bye this weekend as the competition breaks up the matches with the added interstate teams. However, this does not mean there will be a shortage of exciting matchups.

The Casey Demons were hoping to maintain their spot on top of the ladder with a win over the Sydney Swans at Casey Fields on Sunday morning, however that encounter has been delayed due to COVID-19 related issues. The Demons find themselves in first place after starting the season 3-0 with a handy percentage and their big win over North Melbourne last round will give them plenty of confidence despite not being able to head into a clash with the struggling Swans side. Sydney have started the season with just one win from their three games, with their heartbreak from last week’s three-point loss a driving factor for the Swans players.

Sunday afternoon will also see the Carlton Blue travelling to Whitten Oval to take on the undefeated Footscray Bulldogs in a tantalising matchup. Carlton have been no slumps this season, winning two out of their first three matches, and dominating Essendon by 49 points in round three. They will fancy themselves against the Dogs here, but it will be a tough task to slow down their opponents. Footscray soundly defeated the Northern Bullants to the tune of 43 points last week, marking their third win by over seven goals. Prized Bulldog Jamarra Ugle-Hagan continues to find his feet at this level, so expect him to have a big presence in the forward line. Carlton’s Will Setterfield will be looking to perform at the level that has seen him collect over 25 disposals in each of the last two games.

South Australia:

The SANFL season is flying as South Australia’s premier league heads into their sixth round of action. The most intriguing matchup of the round comes first as the Woodville-West Torrens host the South Adelaide Panthers in a clash that will prove vital for each of the two sides. The Panthers have lost just the one match from their first five games, good enough for second place on the ladder. Their chances will be bolstered by the return of Matthew Broadbent and Liam Fitt, while 17-year-old Matty Roberts will make his debut after a strong performance in the U18’s last round. The Eagles sit just behind their opponents in third place, having won one less game, but will be driven by last round’s loss to Port Adelaide. The inclusion of star forward Jack Hayes will give them a huge confidence boost heading into a crucial game on Saturday afternoon.

The Central District Bulldogs will be looking for their second win for the season as they prepare for this round’s match against Norwood at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have had a less than ideal start to the season, finding themselves on the bottom of the ladder after six rounds, and have decided to change things up at selection. Key forward Connor McLean has been named in the forward pocket, in an attempt to stretch Norwood’s defence. Norwood could be recalling Mitch Grigg, who is named on the extended bench after his shocking relegation to the reserves in recent weeks. Grigg collected 20 touches in last week’s match, so don’t be surprised to see him line up for the senior side this week.

The SANFL showdown always delivers a buzz around Adelaide, with this year proving no exception, as the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows prepare to go to war on Saturday afternoon at Adelaide Oval as a curtain raiser to the AFL match between the two sides. The Power find themselves just inside the top five based on percentage, but last week’s ten-goal win over the Eagles will see them enter this match with their tails up. Experienced defender Tyson Goldsack will debut for the side having overcome a knee injury, while potential draftee Jase Burgoyne will line up for the Power in his debut as a part of his work in the Power’s Next Generation academy. The Crows sit on the same amount of wins as their fifth-placed opponents, but find themselves down the pecking order in eighth place. They will unleash Tasmanian development player Oliver Davis on the wing, after being recruited from Clarence for the rest of the season.

Kicking off the Sunday football action, the North Adelaide Roosters will host the West Adelaide Bloods at Prospect Oval on Sunday afternoon, with both sides keen to take home a very important win. The Roosters have started the season with just the one win from five games, so a triumph in this match would be vital for reigniting their 2021 season. They will welcome back utility Sam McInerney, who will play his first match since 2019, following a series of back injuries, while former Hawk Billy Hartung has been named on a wing in his first game of the year. The West Adelaide Bloods will be hoping to ride the momentum of last week’s win over Central District into this week, as they look to enter the top five with a victory on Sunday. They will be welcoming mature-age recruit Nick Steele, who will be lining up at centre-half-forward for his first SANFL match.

Sturt face a tough task this round, as they face off against the top of the table Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the round. Sturt have started the season with two wins and three losses from five games, with their round five triumph over the Crows coming by just one point. They have not confirmed their changes yet, with all inclusions named on the extended bench, and one of these inclusions is former Power player Riley Grundy, who could debut to boost his side’s backline. Glenelg have started the season like a house on fire, winning all five of their matches to date, and will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak rolling. As a result of their hot start, they will likely enter the clash unchanged.

Western Australia:

The sixth round of WAFL action kicks off with an absolute blockbuster, as Claremont travel to Leederville Oval to face off against a fired-up Subiaco side on Saturday afternoon. Claremont have not put a foot wrong in their start to the season, ending round five with a 4-0 record as the dominant team of the competition. Forward Jack Butler kicked five goals from nine scoring shots, so expect Subiaco to send their best defender to keep an eye on him all day. Subiaco started the season 3-0, but were handed their first loss of the season by South Fremantle in round five, so look for them to come out eager to make amends. Ruckman Lachlan Delahunty will play a crucial role in his side’s success, and if he can back up last week’s 21 disposal and 29 hitout effort, Subiaco’s midfield should gain ascendancy.

Perth will be hoping to move up the ladder with a second consecutive win as they prepare to take on a Peel Thunder side in a similar situation. Both sides sit at 2-2 on the season and a third win could see the victor move into the top four after this high-stake game. Perth broke a two-game losing streak with a five-goal win over East Fremantle last round in a promising display and would love to back it up this round. Brady Grey played his best game of the season last week, with 29 disposals, 11 marks and nine tackles, and was crucial in the win, and should prove important again this week. Peel Thunder dominated West Coast last week, crushing their opponents by 79 points, so they will be confident in their ability heading into this clash. Blair Bell is fresh off a six-goal haul against the Eagles, so keep an eye on his presence around goal.

Swan Districts will be looking to edge closer to top spot on the ladder with a win over a faulting West Perth team at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts are on a three-game winning streak to see them currently sit with a 3-1 record in second place and will be heavy favourites this week. Midfielder Samuel Fisher is averaging 34.5 disposals on the season in a blistering start and should rack up plenty of the ball in this clash. West Perth have only managed the one win in the 2021 season, and look unlikely to snatch one here, but if they do, it could kickstart a promising campaign.

East Perth will have the opportunity to grab their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Fremantle Community Bank Oval to take on South Fremantle. East Perth have started the season with a disappointing 0-4 record and sit second last on the ladder. Last week’s performance was promising as they pushed second placed Swan Districts right to the final siren, only falling two goals short of a massive upset. If they can bring a similar effort this week, they may finally sing the song. Edward Simpson booted five snags in the loss and should once again give defenders a headache. South Fremantle have won two games in a row to finally build some momentum as the season progresses. A win here could push them into the top three, so they will be eager to walk away victors. Haiden Schloithe has displayed his talents as a goalkicking midfielder all year so expect Saturday to prove no different.

The final match of round six will see East Fremantle host a West Coast side that is yet to compete all year, as the sides go head-to-head at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle are making a strong push for the top four, but last round’s loss to Perth made that slightly harder. They will be looking to grab this game with both hands early on, with Cameron Eardley likely to prove influential through the midfield. West Coast have simply looked off the pace all year, yet to register their first win and have been soundly beaten by plenty of sides. A bright spot for the season has been Hamish Brayshaw, who will look to find plenty of the ball around the ground.

Queensland:

QAFL action begins at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, as Surfers Paradise host Noosa at Sir Bruce Small Park, as both sides look to recover from shaky starts. Surfers Paradise have won just the one game so far this year, and a loss here could see them fall right down in the race for the flag. Luckily for them, they face an out of form side, and a win would likely pump some life into their season. Look for Alby Jones to back up last week’s strong outing. Noosa are yet to win a game after four games and will be desperate to change that with a win this round. They were competitive against Sherwood Districts, but missed an opportunity to defeat a side that was also searching for their first win. Ryley Buntain has delivered two fantastic performances in losing sides, so he will be eager to walk off a winner.

Labrador will be thrilled with the opportunity to jump up the ladder as they head into Saturday afternoon’s clash with Mt Gravatt at Cooke-Murphy Oval. Labrador sit fourth on the ladder with three wins and one loss from their matches this year, and a win could see them reach second depending on results around the league. Heading into the match as favourites, their motivation will be high to continue to set themselves up as the season progresses. Former AFL gun Pearce Hanley has been on fire in the last two weeks, so if he is once again allowed to roam free, Labrador will be hard to stop. Mt Gravatt have won only the solitary game this year but have had two byes in five weeks. Nevertheless, a second win is crucial, and Saturday provides a perfectly good opportunity. Gavin Grose’s start to the year has been eye catching and should continue in this match.

A fresh Morningside team will be hosting Redland-Victoria Point at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon in an exciting matchup. Fresh off the bye, Morningside will be ready for the challenge from a strong Redland-Victoria Point side, as both sides look to climb the ladder with an important win on Saturday. Redland-Victoria Point’s Harrison Kerr has booted 11 goals in his past three games and will need to be held accountable if Morningside are to slow down the scoring of their opponent.

Sherwood Districts will be looking to cause an upset as they prepare to host an impressive Maroochydore at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Sherwood Districts have only won a single game this season, while their opponents have won three, so a boilover here looks unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Maroochydore sit second on the ladder, and if ladder leaders Broadbeach are beaten this round, a big win in this match could see them move to the top of the table. Keep an eye on Maroochydore’s Jacob Simpson, who has performed strongly all year. Sherwood Districts’ William Fletcher has been equally impressive and has also put his hand up as one to watch.

Wilston Grange face the tough task of slowing down the ladder leaders, as they host the undefeated Broadbeach at Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have a 1-3 record after four games in an underwhelming start to the year, but a win here would truly send a message to the rest of the competition. They have the ability to kick a winning score, highlighted by Will McKenzie’s seven goals in his last two games. Broadbeach will be a tough beast to tame though. 4-0 on the season, they simply know how to get the job. With the top spot comes the pressure, and they will be eager to show they can more than handle it. Liam Nelson has been strong in the last three games and will be hoping to maintain this.

Tasmania:

The sixth round of TSL football kicks off with a bang as Clarence host competition powerhouse Launceston at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon. Launceston have looked unstoppable but face arguably their toughest challenger this week on their home deck. Clarence have looked fantastic this year, especially since returning to Blundstone Arena, and will fancy themselves a strong chance to knock off the reigning premiers on Saturday. The inclusion of experienced forward Josh Green should make them more dangerous forward of the ball. Launceston will be regaining stand-in captain Jake Hinds after serving his suspension, while Dylan Riley will be eager to continue the run of form that has seen him boot 19 goals in the last two matches.

Another key clash this weekend comes in the form of North Hobart taking on Glenorchy at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit with a 1-3 record and changing that to 2-3 is crucial for the season moving forward. North Hobart will bring in ruckman Logan Elphinstone to establish some midfield dominance. Glenorchy will be regaining the services of experienced midfielder Sam Rundle who should prove a crucial inclusion to the side.

The Tigers and North Launceston will clash at UTAS Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the final match of the round. The Tigers have a 3-2 record and had their colours lowered by a firing Clarence side last weekend, so they will be desperate to get back on the winners list. Star Elijah Reardon was kept reasonably quiet last round so he should be keen to bounce back in this game. North Launceston sit at 2-2 having played one less game than their opponent, but will regain the services of Bradley Cox-Goodyer, setting up a thrilling clash.

Picture credit: The Examiner

State Leagues Wrap: Weekend of thrillers

AS the weekend came to an end, so did a round of exciting football around the country. State leagues saw plenty of contests that came down to the wire, while other teams flexed their muscles with big wins.

Victoria:

VFL action kicked off on Thursday night with the Casey Demons’ big win over North Melbourne as VFL finally returned to Marvel Stadium. The Demons kicked a whopping 19 goals and finished the game as 107-point winners in a game that would not have impressed North Melbourne fans. Sam Weideman kicked four goals as he continues his ripping form that is sure to earn him an AFL recall in the near future. Unfortunately for him, Casey’s AFL affiliate Melbourne is absolutely flying at the moment, but if the key forward keeps up these performances, he will be hard to ignore come selection time. For the Roos, ruckman Tristian Xerri fought hard, and won the duel with Casey’s rucks, collecting 16 disposals to go with his 35 hitouts.

Collingwood stole a victory at the death as they snuck away with a three-point win against the Gold Coast Suns at Olympic Park Oval on Friday afternoon. With his 20th disposal, Magpie Reef McInnes kicked a goal at the 26-minute mark of the final term to put his side in front, and the rest is history. Young Pie Oliver Henry’s three goal haul would have impressed coaches, while Sun Will Brodie dominated in the midfield, collecting 41 touches and laying 11 tackles.

Geelong held off a fast-finishing Sydney side to claim a tense four-point win at Tramway Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Swans led by three points heading into the final term but Logan McDonald’s three goal effort was not enough to get the Swans home. Charlie Constable found the ball 28 times in a promising display, while Josh Jenkins booted two goals. For the Swans, Lewis Taylor and Robbie Fox combined for 59 disposals and looked dangerous whenever the ball was in dispute.

Essendon’s fast start couldn’t be maintained, eventually falling to Carlton by 49 points at Windy Hill on Sunday afternoon. The Bombers led by 14 points at the first break, but a five goal to nil second term got the Blues in front, and they never looked back. Out of favour Blue Will Setterfield continued his strong VFL form with a 26 disposal effort as he continues to push for a recall, while Nic Newman returned from a serious knee injury sustained last year to gather 23 disposals in a promising outing for Blues fans. First game Don Nick O’Kearney gathered 36 disposals in an eye-catching performance.

South Australia:

Round 5 of the SANFL began with an upset, as Norwood took down the previously undefeated South Adelaide Panthers at Coopers Stadium on Friday night. The Redlegs kicked a whopping five goals to one in the second goal to give themselves a 26-point lead at half time, and the Panthers simply couldn’t get the comeback done in time. Norwood midfielders Matthew Nunn and Jacob Kennerley combined for a whopping 29 tackles with 16 and 13 respectively, while former Crow Richard Douglas racked up 30 disposals. Joseph Haines was the Panthers’ best with 28 touches.

Glenelg remain the best team in the competition after their 31-point triumph over the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval. A four-goal lead at quarter time was a sign of things to come, as Glenelg rode the first quarter effort until the final siren. Former Tiger Liam McBean kicked a bag of five of Glenelg, while midfielder Luke Partington had 35 disposals and seven clearances. Thomas Schwarz kicked three goals for the Roosters.

A strong final term saw West Adelaide claim their second win of the season, taking down Central Districts by four goals at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. There were only four points separating the two sides at three quarter time, but West Adelaide were able to extend that lead after kicking four goals to none in the final term. Edward Allan was strong in the midfield for North Adelaide, finishing with 22 disposals, five clearances and 11 tackles, while teammate Thomas Keough kicked four snags. For Central Districts, Justin Hoskin’s 26 disposals and two goals were excellent.

Over at Unley Oval, Sturt were able to pull off a heist, stealing a one-point win from the Crows on Sunday afternoon. Sturt’s Ashley Johnson kicked his fourth goal 26 minutes into the final quarter to give his side a one-point lead that proved to be enough. He was well aided by teammate Albania Davis who had 33 disposals, 11 marks and a goal. Crows skipper Matthew Wright kicked three goals in what could have been a match-winning performance.

Port Adelaide’s ten goal win over the West-Woodville Torrens was set up by a clinical second quarter performance at Alberton Oval on Sunday afternoon. The Power kicked seven goals in the second quarter to take a 47-point lead into half time, which they only improved on in the second half. Port’s skipper Cam Sutcliffe was marvellous rotating through the midfield and forward line, finishing with 25 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 34 touches and eight clearances. Eagles mid James Tsitas had a whopping 39 disposals for the losing side.

Western Australia:

In the WAFL, Round 5 kicked off with Swan Districts surviving a massive scare from an East Perth side who are still searching for their first win. The inaccuracy of East Perth really hurt their chances, kicking 7.13, while Swan Districts kicked 10.8 to run out 13-point victors for their third win of the season. Swan Districts midfielder Samuel Fisher had the ball on a string as he worked his way to 37 disposals and a goal, while teammate Frank Anderson had 35 touches of his own. Edward Simpson was nearly the hero for East Perth, booting five goals in a near match-winning performance.

Perth were able to cruise to their second win of the season with a triumph over East Fremantle by five goals at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. A six-goal opening term set up the win, with the home side unable to close the gap in the next three quarters. Brady Grey was the star for the victors, with 29 disposals and a huge 10 inside 50’s for the match, while Doultan Langlands kicked three goals. For East Fremantle, Cameron Eardley led the way with 32 touches.

Despite a slow start, Claremont were able to find their rhythm in the second quarter, steamrolling their way to a 52-point win over West Perth at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Claremont trailed by two goals at quarter time, before kicking six goals in the second term to get the game back in their control. Claremont’s Lachlan Martinis racked up a whopping 42 disposals and nine marks in a dominant display, while Jack Buller kicked five goals for the victors. For West Perth, Shane Nelson had 39 disposals in an impressive display.

South Fremantle caused a major upset with their 18-point win over Subiaco, handing them their first loss of the year at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco were at the top of the table heading into this game, while South Fremantle had only won the two games, but they turned the table in this dominant display, set up by their seven goal second term. Haiden Schloithe put in a star turn for the winners, ending the match with 39 disposals and two goals in a clear best on ground performance. For Subiaco, Gregory Clark led with 30 touches.

West Coast’s struggles continued on Sunday morning after being convincingly beaten by Peel Thunder to the tune of 79 points at David Grays Arena. The Eagles trailed by seven goals at half time, and could not get themselves back in the game against a dominant Thunder side. Blair Bell kicked six goals for Peel, while teammate Josh Treacy kicked five of his own. West Coast’s Hamish Brayshaw performed admirably with 29 disposals.

Queensland:

QAFL’s fifth round of action kicked off with a blockbuster as Labrador upset Maroochydore by 12 points at Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Labrador had one less win than the home side heading into this clash, but a strong third term saw the visitors take a lead that they would end up holding for the remainder of the game. Labrador’s Pearce Hanley once again claimed best on ground honours, running riot through the midfield as he continues to show that age will not slow him down. For Maroochydore, Jacob Simpson fought hard all day to be his side’s best.

Redland-Victoria Point cruised their way to their third win for the year against Mt Gravatt on Saturday afternoon at Southside Toyota Oval. Redland-Victoria Point jumped to an early lead in the first quarter and then only extended their control from there, waltzing to a crucial win that keeps them well in the hunt for top spot on the ladder. Redland-Victoria Point full back Mitchell Stallard was named his side’s best after a dominant display in defence. Gavin Grose was Mt Gravatt’s best for the second week in a row.

Sherwood Districts have finally found their first win for the season, defeating bottom-placed Noosa by 22 points at Rococo Oval on Saturday afternoon. Noosa remain winless, but Sherwood Districts will be hoping this is the triumph that kick starts their season. For the winners, Joshua Coombes led the way with three goals up forward, but it was truly a team effort that delivered the win. For Noosa, Ryley Buntain was his side’s best for the second consecutive week.

A bag of seven goals from forward John Anthony has led Palm Beach Currumbin to an important win over Wilston Grange at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Anthony’s bag of seven was inspiring and proved crucial to Palm Beach Currumbin securing their second win of the season, shooting them up the ladder. Anthony was his side’s best, but had plenty of help from teammate Matthew Gahan. For Wilston Grange, Isaac Corvo was a clear standout.

Broadbeach kept their unbeaten streak rolling with their fourth win of the year, defeating a brave Surfers Paradise side by 10 points at Subaru Oval on Sunday afternoon. A close game all day, Broadbeach kicked three final quarter goals to seal the game to hold off the upset. For the winners, Liam Nelson was the star, leading his side all day in a best afield display, while Alby Jones was the bright spark for Surfers Paradise.

Tasmania:

TSL action resumed this weekend, as Clarence continued their hot streak, knocking off the Tigers at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. The victors led all afternoon, and never looked like giving up the lead on their way to recording their third win of the season. For Clarence, Oliver Davis was best on ground for the second week in a row. For the Tigers, Blake McCulloch stood out through the backline to end the day as his side’s best.

North Hobart have recorded their first win for the 2021 season, kicking away in the last quarter to defeat Lauderdale by 18 points at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday afternoon. There was two points separating the sides heading into the last quarter, but North Hobart were too strong, kicking four final quarter goals on their way to a maiden win for the year. For the victors, Thomas Liefhebber was outstanding all day, while Jye Menzie kicked four goals. For Lauderdale, Alex Hevey never gave up and performed admirably.

Launceston continue to uphold their status as league powerhouse, demolishing Glenorchy by 148 points at Windsor Park on Saturday Oval. Launceston hit the 100-point mark by half time, and Glenorchy never stood a chance against this well-oiled machine. Launceston star forward Dylan Riley backed up his 10-goal haul last week with a nine-goal effort this round, putting emphasis on the importance of shutting him down. For Glenorchy, Nick Reibelt impressed despite the loss.

State Leagues Preview: Key games across the board

STATE league football will continue over the weekend with plenty at stake for the teams involved. With some sides looking for their first win and others trying to keep themselves ahead of the pack, expect plenty of thrilling action this weekend.

Victoria:

The third round of VFL action kicks off this weekend with Collingwood taking on Gold Coast at Olympic Park Oval on Friday afternoon. Gold Coast registered their first win last weekend over Sydney by 14 points, getting on a roll and will be looking to back it up this weekend against the Pies. Suns midfielders Will Brodie and Brayden Fiorni fired in the engine room last round and will need to do the same if they are to grab their second win of the season. Collingwood couldn’t back up their Round 1 win with another last week, falling to the Bombers by 35 points in a disappointing second half. Big man Mason Cox will miss due to suspension while the side will look extremely different with plenty of injuries at AFL level. The Pies depth will be tested here, which should make the win even sweeter if they can pull it off.

The Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats will make for an interesting matchup when they face off on Saturday afternoon at Tramway Oval. With a 1-1 start to the year, the Swans will be eager to the return to their Round 1 form, which saw them take down the Giants by 26 points. If they are to take down this Cats side, experienced heads such as Sam Gray and Lewis Taylor will need to lead by example. The Cats will be fully refreshed after a bye last weekend, and will be looking to back up their Round 1 effort which saw them run out 79-point winners. Forwards Ben Jarvis and Josh Jenkins combined for eight goals, and if they can do something similar this weekend, it will be hard to stop the Cats.

In a battle of cross-town rivals, Carlton will travel to Windy Hill to take on Essendon on Sunday afternoon as both sides look for their second win to take them up the ladder. The Blues clinched a massive 69-point win over the Lions last weekend, which should give them a world of confidence heading into this match. A combined 12 goals from former AFL listed players Ben Crocker and James Parsons drove the Carlton win and if either can get off the chain again this weekend, Essendon coaches will have plenty to ponder from the sidelines. The Bombers took down the Pies last weekend, and should be looking to use the win as a spark for their season following a Round 1 loss. Tom Cutler was Essendon’s best in the win with 27 disposals and three goals, so expect the Blues to pay some attention to him throughout the match.

South Australia:

Round 5 of state league action kicks off with a blockbuster match, as Norwood host South Adelaide at Coopers Stadium under lights on Friday night. Norwood has landed a selection bombshell heading into the match, stunningly dropping dual-Magarey Medalist Mitch Grigg, who had just 14 disposals and a goal in last week’s 18-point loss to West Adelaide. Brad Mckenzie will line up on a wing in his return to the side while Brad Carroll is also confirmed to return to the side. Highly touted youngster Fraser Turner will finally debut for South Adelaide, named to start on a wing. The former Richmond utility has been named on the extended bench for consecutive weeks and will finally get his chance against Norwood. Liam Fitt will miss following a nasty head knock while Anthony Biemans is expected to miss multiple weeks following a leg injury.

North Adelaide will be looking to erase the memory of last week’s heartbreaking loss with a win this week over Glenelg at Prospect Oval on Saturday afternoon. North Adelaide fell to Woodville-West Torrens by three points in Round 4, and this pain will still be fresh in their minds. They could be bolstered by the return of star defender Cameron Craig, who has been named on the extended bench following a hamstring injury, but changes are yet to be confirmed. Don’t be surprised if Glenelg choose to not make any changes at selection this weekend, following a 10-point win over Port Adelaide last round, with no changes confirmed to the lineup that achieved that feat.

West Adelaide and Central Districts will go head-to-head, with the winner certainly moving up the ladder following their clash at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Both sides are in the bottom half of the ladder sitting at 1-3, so a win on Saturday afternoon is crucial for both these sides. West Adelaide will unleash a new player, as Canberra Demons recruit Lucas Meline is named to line up in the midfield for his first game in the new colours. There have been no confirmed outs at the time of publication. Central Districts coaches have been busy shuffling the magnets with four confirmed changes to their team. Rhett Montgomerie, Connor Mclean and Jacob Templeton will all miss through injury while Nick Gillard has been omitted. Fraser Fort, Wyatt Patterson, Cooper Dahms and Travis Schiller have been named as their replacements.

Bottom placed Sturt will have the opportunity to move up the standings as they host Adelaide at Unley Oval on Sunday afternoon. Sturt have not been able to register a second win on the season and will be desperate to take this opportunity against the Crows. Forwards Abe Davis and Josh Hone will return to give Sturt a boost while Charlie Parker will debut for the side across half back. Sturt will lose the services of Jordan Houlahan and Matt Crocker through injury while Adam Trenorden has been dropped. Adelaide will be waiting for AFL emergencies to affect their lineup but will certainly be without midfielders David Mackay (AFL) and Luke Pedlar (injured). Nick Murray has also earned an AFL call up.

In the final SANFL game for Round 5, Port Adelaide will return to Alberton Oval to host Woodville-West Torrens on Sunday afternoon in a key clash for both sides. Port Adelaide currently sit with a disappointing 1-3 record, and with Trent Burgoyne and Matt Appleton both ruled out through injury, a chance to improve this record seems unlikely. In saying this, don’t rule out the Power just yet, with plenty of talent around the ground, they won’t give up without a fight. Woodville-West Torrens have worked their way to a 3-1 record and will see this weekend’s match as the perfect opportunity to improve this. They will be without the services of former AFL forward Daniel Menzel, who will miss with an ankle injury and has been replaced by debutant Cooper Sharman.

Tasmania:

TSL action kicks off on Saturday with Clarence travelling to the Twin Ovals in Kingston to take on the Tigers. The Tigers found their form again last week, defeating Glenorchy by 24 points in the ANZAC day clash. The side will go in unchanged following the victory, and the obvious player to watch is Elijah Reardon who should continue his blistering season this weekend. Clarence had the bye last weekend and have brought in some firepower to combat this Tigers team, while the Roos have brought in Oliver Davis, Baker Smith, Darcy Gardner, Colin Garland and Jacob Young to make their side look much stronger. Expect a close contest.

Lauderdale will be keen to bounce back after last round’s 93-point belting at the hands of a brutal North Launceston side, and this round’s matchup against a struggling North Hobart side will get their hopes up. Lauderdale have shaken things up at team selection in order to conjure a response from their side. Among the ins are Tyler Martin, Luke Hodoninczky, Bryce Walsh and Ozzie Warmbrunn as the Bombers fight for their second win. North Hobart were embarrassed by Launceston last round, conceding 25 goals and losing by 125 points, and they have also opted to change things up at team selection. The Demons are bringing in Johnathon Pullen, George Mcleod, Jye Menzie, Tyler Mcginniss and Will Splann. Both sides have plenty to play for here.

Glenorchy face a tough obstacle if they want to bounce back from last week’s loss, and that obstacle comes in the form of an outrageously in-form Launceston side. The Magpies were defeated by the Tigers to the tune of a 24 point margin but face an even tougher task this week in the Blues. Glenorchy will need to change things up if they are to upset the juggernaut, and the team selection reflects this. The Magpies will lose former Blue Sam Rundle but will be bringing in Riley Best, Darrean Wyatt, Joshua Whitford, Dominic Brown and Isaac Manson. The Blues have made only one change in their quest to remain undefeated, bringing in hard-running midfielder Miller Hodge at the expense of Grant Holt who has been omitted.

Western Australia:

The fourth round of the WAFL was unfortunately cancelled last weekend as Western Australia battled a minor COVID outbreak. This has since been resolved and Round 5 is scheduled to go ahead, with all sides nice and refreshed. The first game of the round will see East Perth welcome Swan Districts to Leederville Oval as they attempt to find their maiden win of the 2021 season. In Round 3 they fell by 25 points, in a promising display. They aren’t far away from a win and this weekend could be the drought breaker. Expect centre half-back Nathan Blee to find plenty of the ball as he did in Round 3. Swan Districts are tracking nicely, sitting in third place on the ladder and looking to improve on their 2-1 record with a win this weekend. The team regains former Eagle Lewis Jetta who is sure to break the game open with his blistering pace.

East Fremantle will host Perth at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon in a match with implications for both sides. A win for East Fremantle keeps them in touch with the top of the ladder as they currently sit in fourth place and a loss could see them slip down the standings. Perth are barely keeping in touch with the top five, but a win here could potentially see them enter the top half of the ladder. Keep an eye on East Fremantle half-back flanker Cameron Eardley, who racked up 26 disposals and 14 marks in Round 3.

Claremont will be looking to extend their undefeated streak as they welcome West Perth to Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Claremont couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season, and they currently hold a 3-0 record, along with Subiaco. West Perth’s start to the season hasn’t quite been as successful. They sit in sixth place on the ladder with a 1-2 record, and face a serious challenge to improve this in Round 5. Can Aaron Black continue his strong form and lead his side to an upset over this powerful Claremont side?

Speaking of undefeated sides, Subiaco are as good as it gets this year. They sit on top of the ladder and will be keen on staying up there this weekend with a win over South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco were able to sneak past West Perth in Round 3 and will probably need a slight lift if they are to keep their spot on top of the table. Meanwhile South Fremantle took down Peel Thunder in Round 3 and will give themselves every chance to walk away with the upset win here. Expect South Fremantle’s Haiden Schloithe to play a big role in the result of this game, fresh off best on ground honours in Round 3.

The final game of the round sees some Sunday footy action as the Peel Thunder will face off against West Coast at David Grays Arena. West Coast have struggled to fly this year and will be keen to get some runs on the board after a 0-3 start to the 2021 season. Peel Thunder have started the season 1-2, good enough to see them sit seventh after three rounds. They will be eager to return to their Round 2 form which saw them with a triple-digit win over East Perth. Pending AFL selection, should Connor Blakely play, expect him to find plenty of the ball for Peel Thunder.

Queensland:

The fifth round of QAFL action sees plenty of exciting matchups. The first will see Maroochydore look to remain undefeated with a win over a surging Labrador side. Maroochydore are yet to lose a game in the 2021 season, but expect Labrador to push them right to the final siren. Labrador have only lost the one game so far, and an upset here would push them into the ‘contender’ category by the end of the weekend. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley has worked his way into the season for Labrador and should prove a headache for Maroochydore players and coaches.

Redland-Victoria Point have started the season in strong fashion, with two wins from three games, and will be looking to snatch a fourth as they travel to Southside Toyota Oval to face off against Mt Gravatt on Saturday. Mt Gravatt have had two byes so far, but still sit at 1-1, with the loss coming against an in-form Maroochydore side. Mt Gravatt forward Jonah Licht has kicked 10 goals in his two games this season, and if he can prove dangerous around the big sticks again, it is hard to see his side losing.

The last two teams on the ladder in Noosa and Sherwood Districts will clash on Saturday afternoon at Rococo Oval, in a vital match for both sides. A perfect opportunity for both teams, whoever emerges victorious could find themselves with a spark to start their season, while the other will be left in no man’s land on 0-4 and much less likely to make finals. Sherwood Districts midfielder William Fletcher has enjoyed a consistent start to the season and could play a key role here, as he has proved himself as a goal kicking midfielder. No matter what happens, one of these sides will be singing the song for the first time in 2021.

In a battle for a second win, Palm Beach Currumbin and Wilston Grange will face off at Salk Oval in the final match of Saturday QAFL action. Not much separates these sides, with both teams sitting on a 1-2 record, this is another vital clash in the fifth round of action. A second win could see either side move into the top five, which is crucial heading into a sixth round. At the time of publication, team lineups had not been released.

Finally, a seemingly unstoppable Broadbeach side will host a struggling Surfers Paradise side at Subaru Oval on Sunday afternoon. Broadbeach are yet to lose a game and boasting the best percentage in the league, they sit on top of the table. Surfers Paradise are a completely different story, having only won one game in their first three, and in dire need of a second. The key question is can they contain Broadbeach forward Sam Jasper, who is fresh off a bag of eight goals last weekend? This matchup will prove important in determining a winner.

State Leagues Wrap: Plenty of big scores as teams find mojo

THE Aussie Rules state league action resumed this weekend around most parts of the country with plenty of enthralling contests. While most states went about their normal business, the WAFL was unfortunately cancelled due to the recently acquired COVID-19 cases and ensuing lockdown.

Victoria

The Western Bulldogs delivered a dominant performance, defeating the GWS Giants 21.9 (135) to 10.3 (63) on Thursday night’s VFL opener. In a star-studded contest, the Dogs proved too good, kicking eight goals to two in the third to essentially seal the result. Potentially the most watched player in the VFL so far this year, last year’s number one pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan once again impressed with a five-goal haul. With an injury to Bulldogs AFL tall Tim English, this could be the perfect opportunity for the 18-year-old to make his much-anticipated debut. Patrick Lipinski also impressed with 35 disposals and a goal in a strong claim to earn a debut to the AFL side. Giants recruit Jesse Hogan kicked four goals as he looks towards an AFL debut for GWS.

Gold Coast continue to adjust to life in Victoria as they defeated fellow interstate side Sydney Swans by 14 points in an exciting clash on Saturday morning. The Suns held off a fast-finishing Swans side to claim their first win of the season. Will Brodie was the Suns’ best with a massive 31 disposal, two goal performance through the midfield. Swan Dylan Stephens responded to his omission from the AFL side with 32 disposals in an eye-catching performance.

Carlton booted the biggest score of the round, triumphing over the Lions in a 24.10 (154) to 13.7 (85) win. Former Pie and Crow Ben Crocker booted seven goals in the victory, while AFL listed duo Will Setterfield (25 disposals, 10 tackles) and Paddy Dow (20 disposals, six tackles) both put their name in contention for a recall over the coming weeks. Omitted Lion Tom Fullarton was the best for his team on the day, stuffing the stat sheet with 34 disposals, 18 hitouts and a goal in a performance that should catch the eye of coaches.

It was a battle of two inaccurate sides as Essendon took down Collingwood with a 12.13 (85) to 6.14 (50) victory. Both sides wasted plenty of opportunities in front of goal, but ultimately the Bombers overwhelmed their opponents to walk away win. Essendon’s Tom Cutler put in a best on ground performance for the winning side, booting three snags to go with 27 disposals. Alec Waterman was reflective of his side, kicking 2.4 in what could’ve been a massive outing. Magpie Mason Cox fought hard in conditions not suited to big men, but will be facing a stint on the sidelines after finding himself reported.

South Australia

ANZAC round in the SANFL began with a victory to North Adelaide over their Norwood opponents by three goals at Hisense Stadium. The game began in close fashion, with only two points separating the sides at quarter time. North Adelaide began to kick away in the second and third quarters, before Norwood began a last quarter comeback that couldn’t be completed. Jordan Boyle was instrumental for North Adelaide, racking up 33 disposals and seven inside 50’s, while teammate Edward Allen was fantastic through the middle, with 24 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances. Norwood’s best was Jacob Kennerly with 22 disposals and 10 clearances.

Adelaide’s Billy Frampton was outstanding in his side’s 23-point win over the Central Districts at X Convenience Oval. Frampton booted seven goals to go with 19 disposals and 12 marks (nine contested) in a match winning performance. Frampton will surely be in contention for a recall at AFL level after Saturday’s match. Ruckman Kieran Strachan continued his good performance with 38 hitouts, while David Mackay found plenty of the ball with 24 touches. Central Districts were well served in the loss by Luke Habel (31 disposals) and Aiden Grace (5 goals).

South Adelaide continued their undefeated season with a strong 39-point win over a struggling Sturt side at Flinders University Stadium. A close contest for the first three quarters, Sturt trailed by only a goal at the final break. South Adelaide absolutely blew the game wide open in the last quarter, kicking five goals to none in the final term to seal the game. Former AFL star Bryce Gibbs was exceptional for South Adelaide, finishing with 35 disposals, seven tackles and seven clearances in a best on ground display. Joel Cross was also strong for the victors, kicking three goals from his 24 disposals. Sturt defender Casey Voss was valiant in defeat, finishing with 26 touches and 13 rebound 50’s.

Glenelg have held off a determined Port Adelaide, to leave ACH Group Stadium with a narrow 10-point win. Inaccuracy cost the Power, as they finished with the same amount of scoring shots as their opponents, but lacked the ability to convert in key stages. For Glenelg, Lachie Hosie booted five goals, including two in the last quarter that proved crucial in the game’s result. Michael Virgin was also influential in the winning side, finding the ball 27 times to go with 16 marks. For the Power, Sam Powell-Pepper impressed with 34 disposals, eight tackles and eight clearances.

In a nail biting clash, Woodville-West Torrens defeated North Adelaide by three points in the final game of the ANZAC round. Eagle Joseph Sinor was the hero of the match, kicking the goal to give his side the lead deep into the last quarter, and North Adelaide couldn’t conjure a game-winning response in time. Former Crow Riley Knight was terrific for the winners with 27 disposals and a goal, while ruckman Jack Hayes was also strong with 21 disposals and 21 hitouts. For North Adelaide, Jarred Allmond and Alexander Spina combined for 62 disposals.

Tasmania

It was a tale of blowouts in the TSL with two games decided by over 90 points. In the first game of the round, North Launceston responded from last week’s loss in the perfect manner, belting Lauderdale by 93 points at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday. The game was over by the main break, with North Launceston kicking 13 goals to nil in the first half. For the winners, Jay Foon was his side’s best while Brandon Leary and Thomas Bennett combined for eight goals. For Lauderdale, Nat Franklin battled hard all day.

The remaining two games were played on ANZAC day, in a fantastic day for local football. Starting at Kingston Twin Oval, the Tigers cruised away with a 24-point victory over Glenorchy on Sunday afternoon. The first three quarters belonged to the Tigers, as they took a 46-point lead into the last quarter, before a late Glenorchy comeback stemmed the bleeding. Tiger Elijah Reardon continued his strong form, claiming best on ground honours, while Glenorchy’s Harrison Gunther kicked three goals to be his side’s best.

The final game of the round saw Launceston demolish North Hobart on their own home deck, running away with a 125-point triumph in a ruthless display. The match was tense for the first two quarters, with only eight points separating the two sides at half time. Launceston then produced one of the best quarters of the season, kicking 13 goals to none in the third quarter, and this was compounded by a six goal to none final term. Launceston’s Dylan Riley was magnificent, kicking nine goals in the second half to finish with 10 for the match. Jay Blackberry was also excellent, kicking two goals from 31 disposals. For North Hobart, Nicholas Jackson worked hard all day.

Queensland

Redland-Victoria Point have walked away with a textbook win over Palm Beach Currumbin, claiming a 60-point win at Totally Workwear Park on Saturday afternoon. A strong first half from the Sharks set up the win, with their opponents struggling to recover from the half time margin. For the winners, Jamie Ivers kicked five goals in a day out, while William Johnson was also a strong contributor. For Palm Beach Currumbin, Mitchell Johnson resumed his great start to the year, backing up last week’s four goals with five goals on Saturday.

Broadbeach have sent a message to the rest of the competition, smashing Sherwood Districts by 102 points at Sherwood Oval. It was a four-quarter performance from the visitors, kicking at least five goals in every quarter and never giving the opposition a chance. Broadbeach’s Sam Jasper kicked a stunning eight goals and was easily his side’s best on the day but had strong support from teammates Ryan Pickering and Samuel Weddell. For Sherwood Districts, Billy Hawkes was his side’s best on a dark day for the club.

A close contest all day, Labrador did enough to hold off Surfers Paradise as they escaped with an eight-point victory at Sir Bruce Small Park. No team led by more than seven points at any break, and the game looked to go either way, but Surfers Paradise fell just short of snatching the win. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley was instrumental in the win, and was Labrador’s best performer, while Max Johnson was also damaging. For Surfers Paradise, Max Green and Brody Haberfield were among the best.

A final quarter burst sealed the win for Morningside as they stormed away from a Wilston Grange side that hung around for the first three quarters, before falling by 40 points. Morningside turned a three-point deficit at half time into an 11-point lead at the final change, before piling on five goals to none in the final term to claim a handy victory. For Morningside, Nathan Colenso delivered his second bag of five goals in three games as he continues to prove a threat up forward, while Darcy Cameron-Reeves was also one of his side’s best. For Wilston Grange, Will Mckenzie’s four goal performance kept them competitive.

Maroochydore were too good for Noosa as they triumphed by 70 points at Maroochydore Multisports Complex in Saturday’s final match. From the first quarter to the last, Maroochydore tormented their opponents with their dominant play, and a victory never looked in doubt. For Maroochydore, Mitchell Scholard booted four goals, taking his season tally to 16, while Joshua Filo was fantastic. For Noosa Ryley Buntain and Ben Guthrie never gave up.

State Leagues preview: QAFL’s first full round begins as other states go again for Round 2

IN a Draft Central first, we have streamlined a look across the nation with a number of state leagues coming back for Round 2 after a big opening round. Competitions in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland all take place over the weekend and we preview them all in one convenient preview.

QUEENSLAND:

The full bill of teams will be out in force for Round 2 of the QAFL after last year’s wooden spooners Wilston Grange got the one-point win over newcomers Noosa Tigers last weekend. The Gorillas matched their total wins from last season – albeit from a shorter nine-game season – from just one match, and will host Maroochydore this weekend. The Roos have teenager Ben Thomas on the wing, with key position tall Max McDonald named at half-back. For the Gorillas top-age draft prospect Bae Gallop has been named onball, alongside Kuot Thot (half-forward flank). Ky McKenzie (interchange) and Oscar Stewart (back pocket) are others who are young talents to watch for the home side.

Meanwhile grand finalists Broadbeach will host Labrador in the Cats’ first game of the year, while reigning premiers Morningside will travel to Palm Beach Currumbin for an away game first up. Naturally the Panthers were happy to wait until Round 3 to unfurl the flag against the team they conquered in the 2020 decider. The Cats will have a couple of Suns Academy members who have come through the program in Ryan Pickering and Finn Brown (emergency), while for Labrador, small forward Blair Rubock is back again in the yellow and black, with Bryce Retzlaff to provide a a tall target and crucially, ex-Gold Coast and Brisbane talent Pearce Hanley named onball.

Will Bella is the one to watch for the Lions as they try to take down the reigning premiers in Round 1, as the Gold Coast Suns’ tall has been named in the forward pocket. He will play alongside the likes of Ethan Hunt and Ashton Crossley who have both come through the Northern Academy programs in recent years. For Morningside, Ben McCarthy has been named at half-back and is one to watch from the Brisbane Academy, while Nathan Colenso and Tom Griffiths have come through the Northern Academies in recent years and remain youngsters to keep an eye on.

The 2019 QAFL premiers Surfers Paradise will be eyeing off a much better season in 2021 after just two wins last year, taking on another new team in Redland-Victoria Point. The Demons will hit the road against the Sharks in the clash, whilst the final match of the round will see Sherwood Districts hosting Mt Gravatt. Noosa Tigers will have a bye after the tight Round 1 loss.

Not named as a starter, but young Jaspa Fletcher will be one to watch for Sherwood this season, with Adrian’s son set to create plenty of headaches inside 50. Speaking of headaches inside 50, it is great to see Kobe Tozer returning from injury to be named at full-forward for the black and whites. Up the other end, Conner Bulley has been named in a forward pocket as another teenager in the side, whilst for the Vultures, Lochlan Harrop (half-forward) and Ethan Kerr (back pocket) are a couple of teenagers in the Round 2 team.

Surfers Paradise have players to keep an eye on as they keep developing such as Matthew Green and Myles Jewell returning to the side to take on the Sharks. Redland-Victoria Point is a new side entering the QAFL, though Redland has had its success in the NEWAFL, and ex-Collingwood talent Peter Yagmoor is one to watch on the list, as well as ex-Sherwood player Caleb Franks.

South Australia:

Former Tasmanian State League (TSL) and ex-West Coast Eagle Mitch O’Neill has been named for his South Adelaide debut, coming into the Panthers’ team alongside another former TSL and ex-AFL talent in Fraser Turner. They will beef up the Panthers’ starting team to take on North Adelaide in the SANFL League clash, who celebrate Jarred Allmond‘s 200th game. Top draft prospect will start on the interchange for the Panthers, whilst Dyson Hilder will be at full forward for the Roosters.

Another Tasmanian coming into the league is Hamish Allan, with the ex-North Hobart 20-year-old running out for Sturt this year. He will be amongst the side that features past South Australian representatives at Under 18s level, Tom Lewis, Josh Shute and Jed McEntee among others. Their opponents Norwood will celebrate Cameron Shenton‘s 100 games, but will be without Richard Douglas for the clash due to personal reasons, though a player who has garnered draft interest in recent years in Cole Gerloff returns to the Redlegs.

A trio of teenagers will potentially line-up for the League side with Brady Searle, Cooper Horsnell and Will Chandler all named in the side for their debuts, with ex-Demon Billy Stretch out with an ankle injury. Their opponents Woodville-West Torrens will unveil Canberra Demons’ recruit Mitchell Hardie who comes into the side along with the huge – physical and metaphorical – inclusion of ruck Jarrad Redden.

Teenage talent Bailey Chamberlain has been named for West Adelaide as one of three inclusions up against Adelaide’s reserves side. He joins new recruit Nick Steele as a potential inclusion, with no outs as of yet, and the likes of Josh Gore and Elliot Dunkin as ones who have caught AFL clubs attention in past years. The Crows will include ex-Glenelg onballer Luke Pedlar for the first time, with Daniel Jackson rested from the match.

Meanwhile Port Adelaide will be without Lachie Jones (debut) and Tom Rockliff (concussion) in a couple of massive outs, which gives Central District a big bonus at the selection table, welcoming in former Panther Brett Kennedy alongside ex-Tiger Ben Nason who returns into the team for the clash against the Magpies.

 

TASMANIA:

In Round 2 of the TSL, Glenorchy enter the competition after a Round 1 bye, set to take on a Clarence team coming off a hard-fought seven-point defeat. The Roos took a little too long to get going against an Allen Christensen-inspired Lauderdale outfit, and they will be keen to step it up against the Magpies.

Glenorchy will of course be without legend Jaye Bowden who retired last season, with Matthew Joseph set to be the focal point up forward, whilst youngster Callum Thompson is one to keep an eye on in the match. The Roos lose a shot of young guns due to Tasmania Devils returning to the NAB League with Oliver Davis, Baker Smith, Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes all out, while ex-Demon Colin Garland has been named at full-forward.

In the Tigers-Lauderdale clash, much has been spoken about the huge impact that Sam Siggins and Nat Franklin had through the midfield with Christensen dominating up forward. The trio will look to have a similar impact when they travel to Kingborough to take on Tigers, who had a young gun stand out in Round 1 with Zach Adams impressing off a wing, whilst Lachlan Gadomski and Riley Ashlin are other young talents.

North Launceston will be without the Sanders brothers in Ollie and Ryley Sanders, as well as Nathan Pearce for the clash against North Hobart, as the Northern Bombers need to find a way to bounce back from a 55-point loss to reigning premiers Launceston. They still have experience in Brad Cox-Goodyer through the middle, but have a new-look side to its recent years. For the Demons. The Demons are coming off a loss themselves, going down to Tigers by 11 points, and will be massively depleted with a ridiculous amount of young talent out of the side including George McLeod and Jye Menzie. It will be up to the next ground of players coming in, with 12 inclusions – including four emergencies – to the Demons side.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

East Perth and Peel Thunder will be keen to quickly move on from Round 1 losses as they do battle in Round 2. The Royals will be without Nick Robertson, but still have Jackson Ramsay and Rohan Kerr among the midfielders as former AFL talents. Peel Thunder will bring in a quartet of Fremantle players with Griffin Logue and Liam Henry joining Mitch Crowden and Bailey Banfield in the side, with Sam Sturt‘s five-goal haul enough to earn a recall at the Dockers, as Connor Blakely and Taylin Duman also are out. A non Fremantle-listed talent to watch for is young gun Brodie Lake who is named in the back pocket.

Two teams that picked up wins in Round 1 were Claremont and South Fremantle, with ex-Dockers Jason Carter and Alex Pearce a couple of big inclusions for the Tigers. They have plenty to like about their lineup with Jye Bolton, Kane Mitchell and Jake Patmore among the talented experienced players in there, though Jacob Van Rooyen is the one to watch as a potential Top 10 pic, lining up on ex-Geelong Cat Blake Schlensog who is playing for South Fremantle. The Bulldogs will be without Cam McCarthy for this match, but still have Haiden Schloithe and Matthew Parker, and the exciting Ben Rioli.

A potential matchup between Chris Masten and Lewis Jetta on the team selection sheets is a mouth-watering clash for any West Coast Eagles fan, with the two ex-talents doing battle for Perth and Swan Districts respectively. Jetta might just have the leg speed in that head-to-head, with Sam Fisher, Jesse Palmer and Frank Anderson among the other Swans to keep an eye on. For Perth, ex-Murray and St Kilda talent Doulton Langlands joins ex-Docker Brady Gray and ex-Eagle Brant Colledge in the Perth midfield which will provide some resistance for the clash.

It is early days, but a top of the table clash between Round 1’s big winners in East Fremantle and Subiaco opens the second round with plenty to get excited about. Ex-Docker Hugh Dixon is joined by youngster Finn Gorringe who comes into the Sharks’ League side, while Jonathon Marsh and Dillon O’Reilly make a damaging forward duo. For the Lions, Ben Sokol is a goal-scoring machine, with Lachlan Delahunty starting his year off strong, set to go head-to-head with Josh Schoenfeld in a battle of the leather poisoning talents from the opening weekend.

At the time of publishing, the West Perth and West Coast teams were not out.

Picture credit: Bronia Henty-Smith Photography

Queensland weekly wrap: Lions win Youth Girls Academy Series

BRISBANE Lions Youth Girls Academy were the top performers at the weekend’s Northern Academy Series, while their AFL counterparts pushed Port Adelaide all the way in Adelaide, but the Gold Coast Suns went down to Fremantle in a “home” game at Optus Stadium.

Lions and Suns compete in Youth Girls Northern Academy Series

Brisbane Lions have triumphed in the Youth Girls Northern Academy Series with three victories over the GIANTS, Gold Coast Suns and Sydney Swans. The Lions defeated the GIANTS by one point in the opening game, before a 46-point victory over the Suns and 20-point victory over the Sydney Swans followed. The Suns won their two other matches with a 23-point victory over Sydney and a 42-point victory over the GIANTS, restricting both sides to a combined two behinds in their matches. A total of 60 players took part in the series from Queensland, with 28 representing Brisbane Lions and 32 representing the Gold Coast SUNS.

For more information on how the series went down, head to the AFL Queensland website.

AFL Round 3 

Brisbane Lions vs Port Adelaide Power

Port Adelaide survived a goalless last quarter to beat the incredibly brave and luckless Brisbane Lions by five points at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Inspired by Stefan Martin, who had an amazing 30 disposals and 48 hit-outs, the Lions came back from 18 points down at three-quarter time and battled hard. The Power looked completely drained after a six-day break from a tough away encounter against the Sydney Swans. Port was expected to win – they have been touted by many to finish in the top four – but the Lions seemed to believe they were always a chance.

The Lions turned up in hot conditions ready to produce a highly respectful performance, going down fighting to the bitter end. Charlie Cameron started at full-forward and kicked three telling early goals on his old hunting ground, and for Brisbane to lead by 11 points at half-time was a huge wake-up call for the Power. When they did, they were back to their controlling best, but again not without needing to work hard for each possession. Port regrouped after half-time and found their cleaner flow, definitely with more vigour. They tested the resilience of the Lions, switching the play and forcing them into growing errors amidst the extended pressure.

For 43 of the first 75 minutes of match play the Lions led and looked like deserving winners. Of course, ultimately Port clawed their way back through tenacity and a rise in intensity, but for the Lions to hang in there for so long speaks volumes for the path coach Chris Fagan is taking them on. There were Brisbane’s hardy perennials like Luke Hodge who masterminded the defence, Dayne Zorko who was brilliant in the midfield, and Mitch Robinson who was inspirational with his attack on the ball, but it was Stefan Martin with some magnificent ruck work that really gave the Lions a big chance. Port kicked seven goals to the Lions’ five in the second half to escape with the game which went right down to the wire. Next Saturday afternoon the Lions face reigning premiers Richmond at the MCG.

Final Scores: Port Adelaide 14.13 (97) defeated Brisbane 14.8 (92)  

Gold Coast Suns vs. Fremantle Dockers

Gold Coast Suns’ undefeated run came to an end on the weekend at the hands of a Nat Fyfe-inspired Fremantle Dockers outfit at Optus Stadium. With the Commonwealth Games in full swing on the coast, the Suns sold their home game to the Dockers and it proved to be a winning factor in the game. While the crowd wasn’t nearly as strong as the previous numbers Perth’s new stadium has yielded, the Freo fans surely helped to will their side over the line. It took special performances from Michael Walters (23 disposals, six tackles, two goals) and Ed Langdon (27 disposals, five marks, five tackles), alongside their skipper, for Fremantle to break the half-time deadlock and come away with the four points.

While it was a fairly even contest for most of the game, the Dockers ended up dominating the key stats – winning the disposal count 387-324, clearances 37-29 and contested possessions 154-135 – and the margin could have been more had they kicked more accurately in front of goal with 31 scoring shots to 18. For the Suns, Jarryd Lyons continued his admirable early season form with a complete performance of 30 disposals, ten tackles, seven clearances and two goals. Jack Martin pitched in with 21 disposals, six marks and a goal alongside Kade Kolodjashnij (22 disposals, seven marks) and Touk Miller (19 disposals, six tackles, five clearances).

One of the more pleasing performances came from the injury riddled Sam Day, who booted three goals from his ten disposals and five marks with Tom Lynch kept quiet. Besides the loss, coach Stewart Dew will also face the concern of potentially losing star wingman Pearce Hanley to another shoulder injury after he suffered a dislocation in the first half. Overall, the result came from a mix of Fremantle’s brilliance and a somewhat disappointing Gold Coast effort. The Suns will again head to Optus Stadium to face West Coast in round four. Final Scores: Fremantle 13.18 (96) defeated Gold Coast 10.8 (68)