Saturday, January 23, 2016

QUAFL All Tournament Team

By Luke Derrick

Starting Line Up:

Keeper: Callum Mayling
The only reason this tournament did not produce more fanfare for Callum Mayling is that almost everybody already knew who this beast was. As a favorite to be one of the keepers for the Drops Bears this year, Mayling showed exactly what he was made of throughout the tournament. In the process of scoring the second highest number of goals of any player over the course of the tournament, he was not only able to drive through offenses, but also able to dish passes over and over again to David Blamey (eight goals), James Williams (eight goals), Katherine Hunter (six goals), and Cassia Menkhorst (six goals). Not all of these goals were scored because of Mayling, but this even spread of points over the entire Melbourne Manticores team makes it easy to see the impact such a great keeper has on the team and how opposing defences must react.

Callum Mayling at QUAFL 2015 | Photo by: Jackson Weaver Photography
Chaser: Nathan Morton
The Nathan Morton show ran full steam ahead during pool play as he seemed to single-handedly help the the Monash Muggles overcome the University of New South Wales Snapes on a Plane (UNSW). This great win is only a small example of how Morton changed the way a team would have to play against the Muggles, as he scored goals and caught snitches against multiple opponents. With the seventh highest amount of goals through the tournament and the fifth highest amount of catches, Morton showed that he can lead a team to the quarterfinals and compete with the best. Due to his quick feet and wicked long shot, Morton is incredibly hard to pin down, drawing defences in and creating openings for his teammates. If you were to take Morton out of this team, games against the Muggles would be a lot simpler.
Nathan Morton playing for Muggles at QUAFL 15 | Photo by: Nicholas Hirst Photography
Chaser: Nicholas Albornoz
Nicholas Albornoz, a.k.a. the fridge, the tank, the truck, or anything huge that will crush you, showed that every single one of these nicknames is well deserved. Able to run through entire defences with only his strength, he took full advantage of every no-bludger play his teams beaters were able to create. With the fourth highest amount of goals in the tournament and as evidenced in one of my favorite videos of quidditch ever, Albornoz showed up for the University of Sydney Unspeakables in a large way. His large size is not just an asset on offense; as the starting point chaser for his team, he can take down all but the quickest players when on defence. His background and continual play in rugby creates a familiarity with the contact of quidditch, allowing him to out-muscle and out-play most others in the physical aspect of the sport.
Nicholas Albornoz as ‘The Truck’ | Photo by: James Osmond
Chaser: Cassia Menkhorst
Cassia Menkhorst seems to be one of those players who is always underestimated by every opposing team, at least until she catches a pass by Callum Mayling and scores. Only once a team is caught out a few times does it really see that she is an incredible athlete and asset to the Manticores line up. As a physical chaser on defence and a perfectly positioned weapon on offence, Menkhorst is able to perfectly connect with Mayling, always allowing him the passing option if his powerful drives get bogged down in traffic. Menkhorst is the perfect fit for the Manticores offence; without her and her fellow female chaser Katherine Hunter, the Manticores would not be the best team in the country.

Beater: Luke Derrick
Luke Derrick, the MVP of QUAFL 2015, is a clear pick for the male beater position in this all tournament roster. Playing big minutes in all seven of the Unspeakables’ games, Derrick was able to take control of both defence and offence. Allowing players such as Albornoz and Robert Wells to make runs through no-bludger defences, Derrick was able to dominate on offence, doing more than just controlling one bludger. His pinpoint accuracy on defence and strong throw allow him to resist most offensive pushes by the oppositions beaters and dominate any beaters who are not aware of everything that is happening on the field. His large size and long arm span allow him to out-muscle beaters who are aware of what is happening, making him a true threat to any beater pair opposing him.
Luke Derrick beating at QUAFL 2015 | Photo by: S.L. Dixon
Beater: Natasha Keehan
As she was coming off an injury, very few people expected Keehan to be able to compete alongside the best beaters of the country. And yet she did, winning a gold medal to definitively prove she has what it takes. Working with two very strong beaters in Deni Tasman (QUAFL 2014 MVP) and Dean Rodhouse, Keehan supported them well, helping her team maintain bludger control for 66 percent of the time in the finals against UNSW Snapes on a Plane. Only nine goals were scored against the Manticores over the whole of bracket play, compared to the 35 goals scored by the Manticores, showing the importance of Keehan (and the rest of the Manticores beaters) in locking down the defence and controlling the bludgers enough to allow her team’s offence to score points. She allowed her chasers to play a game in which they were advantaged, which is, if anything, the exact purpose of a beater.
Natasha Keehan playing at QUAFL 2015 |Photo by: Jackson Weaver Photographer
Seeker: Neil Kemister
Neil Kemister is a clutch seeker in every form of the word. With one of the only off-pitch snitch catches of the tournament, he was able to create an upset win for the Wrackspurts over the Muggles, forming a three-way tie for first in Pool A. Kemister is also a beater for his team, and he uses his speed and cunning to make up for his lack of experience in the position, allowing him to be in the right place when he needs to be, regardless of any mistakes he may make. But his real expertise is in seeking, which helped to pull his team into a fight for the top seed of its pool and push it past the University of Sunshine Coast Dementors in the Wrackspurts first QUAFL quarterfinals. An absolute student of seeking, Kemister focuses on analysing the snitch instead of charging blindly in, looking for weaknesses before jumping at his chance to take advantage of every one. This experienced mentality, along with his speed and agility, justifies his presence on the all tournament team.
 Neil Kemister seeking at QUAFL 2015 | Photo by: Nat Symons
Sub line:
Keeper: Miles Sneddon
Chasers: Maxime Come, Katherine Hunter, Andrew Culf
Beaters: Michael Thomson, Meg Harding
Seeker: Geoffrey Talbott

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