IN the past week the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns’ Academies finished their Under 18 Academy Series with two wins each, while we recap the past month in the QAFL.
QAFL Seniors Monthly Recap:
The Queensland AFL (QAFL) community has been treated to a high quality and competitive first month of QAFL footy. With the addition of live streaming and commentary for games adding to the competition which is seeing a change of the guard at the top of the ladder. After four rounds, the Mt Gravatt Vultures have a perfect record and have catapulted to top spot. Based off preseason external and perhaps internal expectations, the Vultures have surprised the league with tough wins over Labrador, Western Magpies, Wilston Grange and Broadbeach. The Vultures have demonstrated their ability to hold their nerve and structures in close games with an average winning margin of 12 points through their first month. Key forward Jordan Bain has been excellent kicking 15 goals so far this season. The Vultures have a bye next round before facing Surfers Paradise away from home in round six.
From second to fourth sit three Gold Coast sides all with 12 points and three wins apiece. Palm Beach, Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise all look like teams that will likely be playing finals footy later this season. Palm Beach Currumbin could easily be in top spot if they haven’t already had a bye. Currumbin have flexed their muscles early on including a demolition job over Labrador in the Grand final rematch.
Morningside, Wilston Grange and Labrador have one win apiece and are placed fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Labrador have continued their form slump from late last year with only a win over the languishing Gorillas for the year. Alarm bells will be ringing in the Labrador coaching box as their side has managed to concede over 400 points in four rounds of footy, the worst in the league. Labrador will be hoping for more contributions across the 22 instead of heavy reliance on big’s Jake Goldsmith and Bryce Retzlaff.
The Grange Gorillas have been brave so far this season being very competitive in all their losses and perhaps could have taken another game or two with more experience in the side. In second bottom is the unluckiest team in Queensland footy, the Western Magpies. Much like the Vultures, the Magpies have been locked in tight contests so far this season but have lost their three close games by an average of 12 points. This includes going down by six against the Vultures and 13 against Palm Beach. The Magpies will be hoping persistence pays off next round when they face Surfers Paradise at home.
In last are the Sandgate Hawks where many expected them to be. The young Hawks will want to pick up a few wins this season as they continue rebuilding with youth. Aside from a belting from Palm Beach, the Hawks have been gallant in losses to Wilston Grange and Surfers Paradise. Sandgate perhaps smell a win next round when they face Morningside.
Lions and Suns finish U18 Academy Series neck and neck:
The two Under 18 Queensland academies must have a sense of theatre and state rivalry as the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns Academies both finished their Under 18 Academy Series with two wins and three losses. The Lions however hold bragging rights beating the Suns by 12 points in week two of the competition. The Under 18 Brisbane Lions Academy were unable to claim victory in their last game against the Northern Territory in the Under 18 Academy Series. Brisbane did themselves no favours giving up a four goal to zip opening quarter making victory unlikely. However, they managed to claw their way back over the next three quarters kicking 11 goals to NT’s 10 to fall short by just 14 points at TIO Stadium. The Lions finish their series with a 2-3 record with wins over GWS and Gold Coast academy which should leave the coaching staff fairly content overall.
Northern Territory 4.1 7.2 10.3 14.5 (89)
Brisbane Academy 0.5 4.5 8.7 11.9 (75)
Northern Territory: M.Cumming 3, Ferreira, Mummery, Wyatt 2, Box, Brown, Jungfer, Kossack, O’Connell
Brisbane Academy: McFadyen 5, Ansell 2, Jeffrey, Wratten, Franks, Stackelberg
Northern Territory: Jungfer, Baird, Mummery, Schwarze, Ferreira, M.Cumming
Brisbane Academy: McFadyen, Coleman, Cowan, Reville
For the Suns, their final encounter of the series was a nail bitter going down to the Swans Academy by just two points. The sides were impossible to split on the day as the match went against the form guide of the competition being much closer than externally expected. Top 10 prospect Nick Blakey was again sensational, booting three goals for the Swans and ultimately being the difference between the sides in the end. Like the Lions, the Suns finish 2-3 with wins over the Northern Territory and GWS.
Sydney Academy 2.1 5.2 6.3 8.8 (56)
Gold Coast Academy 3.1 4.3 6.3 8.6 (54)
Sydney Academy: Blakey 3, Reinhard, Ellem, Stern, Loone, Barling
Gold Coast Academy: Scott 2, Lowah 2, Crossley, Gore, Portelli, Graham
Sydney Academy: Wicks, Blakey, Stern, Kilpatrick
Gold Coast Academy: Scott, Greenwool, Portelli, Bowie
QLD Private School League launching in 2019:
AFL football will be rolled out in term one next year across eight private schools in Queensland. The announcement was made by the Associated Independent Colleges (AIC) offering AFL to students from grades 5-12 on a two-year trial. This change to private school sport comes after a 2017 AIC sports review found parents and students wanted AFL to be introduced as an option. This announcement is another mark of growth for AFL football in the sunshine state.