Tag: QAFL

Smith taking things “week by week”

POWERFUL prospect Bella Smith has proven herself as one of Queensland’s top draft chances in 2021, but is taking a steady mindset into next week’s big day. The Maroochydore midfielder has been aligned with the Brisbane Lions Academy and there are plenty of former ‘Roos to look towards for inspiration in the same pathway.

“At this point in time I’m just taking everything week by week and just trying to play well in my QAFL games,” Smith said during the season. “But the end goal is definitely to get drafted.”

As a member of this year’s AFLW Academy intake, Smith has picked up plenty of elite standards along the way and got the chance to meet up with her fellow academy members earlier in the year. Queensland’s Under 19 Championships clash with Vic Country also served as a handy “experience”, with Smith notching 14 disposals and five marks despite her side’s 54-point loss.

“It was an interesting game,” she said. “I was very excited for it all, but at the end of the day they were definitely a better side than us. It was still a great experience and good to see friends that we’ve known from the (AFLW) Academy as well.

“(The Academy) is awesome. It’s such a good experience to get around girls that are like-minded. We got to catch up all together not too long ago down in Melbourne.”

At that point in time, Smith had hoped the national academy would be able to play their then-postponed game together, though it never came to fruition. Instead, she honed her craft back home with Maroochydore in a QAFLW campaign which yielded a finals win.

Described by Queensland Talent Manager Mark Browning as a “very, very tough inside mid (who) loves the contest”, Smith says strength and power are her go-to traits. While she is a terrific handler and distributor on the inside, she is still working on her outside game and improving the all-important fundamentals of kicking.

“(I’m looking to improve on) everything really,” Smith said. ” But I’ve been working a lot on my kicking. I’ve been doing work outside of training with Enhanced Football, he’s been helping me over the season on my kicking.”

Cracking the next level would mark another great chapter in Smith’s footballing story, which began at eight years old when she topped up for her brother’s local side.

The likes of Belle Dawes and Lily Postlethwaite have already stepped up from Maroochydore to the Brisbane Lions’ AFLW squad, can Smith be the next Roo to bounce to the bigtime?

Queensland Academy Watch | Lions learn, Suns caught in COVID chaos

DESPITE losing in Thursday night footy in the seniors to the Brisbane Lions, Geelong’s reserves have given their club some consolation with a cracking 118-point away win on Friday.

As was to be expected in a contest between mostly AFL listed players, the early going was willing and scores remained close into the second quarter, but Geelong’s exceptional midfield began to exert its dominance and booted the final four goals to go into half time with a lead that would extend through the second half, as they went on an 18-goal rampage until the Lions fought to retain some respectability in junk time.

For the Lions, Academy player Tom Triffett topped the tackle count with 11 and added a goal to his 14 disposals, while James Langbourne again got forward to hit the scoreboard and mid-season draftee Kalin Lane backed up his debut with a goal and 11 hit-outs.

Brisbane again fielded 10 top-up players, with the late decision to cancel the Allies camp due to Sydney’s worsening COVID crisis, so Saxon Crozier, Tahj Abberley, Jack Briskey and Triffett were drafted into the VFL side at the last minute, against a Geelong outfit with mature-bodied ex-AFL players included, and the result showed the imbalance.

2019 second round draft pick Francis Evans kicked 4.2 for the victors, while 2020 second round tall Shannon Neale kicked 4.1, but it was Charlie Constable with 44 disposals who starred with the big-bodied inside midfielder putting in a great audition in a contract year.

Spare a thought for Gold Coast Suns Academy players in the Allies squad, who after their camp was cancelled were selected to play VFL, only for the Southport vs. Suns fixture to be postponed as well. Will Bella, Max Pescud, Bailey Reeves, Jack Johnston and Bodhi Uwland subsequently missed out on playing football altogether.

However, Finn Brown turned in a best on ground performance for Broadbeach for the third game straight as he and Austin Harris ran through the midfield in the Cats’ loss to Sherwood. Meanwhile, Jed Foggo and Brinn Little turned out for Palm Beach Currumbin in their loss to Maroochydore, as top-age ruck Thomas Hofert joined junior club Labrador for their thumping win over Noosa.

Gold Coast prospect Jye Lockett played his fourth senior game for North Ballarat, bagging a couple of goals to bring his tally to a total of seven for the season in the Ballarat League.

Image Credit: RF Photography

State Leagues wrap: Ladder leaders flex muscle

A PAIR of fixtures saw the Victorian Football League (VFL) return on Saturday amid Victoria’s lockdown, while it was business as usual for state leagues around the nation. The West and South Australian leagues both rolled on into their ninth round of action, while the 10th set of fixtures were played in Queensland and Tasmania. We take you through the most eye-catching results and efforts across the state leagues this past weekend.

Queensland (QAFL):

Broadbeach extended its undefeated streak with a 51-point thumping of Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC), headlining the five games played on Saturday afternoon. Jordan Moncrieff snared a bag of six goals in the Cats’ big win, with Lucas Jellyman-Turner named best afield and Gold Coast Academy member Bodhi Uwland also prominent.

Mitchell Scholard was another to boot a bag, claiming five majors in Maroochydore’s 41-point win over Surfers Paradise. Top-age SUNS Academy standout Max Pescud finished as the Demons’ sole multiple goalkicker (two) as Daniel Charlesworth earned top votes in the loss. The Roos hopped up to second, with help from Labrador’s bye and Sherwood Districts’ upset win over Morningside. Thomas Baulch slammed home six goals for the Magpies, who now sit seventh behind Surfers Paradise, but have a sizeable percentage to make up.

Elsewhere, Redland-Victoria Point moved clear in fifth after feasting on the winless Noosa, with Peter Yagmoor snagging an equal round-high six majors, while Wilston Grange drew level on points with Mt Gravatt after beating the Vultures by 19 points.

South Australia (SANFL):

Glenelg clawed its way back from a 48-point half time deficit against Norwood to keep its perfect record (9-0) intact and remain clear atop the SANFL ladder. The Bays booted the last eight goals of the game, with that streak starting and ending via the boot of Toby Pink. Matthew Snook played a key hand in his side’s miraculous turnaround with 27 disposals and 11 tackles, while the returning Matthew Nunn (29 disposals, 2.4) was instrumental for the Redlegs.

On the same Sunday, second-ranked South Adelaide survived a scare of its own against West Adelaide, holding on to win by three points at Hisense Stadium. Connor Fairlie nearly proved the hero for Westies, booting two of his three goals in the final term but missed a tough chance to put his side ahead late in the piece. He and Thomas Keough snared three majors apiece, while Kaine Stevens racked up a game-high 35 disposals for the Bloods. Joseph Haines had it 31 times for South, while Bryce Gibbs notched 28 touches as his side had a spread of 10 individual goalkickers.

On Saturday, Woodville-West Torrens and North Adelaide notched more comfortable wins against bottom three opposition, with the Eagles beating Central District by 29 points, while the Roosters came away 40 points to the good against Adelaide.

Tasmania (TSL):

Competition frontrunners Launceston and North Launceston came up trumps in dual top four battles, as the Blues accounted for the fourth-placed Tigers to the tune of 26 points, while the Northern Bombers breezed past third-ranked Clarence by 34 points. The results see Launceston remain top with a game in hand to North Launceston, with the top four ultimately unchanged.

Dylan Riley booted five goals for the Blues in their win, while Liam Jones provided a couple of highlights on debut. In the round’s other fixture, Glenorchy moved clear in fifth spot with its 19-point win over Lauderdale. North Hobart had the bye in Round 9, but will return against Launceston on Sunday afternoon.

Victoria (VFL):

New-South Wales and Queensland carried the load of the Victorian-branded competition in Round 8, with a game played in each state on Saturday. In the morning at Tramway Oval, Southport moved clear atop the table with a 15-point comeback win over the Sydney Swans, thanks to a six-goal final quarter. The Sharks doubled their goal tally in said term, as Jacob Dawson finished with dominant figures of 41 disposals and two goals. He now leads the league for disposals and handballs. Lewis Taylor and Marc Sheather booted three majors each for the Swans, while Ryan Clarke racked up 34 touches.

The afternoon hitout at Graham Road Oval between Aspley and Brisbane Lions ended in dramatic fashion, as Hornets spearhead Matthew Hammelmann marked and kicked a goal just after the final siren, but thought he had won his side the game. The score did not count, and Brisbane came away one-point winners. Hammelmann, the competition’s leading goalkicker, snared five majors this time out, while former-Lion Ryan Bastinac racked up 37 disposals. Current Brisbane barometer Rhys Mathieson led all comers with 39 touches, as Connor Ballenden clunked 10 marks and Connor McFadyen was one of three Lions to boot three goals.

With Round 7 fixtures postponed last week due to the Victorian lockdown, the competition is set to return this week but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Western Australia (WAFL):

WAFL fixtures were spread from Thursday night to Monday afternoon in Round 9, with frontrunners Subiaco and Claremont both picking up wins and moving to 7-1 records. The Lions thumped Perth by 98 points on Thursday, as Ben Sokol feasted on six majors and Gregory Clark notched a game-high 42 touches. Subi tall Lachlan Delahunty (30 disposals, 24 hitouts, one goal) was also dominant, while Simon Hayward finished with Perth’s lone goal of the game.

State league standout Jye Bolton ran riot in Claremont’s 27-point victory over West Coast, collecting a monster 49 disposals, 12 marks and a goal. Four other Tigers ticked over 30 touches, while five of their nine individual goalkickers booted multiples. Eagles mid-season draftee Connor West made an immediate impact in his new colours, finishing on a team-high 29 disposals and snaring a goal.

In the second Saturday fixture, Swan Districts moved clear in the top five with an eight-point win over the inaccurate Peel Thunder, who slide to seventh. West Perth kicked off proceedings on Monday with a 43-point win over East Perth, highlighted by eight goals to spearhead Tyler Keitel. South Fremantle bettered East Fremantle by 16 points to see out the round, seeing the reigning premiers sit comfortably in third, just one win adrift from the top two.

Image Credit: David Mariuz/SANFL

State leagues preview: Thrilling matchups around the grounds

WITH the Victorian Football League (VFL) once again on hold due to the ‘circuit breaker lockdown’ extending across metropolitan Melbourne, footy fans can turn their attention to the remaining leagues, with an exciting round of football action ahead. Teams will look slightly different, with the AFL mid-season draft claiming some of the league’s brightest.

South Australia:

The SANFL will resume for its ninth round of action as the finals race really starts to heat up. Proceedings will kick off at X Convenience Oval, as the Central Districts Bulldogs hope to cause an upset when they host the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs will be bolstered by the inclusions of Justin Hoskin and Kyle Presbury, but still face a tough task taking down an Eagles side that is firmly in premiership contention. Increasing their chances is the loss of Eagle Jimmy Toumpas, who suffered concussion in Round 8 and has been forced to miss the clash.

The Adelaide Crows will travel to Prospect Oval, where they will take on the North Adelaide Roosters in an enticing clash on Saturday afternoon. With just one win separating the sides, the Crows will be looking to bolster their position on the ladder with a win, but the Roosters will be aware that if they can triumph, they will be in a much better position to enter the top five in coming weeks. The Roosters will welcome back Billy Hartung from a groin injury, while Karl Finlay will play his first game for the season and Kaine Mercovich will play his first senior match. Adelaide will unleash the club’s mid-season draft pick, with 19-year-old Patrick Parnell named on the half-back flank.

Over at Hisense Stadium, the South Adelaide Panthers will be hoping to close the gap between them and the first-placed Glenelg as they take on the West Adelaide Bloods on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers have had a less-than-ideal start to the season, but are capable of upsetting any side on any given day, so this is far from a certainty. West Adelaide will unveil a debutant, with defender Hayden Elliot set to lace up the boots for the first time, while Reece Milsom returns for the Panthers on a wing.

Glenelg will be looking to keep its remarkable winning streak rolling with a win against the Norwood Redlegs at Coopers Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Glenelg are still yet to lose a game, and given they have nearly played the entire competition, it looks unlikely that this will change in the near future. Norwood will be boosted by the return of skipper Matthew Nunn in the guts, but have lost key forward Jackson Callow to Hawthorn in the recent draft. Glenelg may enter the clash unchanged, given their strong win over the Crows last week.

Western Australia:

The WAFL looks set to rock and roll this weekend for the ninth week of football action. Claremont will have the opportunity to draw level with top-placed Subiaco if they can defeat West Coast at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday afternoon. If they can walk away with the win as expected – given West Coast’s struggles this season – they will only be sitting in second-place on percentage, a factor that can be increased as the year progresses. To make matters worse, West Coast’s AFL side has been struck by injury, and the guns of their WAFL team have been recalled, while Claremont are yet to confirm any changes.

Moving to David Grays Arena, the Peel Thunder will host the Swan Districts in a thrilling matchup on Saturday afternoon. Both sides are sitting around the middle of the ladder with similar records. A win for the Peel Thunder will put them in the top four, while a victory for the Swan Districts will secure their place in the top five for the time being. For the Swan Districts, Traye Bennell, Alex Pearce and Brett Bewley return to the side, while the Peel Thunder have welcomed back former Swan and Eagle Lewis Jetta to the side.

Leederville Oval will be the home of a cross-town clash, as East Perth host West Perth on Monday afternoon. East Perth have won just the one game this season, but West Perth have won just two more than that, so this game could go either way. East Perth will be desperate for their second win of the season, so expect a tough contest. West Perth have welcomed ruckman Benjamin Delaporte and speedy forward Nathan Murray, while East Perth are yet to confirm any changes.

The final match of the round will see yet another cross-town matchup, as East Fremantle host South Fremantle at New Choice Homes Park on Monday afternoon. South Fremantle are chugging along quite nicely, sitting in third place on the ladder thanks to their five wins on the season, while East Fremantle’s season has been a mixed bag, with just three wins. East Fremantle have included Morgan Davies and Hugh Dixon for the clash. South Fremantle have brought in defensive duo Jason Maskos and Noah Strom, but lost Matthew Parker to Richmond in the mid-season draft.

Queensland:

The QAFL is back for Round 10, with the round kicking off at Subaru Oval, with Broadbeach hosting Palm Beach Currumbin on Saturday afternoon. Broadbeach’s season to date has gone just about perfectly, not dropping a game in their first seven matchups, and finding a style of game that has proven to win matches. Forward Jordan Moncrieff has booted 25 goals in the last three games, so expect him to hit the scoreboard again. Palm Beach Currumbin have registered just three wins this season, but are fresh off a 27-point triumph over Sherwood Districts, so they could fancy themselves in this clash.

Maroochydore Multisports Complex will be home to a thrilling matchup, as fourth-placed Maroochydore host fifth-placed Surfers Paradise on Saturday afternoon. With just one win separating the two sides (Maroochydore have also played one more match), this game could go down to the wire, as the winner of this match should announce themselves as one of the contenders of the league. Thompson Smith booted four goals in a best afield display for Surfers Paradise last round, so keep an eye on his impact during this match.

Noosa’s next chance to claim their first win of the 2021 season comes this weekend, as they travel to Totally Workwear Park to take on Redland-Victoria Point on Saturday afternoon. It would need to be a significant turnaround in effort and execution, but Noosa can only play the teams in front of them, and will be aware that all of the pressure will be on Redland-Victoria Point to take home an easy win in this matchup. Alex Laskey has been Noosa’s strongest performer this season, so look forward to a big individual performance once again.

Over at Sherwood Oval, the Sherwood Districts will play host to Morningside, as the two sides face off on Saturday afternoon. The home side has struggled this season, winning just three of their first eight games so far, and face a tough task taking down a Morningside side that has lost just one game so far this season. It appears to be a one-sided affair, but don’t rule out Sherwood Districts in this contest, especially if Thomas Baulch can continue his strong form in front of goal.

The final contest of the QAFL’s 10th round of action will take place at Hickey Park, as Wilston Grange host Mt Gravatt in a big clash on Saturday afternoon. Both sides are sitting down at the bottom of the ladder, so a win here would be crucial in getting a season back on track. Both teams will be aware of the stakes during this clash, so expect a passionate contest. Mt Gravatt’s Frazer Neate played his strongest game of the season last round, so it will be interesting to see if he can back it up again this weekend and claim a win.

Tasmania:

The TSL’s 10th round of action will kick off with a fantastic matchup, as Lauderdale take on Glenorchy at KGV Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides have struggled to start the season, but Saturday’s clash provides a perfect opportunity to amend this for the winning team. Glenorchy will be without ball-winner Sam Rundle, while Lauderdale have again lost the services of ex-Lion and skipper Allen Christensen, so both sides will be far from full-strength, but it should still make for an even contest.

That match isn’t the only blockbuster this weekend, with North Launceston hosting Clarence at UTAS stadium as the two sides clash on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit on six wins and are only separated by percentage. One of the biggest factors heading into this match is the location, as Clarence are one of the strongest home sides this season, but face a tough challenge taking on North Launceston on their home deck. Clarence will be boosted by the return of ex-Dee Colin Garland.

The final match of the round will see Launceston attempt to redeem themselves from Round 8’s loss to North Launceston, with a win as they take on the Tigers at Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. The Blues will still head into the contest as heavy favourites, but the Tigers will be smelling blood now that their opponents are seen as beatable. Keep an eye on Launceston debutant Liam Jones, who has been named to line up on the ball.

Picture credit: Solstice Photography

State Leagues wrap: Big wins across the board

DESPITE the absence of Victorian Football League (VFL) action due to a statewide lockdown imposed on Victoria, the remaining leagues went ahead with business as usual, providing plenty of entertaining football action.

SANFL:

The SANFL kicked off its eighth round at Flinders University Stadium, where the South Adelaide Panthers proved too strong for Central Districts, running out winners by 27 points on Saturday afternoon. Despite only two points separating the sides at the final break, a six-goal final term from the Panthers was ultimately the deciding factor, as they grabbed their sixth win of the year, keeping them in second place, behind the undefeated Tigers. Panther Bryce Gibbs was far and away the best player, racking up 36 touches in the midfield, laying six solid tackles and booting two goals in a dominant display from the ex-Crow. For Central Districts, Harry Grant found plenty of the ball with 25 touches for the match.

At Maugham Thiem Kia Oval, Woodville-West Torrens ran away with a nice 47-point win over the Norwood Redlegs on Saturday afternoon. The Redlegs burst out of the gates, taking a two-goal lead into quarter time, but the Eagles kicked 11 goals to two in the remaining three quarters to nab a win that saw them rise up the ladder. For the victors, Riley Knight continued his strong season with 27 disposals and 10 marks through the midfield, while teammate Angus Poole booted three goals from his 21 touches. For the Redlegs, ex-Crow Richard Douglas fought hard with 29 disposals and a goal.

Prospect Oval was treated to a thrilling win for the home side, as North Adelaide escaped with a three-point win over the Sturt Sabres on Saturday afternoon. A late charge from the Sabres looked as if they might be able to steal an unlikely victory, but a late shot on goal from Sabre Daniel Fahey-Sparks didn’t register a major score, and the result was all but sealed. For the winning side, midfielder Campbell Combe put in an outstandingly tough performance, finishing the match with 25 disposals, five clearances and a massive 15 tackles. For the Sabres, Casey Voss worked tirelessly all day on his way to 28 touches and a goal.

Glenelg’s season remains perfect and they do not look like slowing down at all, following their 89-point belting of the Adelaide Crows at ACH Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Crows looked no match for their opponents, who were able to do as they please for all four quarters. Tigers forwards Luke Reynolds (five goals) and Liam McBean (four goals) were fantastic up forward, constantly giving teammates such as Matthew Allen (33 disposals) an option with the ball in hand. For the Crows, skipper Matthew Wright tried to lead his side as well as he could, finishing with 30 touches on a tough day.

The final SANFL game for the weekend saw Port Adelaide claim a strong win over West Adelaide at Alberton Oval on Saturday afternoon. A strong third term saw the Power break away from their opponents, who had been impressive in their efforts to match the home side around the contest, but the class of Port Adelaide ultimately got them over the line. For the victors, midfielder Sam Mayes was instrumental around the contest, finishing the match with 30 disposals and seven clearances as he gave his side midfield ascendancy. For West Adelaide, Kaine Stevens fought bravely around the ball, finishing the match with 33 disposals and a goal.

WAFL:

The WAFL kicked off their eighth round of footy at Leederville Oval, where Subiaco were able to snatch top spot on the ladder with a 44-point victory over the Peel Thunder on Saturday afternoon. The strong margin saw the victors gain enough percentage on the ladder to move up to premier spot on the ladder, as their opponents struggled to keep up with them, especially after a five-goal to none opening term. For the winners, Lachlan Delahunty was a clear standout, doing it all to finish the match with 30 disposals, 16 hitouts and seven inside-50’s in a strong outing. For the Peel Thunder, Reece Conca was great from the backline, racking up 27 touches while denying his opponents the ball.

Heading to Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont were clinical in their 39-point victory over East Perth on Saturday afternoon. The game was reasonably even in the first half, with just one point separating the sides at the main break, but Claremont were able to turn it on in the second half on their way to their sixth win of the season. Claremont were led from the midfield, especially by Jye Bolton who finished with 34 disposals and nine inside 50’s in a strong attacking game. For East Perth, Angus Scott found plenty of space, racking up 34 touches and nine marks of his own.

At Fremantle Community Bank Oval, South Fremantle got their offensive game-plan rolling, storming away from West Coast to claim a 66-point win on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles have struggled to string together solid play all year, and South Fremantle took full advantage of that, especially in the second quarter where they booted seven goals in a dominant term. For the victors, Jimmy Miller booted five goals in a powerful display up forward, while former Saint kicked four goals from 26 disposals. For the Eagles, Xavier O’Neill tried to get his side going from the midfield, finishing with 24 touches and 10 inside-50’s.

Swan Districts grabbed a crucial round eight win, taking down East Fremantle to the tune of 44 points at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon. With both sides entering the clash with the same record, Swan Districts virtually determined the result of the game in the second quarter, where they booted eight goals to claim a commanding lead that they would never end up surrendering. For the winning side, ruckman Corey Gault caught the eye with his 19 disposals, six tackles and 36 hitouts in an impressive display, while Cameron Eardley was the strongest performer for East Fremantle.

In a low scoring affair, Perth were able to walk away with a 10-point win over West Perth at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides were made to pay for their inaccuracy in a close contest, but Perth’s strong third term was ultimately telling in determining the result of the game. For the winning team, Corey Byrne was a standout in the midfield with his 30-disposal performance while Aaron Black found the ball 32 times for West Perth.

QAFL:

There were plenty of big scores in this weekend’s QAFL action, starting at Rococo Oval, where Broadbeach hammered Noosa, running out winners by a whopping 113 points on Saturday afternoon. The game was ultimately decided by quarter time, where the winners already held a 33-point lead, and they would only improve from here. For Broadbeach, Jordan Moncrieff continued his strong run of form in front of the big sticks, booting six majors in a damaging display. For Noosa, Will O’Dwyer played a lone hand up forward, booting four of the team’s six goals.

In another blowout, Labrador claimed a strong 78-point win over Wilston Grange at Cooke-Murphy Oval on Saturday afternoon. The victors were able to do as they pleased, and after a strongly contested first term, Wilston Grange were soundly beaten around all areas of the ground. For Labrador, Thomas Meagher was outstanding, booting three goals and finding plenty of the ball in a great display. For Wilston Grange, Zachary Stanton played his best game of the year despite the tough day for his team.

A big final term has seen Morningside claim their sixth win of the year, by defeating Maroochydore by 22 points at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon. With the match tied at three quarter time, the result looked as if it could go either way, and Maroochydore had all the momentum following a strong third term. Morningside were able to storm home, booting five goals to one in the final term to secure the result. For Morningside, Thomas Jeffery was clinical, booting three goals up forward in an influential display, while Maroochydore were well-led by the in-form Jacob Simpson.

Moving to Salk Oval, Palm Beach Currumbin were able to work their way to a 27-point triumph over Sherwood Districts on Saturday afternoon. The win was set up in the first half, where they took a whopping 45-point lead into half time, and were able to cruise to their third win of the season and climb up the ladder. For the victors, Jonathan Croad was once again impressive, finding plenty of the ball and leading his side from the front. For Sherwood Districts, Toara Marango put in his best performance of the year despite the loss.

The final match of the round saw Surfers Paradise claim a nice 24-point win over Mt Gravatt at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday afternoon. The game was fought evenly in the first half, with just five points separating the sides at the main break, but Surfers Paradise kicked away in the third term to grab their fourth win of the season. For the winners, Thompson Smith was everywhere, booting four goals and making the opposition pay on the scoreboard, while Frazer Neate led the way for Mt Gravatt.

TSL:
The ninth round of TSL action began at Blundstone Arena, where Clarence dominated their opponents on their way to a 68-point win over Glenorchy on Saturday afternoon. Clarence have proven tough to beat on their home deck all year and this match only escalated these fears for opposing sides. Clarence midfielder Jack Preshaw was his side’s best, finding plenty of the ball around the ground and constantly making his opponents work both ways. Glenorchy’s Cooper Meredith fought hard all day in tough conditions.

A remarkable match-winning goal from Riley Ashlin SAW the Tigers steal a four-point win over Lauderdale at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday afternoon. With only seconds remaining, Ashlin snapped an incredible goal from the pocket to give his side the match-winning lead and escape a shock loss. Ashlin was also one of his side’s strongest performers on the day, so it was only fitting that he deliver the win for his team.

North Launceston have continued their strong push for top spot on the ladder, with a 20-point win over North Hobart at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Demons competed well for most of the match, and threatened to cause an upset, but the Bombers were able to turn it on and burst past their opponents to put them dangerously close to claiming the premier spot on the ladder. Bomber Jack Avent impressed as he has done all season, while Sam Caswell continued his strong form from last week for the Demons.

Photo credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

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 wrap: Teams deliver monster scores

WITH another weekend coming to a close, we take a look at what happened in state league football around the country, with plenty of massive scores as teams hit their straps.

Victoria:

The VFL had some big wins around the grounds this weekend, including one outside of Victoria, as the Tigers gave the Lions a belting to the tune of 62 points at the Gabba on Saturday morning. The Tigers booted a whopping nine goals in the first quarter, including three to forward Samson Ryan. The lead would only extend from there as the Tigers cruised to a big win over a helpless Lions side. For the Tigers, Ryan and Callum Coleman-Jones combined for eight goals up forward, tormenting Lions defenders, while Josh Caddy had 38 touches and two snags from the midfield. For the Lions, Tom Joyce and Cam Ellis-Yolman fought hard despite the circumstances.

Moving back to Victoria, North Melbourne had their first win of the season, taking down Essendon by 15 points at Windy Hill on Saturday. The game was thrillingly close for all four quarters, with only five points separating the sides at the final break. The Bombers gained a 12-point lead midway through the fourth quarter thanks to a fifth goal from Bombers forward Patrick Ambrose, but this was short lived. The Roos booted four unanswered goals, and stormed home for their first triumph of the 2021 season. For the victors, ruckman Tristian Xerri was a dominant figure, collecting a game-high 36 disposals to go with nine marks, six tackles and 27 hitouts in a marvellous display. For the Bombers, Ambrose’s five goals up forward were impressive, while ruckman Nick Bryan fought bravely.

Over at Ikon Park, the Hawks delivered a dominant performance, taking home the biggest win of the round as they defeated the Blues by 84 points on Sunday afternoon. The Hawks won all four quarters, doing as they please while the Blues struggled to keep up and constantly found themselves on the back foot. Hawk Vincent Adduci was the star up forward with five goals, while through the midfield, Brayden Kilpatrick found plenty of the ball. For the Blues, midfielder Matthew Kennedy found plenty of the ball on his way to 28 disposals on what was a tough day.

South Australia:

SANFL’s round seven action kicked off on Saturday afternoon, and for the Eagles, it was a perfect start to the weekend. At Hisense Stadium, the Woodville West-Torrens produced a masterful performance, defeating the West Adelaide Bloods by 100 points in a completely one-sided affair. Dominant second and third quarters from the Eagles – booting nine goals in each – put the game well out of reach for the Bloods, as they could not compete with a side that was firing on all cylinders. For the Eagles, Jimmy Toumpas had a bout of leather poisoning, finding the ball 45 times, while Daniel Menzel booted five goals up forward, and could have had plenty more if he had converted his four behinds. For the Bloods, midfielder Kaine Stevens worked his way to 32 disposals.

The Central District Bulldogs held off a brave comeback from the Sturt Sabres to walk away 10-point victors at Unley Oval on Saturday afternoon. The contest looked all but over heading into the final term, with the Bulldogs holding a 28-point lead over their opponents following a couple of one-sided quarters. The Sabres refused to give up, fighting hard in the fourth quarter to bring the margin back down, but ultimately couldn’t complete the fightback. For the Bulldogs, it was midfielder Jarrod Schiller who led the way, finishing the game with 26 touches, 10 tackles and a massive 12 clearances, and provided a strong contest with Sabre Tom Lewis, who had 24 touches, eight tackles and five clearances of his own.

Moving to Coopers Stadium, Norwood was able to overcome inaccuracy to defeat the Adelaide Crows by 48 points on Saturday afternoon. The Redlegs kicked 12.20, showing that the margin could have been a lot worse for the Crows had their opponents found the big sticks more. For the Redlegs, Tasmanian forward Jackson Callow was a victim of inaccurate kicking, booting 3.7 from 24 touches, while veteran Richard Douglas controlled things through the midfield with 31 disposals. For the Crows, youngster Will Hamill was influential with his 30 disposals.

At Alberton Oval, the Port Adelaide Power were able to scrape past the North Adelaide Roosters on their way to an eight-point win on Saturday afternoon. A big final term from both sides looked like the game could go either way, but ultimately, it was the class of the Power that got them over the line, with a late goal to Taj Schofield that sealed the result for his side. For the victors, midfielder, Sam Mayes was instrumental in his side controlling the ball, finishing the match with 32 disposals. For the Roosters, Andrew Moore found plenty of the ball through the middle and floated forward to boot a goal in the third term.

In the final match of the round, Glenelg were able to remain undefeated after seven matches, taking down the South Adelaide Panthers by 40 points at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers delivered a strong first half challenge, but the Tigers were able to find the form that has worked for them all year, as they booted nine goals to three in the second half to walk away winners. For the winners, Matthew Allen and Chris Curran found plenty of the ball, while Liam McBean booted three goals up forward. For the Panthers, Bryce Gibbs was typically strong in the midfield, finding the ball 31 times and booting a goal.

Western Australia:

The WAFL resumed following a week off, and the action started at New Choice Homes Park, with Claremont proving too strong for East Fremantle, storming away 42-point victors on Saturday afternoon. Claremont started the game in dominant fashion, booting six goals to one in the first term, and never slowing down from there on their way to a fifth win for the season. For Claremont, Lachlan Martinis found plenty of the ball as he has done so many times this season, and was well aided by Jye Bolton as the pair racked up 33 disposals each. For East Fremantle, Luke English ended the match with 29 disposals in a promising outing.

At David Grays Arena, West Perth were able to keep their form rolling with a strong 28-point triumph over Peel Thunder on Saturday afternoon. Despite coming into the match with one less win, West Perth were clinical in the premiership quarter, booting four goals to none to find themselves with an eventual match-winning lead. For West Perth, Keegan Knott’s six goals proved vital in the end, while Shane Nelson had 37 touches through the midfield. For Peel Thunder, former Bomber Jackson Merrett displayed his knack for finding the ball, racking up 37 disposals through the middle.

The crowd at Mineral Resources Park were treated to an upset, as Perth knocked off South Fremantle by a margin of 20 points on Saturday afternoon. Despite finding more of the ball as a team, South Fremantle’s inaccuracy kept them out of the hunt in the second half, as Perth were able to take their chances on a consistent basis. For Perth, Kristian Cary booted four crucial goals, while ruckman Christian Eyres impressed. For South Fremantle, Dylan Main was the star with 34 disposals and two goals in an eye-catching performance.

East Perth finally notched their first win of the season, as they took down West Coast by 57 points at Leederville Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides entered the clash at 0-5, and East Perth took the opportunity for a first win against a struggling West Coast side. A seven-goal last term cemented the result, while West Coast’s woes continue. For East Perth, Rohan Kerr stuffed the stat sheet with 31 disposals and 12 marks, while Aiden Lynch had 29 touches and a goal. For West Coast, Mark Hutchings fought all day through the midfield, gathering 28 touches.

Subiaco were able to remain in the top two on the ladder with a thrilling win over Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts delivered a serious challenge to Subiaco, who were on top of the ladder heading into the clash, but just fell short in the final term. For Subiaco, Gregory Clark was dominant with 30 disposals, 12 tackles, six marks and two goals in a match-winning performance. For Swan Districts, ruckman Corey Gault amassed a whopping 50 hitouts to give his midfielders first use.

Queensland:

There were plenty of big scores from the victorious teams over the QAFL’s eighth round of action. This began at Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon, as Maroochydore were triumphant over Wilston Grange to the tune of 27 points. A tense clash for the first three quarters, the home side was able to break away in the final term on their way to their fifth win of the season. The match proved to be a shootout, as Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard (14 goals in three weeks) and Wilston Grange’s Sam Gribble each booted five goals, but ultimately Scholard got the last laugh with the win.

A massive third term has seen Morningside take home a 27-point win over Palm Beach Currumbin at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon. Despite trailing by 17 points at half time, Morningside booted eight goals to none in the third term to completely turn the game in their favour, and never looked back from there. For the victors, Darcy Cameron-Reeves claimed best on ground honours, while Thomas Griffiths also impressed. For Palm Beach Currumbin, Corey Joyce’s strong form continued, ending as his side’s best for the second time in three weeks.

Over at Southside Toyota Oval, Mt Gravatt were clinical in their 88-point thrashing of Noosa on Saturday afternoon. With a strong 55-point lead at half time, Mt Gravatt never gave their opponents a hint of a comeback, dominating on all areas of the field as they sent a statement to the rest of the league. For Mt Gravatt, Jonah Licht booted five snags up forward, while teammate Luke O’Sullivan also caught the eye of coaches and spectators. For Noosa, Aaron Laskey battled hard all day despite the heavy loss.

Moving to Totally Workwear Park, Redland-Victoria Point were unable to match the intensity of Surfers Paradise, eventually falling by 17 points on Saturday afternoon. Surfers Paradise set the tone early, taking a three-goal lead into the first break. While their opponents fought valiantly to attempt a comeback, the victors proved too strong. For Surfers Paradise, Harrison Fraser delivered his strongest performance of the year, and would have impressed his coaches. For Redland-Victoria Point, Peter Yagmoor was terrific in a losing side, booting two goals.

The final match of the round saw an upset as Sherwood Districts shocked the league to take down Labrador by 40 points at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Booting seven goals in the first quarter, Sherwood Districts dominated all day as Labrador struggled to keep up with the home side. For Sherwood Districts, Thomas Baulch booted six goals up forward, as Labrador defenders tried to find an answer for his clinical play.

Tasmania:

TSL’s eighth round of action kicked off in extraordinary fashion on Friday night, with North Launceston upsetting Launceston with a 15-point triumph at UTAS Stadium. The reigning premiers led at halftime, but were stunned in the second half, as North Launceston simply outplayed them to run away with a fantastic win that would surely give the rest of the league hope. For the victors, Jay Foon was outstanding, booting two goals on his way to a best on ground performance, while Jack Rushton also stood out. For Launceston, Jake Smith fought hard, particularly in the first half.

Over at Blundstone Arena, Clarence were dominant as they took down Lauderdale to the tune of 76 points on Saturday afternoon. The contest was closely battled in the first term, with just eight points separating the sides, before Clarence’s seven-goal second term saw them gain an unassailable lead. For Clarence, Ethan Jackson was terrific all day, while Oliver Preshaw booted three goals. For Lauderdale, skipper Allen Christensen battled hard all day to rally his troops.

The final match of round eight saw a clinical performance from the Tigers, as they smashed North Hobart by 89 points at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. A seven-goal haul from Tyler Carter was the headline of the day, as he claimed best afield honours for the second week in a row. With fluctuating form over recent weeks, the win will surely inject some life into the Tigers’ season. North Hobart’s Samuel Caswell fought hard all day despite the margin.

State league preview: SANFL and WAFL return sets up thrilling weekend of action

FOLLOWING a shortened round of action last weekend, state league football returns in full force as we preview a round of what should be exciting entertainment.

Victoria:

VFL action has plenty of enticing matchups scheduled for the weekend, with the first taking place at the Gabba tomorrow morning as Brisbane host Richmond in a crucial clash for both sides. With both sitting with a 2-2 record, Saturday’s match looms as a big one, as there is a big difference between 3-2 and 2-3. Both teams will come out ready to fire in what should make for a high quality matchup. Keep an eye on Lion Cam Ellis-Yolman, who was fantastic in his return to VFL last weekend. The big-bodied midfielder has plenty of talent and should prove dominant again when he faces the Tigers. Richmond big man Callum Coleman-Jones booted five snags last weekend, as his stock continues to rise, and will be a danger up forward on Saturday morning.

North Melbourne’s quest for a maiden 2021 win continues this weekend as they travel to Windy Hill to take on the Bombers on Saturday afternoon. Sitting at 0-5 to start the season, the Kangaroos will be desperate to get the monkey off their back and upset a Bombers side that will be using this game as a free hit in their minds. Young Roo Bailey Scott had a breakout showing last week with 28 disposals and will be looking to build on this moving forward. Bomber forward Patrick Ambrose kicked six goals against Frankston last round as he works his way into the season, so expect the Roos to pay close attention to him.

The VFL action moves to Sunday afternoon, where Hawthorn will head over to Ikon Park to take on Carlton in a clash which has plenty on the line for both sides. The Hawks had a big win over North Melbourne last weekend and scoring another victory this round would prove crucial in getting their season moving. Carlton sit just one win behind them – but have played one less game – and will be eager to stay with the pack ahead. Hawthorn forward Josh Morris walked away with a five-goal haul against the Roos and will be keen to hit the scoreboard as he pushes his claim for an AFL debut.

South Australia:

SANFL action kicks off on Saturday afternoon, as Sturt host Central District at Unley Oval, in a match that could shape the season of both sides. Central District remain cellar-dwellars on the bottom of the ladder, but a win this round could kickstart a season that has been underwhelming so far. Sturt currently sit in seventh place, but taking down the Lions could elevate them into the top five. Expect them to name an unchanged side, while the Lions have named a debutant in athletic Leek Alleer.

Hisense Stadium will host a vital clash as West Adelaide will welcome Woodville-West Torrens on Saturday afternoon. Just one win separates these sides, yet they sit four spots apart on the ladder, so a win would do wonders for both sides. Clearly the ladder is extremely tight after six rounds of action, so all it takes is a nice run of victories to shoot into the upper echelon. West Adelaide will regain premiership forward Jono Beech at centre half-forward, while the Eagles are yet to confirm any changes.

Two teams having contrasting seasons will clash in round seven, as Adelaide travel to Coopers Stadium to try and upset Norwood on Saturday afternoon. Adelaide’s season has been disappointing to date with a 2-4 record, while Norwood are sitting pretty with a 4-2 record. An upset seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened, and Adelaide have the firepower to do it. Norwood will be missing skipper Matthew Nunn, who will nurse an injured hamstring, while Adelaide will benefit from the additions of Elliot Himmelberg, Chris Hall and Daniel Jackson.

In an intriguing clash, Port Adelaide will face off against North Adelaide at Alberton Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Power and the Roosters are both coming off wins, and sit in fifth and sixth place respectively, so both sides will understand the importance of this clash in the context of their respective seasons. Port Adelaide will be stoked to regain the services of speedy defender Marty Frederick from AFL level, while the Roosters have not yet confirmed their changes.

Fans will have to wait until Sunday afternoon for the game of the round, as South Adelaide look to put an end to Glenelg’s undefeated streak at Flinders University Oval. Glenelg have started the season in blistering form to give themselves a 6-0 record after six rounds, but South Adelaide are just one win behind them, and have the best chance of anyone to cause an upset. Glenelg utility Brad Agnew will return to the side after overcoming an ankle injury, while South Adelaide may yet remain unchanged.

Western Australia:

The WAFL returns following last week’s hiatus due to a state game, and the round begins with Claremont travelling to New Choice Homes Park to take on East Fremantle on Saturday afternoon. Just one win separates these teams, so expect two refreshed sides to deliver a match of top-notch football action. East Fremantle have included backman Finn Gorringe into their starting 22 with the hope of shutting down Claremont’s dangerous forward line. Claremont are yet to confirm any changes to their lineup.

Also on Saturday afternoon, Peel Thunder will host West Perth at David Grays Arena in a game that holds an important result for both teams. West Perth sit two spots outside the top five, but a win here could see that gap close quite quickly, while Peel Thunder could shoot as high as third if other results go their way. Peel Thunder have regained Traye Bennell, Stefan Giro, Alex Pearce and Joel Western for the crucial clash. West Perth have included Tyler Keitel, Trent Manzone and Shane Nelson to their side.

South Fremantle’s rise up the ladder could continue on the weekend as they head to Mineral Resources Park to take on Perth on Saturday afternoon. South Fremantle have lost just the one game so far this season, and look in blistering form, so slowing them down seems a tough task. Perth have the challenge of completing this task, but following a week off, who knows what could happen? South Fremantle have brought in Jye Clark and Corey Hitchcock to bolster their midfield stocks, while Nick Suban and Dylan Main return for Perth.

Those following the ladder would know that this is a vital clash for both sides, as West Coast travel to Leederville Oval to take on East Perth on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are still searching for their first win of the 2021 season with a 0-5 record to start the year, and one of the sides will achieve that goal, while the other will see their season prospects begin to fade. West Coast’s chances will be greatly improved by the addition of AFL star Elliot Yeo, Nathan Vardy, Mark Hutchings, Kieran Hug, Luke Edwards and Luke Foley, while East Perth are yet to confirm their changes.

The final match of the seventh round of WAFL action sees Subiaco defend top spot on the ladder with a clash against Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco’s grip on first place is slowly loosening with plenty of teams closing the gap that once saw them a game clear of the competition. A loss here would be devastating as they would surely be overtaken, so this will be playing on the mind of both sides. Swan Districts have included Lewis Jetta, Matt Riggio, Jesse Turner and Warwick Wilson as they load up for a big clash, while Liam Hickmott, Hayden Kennedy and Bailey Matera return for Subiaco.

Queensland:

QAFL’s eighth round of footy kicks off at Maroochydore Multisports Complex as Wilston Grange look to cause an upset against Maroochydore when the two sides face off on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange sit second last on the ladder at 1-5, so a win is desperately required to get their side back on track, but they face an uphill battle taking on the third-placed Maroochydore. Wilston Grange’s Hugh Fidler has been in ripping form over recent weeks and is expected to once again deliver a strong performance for his side. Also keep an eye on Maroochydore’s Jacob Simpson who has impressed over past few rounds.

Over at Jack Esplen Oval, Morningside will play host to Palm Beach Currumbin as the two teams clash on Saturday afternoon. Morningside are up with the top echelon of the competition with a 4-1 record as they continue to set themselves for a strong finals run later in the season, while Palm Beach Currumbin currently hold a 2-3 record, so there is a clear favourite in this matchup, but nothing is certain. Morningside’s Brad Hodge delivered his best performance of the year last round, so keep an eye on if he can back it up for a second consecutive week.

Noosa’s quest for a drought-breaking win continues this weekend as they head to Southside Toyota Oval to take on a struggling Mt Gravatt side on Saturday afternoon. At 0-6, Noosa couldn’t be sitting in a worse position, but they have a great chance to change that this round, with their Mt Gravatt opponents sitting with a 1-4 record. Noosa’s Aaron Laskey has worked his way into some strong form over the past few games, so expect him to catch the eye on Saturday.

Surfers Paradise’s climb up the ladder will face a tough task in round seven as they face off against Redland-Victoria Point at Totally Workwear Park on Saturday afternoon. Coming off a bye, Surfers Paradise will be refreshed and ready to go as they look to cause a crucial boilover, but Redland-Victoria Point have been strong this season and will prove a tough egg to crack. Surfers Paradise’s fortunes lie heavily on whether they can contain opposition forward Jacob Murphy, who is fresh off a bag of five goals.

The final game of the round will see Sherwood Districts clash with Labrador at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Labrador are right in the hunt for top spot on the ladder, while Sherwood Districts’ 2-4 record sees their side eager for a win. Labrador are expected to win, but the beauty of sport is the art of an upset, so expect an interesting clash, and if Sherwood Districts’ William Fletcher can maintain his current form, a boilover could be on the cards.

Tasmania:

Round eight of the TSL kicks off with an absolute beauty on Friday night, with North Launceston hosting Launceston in a grand final rematch at UTAS Stadium. Launceston were tested against Lauderdale last weekend, but ultimately found a way to win as they so often do. Their biggest threat comes in the form of North Launceston, who are hot on their tail with just the one loss for the year. Launceston will regain duo Brodie Palfreyman and Miller Hodge to boost their chances, while utility Tom Donnelly returns for North Launceston.

North Hobart will be chasing a second win of the year as they take on the Tigers at the Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. The Demons fell just a solitary point shy of upsetting Clarence last weekend, so this pain will be fresh in their minds as they look to rectify this. The Tigers have faded from their blistering form to start the year, and will need to be on top of their game if they are to hold off their opponents, but if Elijah Reardon can get off the chain, it should hold them in good stead.

The final game of the round sees Lauderdale head to Blundstone Arena to take on Clarence on Saturday afternoon. Clarence escaped with a one-point triumph over cellar dwellars North Hobart, which should prove a wake-up call that any team can win at any given time. Expect them to bounce back this weekend. Lauderdale took the fight right up to Launceston last round, in a performance that should give them plenty of confidence heading into this weekend, especially if Allen Christensen can fire like we all expect.

Picture credit: The Examiner

State leagues wrap: Teams kicking big scores as season rolls on

WITH no SANFL or WAFL action over the weekend, the state league action was slightly quieter over the weekend. However, there was no shortage of entertainment as plenty of sides went head-to-head in thrilling contests.

VFL:

The VFL kicked off on Thursday night, with the Lions travelling to Metricon Stadium to deliver a 10-goal belting to the Gold Coast Suns. The Lions kicked 11 goals in the second half in a dominant display in the first Q-Clash to take place in Victoria. Big-bodied midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolman was outstanding in his first VFL game for the year, competing hard through the midfield to finish the match with 39 disposals, seven marks and seven tackles as he pushes for an AFL recall for the Lions. Teammate Will Tasker booted five goals from 21 disposals in a fantastic outing to continue his strong form. For the Suns, Brayden Fiorini continues to adjust to his new role off half-back, ending the contest with a team-high 32 disposals, eight marks and a goal, while Will Brodie had 27 touches through the midfield.

The closest match of the round was played out on Saturday afternoon, as the Casey Demons escaped with a one-point win over the Geelong Cats at Casey Fields. The Demons’ inaccuracy nearly cost them, finishing the game with 22 scoring shots to Geelong’s 16, but the footy gods rewarded those who wait, as they regained the lead 13 minutes into the final term and were able to hold on to remain undefeated. Demon Mitch Brown kicked four snags from seven scoring shots in an important performance which would likely impress the AFL selection panel, while Tom Sparrow continues to find the ball, ending the game with 32 touches and six tackles. Cat Charlie Constable was outstanding through the middle, finding the ball 32 times and booting a goal, while Josh Jenkins followed up his seven goals last round with a three-goal haul on Saturday.

Richmond put on a clinical performance on Saturday afternoon, as they dominated GWS by a whopping 97 points at Swinburne Centre. The Giants were held scoreless in the first term, and the Tigers continued to put them to the sword for the remaining three quarters. Richmond big man Callum Coleman-Jones stuffed the stat sheet with 19 disposals, seven marks, 17 hitouts and five goals in a powerful performance. Teammates Josh Caddy (32 disposals, eight tackles and two goals) and Will Martyn (32 disposals, seven tackles and seven marks) were strong through the midfield. Nick Shipley was the standout for the Giants, finishing with 28 touches in a day where the Giants struggled to get their hands on the footy.

Moving up to the SCG, the Swans defended their home deck to take down the Pies by 33 points on Saturday afternoon. The Swans struggled to capitalise on the scoreboard in the first quarter as they dominated play but booted only 1.5 in the first term. This would improve as the game went on as they would run out winners with a four goal to none final quarter. Swan Ryan Clarke delivered one of the best individual performances of the round, ending the contest with 41 disposals, 11 marks and three goals to be the clear best on ground. He was well assisted by teammate Dylan Stephens, who had 37 touches of his own. For the Pies, Finlay Macrae was promising through the midfield with 25 touches and five tackles.

Hawthorn were able to run rampant as they belted North Melbourne by 108 points at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday afternoon. The game was one-sided for all four quarters, but the second half was where the Hawks really got on a roll. Booting 16 goals in the final two quarters, the floodgates opened as North Melbourne were helpless as the Hawks constantly pumped the ball forward, and Kangaroos players simply waited for the final siren. Hawk Josh Morris booted five goals in a performance that would excite Hawthorn fans, while Daniel Howe responded to his AFL omission with 37 disposals, nine tackles and two goals from the midfield. The Kangaroos did have a positive in the form of Bailey Scott, who contributed 28 disposals in a promising outing.

Queensland:

There were plenty of big scores in round seven of the QAFL, starting at Subaru Oval, where Broadbeach hammered Mt Gravatt to the tune of 85 points on Saturday afternoon. It was a four-quarter performance from the home side, who were simply too strong for their opponents, and deserved the monstrous win. Broadbeach key forward Jordan Moncrieff somehow bested his Round 6 bag of nine goals by kicking a bag of 10 against Mt Gravatt. In a remarkable display, he booted five goals in a row in the final quarter alone, when the game was busted wide open. Seemingly a master of his craft, he will prove difficult to contain in upcoming weeks. For Mt Gravatt, wingman Daine Macdonald competed all day in trying circumstances.

A strong second half from Morningside denied Noosa a chance at their first win as they eventually fell by 28 points at Rococo Oval on Saturday afternoon. Noosa remained competitive for the first quarter and a half, before a purple patch for Morningside gave them a comfortable lead that was never surrendered. For the second week in a row, Noosa showed promising signs but could not string together four quarters, but their first victory does not seem too far away. For the victors, ruckman Bradley Hodge was fantastic, giving his midfielders first use, and even floating forward to boot two goals of his own. For Noosa, centre half-forward Sebastian Rogers competed well to boot two goals and challenge in the air.

Labrador stamped their premiership credentials for the 2021 season with a 70-point triumph over Palm Beach Currumbin at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Despite trailing at quarter time, Labrador dominated for the next three quarters as they gain some serious momentum heading into the next round. Labrador forward Bryce Retzlaff was the star, kicking seven goals in a monstrous performance that he had threatening to deliver in the previous weeks. For Palm Beach Currumbin, ruckman Jonathan Croad put in a valiant performance despite the loss.

Heading over to Totally Workwear Park, Redland-Victoria Point walked away with a crucial win over Maroochydore to the tune of 16 points on Saturday afternoon. It was a battle of the half-forward flanks, as Redland-Victoria Point’s Jacob Murphy and Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard each booting five goals in an entertaining shootout. Ultimately it was Murphy who finished the game with the chocolates with his side claiming the victory. The win keeps Redland-Victoria Point in the hunt for top spot as they close the gap on those above them.

The final contest of the round saw Wilston Grange fall nine points short of Sherwood Districts on Saturday afternoon at Hickey Park. Sherwood Districts had strong first and third quarters, but Wilston Grange still found ways to close the gap and keep themselves well within reach of their second win of the season, but Sherwood Districts were too good. For the winners, midfielder William Fletcher booted two goals from the engine room and was outstanding all day, while Hugh Fidler was Wilston Grange’s best for the second week in a row.

Tasmania:

The TSL had some big scores throughout their seventh round of action, kicking off with North Launceston’s 85-point demolition of Glenorchy at KGV on Saturday afternoon. The win sees North Launceston continue their outstanding form, and if cross-town rivals Launceston lose a game, they will be eager to try and grab top spot on the ladder. North Launceston ruckman Alexander Lee was voted the strongest performer of the day as he consistently gave his midfielders first use. Glenorchy half-back Daniel Joseph fought all day despite being under constant duress.

Blundstone Arena nearly saw the upset of the round with North Hobart falling just one point short of Clarence in Saturday afternoon. North Hobart are sitting in last place with just the one win, while Clarence are notoriously strong on their home deck at Blundstone, so a boilover here would have sent shockwaves throughout the league. For Clarence, Tyler Penwright impressed across half-forward in the win, while North Hobart’s Jack Mcculloch was strong in the ruck throughout the day.

Launceston survived their biggest scare, but displayed their class on their way to a 48-point triumph over a brave Lauderdale side at Windsor Park on Saturday afternoon. Lauderdale faced the toughest task in the league, and performed admirably against the reigning premiers, but Launceston are simply on a roll, and its hard to see anyone putting a stop to this anytime soon. Launceston superstar Jake Hinds continued his exceptional season, claiming best afield honours once again to maintain his strong reputation. For Lauderdale, backman Tom Ratcliffe was a clear standout with his defensive work.

State Leagues Wrap: Teams rising after three rounds of action

THE 2021 season resumed around the national leagues on the weekend with plenty of blowouts and close contests. With three rounds of football in the bank, the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders.

South Australia

In the SANFL, North Adelaide claimed the biggest winning margin of the round as they defeated Norwood 16.15 (111) to 2.7 (19). North Adelaide forward Lewis Hender led the way for his side with six majors from 14 disposals and seven marks, constantly getting the better of his opponents, and tripling the number of goals scored by the opposition side. Teammate Mitchell Harvey chimed in with three goals of his own, while Lee Minervini added a couple of goals to the tally as well. Nick Pedro and Declan Hamilton fought hard for Norwood despite the disappointing deficit.

An inaccurate Sturt side was able to secure its first win of the year, taking down West Adelaide 12.21 (93) to 6.7 (43) on Saturday afternoon. With 20 more scoring shots than their opponents, the margin could have been a lot bigger had Sturt converted more of its shots on goal. Casey Voss (32 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and James Battersby (33 disposals and eight clearances) found plenty of the ball for the winners while Joshua Patullo kicked a game-high three goals. Tom Lewis could have had a day out, but much like his side, his inaccuracy prevented this. He finished with 20 touches, 10 tackles and 0.5 on the scoreboard. For West Adelaide, Kaine Stevens fought his way to 25 disposals while Isaac Johnson kicked a couple of goals.

Glenelg did not let wayward goalkicking hinder its performance too much, defeating Central District 10.16 (76) to 5.12 (42). Forward Lachie Hosie kicked 3.3 in a typically dangerous performance while ruckman Jack Hannath performed strongly on his way to 16 disposals, six marks and 31 hitouts. For Central District, Ethan East and Justin Hoskin kicked two goals apiece while Harry Grant (25 touches and seven marks) performed admirably through the midfield.

South Adelaide’s strong final quarter helped them get over the line to remain undefeated after three rounds. The 12.9 (81) to 10.12 (72) win over Port Adelaide keeps them at the top of the ladder while Port slip to 1-2 for the season. Former AFL duo Bryce Gibbs (25 disposals and a goal) and Matthew Broadbent (28 disposals) led by example, hurting the opposition with their ability to consistently find the footy, while Liam Fitt and Sam Skinner both kicked three goals for the winning side. Port Adelaide skipper Cam Sutcliffe was as inspirational as ever with 29 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 41 touches.

Woodville-West Torrens bounced back from last week’s loss in perfect fashion as they belted Adelaide 24.11 (155) to 11.6 (72). It was a clinical performance from a side that had no passengers. Tyson Stengle and Zane Williams each booted four goals, while ruckman Jack Hayes (33 disposals, ten marks and three goals) and Riley Knight (34 disposals, two goals and 10 clearances) were strong through the midfield. Adelaide ruckman Kieran Strachan had 51 hitouts and was a standout in a disappointing side.

Tasmania

In the TSL, Glenorchy broke away from a brave Lauderdale side in the second half, as they ran away with the win 10.7 (67) to 5.11 (41) at KGV Oval. Glenorchy forward Callen Daly kicked four crucial goals for the victors while midfielder John Geard delivered a best on ground performance in the win. For Lauderdale, full-back Oscar Shaw was influential, keeping his opponent to one goal, while Billy Rolfe kicked two goals from the midfield.

Blundstone Arena hosted its first match since 2019, as home side Clarence held off a comeback from North Launceston to walk away winners 12.1 (73) to 9.8 (62). Clarence kicked remarkably straight as they thrived being back on their home deck for the first time in nearly two years. Oliver Preshaw backed up last week’s three goals with four this week in an impressive display. Baxter Norton and Jack Preshaw were influential through the midfield for all four quarters. For North Launceston, Jack Rushton was excellent in a losing side while Bradley Cox-Goodyer had another three-goal performance.

In the final game of the round, reigning premiers Launceston put the Tigers to the sword in a convincing win of 17.9 (111) to 5.12 (42). Jake Hinds had a best on ground performance through the midfield, kicking three goals while winning plenty of clearances, while Jay Blackberry also kicked three goal while finding a lot of the ball. Up forward Dylan Riley kicked four goals, while Alec Wright was excellent down back. For the Tigers, Micah Reynolds impressed in the backline while Tom Wright kicked two goals.

Queensland

Up in the north of the country, the grounds saw plenty of football action. Palm Beach Currumbin got the job done against Noosa, winning 14.11 (95) to 10.8 (68). Palm Beach defender Matthew Gahan was his side’s best on the day, while Mitchell Johnson kicked four goals for the winners. At the time of publication, Noosa’s stats had not been released.

In a high scoring affair, Labrador did enough to get the win against Redland-Victoria Point, defeating their opponents 16.12 (108) to 12.15 (87). Kicking 6.6 in the first quarter, Labrador set up their win early and never gave the opposition a sniff. Matthew Warren backed up last week’s strong performance with a best on ground effort this week for Labrador. For the visitors, Blair Rubock kicked four goals while ruckman Andy Hollis was his team’s best again this week.

An impressive final quarter from Maroochydore saw them take down Mt Gravatt at home 11.19 (85) to 9.10 (64) as they remain on top of the ladder after the third round of action. Just a four-point game at three quarter time, the home side kicked the final two goals of the game to seal the win. Daniel Fleming and Benjamin Sloan were strong for the victors while Jake Warren was influential up forward, kicking two goals. For Mt Gravatt, Jonah Licht’s four goal haul kept his side in the game and backman Gavin Grose marshalled the troops in defence all day.

Broadbeach were simply too good for Morningside as they turned a two-goal deficit at quarter time into a 13.8 (86) to 4.9 (33) win. The next three quarters saw Broadbeach kick 13 goals to two in what ended up being a one sided affair. Broadbeach wingman Bradley Lowe kicked four goals in a best afield performance while Liam Nelson had another strong performance. For Morningside, ruckman Bradley Hodge battled hard all game.

A clinical performance from Surfers Paradise resulted in a nice percentage boost as they defeated Sherwood Districts 19.14 (128) to 5.10 (40). On top from the opening quarter, Surfers Paradise were unable to be stopped as they kicked their way to the top four. For the winners, Nicholas Hay was once again one of his side’s best performers from centre half back, while up forward Daniel Van De Werken was strong with four goals. For Sherwood Districts, Jack Austin put his all into bringing his side back into the contest.

Western Australia

Over in the west, round three of the 2021 season saw plenty of great football action around the state, starting at New Choice Homes Park, where East Fremantle got the handy win over East Perth 13.10 (88) to 9.9 (63). East Fremantle kicked eight goals in the third term to essentially put the game to bed, and a late East Perth fightback couldn’t get them over the line. Hugh Dixon kicked two for the winning side and was named his team’s best performer. He had plenty of help in teammate Milan Murdock who had 27 disposals and eight marks. Matthew Young fought admirably in a losing side.

Moving to Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont hosted Perth, and used the home ground to their advantage as they snagged the 16.14 (110) to 12.6 (78) win. Six goals to two in the third term separated the two sides as Claremont’s victory ended up more comfortable than first thought. Jye Bolton’s 33 disposals and eight marks were impressive for the victors, while teammate Harrison Mccracken kicked four goals up forward. For Perth, Brady Grey (31 disposals and seven tackles) can hold his head high despite the result on the scoreboard.

Peel Thunder fell short of a miraculous comeback, defeated by an impressive South Fremantle 11.11 (77) to 14.11 (95). A six goal to two final quarter gave Peel Thunder some hope, but time ultimately beat them. South Fremantle’s Haiden Schloithe was a clear best on ground, kicking three goals to go with his 33 disposals in a dominant display. Playing for Peel Thunder, Connor Blakely will be close to an AFL recall for Fremantle after a 25-disposal performance on Saturday.

Swan Districts proved too good for West Coast, who simply couldn’t get their hands on the ball with 74 less disposals. The Districts dominated play and ran out winners 13.16 (94) to 8.7 (55). Swan Districts’ Matt Riggio was a force with 32 disposals, 15 marks, nine inside 50’s and a goal to clearly find himself best on. Jesse Palmer kicked 4.4 and was looking dangerously close to a day out. For West Coast, AFL listed Brayden Ainsworth’s 32 disposals should keep him in contention for selection at the next level.

The final game of the round delivered an absolute thriller, with Subiaco dragging themselves over the line against West Perth to win 14.10 (94) to 14.7 (91). In the closest game this weekend, West Perth kicked five final quarter goals, but just couldn’t make the last step to snatch the win. Subiaco’s Gregory Clark was immense with 37 disposals, eight tackles and a goal to lead his side to the narrowest of victories. Ben Sokol and Jordan Faraone each walked away with a bag of four. For West Perth, Tyler Keitel’s four goals nearly proved to be the match winner.