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QAFL

2009 Home-and-Away Season

2009 Qualifying and Elimination Finals
2009 Semi-Finals
2009 Preliminary Final
2009 Grand Final

2009 Home-and-Away Season

In 2009, for the first time in the history of the competition, a team from outside Queensland took part.  The Northern Territory side, known as the Thunder, played home matches in Darwin and Alice Springs.  Michael McLean, former Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Bears champion, was the team’s inaugural coach.  

The Western Magpies returned to the State League’s premier division in 2009.  The Magpies had been formed by a merger of two clubs from Brisbane’s western suburbs, Western Districts and Sherwood in 1991, originally being known as West Brisbane.  Both Western Districts and Sherwood had competed in the premier competition in their own right prior to the merger.  The Magpies won the premiership in the State League Division 2 competition in 2008, beating Palm Beach Currumbin in a thrilling Grand Final.  Their reinstatement to the top flight would see, in broad terms, all corners of Brisbane represented - north, south, east, west and bayside.

The sad news which followed the 2008 season was the departure of Zillmere from the competition.  Having encountered ongoing financial problems in recent years, exacerbated by the collapse of the company which managed their longtime home ground O’Callaghan Park (and other northside sporting venues), Shawsportz, in early 2008, the AFLQ Commission took the long-term view in making the difficult decision to replace Zillmere with northside counterparts Aspley, a ten-team competition with a final five being the result.

The Thunder made a great start to life in the QAFL when they overcame reigning premiers Southport in Darwin in Round 1.  The other 2008 Grand Finalists, Morningside, also lost, going down in a tough battle to the Lions at Esplen Oval.

The Lions brought the Thunder back down to earth the following round with a big win over the visitors at the Gabba.  This was the Thunder’s first game in Brisbane, and it was unfortunate that, owing to match scheduling commitments, the game had to be played at 3:50 on a Friday afternoon as a curtain-raiser to a Lions AFL game.  I managed to get there for the start, but the stands were nearly empty for a large part of the game.  That said, it is quite reasonable that the QAFL competition will occasionally have to play ‘second fiddle’ to the AFL, given the high level of interest in the latter.  Round 2 also saw Morningside suffer its second defeat, going down to Mt Gravatt at Dittmer Park.

In Round 3 Southport looked to be back to its premiership form when it defeated the Lions at Fankhauser Reserve.  The Thunder were very impressive in beating Mt Gravatt in Darwin, whilst at Esplen Oval Morningside chalked up its first win in inflicting Redland's first loss.

Redland were promising to be the season’s big improvers.  The Bombers beat the Thunder in an entertaining, high-scoring affair at Victoria Point in Round 4.

Aspley broke through for a win over fellow strugglers the Western Magpies in Round 5.  Labrador scored a nail-biting win over the Thunder, and Redland continued their improvement, kicking 27 goals in beating the Lions.  The form of Redland's prized recruit Jeff White and powerful full-forward Jason Eagle was part of the reason for the Bombers' rise up the ladder.

In Round 6 the Thunder broke through for their first away win in beating Broadbeach at Carrara.

Round 8 saw Morningside defeat Southport by 32 points at Esplen Oval to register their sixth straight win.  The Thunder overcame Aspley on a bitterly cold Saturday night in Alice Springs.

Redland hung on for a tense victory over Mt Gravatt in Round 9 at Dittmer Park to reach the halfway point of the minor round sharing top billing with great rivals Southport and Morningside, all three teams having seven wins.  The Thunder were just one win away in fourth.

Labrador kicked just three goals in their Round 10 clash against Southport at Cooke-Murphy Oval but incredibly won the game - one of their finest victories.  And in Cairns Morningside beat the Thunder in a see-sawing contest.

Southport's Round 11 win over Redland at Victoria Point left Morningside as outright ladder leaders, a position they would not relinquish for the duration of the minor round.  In fact the Panthers’ big Round 12 victory over Mt Gravatt at Esplen Oval stretched their winning sequence to ten games. 

In Round 13, the Lions had a big win over Southport, while the Thunder scraped home by a point against Mt Gravatt at Carrara.

Aspley scored consecutive wins for the first time in Rounds 14 and 15, while Redland won a high-scoring thriller over the Thunder in Alice Springs.

Two more consecutive losses - to Morningside in Darwin and to Southport at Carrara - saw the Territory slip out of the five after Round 17.

After looking certainties to make the finals for most of the season, the rigours of travel seemed to ultimately take their toll on the Thunder.  Even then, they were extremely unlucky to miss out on the finals.  Their win-loss ratio finished at 11-7, with both the Lions and Mt Gravatt edging them out by just a few percentage points.

Morningside won its sixteenth straight game when it triumphed by five points over the Sharks at Fankhauser Reserve in Round 18, the final game in the minor round.

T
he home-and-away season finished with the teams placed as follows:

Morningside
Southport
Redland
Brisbane Lions
Mt Gravatt
NT Thunder
Labrador
Broadbeach
Aspley
Western Magpies

Broadbeach had started the season promisingly with three wins in the first four rounds, but after that the Cats managed just one more victory for the season.

And the two Brisbane additions to the competition, Aspley and the Western Magpies, collectively finished with just one win over the other teams.

For information on the 2009 finals, please click on the links at the top of this column.

The Grogan Medal for the competition’s best and fairest player was won by Mt Gravatt’s Nathan Gilliland.  Jacob Gough of Morningside finished second one point back, with Southport’s Danny Wise a further point adrift in third.

The Ray Hughson Medal for the competition’s leading goalkicker after the minor round went to the Thunder’s Darren Ewing, who kicked 81 goals.


DVDs of 2009 games can be purchased here at the Velocity Sports web site.

 

Last Modified:  30th March 2012

©2012 QAFF