Lachie Neale is a star. Pic: Getty Images
Lachie Neale is a star. Pic: Getty Images

Lynch: Hits and misses for Lions, Suns

AS we head to the halfway point of the 2019 season, Alastair Lynch lists who's been a success for each Queensland club - and who might be looking at higher honours.

Some are no-brainers but others may raise some eyebrows.

MOST IMPORTANT

Brisbane Lions: Harris Andrews has emerged as one of the competition's best defenders.

His great strength is his intercept marking but he is also almost unbeatable in one-on-one contests.

He reads the play brilliantly, is incredibly brave and is a good decision maker under the fiercest pressure.

Gold Coast: The Suns want to lock the ball up and force repeat stoppages and that is not possible if Jarrod Witts is beaten in the ruck. So far this season it has rarely happened. 

Witts is the most critical player to the Gold Coast game plan and he does it every week with very little support. Has evolved into one of the best signings in the club's history.

Jarrod Witts and fellow co-captain David Swallow had led from the front. Pic: Getty Images
Jarrod Witts and fellow co-captain David Swallow had led from the front. Pic: Getty Images

BEST RECRUIT

Brisbane Lions: You can't go past Lachie Neale. He was always a good footballer but has taken his game to a new level since joining the Lions. At 26 years of age he could play over 100 games for Brisbane and potentially be part of their next premiership side.

Gold Coast: Sam Collins was one of the best recruits across the entire competition before he was injured. He is a strong mark who should play a lot of good footy for the Suns. Jack Hombsch now gets the nod. He is undersized but is doing a stellar job holding up a defence that is missing Collins and mainstay Rory Thompson.

CLUB CHAMPION

Brisbane Lions: It is hard to see anyone chasing down Lachie Neale from here. He has broken records for possessions in his first half-season as a Lion and I also expect him to be near the top of the Brownlow leaderboard at this stage.

Gold Coast: A bit harder to split a few senior players but I suspect the Suns' match committee are deeply appreciative of the performance of stalwart David Swallow. In a young side the newly crowned skipper is leading from the front. Jarrod Harbrow and Jarrod Witts would also be in the mix.

Daniel Rich has gone to another level. Pic: AAP
Daniel Rich has gone to another level. Pic: AAP

MOST IMPROVED

Brisbane Lions: It may be left field considering he is one of the Lions' most experienced players and the only one to have appeared in a final for the club, but Daniel Rich has taken a giant stride. He has the perfect balance between defence and offence and is now the player we expected him to become when he burst onto the scene with a Rising Star award in 2009.

Gold Coast: Darcy McPherson has taken an opportunity with both hands. He made a strong start to last season as a pressure forward before breaking his leg in the round five Q Clash. Injuries and coach Stuart Dew's desire to build greater midfield depth gave him his chance to rotate through the midfield and he has flourished.

ALL AUSTRALIAN

Brisbane Lions: Andrews is a lock. It would be a grave injustice if the Lions defender doesn't earn his first AA blazer after making the 40-man squad last year. His month off due to concussion late last season cost him dearly. This year he is in even better form. Neale would also be in the squad and making a strong case for the final side.

Gold Coast: Collingwood's Brodie Grundy is the best ruckman in the competition and an automatic starter in the AA team but Jarrod Witts is mounting a case for inclusion. What works against him is he is a genuine ruckman and not a ruck-forward, but if something should happen to the big Magpie or the selectors decide to simply pick the best two pure ruckmen, Witts is a chance.

News Corp Australia

Prepare to leave warning for Crows Nest and Ravensbourne

Prepare to leave warning for Crows Nest and Ravensbourne

Weather conditions are expected to worsen today.

Repeat drink-driver makes questionable decision

premium_icon Repeat drink-driver makes questionable decision

The man decided to drive when he could have walked. The decision proved to be...

Relief in sight? Weather expert looks ahead

premium_icon Relief in sight? Weather expert looks ahead

The region may be experiencing some of the driest weather in quite some time, but...