Category: Queensland

Gregory aims to run with her strengths

WITH a neat left foot and plenty of speed to burn, Queensland’s Chloe Gregory has always been told to back herself when deciding whether to take the game on. The utility has played between midfield and forward, and crossed over from netball because of her ability to do just that.

“I started out playing netball,” Gregory said. “I’ve played netball for my whole life and got into football through my dad (Scott Gregory) because he’s head of AFL Academy at Narangba Valley and he got me into that and then tried out for the Sunny Coast team up on the Sunny Coast, made that and then made Queensland in the same year so just been going from there. “It’s been really good so far.”

Gregory’s decision to continue her football journey was two-fold – one because of her dad’s influence, but also because of her natural attributes when it came to her impact in open space.

“I find football to be a lot more open and I can show off my skill a bit more rather than in netball it’s such a small game. I love the running and being able to be so free in the game of footy. “He’s (Gregory’s father) been trying to get me to play footy for a while now and he’s just over the moon that I’m playing it and he’s been one of the biggest coaches in my life and he’s really proud of what I’ve achieved so far.”

Gregory said her father provided her with plenty of advice throughout the journey, but his number one message was keeping it simple.

“He definitely shares a lot of his advice with me, but basically just tells me to take the opportunity where I can. Use my run and carry as much as I can,” Gregory said. “All my coaches in my life – I’m a left foot – say make sure you just get on your left foot, get it forward and run and carry. “(It’s) definitely one of my strengths to win a contested ball, get it out run and carry and kick it on my left boot because it’s a bit unpredictable which side I’m going to kick on.”

While Gregory has made it to the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships representing her state, she is not content to rest on her laurels, focusing on improvements in her game to make her a more complete player.

“(I) definitely need to work on my work rate,” Gregory said. “So I’ve been playing forward a lot this year and as a high-forward, I push in as another onballer so I’ve been trying to work with the midfield as well as push down to the forwards to get to the tall forwards feet. “So work rate is definitely something to work on.”

The pacy utility said she was constantly asking for feedback on her game from coaches to try and build on areas of improvement and “hopefully implement them as much as I can into my game”. Having already tasted senior football with Brisbane Lions in the Winter Series competition, Gregory said she was keen to “get a good look” at AFL Women’s and make the step up to the highest grade if selected. She said the competition against stronger bodies was definitely noticeable compared to her peers at Under 18s level.

“It’s definitely a big step up, bigger bodies, it’s really hard to get into the game there,” Gregory said. “I remember I played wing in the first game and that was a really different opportunity for me and I really took that with the run and carry and now coming back to nationals and playing forward it’s a completely different game. “I just hope I get to play at that AFLW level.”

During her time at the Lions, Gregory has leant off another left footer who has an eye for goals who she sees as her biggest idol on the field, and has helped her build her burning desire to achieve her dream of playing at the highest level.

“Definitely (Jess) Wuetschner from the Lions,” Gregory said. “She’s been a big influence on me through the Winter Series comp and just the advice she gives is awesome and I take it on board every time we have a chat. “Now she’s playing down back after she was more of a forward last year and gets her cheeky goals and everything so, and the left foot like me so I look up to her a lot.”

Passionate Lion eyes AFLW future

BRISBANE is a long way from Frankston in the south eastern suburbs of Victoria, but the Sunshine State, and more accurately, the Brisbane Lions is where exciting mid-forward Belle Dawes‘ heart lies. She moved from Victoria up north and brought her love for Australian Rules football with her, and credits much of her recent development – which saw her make the 2018 AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side – to then-coach Craig Starcevich.

“I’ve lived in Frankston Victoria and I just started playing, me and my brother signed up for Frankston Rovers Under 9s,” Dawes said. “I played there at that club until Under 12s, and then just played with boys and I moved to Queensland. “That’s when I thought I’ll come play footy up here, come play with the boys and then the girls team started. “Played in the school comp, got seen and then got selected for regionals and started from there.”

Starcevich has been a huge inspiration for Dawes who she said “opened up her whole game” with some crucial advice.

“He’s supportive, a real cool coach, I’ve learnt a lot from him,” Dawes said. “Swivel the head was a big thing, and that opened up my whole game, kicking left and right and swivelling my head to switch it. “Because he’s been my coach over a few years I’ve got to know what he teaches and just developing that each year.”

Dawes admits the change from an Australian Rules dominant state to one that is predominantly rugby was different, but refreshing because it helped her feel more at home in the pathway system.

“Coming from Victoria it’s all like AFL, it’s really different up here, it’s very rugby like,” she said. “Even at schools there’s no fields, no one really follows it, so it was different, it’s quieter, but I kind of like it because when we did all the regional stuff I knew all the girls, it was all the same. “We all got to know each other and we became more of a family so it was cool.”

It has helped Dawes that her family has been so supportive in helping her chase her dream.

“My mum is really supportive, she loves it, she is my number one fan,” Dawes said. “My brother plays too. “He’s 16, but he plays and he loves it too, and my sister just kind of follows whatever we do.”

Dawes said her strengths include accumulation and being able to read the play and the ball from ruck taps and around the ground, indicating a high football IQ. While her fitness “always can” improve, she is just as focused on working on her skills to make the right decisions by hand or foot and reduce rushed disposal.

As for her ultimate goal and club of choice, Dawes summed it up in just two words – “Draft” and “Brisbane”. Should Dawes be granted her wish, she will get the opportunity to continue with her mentor in Starcevich and help the Lions continue their already impressive AFL Women’s history.

AFLW U18 Championship previews: Queensland

AHEAD of the two big clashes between Queensland and Western Australia for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, we take a look at Queensland and how they are shaping up this year after an impressive effort at last year’s carnival. Below we take a look at some of the key players to watch – remarkably all of the below are AFL Women’s Academy members.

Annise Bradfield

Still 12 months away from being eligible for drafting, Bradfield is a 172cm prospect in the AFL Women’s Academy, and another player from the highly successful Bond University team. Has overcome a long-term injury to return and will no doubt be a key player for the home side. She could well play up forward and be the tall target her teammates look to inside 50.

Belle Dawes

A member of the All-Australian side as a middle-ager last year, Dawes is a small forward who provides plenty of excitement inside 50 and can drift through the midfield to have an impact. She is a versatile mover and has X-factor galore, helping her get amongst the goal kickers. Dawes became a premiership player for Wilston Grange last year, matching it against bigger-bodied opponents. A fierce tackler as well, not allowing her opponents time and space.

Kitara Farrar

One of three Gold Coast SUNS pre-listed players in the Queensland team, Farrar showed some exciting bursts off half-back before injuring herself early in the second game on the Gold Coast. She takes the game on, backs herself and can slice up the opposition with her offensive run. Likewise her defensive pressure and tackling ability is also something to watch, with her clean hands and strength to either apply or shrug off tackles another noticeable trait.

Zimmorlei Farquharson

Despite turning 16 a couple of months earlier, Farquharson showed much promise last year at the AFLW Under 18 Championships as a bottom-ager. She played as a key forward, leading out and clunking grabs. For a taller player, Farquharson moves well and uses the ball well, and while consistency is what she will be looking for as she develops, she is genuinely a star when up and going and still has time to develop.

Charlotte Hammans

Another pre-listed player by the Gold Coast SUNS ahead of the 2020 season, Hammans played from defence to midfield and showed great strength and clean hands across the ground. She snuck forward at times as well and showed off her versatility, foot skills and vision, while her composure under pressure was also impressive and it was no surprise to see her pre-listed by the SUNS.

Ellie Hampson

The third pre-listed Gold Coast SUNS player is the agile Hampson whose side-step became a trademark of the carnival last year. Not too dissimilar to Calder Cannons’ Georgia Patrikios, Hampson is able to evade opponents with ease and just steps through traffic like she is in uncontested areas of the ground. Hampson also has a long, penetrating kick that helps her hurt opposition teams and like the other two, it is no surprise to see Gold Coast keen to secure her on their list.

Dee Heslop

A consistent player last year, Heslop featured among the best on most occasions at the carnival and showed a high work ethic throughout the games. Heslop moved the ball quickly and well by hand or foot and played her role well for her side. While others won plenty of the ball, Heslop played a key role in the side and did not waste too many opportunities, showing off her class inside 50 when given the opportunity.

Lily Postlethwaite

The standout player at last year’s carnival across series two, Postlethwaite is an exciting small midfielder who has nice skills and a hard-edge to also apply plenty of defensive pressure to her opponents. She has a penetrating kick and a great technical action, and sets up her teammates with scoring opportunities going forward. Named in the All-Australian side as a middle-ager last season, and it was no shock to anyone here that she was named captain of the Queensland side for the championships.

Serene Watson

A reliable defender, Watson is a member of the Gold Coast SUNS Academy and was named in the back pocket of the All-Australian side last year. She is more of a rebounding defender who excites with her run and carry ability out of the defensive 50. She is calm and composed with ball in hand and has strong hands despite not being the biggest bodied player.

Tarni White

Made headlines from a young age by becoming the first female to play 100 games at her local club, Wynnum Vikings. White made the All-Australian squad as a bottom ager back in 2017, showing off her talent then. She followed that up with the Queensland Women’s AFL Rookie of the Year award and Harry Gordon Medal, for her high work ethic and natural leadership ability.

Team of the Week: Academy Series – Round 5

NEW South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) sides had a good weekend across the NAB League with Sydney Swans Academy gaining an important win over Murray Bushrangers, and GWS GIANTS Academy narrowly going down to Gippsland Power. The two sides were recognised with a massive combined 14 players in the Draft Central Academy Series Team of the Week for Round 5. For the other three sides, they all suffered disappointing losses with Northern Territory Thunder (four representatives), Brisbane Lions Academy (three) and Gold Coast SUNS Academy (three).

Sydney Swans Academy’s sole win out of the five Academy sides saw Kyle Martin and Aidan Watling named up either end, Hamish Ellem locked into full-forward, Lachlan Swaney on a wing, Max Geddes pushed to a half-back flank after pushing back hard in the victory, and Callum Nash in the ruck. It meant one third of the starting side are Sydney Swans, with a further two – Jacob Dol and Sam Thorne – also making our bench in the Academy Series Team of the Week.

GWS GIANTS might not have won, but they lost no admirers against one of the strongest Victorian sides. Missing Tom Green, the GIANTS battled well throughout the match, with defender Nick Murray holding down centre half-back, midfielders Lachlan Squire and Hamish Grant having terrific games, and Shaun Driscoll and James Peatling in attack. Five of their six representatives are on the field, meaning half of the starting line-up is from the NSW/ACT Academies. Jeromy Lucas was the sixth player from the GIANTS to make the squad.

Of the three teams that suffered big losses, Northern Territory Thunder had four representatives, with Beau O’Connell, Joel Jeffrey and Matthew Cumming among the best, while Ben Jungfer made the team after a strong effort on the inside. Looking east to Queensland, both Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academies had three players in our Team of the Week. Tom Griffiths, Will Martyn and Bruce Reville are the Lions’ representatives, while Corey Joyce and Connor Budarick make the team again for Gold Coast, as does Max Pexcud.

Allied states representatives named for revamped AFL Academy

TASMANIA and the Sydney Swans Academy lead all-comers for the most players in the revamped state-based AFL Academies from the Allied sides, with six players each making the the new academy. Both Queensland academies have five players each in the side, while Greater Western Sydney (GWS) GIANTS Academy and Northern Territory have three players each. Two New South Wales representatives, Charlie Byrne and Will Chandler have also made the academy.

The Allies camp will be held from December 3-December 14, with Luke Power named as the Academy coach.

AFL Head of Talent Tristan Salter said it is an exciting time for the country’s best young talent.

“The new approach to the national Academy will ensure more of our most talented players have access to AFL facilities, while receiving the best quality coaching, high performance and wellbeing services in the country,” he said. “Importantly these players will spend more time in their home state, with year-round first-class support that will enhance their opportunity to perform at an elite level through the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. “I congratulate all who have been named in squads today and I look forward to watching their development over the next 12-24 months.”

Allies

Jackson Barling          Sydney Swans/Willoughby Mosman
Connor Budarick         Gold Coast Suns/Labrador
Charlie Byrne              Murray Bushrangers/Albury
Jackson Callow           Tasmania/North Launceston
Braedon Campbell      Sydney Swans/Westbrook
Will Chandler              Murray Bushrangers/Corowa-Rutherglen
Sam Collins                 Tasmania/North Hobart
Ashton Crossley          Gold Coast Suns/Burleigh/Palm Beach Currumbin
Saxon Crozier             Brisbane Lions/Wests
Jared Dakin                 Tasmania/Launceston
Alex Davies                 Gold Coast Suns/Cairns Hawks
Oliver Davis                Tasmania/Clarence
Liam Delahunty           GWS Giants/Coolamon
Hamish Ellem              Sydney Swans/Manly Warringah
Tom Griffiths               Brisbane Lions/Maroochydore
Tom Green                  GWS Giants/Marist
Errol Gulden                Sydney Swans/Maroubra
Joel Jeffrey                 Northern Territory/Wanderers
Jack Johnston             Gold Coast Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
Ben Jungfer                Northern Territory/Warpaths/Woodville-West Torrens
Will Martyn                  Brisbane Lions/Aspley
Matt McGrory              GWS Giants/Gungahlin
Mitch O’Neill                Tasmania/North Hobart
Luke Parks                  Sydney Swans/North Shore
Hewago Paul-Oea      Gold Coast Suns/PNG/Broadbeach
Will Peppin                  Tasmania/North Hobart
Josh Rayner                Sydney Swans/North Shore
Malcolm Rosas Jnr     Northern Territory/Darwin
Bruce Reville               Brisbane Lions/Western Magpies/Maryborough
Kobe Tozer                 Brisbane Lions/Aspley/Bribie Island

AFLW Draft preview: Brisbane

BRISBANE has lost a fair few names from its best side over the off-season, but has terrific depth which has seen the Lions make two consecutive Grand Finals. Lauren Arnell arrives at the club to give some vital experience, while young gun Brianna McFarlane signed on as a rookie last week. With the young talent coming through Queensland, it is expected Brisbane will have plenty of new faces walking through the door, and join the likes of Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jessica Wuetschner as dangerous players to opposition sides. The Lions will look to reload for 2019 and hope to go one better after two near misses.

Last year: 2nd

IN: Lauren Arnell, Brianna McFarlane
OUT: Kaitlyn Ashmore, Renee Cowan, Britt Gibson, Nicole Hildebrand, Kalinda Howarth, Tahlia Randall, Molly Ritson (rookie), Jamie Stanton.

BRISBANE AFLW list (25/30)

  • Ally Anderson
  • Lauren Arnell
  • Bella Ayre
  • Emily Bates
  • Ruby Blair
  • Shannon Campbell
  • Arianna Clarke
  • Gabby Collingwood
  • Sophie Conway
  • Nat Exon
  • Sabrina Frederick-Traub
  • Megan Hunt
  • Leah Kaslar
  • Jessy Keeffe
  • Breanna Koenan
  • Kate Lutkins
  • Kate McCarthy
  • Brianna McFarlane
  • Emma Pittman
  • Krystal Scott
  • Sam Virgo
  • Sharni Webb
  • Jessica Wuetschner
  • Jordan Zanchetta
  • Emma Zielke.

DRAFT PICKS

9, 22, 33, 44, 54, 60, 65

POSSIBLE DRAFT PROSPECTS

Brisbane is in the unique position of having the senior coach – Craig Starcevich – as the head coach for the Queensland Under 18s side, which had a terrific AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. He will know not only the talent, but the characters of the players inside and out. Of those invited to the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, athletic ruck Lauren Bella could slot straight into the side to replace Tahlia Randall, coming off a strong performance at the championships, and impressive testing results at the combine. Under 18s state captain, Natalie Grider is another prospect expected to join her coach at the Lions, primarily playing off half-back at the championships and showing good composure and skills out of the back half. Jacqui Yorston was the third Queenslander invited to the combine, and will be able to slot straight into the Brisbane midfield if required. Only so many Queenslanders can make their way onto the Brisbane list, but Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little and Jesse Wardlaw played off in a senior Grand Final in the Queensland Women’s Football League and did not look out of place. With Gold Coast coming in next year, even if some miss out this season, there will more opportunities available ahead of the 2020 season.

Queensland weekly wrap: Southport and Sydney to clash in NEAFL decider

THE North Eastern Australian Football League (NEAFL) decider is finally here, while the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) preliminary final will determine the second grand finalist in that league.

NEAFL Grand Final:

The NEAFLs big dance is on this Sunday afternoon from 1pm at Fankhauser Reserve, Southport who host the Sydney Swans. The Grand Final will be streamed live on NEAFL TV.

Southport’s 11.15 (81) to 6.8 (44) victory over Aspley in a wet preliminary final means the Sharks have gone from finishing ninth last year to hosting the club’s first NEAFL Grand Final in one season. The Sharks’ success is in no small part due to the appointment of Stephen Daniel as new head coach this season. Daniel also is the NEAFL Coach of the year for 2018, taking Southport to the minor premiership.

Sydney just missed the minor premiership on percentage but look set to take part in what promises to be a fantastic first against second grand final clash. The 18.10 (118) to 8.14 (62) preliminary final win over the Canberra Demons, sees the Swans reach their third Grand Final in as many years and keeps their hopes for an inaugural NEAFL flag alive.

Graphic: NEAFL

QAFL- Now There are Three:

It has reached the preliminary final stage across the seniors and reserves of the QAFL. The reserve grade certainly has a Gold Coast feel to it, with Labrador and Palm Beach playing this weekend to decide who will make the grand final against local rivals Broadbeach.

Minor premiers Broadbeach may prefer to face Palm Beach after they escaped with a two-point win over Labrador in week two of the finals. Labrador also managed to defeat second-placed Mt Gravatt in week one of the finals, and like Palm Beach, have had to go the hard way, playing every week of the finals.

Kick-off for the QAFL Reserves Preliminary Final is 11:30am this Saturday from Subaru Oval, Broadbeach.

This is followed by the Seniors preliminary final between hosts Broadbeach and Morningside.  Palm Beach have been the top side all year and await the winner. Morningside won a nine-point nail-biter against Surfers Paradise last weekend. However, in week one the Panthers were beaten 123-76 by Broadbeach at the same venue to be played this Saturday afternoon.

During the home and away season, Broadbeach and Morningside split a win apiece, perhaps making this one harder to predict. Regardless the winner will have the toughest task facing Palm Beach in the grand final next week.

Kick-off for the QAFL Seniors Preliminary Final is 2pm this Saturday from Subaru Oval, Broadbeach.

AFL9s Open Now:

Across the state, registrations for AFL9s are underway and include Mixed, Mens and Youth competitions across over 20 venues from Townsville to the Northern Rivers along the border. For more information head to the AFL9s Queensland Facebook page.

Queensland weekly wrap: Maroons set to star in futures showcase

WITH both Queensland AFL sides watching finals action from beyond the fence, all eyes are on the next generation of stars set to grace the hallowed MCG turf, as well as all of the off-field post season action which comes into effect shortly. 

Queensland prospects to play at the ‘Big Dance’

On Tuesday, the teams for the Under 17 Futures game were announced. Included amongst the two teams are some talented Queensland prospects who will strut their stuff before they’re eligible for the 2019 draft.

The two teams have been named after recently-retired AFL stars Nick Riewoldt and Jimmy Bartel

Gold Coast Academy’s Connor Budarick is the sole Queensland representative on Team Riewoldt while Team Bartel will feature Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast Academy), and Will Martyn (Brisbane Academy).  

Oea or ‘Ace’ is an exciting Papua New Guinea prospect that joined the Suns Academy earlier this year on a two year international scholarship. ‘Ace’ who began his journey with strong performances representing PNG in the Under 16 Queensland State Championships in 2017, and went on to play for Queensland in the national championships before being selected as the first PNG player to be part of the NAB AFL Academy.

The hype around Budarick is already substantial due to his proven ability to dominate games at the senior QAFL level. Along with teammate Oea, Budarick is one of only two players from his age level in Queensland to be selected in the National Academy, back in 2017.

Martyn, from the Brisbane Academy has had a strong year at the state level. This includes two best on ground performances – one against Vic Country where he kicked two goals late in the contest to almost power Queensland over the line, and the other against state rivals NSW/ACT back in July where Martyn really dominated, grabbing 30 touches and laying 10 tackles.  

The Under-17s ‘Futures’ game will be broadcast live from 10am on Grand Final day, and will be streamed on afl.com.au and the AFL Live Official App.

Lynch makes his choice

The race for free agent Tom Lynch is over with the Gold Coast Suns captain making his decision to go to Richmond. It is understood both Hawthorn and Collingwood have been told they have missed out on the most wanted out of contract player this off-season.

No official announcement on where he wants to sign is expected to be made until after the finals, or after Richmond have finished in the finals, which is likely to be one and the same thing with the top of the ladder Tigers expected to make the grand final.

AFL Queensland finals fever

Finals fever has hit Queensland AFL right now with grand finals decided across various divisions, as well as other competitors squarely in their finals campaigns. For more information head to the AFL Queensland website for a wrap of the whole state’s finals landscape.

Queensland weekly wrap: Finals time arrives

FINALS time has well and truly arrived across the country and Queensland, which means Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) knockout action is about to get underway. Meanwhile at the elite level, both Brisbane and Gold Coast’s years are winding down having comfortably missed out on finals.

QAFL finals kick off

The QAFL Seniors and Reserves finals get underway this weekend and the competition in the Seniors couldn’t be any tighter. Palm Beach have been the top side all year and have the week off whilst Broadbeach face Morningside in a qualifying final, and Surfers Paradise face Mt Gravatt in a do or die elimination encounter.  

Broadbeach claimed second spot on the ladder with 11 wins this season, while 10 wins apiece from Morningside, Surfers Paradise and Mt Gravatt, puts them third to fifth in that order with only percentage separating them.  

In Reserve grade, it appears to be a two horse race for the QAFL Reserve crown between first placed Broadbeach and second placed Mt Gravatt. Broadbeach have 14 wins this season and Mt Gravatt have 13 to be a few games clear of their finals counterparts; Labrador, Palm Beach and Western Magpies. Much like the Seniors, Labrador (third), Palm Beach (fourth) and the Western Magpies (fifth), are all clustered together in the bottom half of the top five, making results very hard to predict.

Overall it should be a cracking finals series in both QAFL divisions. Head down to the games or catch all the action via the QAFL Facebook page.

 

Season over for Lions and Suns

The closing of the home and away season marks the end of the year for the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns. For Gold Coast it was not the ideal send off with a 102-point loss to eight place Geelong, but with speculation over Michael Barlow’s future, he did himself plenty of favours with a 35 possession game.

Alex Sexton ended the season as club leading goalkeeper with 28 whilst Touk Miller led the disposal count at 485. Jarrod Witts’ magnificent season ended with 854 hitouts, good for second in the AFL behind only All-Australian Ruckman Max Gawn.

From a team perspective the Suns are in a full rebuild, exemplified by Tom Lynch leaving the club. They will get high picks in the offseason to add to some impressive young talent that just needs time and experience. The Suns end the season in 17th with four wins, two down on last year’s total but taking into account a much more competitive competition this season.

The Brisbane Lions have ended their season with five wins, exactly the same as last season but the win-loss record doesn’t tell the whole story. The Lions have been much more competitive this season in no small part thanks to the additions of Luke Hodge and Charlie Cameron who provided immediate positive impact on the team. In addition, some Lions have had breakout seasons including the likes of; Eric Hipwood, Jarrod Berry, Alex Witherden and Hugh McCluggage.

A couple of Lions were unlucky not to be named in the final All-Australian squad. Harris Andrews and Dayne Beams made the 40-man squad but couldn’t make the final 22. Nevertheless, those two alongside veterans Dayne Zorko, and Mitch Robinson in particular had strong seasons.

Looking ahead, the future of the Lions looks very bright based off close losses this season against stiff opposition who have walked all over them in the past. With Chris Fagan and Hodge at the helm the sky is the limit for Brisbane.

Wilston Grange claims QWAFL flag with come-from-behind victory

WILSTON Grange has claimed the 2018 Queensland Women’s Australian Football League (QWAFL) premiership with a come-from-behind victory over a determined Coorparoo outfit on the weekend. The Grand Final was tight and contested as expected, and the Kings looked to be switched on from the first bounce. The tide turned on the back of an inspirational tackle from a 17 year-old Under 18s state representative, changing the course of the grand final.

The first key play of the day saw a mis-kick from Kings forward, Jenae Govan luckily landed in front of Brisbane AFL Women’s star, Jess Wuetschner who slid in, took the mark and then converted from 15 metres out to hand the Kings their first goal. Moments later, a 50 metre encroachment penalty helped Samantha Hurst move to almost point blank range, and within five minutes, the underdogs had two goals on the board. It took until the nineteenth minute for the minor premiers to get on the board, when an “overzealous” Wuetschner was penalised for a tackle on Gorilla opponent Jordan Membrey. From 15 metres out on a slight angle, Membrey shook the collective monkey off Wilston Grange’s back with a dead-eye goal. The Kings still held an eight-point lead at quarter time and were deserving leaders at the first break.

The highlight of the second term came when Tori Groves-Little pumped the ball long inside 50, but a smart Michaela Campbell, who had been prolific in rebounding out of the Gorillas’ defence, gave it off and received it back via Courtney Daniec. Her kick went long to a contest, but while it wrapped up the perfect work from the stoppage saw AFL Women’s Lions star, Kate Lutkins win the footy and pump it long. Creating a contest, Maddison Peeters forced the ball out for Tahlia Randall to give it off to Jamie Stanton who made no mistake off a couple of steps, putting the Gorillas back within a point and breaking the goal drought. A couple more chances went begging late in the term, but it gave Wilston Grange a two-point lead at the main break.

Emerging from the half-time break, Wuetschner opted for the long sleeves in the second half, and it seemed to work. After Ally Anderson won a free kick for another encroachment, Wuetschner knew her teammate could not make the distance and made a couple of leads, changing direction before Anderson drilled a pass onto her chest. She made no mistake, converting from straight in front and putting her side back in the lead just two and a half minutes into the third quarter. The pair had been amongst Coorparoo’s best to date, along with youngster Jade Ellenger, while for Wilston Grange, Campbell and Lutkins were superb in defence, and Isabel Dawes was creative in midfield.

Coorparoo teenager, Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw was battling hard in the ruck at times against the experienced All-Australian Lutkins. But if you are looking at big moments, none bigger came when bottom-ager Isabel Dawes stopped a certain free kick with a run-down tackle in the goal square. Tawhiao-Wardlaw blocked an opponent, handballed to Wuetschner who kicked into the vacant square where it was marked by Govan, who thought she would stroll in for the easiest of goals. But instead, Dawes blindsided her and brought her down before she could get boot to ball. Had she kicked it, Coorparoo would have gone 10 points up midway through the third term. Just two minutes later, Wilston Grange locked the ball inside 50 and Jemma Abbott chipped in to Membrey who took a step and nailed a goal from 35 metres out to hand the Gorillas the lead.

From there, the Gorillas never looked back. Another attack was thwarted by Ellenger who sidestepped an opponent on the last line and kicked out of defence, with the Queensland Under 18 representative among the top players on the day. The Kings were desperate in defence, but the Gorillas press was causing headaches. Unfortunately for Ellenger, she tried to get out of one too many tackles when she was caught holding the ball and Lutkins delivered from the set shot. A couple of minutes later, Brittany Gibson kicked a brilliant goal off a couple of steps and handed the Gorillas a vital 15-point lead. Wuetschner had a chance to cut the deficit, but played on and miskicked towards Govan in the square and the ball was rushed across the line for a three quarter time deficit of 14 points.

The final term saw just four behinds scored, as the damage was done. From that Dawes tackle to stop the Kings lead going into double figures, the Gorillas had booted the last three goals of the game. They were fierce in their attack going forward, with so many options looking to kick long inside 50 and seemingly putting pressure on the Kings defence. In response, the Kings held up strongly, but with Lutkins and Campbell in the back half, they could not penetrate the stringent defence, falling short and going down 5.7 (37) to 3.5 (23).

Anderson was arguably Coorparoo’s best in the defeat, quelled a little more by Dawes in the second half, but created great run and carry kicking long inside 50. Wuetschner had her chances up forward, converting two majors, while Ellenger was willing to take the game on in defence. For the winners, there was not shortage of top performers, but Lutkins, Campbell and Stanton were enormous, while Dawes was terrific in midfield.

WILSTON GRANGE 1.0 | 2.3 | 5.5 | 5.7 (37)
COORPAROO 2.2 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Wilston Grange: J. Membrey 2, K. Lutkins, J. Stanton, B. Gibson.
Coorparoo: J. Wuetschner 2, S. Hurst.