Bottom-age key forwards shine as Walter, Davies dominate

WITH the Allies AFL Under 18 Championships campaign done and dusted, there were plenty of Queensland representatives who headed back to their state league clubs last weekend. Playing out Round 17 of the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL), there were some massively one-sided results, which included wins of 86 and 65 points, while the others were 18, 32 and 38 in a fairly predictable round.

Noosa Tigers produced the biggest win of the weekend, racking up a massive 24 goals to run out 86-point victors over Surfers Paradise, 24.14 (158) to 10.12 (72) at home. It helped the Tigers stay ahead of Palm Beach Currumbin, who almost matched the effort simultaneously further down the coast with a whopping 65-point win over Maroochydore, 22.10 (142) to 11.11 (77).

Noosa’s sole Allies representative in Shadeau Brain did not play in the clash as he was running out with the Brisbane Lions reserves in the Victorian Football League. brain collected 11 disposals, three marks and two inside 50s in the Lions’ heartbreaking two-point loss to rivals, Gold Coast Suns. The Suns had an Allies representative of their own in Northern Territory’s Lloyd Johnston who amassed 15 disposals, three marks and three rebound 50s. Alongside Johnston was over-age Suns Academy member Riley Stone who clocked up 18 disposals, five marks and three tackles in his sole NAB League game this season, and finished with seven disposals and two inside 50s in the win over the Lions.

Skipping across to Palm Beach Currumbin’s win over Maroochydore, Jed Walter was impressive inside 50 with the bottom-age talent one of Queensland’s brightest draft prospects for 2023. Walter slotted 3.3 from 12 disposals and two marks, also laying three tackles. The big forward was complemented by fellow Allies representatives, overage trio, Will Bella, Jed Foggo and Brinn Little. Bella used his big frame to dominate in the ruck, racking up 47 hitouts – 16 to advantage – 21 disposals, five clearances, five inside 50s and five tackles. Foggo (17 disposals, three marks and three goals) lit up the scoreboard, while Little managed the 10 touches, three marks and four tackles in the win.

Wilston Grange’s Jack Manly was another representative out in force on the weekend, picking up 16 disposals, six marks, four clearances and four tackles in the Gorillas’ 18-point victory over fellow bottom five side Morningside. It kept the Gorillas’ hopes of a finals birth alive by keeping within eight points of sixth placed Palm Beach Currumbin, albeit with a much poorer percentage. In Sherwood’s 32-point loss to Mt Gravatt, overager James Lewis amassed 15 touches, two marks, four clearances, 17 hitouts, three tackles and a goal rotating through the ruck. Top-ager Liam Hude had three disposals and one mark playing up forward. Both Broadbeach and Redland-Victoria Point had the bye.

Darcie Davies (pictured playing for Gold Coast Suns Academy in the NAB League) had a day out for Southport in the QAFL Women’s semi-finals | Image credit: Rookie Me Central

Switching over to the QAFL Women’s looking ahead to next year’s AFLW Draft, and a couple of top prospects were outstanding in their side’s semi-finals. Bond University’s Sienna McMullen had 15 disposals – at 67 per cent efficiency yet a whopping 13 of them were contested – three tackles and four inside 50s as the Bull Sharks went down to the Red Lionesses. Fellow AFLW Draft hope Josie McCabe had the four disposals and five tackles in the win, whilst a couple of overagers from the University of Queensland took to the field.

Earning Draft Combine invites but missing out on an AFLW list spot at this stage, Ava Seton picked up 16 disposals, two clearances, four marks, laid seven tackles and booted a goal, while Kadie Fletcher had a high defensive attitude in the game, laying eight tackles and booting a goal from seven touches. They will now prepare for a QAFL Women’s Grand Final.

In the other semi-final which sets up a date with Bond University in the preliminary final, key position bottom-ager Darcie Davies looked unstoppable up forward for Southport. Pulling in a massive nine marks – four contested – and slotting 4.1 from 14 disposals, Davies looms as a potential Top 10 selection in next year’s draft. She was the standout to remember, while Maroochydore bottom-ager Sophie Peters ended her QAFL Women’s season with 13 disposals, three marks, four tackles and three inside 50s in the Roos’ loss.

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