THERE were many talking points to come out of this week for Queensland AFL fans. At the highest level, Brisbane clocked up their first win of the year, while the Suns faltered again in Shanghai to put their Chinese venture under threat. Meanwhile more locally, the State Inclusion squad was announced ahead of June’s national carnival.
Lions get first win, Suns lose in China:
BRISBANE Lions managed to scratch the huge monkey off their backs by winning their first AFL game of 2018 last Sunday afternoon. In front of around 20,000 fans at the Gabba, they claimed a nice scalp smashing Hawthorn by 56 points in a milestone victory for the club. It was as if it was scripted for Lions coach Chris Fagan and legendary recruit Luke Hodge to beat their old side and to get off the mark for the Lions. Hodge was excellent against the team he played 305 games and won four premierships with, but it was a mix of old and new that helped the Lions get off the mark in 2018.
The stars of the day for the Lions included Eric Hipwood who had glue on his hands, marking every ball the came his way en route to kicking four goals. Second-year midfielder Hugh McCluggage finished with a career-high 27 disposals (16 contested) and had a major influence while the match was up for grabs. Captain Dayne Beams was back near his best with 28 disposals and two goals, Dayne Zorko continued his form resurgence with 30 touches, 11 tackles and a goal, while Charlie Cameron produced a Mark of the Year contender to go with two goals. The game was capped off with last series winner of The Recruit, 28-year-old Matt Eagles kicking his first goal in AFL footy in the last term. The Lions face Sydney next round.
Meanwhile, the trip to Shanghai wasn’t pleasant for the Gold Coast Suns players who suffered a 40-point loss to Port Adelaide in wet conditions at Jiangwan Stadium. The Suns fought hard to deliver an improved performance from their drubbing in last year’s inaugural China game, but were no match for the resurgent Power. Port’s 11.16 (82) to 6.6 (42) victory on Saturday lifts them to fourth on the ladder.
Gold Coast teenager Jacob Heron joined the exclusive group of players to make his AFL debut outside of Australia and slot a goal with his first kick. Both sides have the bye next week to recover from the long trek to Shanghai, but after a week off, the Suns finally return to Metricon Stadium where they will face Geelong.
Suns Shanghai experiment in the air:
Reports have been flowing in the last few days around the AFL that the Gold Coast Suns could lose their right to AFL in Shanghai to a Victorian club. AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has declared he will open discussions over next year’s Shanghai match to Victorian teams. Also, Victorian Trade Minister Philip Dalidakis has been in Shanghai this week lobbying hard for a Melbourne team to take over next year. St Kilda have been rumoured as the most eager club to take over the Shangai expeditions, perhaps with plans to help erase their millions in debts.
This story is sure to develop over the coming weeks.
2018 Queensland State Inclusion team announced:
Last Friday AFL Queensland announced the 2018 State Inclusion team after trials were held in May. The squad includes 16 players and three emergencies. The Queensland side will take part in the AFL National Inclusion Carnival starting June 18 in Launceston. The AFL National Inclusion Carnival is round robin tournament for talented footballers with an intellectual disability.
2018 Queensland State Inclusion Team:
Robbie Van Allen
Celebrating National Volunteer Week in Queensland AFL:
National Volunteer Week takes place from May 21-27, celebrating and commending AFL volunteers from the around the state. Every day this week, AFL Queensland honours special volunteers that have had a profound impact on developing and nurturing footy across the state. To see the tributes and for more information follow the #AFLQvolunteerweek and #THANKYOU hashtags across social media.