TEAM OF THE YEAR: Which Gympie Cats make the QFA cut?
AFL: The Gympie Cats' debut season as part of the Queensland Football Association's Division 3 competition has come and gone, and not without a host of challenges or growing pains for the boys in blue and white.
Poor showings late in the year, including a miserable 202-point loss to Moorooka on August 3 and a 60-point defeat to the lowly Jindalee in their final game, mired what was otherwise a positive start to the club's new journey.
Last year's AFL Wide Bay champions limped to an eighth place finish at 5 wins and 13 losses, watching on as the Moreton Bay Lions broke a 20-year premiership drought for their club with a 64-point grand final win over Wynnum.
The season didn't come without a highlight reel though, with perhaps the best of them coming in the very first round, when the plucky Cats knocked off the eventual champions 17.7 (109) to 16.10 (106) on the back of five goals each from ex-Noosa forward duo Patrick Harris and Michael Gafa.
Before most of the nation fixes their eyes on the MCG later today, where what should be another classic AFL Grand Final will take place between Richmond and GWS, take a look at who The Gympie Times thought deserved a mention in the QFA Division 3 Team of the Year.
The two biggest locks for the side come from the premiers.
18-year-old midfield jet and Brisbane Lions hopeful Kelly Castle won the QFA Division 3 best and fairest award last Saturday night, while skipper and league-leading goalkicker Rhys "The General” Nickalls broke a record with 119 majors this season, including 15 goals in the grand final.
Back line: Jordan Tucker (Gympie Cats - 18 games, 4 best player selections) Jordan Menheere (Moreton Bay Lions - 16 games, 3 best player selections) Leeland Zeller (Wynnum Vikings - 20 games, 1 goal, 4 best player selections)
Half back line: Jordan Godfrey (Ipswich Eagles - 19 games, 11 best player selections) Robert Lade (Wynnum Vikings - 18 games, 1 goal, 3 best player selections) Joshua Buller (Pine Rivers Swans - 18 games, 5 goals, 13 best player selections)
Centre: Keith Brick (Ipswich Eagles - 17 games, 34 goals, 15 best player selections) James Cullum (Moreton Bay Lions - 18 games, 14 goals, 11 best player selections) Callum Mann (Hinterland Blues - 17 games, 12 goals, 10 best player selections)
Rucks: Jackson Dunell (Moreton Bay Lions - 16 games, 11 goals, 9 best player selections) Joshua Westerberg (Kedron Red Legs - 16 games, 18 goals, 12 best player selections) Kelly Castle (Moreton Bay Lions - 20 games, 20 goals, 9 best player selections)
Half forward line: Nicholas Guys (Kedron Red Legs - 20 games, 61 goals, 3 best player selections) Nathan Flynn (Wynnum Vikings - 16 games, 87 goals, 9 best player selections) Dylan Lowe (Redcliffe Tigers - 17 games, 57 goals, 6 best player selections)
Forward line: Will Merrilees (Moreton Bay Lions - 18 games, 32 goals, 2 best player selections) Rhys Nickalls (captain, Moreton Bay Lions - 15 games, 119 goals, 10 best player selections) Patrick Harris (Gympie Cats - 10 games, 51 goals, 6 best player selections)
Dale Williams (Jindalee Jaguars - 18 games, 9 goals, 17 best player selections) Jack Cross (Gympie Cats - 17 games, 13 goals, 11 best player selections) Beau Silvey (Moorooka Roosters - 17 games, 31 goals, 12 best player selections) Haydn Whitfield (Moreton Bay Lions - 19 games, 35 goals, 3 best player selections)
Hayden Carthew-Zimmer (Ipswich) Liam McPherson (Wynnum) Jesse Lawrence (Gympie) Lanze Magin (Gympie) Daniel Ryan (Hinterland Blues) Benjamin Kristelly (Hinterland Blues) Hayden Long (Jindalee) Nicholas Guys (Kedron) Belly Nizigama (Moorooka) Jackson Ireland (Redcliffe) Zane Wakely (Wynnum)
OUR SAY - WHICH CATS MADE IT AND WHY
Jordan Tucker - Dependable backman often credited with playing a leading role in maintaining the stability of the Cats back six. Showed consistent form across season 2019, as well as the Cats' flag-winning season last year.
Patrick Harris - Only featured in 10 games this season, but showed explosive flare in front of goal. Kicked five in the Cats' best win of the year over Moreton Bay, eight against Redcliffe and a season-best 11 against Jindalee.
Jack Cross - Consistency was the theme of the co-captain's year, fronting up for most games and earning a mention among the best in most of them. Also hit the scoreboard for 13 majors, a good return for a midfielder.