THE completion of Round 7 of the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) sees the ladder taking shape quite nicely, with two teams clear at the top. Meanwhile, it was a disappointing weekend for fans of the Queensland AFL clubs as both sides were comprehensively beaten.
QAFL Seniors Round 7 wrap:
Seven rounds into the QAFL season and the pecking order has begun to take shape on the QAFL ladder. At the top are two clear favourites, Palm Beach and Mt Gravatt. The pair are unbeaten so far with both having had a bye thus far. We have to wait until Round 10 to see a potential grand final warm up match between the two sides. Both Palm Beach and Mt Gravatt have two players each high on the Syd Guildford Medal leaderboard after seven rounds; Jarryd Douglas (Palm Beach, 28 votes), Nicholas Crawley (20 votes), Andrew Smith (Mt Gravatt, 20 votes) and Jayden Crawley (19 votes). Premiership favouritism must go Palm Beach’s way, after all they are the reigning premiers.
Broadbeach, Morningside and Surfers Paradise are the three teams sitting around where many would expect at this stage. Broadbeach are outright third with four wins so far and should not be counted too far out of the premiership race. They have come very close to Palm Beach and Mt Gravatt in their clashes – losing 87-79 against the Vultures and 83-62 to Palm Beach. The Broadbeach Cats boast a healthy percentage, the current leader in Syd Guilford voting Blake Erickson on 31 votes, and two very winnable games against Sandgate and the Gorillas coming up. Do not sleep on the Cats!
Morningside have two wins this season and sit in sixth. There is no lack of top level talent at Morningside with three players in the top 10 of the Syd Guildford leaderboard thus far, combined with some strong key forwards up front. Morningside will be ruing that loss to Sandgate recently as a third win would have put them with the Magpies and Surfers Paradise in equal fourth. After resting with the bye this round, Morningside will test themselves against Mt Gravatt and look to prove they belong in finals contention.
Surfers Paradise are the typical middle of the road team at the moment with a 3-3 record so far. They have beaten teams they should have in Labrador, Morningside and Sandgate and lost ones they were expected externally to lose against Broadbeach, the Magpies and Mt Gravatt. The Surfers Paradise Demons are definitely keen to be in the mix come finals and their close losses to top teams show that. The Demons loss by 13 points to Mt Gravatt and 19 to Broadbeach so they are not far off the pace. Cassidy Haberfield has amassed a strong year thus far with 22 votes in the Syd Guildford tally, good for fourth in the competition.
After a string of three close losses in the first month of footy, the Western Magpies have found the winning formula, rattling off three consecutive wins. They have all been 10+ goal victories against Surfers Paradise, Wilston Grange and Sandgate. They now sit in fourth place with 12 points like Surfers Paradise but the Magpies boast a percentage of 149.76, good for the second best in the league. Magpies forward Jake De Winter put in the performance of the season so far with a monstrous 10 goals against Surfers Paradise in Round 5 which has helped him shoot to second in the leading goal kicker tally only behind Jarryd Douglas of Palm Beach.
If someone told the Sandgate coaching staff they would have the same number of wins as Labrador after seven rounds they would think you were crazy, but that is how things stand now. The Sandgate Hawks are joined by Labrador and Wilston Grange with one win each after seven rounds. The fall of Labrador is the main mitigating factor of this three-team logjam for the wooden spoon. The Hawks jagged an impressive win over Morningside in Round 5 by 12 points away from home, showing their very young side are not the pushovers many expected them to be. Furthermore, the Hawks were very competitive against the Vultures last round as they led the equal ladder leaders at halftime but fell away in the second half.
The Wilston Grange Gorillas have shown they are only a level off the best in games where just a slight lack of class and experience cost them. It has been a tough stretch since their season-opening win against Sandgate and it has been compounded by big losses in recent weeks to the Magpies and Palm Beach. The Gorillas face Broadbeach this coming round in a game where both teams have much to play for. The Gorillas will be wanting a show of pride and skill to separate themselves from the bottom teams whilst Broadbeach will be looking for a big victory to close in on Palm Beach and Mt Gravatt.
Finally, how the mighty Labrador have fallen this season. After a disappointing finals campaign last year, that form has continued this year. Labrador have just a 121-92 win over the Gorillas in Round 4 to show for their season thus far. It is hard to pinpoint the one big issue for Labrador this season and they have suffered recent big losses to Morningside and Broadbeach. Round 8 sees them playing the young Sandgate Hawks in a must win performance to show they are not a bottom side by afterwards having wins against the Gorillas and Hawks to show for it. Key talls Jake Goldsmith and Bryce Retzlaff will be hoping for others around them to step up this week and for the remainder of the year.
Round 8 will see Morningside, Mt Gravatt and the Western Magpies all have byes.
AFL Round 11 – Suns and Lions get pummelled:
In Gary Ablett’s return to Metricon, he was on an absolute tear all game as the star Cat collected 37 touches and kicked three goals against the Suns. He was joined by teammates Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan, Sam Menegola and Patrick Dangerfield as leading ball winners on the ground. Touk Miller was the best for Gold Coast with 27 disposals and a goal continuing a good year for him. After a competitive first term where the Cats kicked 3.5 to the Suns’ 2.4, the game was all one-way traffic. Geelong piled on 14 goals to the Suns’ two over the last three quarters including a seven goal to zip second term to silence the home crowd. Not a whole lot of positives for the Suns this round and they need to put this game behind them when they face the Giants on Saturday afternoon, who are coming off a gritty win against the Crows in Adelaide.
The Lions went down 141-87 against North Melbourne at Etihad, which began with a five goal to zero blowout in the first term by the Kangaroos. It was a tough day for the Lions with injuries to Charlie Cameron and Allen Christensen early on severely limiting their rotations. The Kangaroos ran the Lions off their feet kicking 12 goals to three in the first half and putting the game to bed. The Lions though were not ready to be tucked in quite yet, fighting back hard in the second half. Both sides kicked nine goals apiece in the second half.
Shaun Higgins and Luke McDonald were superb for North Melbourne with 38 and 34 disposals respectively while Dayne Beams was inspirational for the Lions, somehow kicking five goals and getting 32 touches in a side that lost by over 50 points.
The Lions will quietly fancy their chances when they face the Bombers Sunday afternoon at the Gabba.