Chris Burgess (Gold Coast) v Seb Tape (Southport): The high-flying Frosty Miller medallist comes up against the veteran former captain. What a match-up this promises to be. Tape gets none of the plaudits of his higher-profile teammates but just gets the job done week-in-week-out and would be desperate to atone for the Round 21 game where Burgess, Josh Corbett and Alex Sexton got away to kick 10 goals between them. Burgess kicked four against the Swans last week and is going to take some stopping.
Josh Corbett (Gold Coast) v Rhys King (Southport): Where Burgess doesn’t get you, there’s a fair chance Corbett will. The SUNS’ second spearhead was held goalless by Will Gould last week, just the third time that has happened this year, and it is hard to see it happening again. Like Tape, King isn’t often highlighted, but the Sharks pair are the backbone that holds this team together.
Sam Flanders (Gold Coast) v Jacob Dawson (Southport): These two appear to be almost untaggable, with Dawson being solid all season to average 29.4 disposals, although he was held to a modest (for him) 24 touches and limited impact in the qualifying final. Flanders, meanwhile, has carved the Hawks and Swans to ribbons in the finals with 37 and 46 disposals and has an average of 29.7 in 11 matches. Who will have the greater impact? It’s mouth-watering.
Charlie Constable (Gold Coast) v Boyd Woodcock (Southport): This one is even more enticing, with both capable of destroying their opponents in very little time. Woodcock possesses spectacular marking, freakish goal sense and ability to rack up possessions at will. Constable is also a ball magnet who has been damaging off half-back, setting up the Suns with 35 possessions against the Swans. If he gets off the leash, Woodcock may have to batten down the hatches, which will take away from the Sharks’ strengths.
James Tsitas (Gold Coast) v Jesse Joyce (Southport): The great midfield match-ups just keep coming, with both these men in their best form of the season at the right time. Joyce had 26 disposals in a terrific qualifying final, while Tsitas hit top gear with 31 and a goal against Sydney after 30 against Box Hill to lift his average to 24.8 in 16 games. Joyce could even pick up a tagging job on Flanders to see if he can take away the SUNS’ Ace of Hearts.
Ned Moyle (Gold Coast) v Brayden Crossley (Southport): Moyle led the VFL in hitouts this season and has been simply spectacular for the SUNS in a breakout 2022 campaign. He and Crossley put on a ding-dong battle in Round 21 with 80 hitouts between them, with Moyle grabbing 15 touches to Crossley’s 12, but the big Shark laid 10 tackles to four.
Jez McLennan (Gold Coast) v Max Pescud (Southport): McLennan appears to be best suited to taking on the task against former SUNS Academy graduate Pescud – if he doesn’t go to Jacob Townsend or Billy Gowers (if fit) instead. McLennan will be hoping Rory Thompson can get the better of Townsend, which will make the job easier. Pescud has flown under the radar of his two higher-profile teammates, but is just as dangerous around goal.