Tag: Kate Lutkins

2021 AFLW Preview: Brisbane Lions

BRISBANE made a surprise finals appearance last season and will again be reaching for the stars under coach Craig Starcevich in 2021. Having continually undergone a wealth of list changes, the Lions’ squad is relatively young but more settled now and has the backing of brilliant leaders who look poised to continue their quest in proving the naysayers wrong.

2020 RECAP

The Lions were far and away the biggest surprise packet early last season, going undefeated across the first four rounds and setting the base for eventual finals qualification. A drawn Q-Clash in Round 3 was the only blemish on Brisbane’s record in that time, until a top-of-the-table clash with Fremantle sparked a string of three losses. Having gone down to the Dockers and Collingwood to end the regular season, Brisbane put up a fight against Carlton come finals time, but ultimately fell away in a game indicative of its season as a whole.

At the end of it all, the Lions had a third place finish in Conference A to show for their efforts as stalwart defender Kate Lutkins was named her side’s sole All Australian representative. The likes of best and fairest winner Emily Bates and spearhead tall forward Jesse Wardlaw enjoyed breakout seasons, helping form a good springboard for the Lions to leap off heading into 2021.

NEW FACES

Another promising draft crop should put the Lions in good stead in terms of squad depth, with a good mix of talents entering the den. Zimmorlei Farquharson headlined Brisbane’s intake at pick eight, putting her behind Gold Coast’s Annise Bradfield as the second Queenslander selected overall.

The speedy half-forward/winger is a threat on the attack; impacting both in the air and at ground level while also applying her pace going both ways. She represented her state at the Under 18 National Championships in 2018 and 2019, impressing as an under-ager and going on to win this year’s QAFLW premiership with the Yeronga Devils. The Lions Academy graduate has great versatility, a trait consistent with the remaining draftees.

Indy Tahau was the next taken at pick 37, another athletic type whose dynamism suits a range of roles. The South Adelaide tall has family ties to the Sunshine State and has already played senior football, promising to bring great competitiveness across all levels for the Lions. Mature-age recruit Ruby Svarc, the sister of 2020 standout Cathy, is another promising inclusion. The former Essendon VFLW dasher plays much like her sibling with terrific run-and-carry, moving the game forward aggressively. At 27-years-old, her readymade status suits the Lions’ upward trend.

Elsewhere, Brisbane’s only trade action saw Taylor Smith recruited from Gold Coast. The developing Suns Academy product is a tall with good athleticism and upside. Courtney Hodder was a rookie selection, while Beth Pinchin finally gets her shot at the top level as a replacement player, as Sharni Webb sits out the 2021 season due to pregnancy.

ONE TO WATCH IN 2021

Listed at number five in Draft Central’s AFLW 10 Under 10 to watch series, Nat Grider is one to keep an eye on this year. The 20-year-old is poised to enter her third season of top flight football and after playing just twice in her maiden campaign, will be full of confidence having cemented her spot across all seven games in 2020.

The versatile 171cm defender went from strength to strength last year and now has some solid experience under her belt, making her a dependable option when shutting down opposition forwards, intercepting or rebounding out of the back half. With the potential to also play through midfield, Grider has some promising upside and came into the competition as a highly touted junior. Should she continue her upward trajectory, she could be a key player in Brisbane’s push for consecutive finals berths.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT

Most point towards Brisbane’s youth upon first glance at its list, but make no mistake that the famed ‘foundation eight’ will be at the centre of their side’s premiership quest. The crew of inaugural Lions will be shaved down to seven this year with Webb’s absence, but are well represented in the leadership group with skipper Emma Zielke flanked by vice-captain Breanna Koenen, 2020 All Australian Lutkins, Shannon Campbell, and Bates. Fellow foundation members Ally Anderson and Jess Wuetschner are also set to go around once again and have proven their class across multiple seasons. Should these unmistakable leaders continue to bind together and support the Lions’ exciting youth, they could climb to the top of the tree in years to come, if not now.

QUESTION MARK

A lingering theme surrounding Brisbane’s 2020 campaign was its steep fall-off after the halfway mark. The Lions were able to lean on their mix of hardened leaders and youthful exuberance to go undefeated across the first four rounds, but came up short against some stiff opposition thereafter. Capturing greater consistency across the whole season will be key and the growing experience levels of the squad as a whole should put Brisbane in good stead. But having arguably overachieved in 2020, the question remains; will the Lions fall away again in 2021?

FINAL WORD

Brisbane is beginning to look like a settled squad after bearing the brunt of expansion, with the building blocks of a finals contender now set. Experience will count for a lot as the Lions strive to become more consistent and set the standard for a raft of promising youngsters to work towards. A better-than-expected finish in 2020 will perhaps bring some unwanted expectation, but this is a side capable of fighting and causing upsets against highly fancied teams caught lacking. Finals should again be the goal, but it will be tough.

Featured Image: Lions skipper Emma Zielke leads her side out | Credit: Brisbane Lions/AFL Media

2021 AFLW 10 under 10 to watch: #5 Nat Grider

IN a unique series for the lead-up to the 2021 AFL Women’s season, Draft Central will look at 10 players who have played under 10 games to watch this year. Whilst it would be easy to pick those who finished high in last year’s Rising Star, or top picks this year, we have opted to look at players who have been around at least two seasons but have only managed to play nine games or less. We continue the countdown at number five with Brisbane’s Nat Grider.

The Lions’ young gun is the second Brisbane player in the list, following on from Jade Ellenger at number 10. Grider has played the maximum games to qualify for the 10 under 10, with nine matches in her two seasons. Playing off half-back and through the midfield, the 171cm prospect made her debut back in Round 4, 2019 against the Western Bulldogs after being selected with Pick 22 in the 2018 AFL Women’s National Draft.

Grider entered the league as an All-Australian representative and Queensland state captain. After two games in her debut season, Grider really stepped up in 2020, playing all seven matches and becoming a mainstay in a Lions outfit brimming with great young talent. She has quite the junior accolades having won the Rising Star Award and Team of the Year in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition in 2018, and earned back-to-back Team of the Year honours the following season.

In her seven games, Grider averaged 8.1 disposals, 1.0 marks, 2.9 tackles and crucially, 4.9 intercept possessions. She became a crucial cog in the Lions’ back six, ranking second overall in that statistic behind All-Australian star full-back, Kate Lutkins. Grider’s impact was profound for her side, joining Lutkins and Emily Bates as her side’s top valued players, nominated for the 2020 AFL Women’s Players’ Association MVP Award.

While unlike many on the list that might have not had as many chances as they would have liked to-date, Grider has taken her chances but will look to go even further in 2021. Able to still make this list, expect Grider to be one of the first picked to start the new season, and provide plenty of run out of defence. She is a reliable player with natural leadership traits, and a special talent who will continue to improve.

The Lions might still be building towards something special as a young unit, but development is key and the likes of Grider will drive the next generation as they look to go one better than their efforts in 2017 and 2018.

Picture: Brisbane Women’s

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Round 9 – Drawn compatriots to do battle again

WITH a month of Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s football remaining, the eight teams are jostling for the best possible ladder position heading into finals. Six of the eight sides will make finals – which makes it interesting with only the top five teams seemingly all but home unless one has a major slip-up. We take a look at some of the key battles within the fixture this weekend.

Top of the table Bond University should be strong favourites against Wilston Grange, with the Gorillas dearly missing Kate Lutkins in defence since heading to Victoria for her work in the army. The Sharkettes have rolled out four wins and a Round 7 cancellation draw to be well ahead on percentage, but still only four points clear of third, fourth and fifth. Annie Muir and Annise Bradfield are a couple of young talents who continue to perform for the Sharkettes, while Maddison and Tegan Levi are a couple of AFL Women’s National Academy members who are often amongst the best.

The Gorillas got their second win on the board last week in what was a crucial victory for Wilston Grange, knocking off last placed Aspley Hornets by 20 points. They will need to be more convincing this week though after a slow start in the first half in Round 8. Lucia Liessi (six goals) and Luka Yoshida-Martin (four) have been key influences for the Gorillas, while recently signed Brisbane Lions talent, Catherine Svarc, along with Kaitlyn Day have been sensational this year. It will take quite a performance to knock off the top side, but they have some good AFL Women’s talent in there to orchestrate it.

If Bond University do slip up, then Coolangatta Tweed will be waiting to pounce. Though the Bluebirds have their own problems to deal with this week, coming up against third placed Coorparoo who knocked them off last time out. With only four points separating the sides and the Kings having a far greater percentage, second spot is on the line in this clash. Furthermore, a loss would see them tumble down to fourth with Maroochydore and Yeronga South Brisbane also facing off this weekend. In their last clash, the Bluebirds went down by 34 points to the Kings, but have strung three wins on the trot since then, and two of those were against top two sides at the time, Maroochydore and Yeronga South Brisbane. The Kings have won four out of five since the restart of the competition, with only a slip-up to Bond University in Round 6 the sole blemish.

Both these teams have quality young players with Keyshia Matenga arguably leading the Bluebirds best and fairests at this point, with Alexandra Hamlyn another who has really stood out this season. The inclusion of Kate Surman and Leah Kaslar has bolstered Coolangatta Tweed, while Georgia Breward and Sally Riley are other experienced players who have thrived on the support of their fellow AFL Women’s talent. Any forward line that could contain the likes of Jess Wuetschner and Jamie Stanton will always be dangerous, and the pair have won games off their own boot. Emma McKenzie is a consistent source of goals, equal with Wuetschner on nine for the season, and been productive in season 2020. Throw in the likes of Ally Anderson and Emma Zielke, then youngster Jade Ellenger who is in unbelievable form, and the Kings are one of the clear title contenders.

The aforementioned fourth and fifth clash between the Roos and Devils is anticipated to be just as entertaining as the second and third clash. Not only are the teams evenly matched, but the last time they played, they could not be split in what would be the first time all season Maroochydore dropped points. Prior to that they had won every game, and since then, have lost two, and had the cancellation draw with Bond University. It has seen them slip from first to fourth, but luckily it is only four points difference, and the Roos have a better percentage than second placed Coolangatta Tweed. So does Yeronga South Brisbane, which means the winner of this game will grab third spot given they will overtake the loser of the Bluebirds and Kings.

The Roos have some serious young AFL Women’s talent in Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes running around, while other young Academy hopefuls in Chloe Gregory and Tahlia Mead have also been regulars in the side this season. The goals are shared around with Mikayla Pauga, Ashleigh Hales and Jacqueline Dupuy all snagging five majors thus far in season 2020. Lucy Bellinger has enjoyed a sensational year for the Devils, leading the club’s goalkicking with eight, and been arguably their top player this season in seven games. Vanessa Hart has been a welcome inclusion since the break, whilst Emily Bates and Jacqueline Yorston joined Jordan Zanchetta among a host of other AFL Women’s talents to have a real say on Yeronga South Brisbane’s efforts in the second half of the season.

The final game of the season is the sixth placed University of Queensland travelling to the eighth placed Aspley Hornets. With the top five teams relatively close and competitive, the Red Lionesses are 10 points off the back and look like the quintessential next best that might not be a serious contender, but have enough that on their day can cause an upset. That being said, if they want to play finals, they simply have to win here against a winless Hornets outfit. The Hornets were ultra competitive, and seriously unlucky against Wilston Grange in the bottom two clash last round, but with three of the top four teams – Bond University, Maroochydore and Coolangatta Tweed – coming up in the final three rounds of the season, this is the one game the Hornets can try and snatch a win and ensure they do not go winless in season 2020.

Courtney Daniec has been a rock all season for the Hornets, named amongst the best in every single match. Since coming into the side, Angela Lingard and Shaye Eaton have been prolific to help with the Hornets’ resistance, while Isabella Kotatis and Lucy Pengelly are other young talents who have been amongst the best performers in 2020. They might lack AFL Women’s experience, but the Hornets have nothing to lose and every side is dangerous when their backs are against the wall. It is hard to see the Red Lionesses dropping this game though, with Dakota Davidson averaging two goals a game since returning to the competition, and Greta Bodey not far behind with eight from five games herself. The pair have bolstered the attack and along with Breanna Koenen and Megan Hunt, have been standout players to help the Red Lionesses chase a finals spot.

QAFLW ROUND 9 FIXTURE:

Coolangatta Tweed vs. Coorparoo
Aspley Hornets vs. University of Queensland
Maroochydore vs. Yeronga South Brisbane
Bond University vs. Wilston Grange

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Round 7 – Sharkettes and Roos to clash for top spot

A TOP of the table clash between Bond University and Maroochydore headlines our Round 7 Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) weekend preview, with a number of ladder-defining clashes occurring on the weekend.

BOND UNIVERSITY vs. MAROOCHYDORE
Saturday, August 1, 3.30pm at Bond University

  • Top of the table clash between first placed Bond University and second placed Maroochydore, winner takes top spot, loser could drop to fourth
  • The teams have both had four wins, a loss and a draw on 18 points, though the Sharkettes’ draw was a cancellation against Wilston Grange
  • Maroochydore had four wins on the board either side of the extended break, but have picked up just two points in the past two weeks
  • Of the losses, the Roos’ came last week by just five points to Coolangatta Tweed, the same team Bond University lost to way back in Round 1 – eerily also by five points
  • After losing to the Bluebirds in Round 1, Bond University exacted revenge after the break in Round 4 with a four-goal win
  • Bond University is ranked second for offence and first for defence, conceding just a stingy 12.8 points to their opposition
  • Maroochydore are strong defensively as well, conceding the 21.5 points, while averaging the 37.5 points per game
  • Annie Muir (four), Lucinda Pullar (three) and Maddison Levi (three) have all been named in the best multiple times for the Sharkettes, while Jasmyn Davidson (six goals) and Taylor Smith (five) lead the club’s goalkicking
  • Maggie Harmer (four) and Ruby McDowell (four) are the most common players in the Roos’ bests, while Lily Postlethwaite (three) has been named in the bests every game she has played
  • Ashleigh Hales and Mikayla Pauga both lead Maroochydore’s goalkicking with five majors each

 

COOLANGATTA TWEED vs. WILSTON GRANGE
Saturday, August 1, 3pm at Eximm Oval

  • Coolangatta Tweed won its first game since the break over Maroochydore after losing the past two
  • Wilston Grange has not won since Round 1, with four losses and a cancelation draw the results in the past five rounds.
  • Last week the Gorillas got within a point of Yeronga South Brisbane without spiritual leader Kate Lutkins
  • The Bluebirds are the only side to have toppled the Roos and are four points clear inside the top four
  • A win to the Gorillas will see them at least draw level with University of Queensland, though they cannot move out of seventh
  • Coolangatta Tweed can leapfrog whoever loses the top of the table clash, as well as Yeronga South Brisbane if the Devils have a shock loss to the Hornets
  • Sally Riley, Keyshia Matenga, Casey Samuels and Alexandra Hamlyn have all been named in the best a team-high three times for the Bluebirds
  • Kaitlyn Day (five games) and Catherine Svarc (three) have been named in the Gorillas’ best in every game they have played

 

ASPLEY HORNETS vs. YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE
Saturday, August 1, 4pm at Aspley

  • Third placed Yeronga South Brisbane travel to last placed Aspley to take on the Hornets
  • The Devils will take second spot with a win given the top two sides face off, whilst a loss could see them drop as low as fifth if both Coolangatta Tweed and Coorparoo both get up
  • Aspley cannot move from the bottom of the table, but were more competitive last week against University of Queensland
  • Yeronga South Brisbane won its first two matches, then became the first team to draw consecutive matches then hold off Wilston Grange in a thriller last week
  • The Devils are third for scoring, but also concede the second most points of any side
  • The only side that concedes more points than the Devils is Aspley, who also average just under 10 points per game
  • Four players – Courtney McDonnell, Lucy Bellinger, Madison Goodwin and Sam Virgo share the goalkicking for the Devils in an even spread of three each, whilst Bellinger, Goodwin, Emily Bates and Jordan Zanchetta have been named in the best multiple times
  • Rachel Crawford and Michaela Campbell are the sole multiple goalkickers for the Hornets with two apiece, but Phoebe Baird has been among the best the past three weeks for the Hornets, while Courtney Daniec (six), Isabella Kotatis (four), Lucy Pengelly (four) and Shaye Easton (four) are regularly named among the best

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND vs. COORPAROO
Saturday, August 1, 4.45pm at UQ at St Lucia

  • In a battle of fifth against sixth, a win will at the minimum guarantee fifth spot, with Coorparoo also able to leapfrog Coolangatta Tweed and Yeronga South Brisbane if both lose
  • The Kings have the highest scoring offence in the competition, averaging 50.8 points per game compared to the Red Lionesses’ 28.5 points per game
  • Defensively, the University of Queensland (UQ) average 27.3 points per game, while Coorparoo average only marginally more at 28.8 points per game
  • After losing their first three matches and then drawing the first game out of the break, the Red Lionesses have won the past two against the bottom two teams
  • Coorparoo won three consecutive games coming into last week, including two thumping wins over Aspley, but then went down to Bond University by 21 points
  • Three leading goalkickers in the competition will be situated up either end, with Dakota Davidson (UQ), Emma McKenzie and Kelsey Crosbie (both Coorparoo) all on eight majors
  • Megan Hunt (five), Alexandra Moran (three), Jane Childes (three) and Mikayla Martin (three) are all among the top players earned in the Red Lionesses’ bests
  • Jade Ellenger (four), Brooke Spence (three) and McKenzie (three) have been the top Kings throughout the season, but with the amount of AFL Women’s talent such as Emma Zielke, Ally Anderson, Jess Wuetschner and Jamie Stanton among others, it is hard not to consider them one of the favourites for the title

QAFLW weekend preview: Round 6 – Sharkettes travel to Giffin Park to face Kings in match of the round

ROUND 6 of the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s has a potential grand final preview between two high-powered sides in Coorparoo and Bond University, whilst another contender and ladder leader in Maroochydore faces a big challenge in Coolangatta Tweed. In other games, Yeronga South Brisbane goes up against Wilston Grange, and University of Queensland hosts Aspley Hornets.

COORPAROO vs. BOND UNIVERSITY
Saturday, July 25, 4.45pm – Giffin Park

Our match of the round for Round 6 is Coorparoo up against Bond University which has developed into a top three clash. The Kings are red-hot since welcoming a stack of AFL Women’s talent into their midst, winning the last three games, and most notably the past two with a 93-point shellacking of Aspley Hornets, and an impressive 34-point win over Coolangatta Tweed. After losing their first two games of the year, the Kings are up to third on the table, and will leapfrog Bond University with a win. The Sharkettes are far from an easy beat however, maintaining a really consistent performance throughout the year since dropping their first game to Coolangatta Tweed in Round 1. Three wins and a cancellation draw later and the Sharkettes are only four points away from Maroochydore and within reach of top spot.

The Kings have so much firepower up forward with Emma McKenzie leading the goalkicking having played the four games and booted eight, while Jess Wuetschner (five) and Chelsea Chesterfield (four) are also dangers up forward having just joined the team in the past couple of weeks, while Kelsey Crosbie booted eight from the three games prior to lockdown. Young talent Jade Ellenger has been impressive throughout the year named in the best multiple times, while fellow Lions AFL Women’s talents in Emma Zielke and Ally Anderson make the Kings the team to beat on paper.

Jasmyn Davidson leads the Sharkettes goalkicking after a five-goal haul last week, as Bond University have a number of multiple goalkickers including Lydia Pingel (four). Caitlin Thorne (three goals), as well as teenagers, Taylor Smith and Maddison Levi (three each) are also hitting the scoreboard. Another young up and comer in Annie Muir has been named amongst the best four out of a possible five times, while Gold Coast young guns, Ellie Hampson and Charlotte Hammans are front and centre of a team that has so much young talent it is spilling over. In many ways, this clash has experience up against the future, and it could be a potential grand final preview.

It is hard to split either of these teams with both sides in terrific form. Perhaps the experience of the Kings nudges out the Sharkettes marginally, but there is plenty to like about Bond University and what the second placed side can produce when it is on fire.

 

MAROOCHYDORE vs. COOLANGATTA TWEED
Saturday, July 25, 4.45pm – Maroochydore Multisport Complex

The sole undefeated side in 2020 remains the hunted so far, with Maroochydore passing each test that has been thrown its way. Yet to face the other two title contenders in Bond University and Coorparoo since they were bolstered by their AFL Women’s yet, the Roos will now set their sights on Coolangatta Tweed in what should be an entertaining contest. Maroochydore will start favourite after four wins and a draw, and the fact that the Bluebirds have dropped a bit since the break. On the other side of the coin to Maroochydore, Coolangatta Tweed have played the two likely title contenders in the two rounds since returning to competition and were far from disgraced. They lost to Bond University by four goals and Coorparoo by 34 points, and this match will give the Bluebirds as much of an indication about where they stand, as it will for Maroochydore.

Ashleigh Hales leads the Roos’ goalkicking this year with an average of a goal a game from her five matches. Chloe Gregory, Jacqueline Dupuy and Mikayla Pauga all have four goals to their name, and a host of others have also hit the scoreboard. Maggie Harmer and Ruby McDowell have been the Roos’ top performers this year named in the best three times, while the young Brisbane Lions talent in Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and the experienced Tahlia Randall make Maroochydore a hard team to beat.

Three players share the Coolangatta Tweed leading goalkickers with Ahlani Eddy, Selina Priest and Uma Brennan all having slotted the three majors. Alex Hamlyn and Sally Riley have two apiece as the other multiple goalkickers for the Bluebirds. Casey Samuels is in some great form this year, named in the best the most of anyone on her side, while the Bluebirds have some AFL Women’s talent of their own in Georgia Breward, Kate Surman and Hannah Dunn among others. Maroochydore is a deserving favourite in this game, but the Bluebirds will give the Roos a real challenge.

 

WILSTON GRANGE vs. YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE
Saturday, July 25, 2.00pm – Hickey Park

The earliest game of the day pits Wilston Grange up against Yeronga South Brisbane with the Gorillas looking to win their first game since Round 1 when they accounted for the Red Lionesses by 11 points. Since then they have suffered three losses and a cancellation draw, including going down to the Devils by five goals. On the other hand, the Devils might have forgotten what that winning feeling is themselves, but not necessarily through losing. Yeronga South Brisbane burst out of the blocks with a couple of wins and then suffered a loss prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, but upon return have mustered up two draws. Back-to-back draws for the same side is unusual, so the Devils will be hoping lightning does not strike a third time and they can take home the points.

Jordan Zanchetta kicked the goal that ensured the Devils went home with something last week, and she has been impressive in her four games this season. Likewise, Lucy Bellinger has stood out, while Madison Goodwin and Vanessa Hart are others who have impressed in their time this year. The Devils hare the goals around with already having 15 individual goalkickers in five games, a real feature of their style.

For Wilston Grange, Kaitlyn Day has been the standout running around, while the experienced Catherine Svarc has been a welcoming return. Imogen Stackelberg and Kristen Tyquin are among those who have hit the scoreboard multiple times this year and will be looking to do so again in this clash. The Gorillas are up against it in this contest, expect the extra experience of the Devils to win out and shake off their past two draws with the four points.

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND vs. ASPLEY HORNETS
Saturday, July 25, 4.45pm – UQ – Oval 2 St Lucia

After three consecutive losses to start the year and a draw upon return back in Round 4, the University of Queensland finally broke through for its maiden win of 2020 by downing Wilston Grange. The Red Lionesses blew away the Gorillas by 44 points in an impressive performance, and have come good at the right time to face an Aspley Hornets side that has really struggled without AFL Women’s experience. There are some consistent performers for the Hornets, but they have been met with some heavy defeats, losing their last two contests by 93 and 65 points and only kicking a goal from the two games combined. It is fair to say the revamped Red Lionesses head into the contest as heavy favourites in front of home fans.

Dakota Davidson is leading the goalkicking for the University of Queensland, slotting five goals in four games, ahead of Megan Hunt, Breanna Koenen and Greta Bodey who all have he two majors. Hunt has been one of the starring Red Lionesses, named in the best four out of five games, while Koenen and Davidson have made quite the impact off the two games since returning to the competition.

The Hornets have only kicked the six goals this year with Michaela Campbell and Rachel Crawford both slotting two, while Kylie Guarino and most recently, Phoebe Baird kicking one each. Baird is someone who has made an impact coming into the side since the break, named as a starring Hornet so far this month, and provides great relief to the likes of Courtney Daniel, Isabella Kotatis and Shaye Easton who have all been superb in defeat this year.

QAFLW weekend preview: Round 5 – Kings and Bluebirds to do battle in huge clash

THE cobwebs are now blown off and the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition players are adjusted to the tempo returning to football. With the additional talent scattered across the lists upon return in Round 4 last weekend, Round 5 is set to either further set teams forward, or see them slip back to the pack. We preview each game with the must-watch matches first.

COORPAROO vs. COOLANGATTA TWEED
Saturday, July 18, 4.45pm – Giffin Park

Our chosen match of the round sees the bolstered Coorparoo taking on the second placed Coolangatta Tweed in the evening game at Giffin Park on Saturday. The Kings might have started the season slowly, but with the inclusion of a host of AFL Women’s stars last week, are genuinely a title contender. They come up against the Bluebirds who suffered their first loss last round against Bond University, but remain in second on the QAFL Women’s ladder.

  • Coorparoo has won its last two games now, both against Aspley Hornets and are coming off a massive 93-point win on the road
  • Despite being at a 50 per cent win-loss record, the Kings have a massive percentage of 188.15, the third highest in the league despite sitting fifth
  • Coorparoo have scored 68 more points than their nearest rival
  • After winning their first three games, Coolangatta Tweed lost to Bond University by 24 points
  • Opponents have kicked more than 30 points against the Bluebirds in three of the four games, whilst prior to last round, Coolangatta Tweed had no scored below 33
  • The Bluebirds did outscore the Sharkettes last week in the second half after conceding 4.4 in the first half, but only 0.1 in the second half
  • Jess Wuetschner booted four goals and was one of eight individual goal kickers for the Kings, and will be one that the Bluebirds need to stop
  • Coolangatta Tweed has plenty of AFLW talent itself and with Sally Riley and Hannah Dunn through the middle, it will be crucial the Bluebirds win the midfield battle

 

YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE vs. MAROOCHYDORE
Saturday, July 18, 2.45pm – Leyshon Park

The other match worthy of match of the round is Yeronga South Brisbane looking to tackle the top of the table Maroochydore. The Roos are the only undefeated team in the competition, and sit four points clear of Coolangatta Tweed with a superior percentage. Regardless of the result, the Roos will retain top spot because of this percentage, though will want to hold off another genuine contender in the match. The Devils drew last week against an improving University of Queensland side, and sit fourth with Bond University gaining a massive percentage boost to create some separation last week.

  • Yeronga South Brisbane could theoretically move up to second if Coolangatta Tweed and Bond University lose, though realistically third is the most likely scenario
  • Maroochydore will remain top of the table regardless of the result courtesy of their impressive percentage of 260.32
  • The Roos have the best rated defence in the competition, with the second lowest against tally, but with Bond University playing one less game. The Roos concede just 15.8 points on average
  • The Devils are one of the best offensive sides in the competition, averaging 46.5 points per game compared to Maroochydore’s still very impressive 41 per game
  • Both these sides have some terrific young talent both current and future AFL stars with Zimmorlei Farquharson among the AFL Women’s National Academy and alongside Dee Heslop and Jacqui Yorston for the Devils, while Brisbane’s top two picks last season in Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes are running around for the Roos

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND vs. WILSTON GRANGE
Saturday, July 18, 4.45pm

The other game that will be interesting in terms of ladder positions and subsequent consequences for the result is that between Wilston Grange and University of Queensland. Neither side is a particularly high scoring team, but they are quite strong defensively and match up well. The Red Lionesses have to catch up a bit of percentage to overtake the Gorillas, but roughly a five-goal win could see them grab sixth spot that Wilston Grange currently holds. If the Gorillas get up, they can leapfrog Coorparoo if the Kings lose, with the draw taking away any percentage difference.

  • After three consecutive losses to start the season, the Red Lionesses got their first points on the board with an important draw against Yeronga South Brisbane last week
  • University of Queensland only average 14 points per game, compared to the Gorillas’ 25.3 points, but also concede less with 31.5 per game to Wilston Grange’s 40.3 per game.
  • The Red Lionesses do not mind a scrap, coming back from eight points down at half-time last week to pull level and hold out in the final term
  • Breanna Koenen and Megan Hunt were both impressive in the draw, and will be closely watched by Wilston Grange in this match
  • Kate Lutkins can play up either end and her reading of the ball in flight is superb, so expect her to be a thorn in the Red Lionesses side for the Gorillas

 

BOND UNIVERSITY vs. ASPLEY HORNETS
Saturday, July 18, 3.45pm – Bond University

In the one game that seems fairly straight forward to predict, a bolstered Bond University side comes up against the last placed Aspley Hornets at home. The Sharkettes took down Coolangatta Tweed last weekend to hand the Bluebirds their first loss, and could go as high as second with a victory here. Aspley sit on the bottom of the table with the lowest rated attack and defence, but a team with no expectations can often be the most dangerous.

  • Bond University have a superb defence, averaging just 16 points against in their three matches played this season, whilst the Hornets average just 9.5 points per game
  • The Sharkettes also average 40.7 points per game on the offensive end, whilst the Hornets have leaked 67.5 per match, including 93 last round in their loss to Coorparoo
  • Not having any AFLW talent has hurt the Hornets with the other seven sides bolstered, though Courtney Daniec is one who continues to be named among the best, while the likes of Isabella Kotatis and Lucy Pengelly are names who have gone through the pathway systems.
  • Bond University have an array of AFLW talent, beginning with young guns, Ellie Hampson, Charlotte Hammans and Lauren Bella, whilst Taylor Smith booted two goals last week and the Levi sisters – Maddison and Teagan – are both in the AFL Women’s National Academy
  • It would be the upset of the season if Aspley can get it done, but the key is winning the midfield and playing sensibly going forward.

QAFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 1 – Coorparoo make statement with huge victory

A DOMINANT performance from some of Brisbane’s top AFL Women’s stars headlined Coorparoo’s commanding 93-point win over cellar dwellers, Aspley Hornets on the weekend in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition.

The Kings had started the season slow, but the return of some of the Lions’ top talents reinvigorated the side and were far too classy for the Hornets on the road. Jess Wuetschner – who has spent time at both ends in the past – returned to the forward line where she slotted four goals, while Ally Anderson was best on ground during the 14.9 (93) to 0.0 (0) win.

Coorparoo kept the Hornets scoreless throughout the contest and after Aspley had seemingly slowed the momentum in the middle two quarters – only conceding two goals in each quarter – the Kings put the foot down to pile on six goals in the final term to run away with the match. Chelsea Chesterfield booted three goals and Tori Groves-Little snatched two, while Emma Zielke and Brooke Spence were also among the Kings’ best in the win. Angela Lingard and Courtney Daniec were named as the Hornets’ best in the defeat.

Reigning premiers Bond University used its AFL Women’s stars to inflict Coolangatta Tweed’s first loss of the season. The Sharkettes moved to just two points behind the Bluebirds with the 4.9 (33) to 1.3 (9) triumph, doing all their work in the first half. Booting 4.4 to 0.2 by half-time, Bond University failed to kick a major in the second half, but restricted Coolangatta Tweed to just the one anyway – Selina Priest – to secure the four-goal victory.

Taylor Smith booted two majors in the win, while AFL Women’s Academy’s Tegan Levi, and Shannon Danckert scored the others. It was the work of former Queensland Most Valuable Player (MVP) at Under 18s level, Ellie Hampson who stood tall in the win, named best on ground amongst some other young talents in Annise Bradfield and Annie Muir. The Bluebirds had the likes of Leah Kaslar, Sally Riley and Hannah Dunn on their team, but could not maintain their unbeaten run against a strong Sharkettes side.

The Coolangatta Tweed loss left Maroochydore as the sole undefeated team in season 2020, pushing on to record a 26-point victory over Wilston Grange. The Roos started slowly to trail by four points at the first break, before booting three goals to one in the second term to hit the front by 10 points at half-time. Holding the Gorillas to just one behind in the second half, Maroochydore booted 2.5 to win 6.10 (46) to 3.2 (20).

Shannon Campbell was prolific up forward with three goals and named among the best, while it was the work of young stars, Isabel Dawes and Lily Postlethwaite who shone, playing well through the midfield. Rachel Crack was named best-on for the Roos, who managed to penetrate a defence led by Brisbane All-Australian key defender, Kate Lutkins. She stood tall despite the defeat – even booting a goal – whilst fellow Lion, Catherine Svarc also booted a goal and was named in the best. Eloise O’Connor and Lucia Liessi were other Gorillas who impressed in the loss.

The final match to report on was the no-winners draw between Yeronga South Brisbane and University of Queensland. The Devils headed into the clash with a 2-1 record, whilst the Red Lionesses had struggled to start the year after three consecutive losses. Welcoming back a number of top AFL Women’s talents, the University of Queensland was expected to lift, and the Red Lionesses certainly did that with an impressive performance. Trailing by eight points at half-time, they booted two goals to one in the third term to draw level by the final break, which also ended up being the final scores during the 3.8 (26) apiece draw.

Greta Bodey, Dakota Davidson and Lauren Middleton all booted goals in the draw, while Breanna Koenen and Megan Hunt were named the Red Lionesses’ top players. For Yeronga South Brisbane, a number of talented players took to the field in the draw such as AFL Women’s National Academy member, Zimmorlei Farquharson as well as AFL Women’s talents Emily Bates, and Jacqui Yorston among others.

ROUND 4 RESULTS:

Coolangatta Tweed 1.3 (9) defeated by Bond University 4.9 (33)
Yeronga South Brisbane 3.8 (26) drew with University of Queensland 3.8 (26)
Aspley Hornets 0.0 (0) defeated by Coorparoo 14.9 (93)
Maroochydore 6.10 (46) defeated Wilston Grange 3.2 (20)

Next week, the match of the round belongs to Coorparoo and Coolangatta Tweed with the resurgent Kings looking to continue their ascent up the ladder, but face an equally talented side in the Bluebirds. The other matches see top of the table Maroochydore travelling to face Yeronga South Brisbane, University of Queensland hosting Wilston Grange, and Bond University looking to apply more pressure to Aspley Hornets.

2020 QAFLW season outlook: Back in action for bumper season

PLAYERS are preparing to take to the field once again in the Queensland Australian Football League Women’s (QAFLW) competition this weekend and Draft Central will be providing a weekly wrap on how the teams are performing and who’s taking on who the following week. To catch up on the competition already played – three rounds were completed prior to the season being cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic – we run through where the teams stood. We also list the AFLW Academy Hub members as per their aligned club, as well as the AFL Women’s aligned players, though with competition returning at a different time to usual, there is no guarantee all will suit up for their respective sides.

1st Maroochydore (3-0, 274.42%, 12 points)

The green and gold Roos sit atop the QAFLW ladder after three rounds with a massive 274.42 per cent and a perfect 3-0 record. Their wins got progressively more nerve-wracking as the season went on, following a 55-point shellacking of Aspley Hornets before notching up a 16-point win over Coorparoo in Round 2, and a narrow four-point win over University of Queensland in the last match back on March 14. They face off against fifth placed Wilston Grange this weekend, to complete matches against the bottom four sides. The Roos are a much improved side this season, but expect them to know exactly where they stand when they face the other top few teams.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Lily Postlethwaite, Isabel Dawes, Shannon Campbell, Tahlia Randall

AFLW Academy Hub members: Bella Smith, Maggie Harmer, Mikayla Pauga

Others to watch: Chloe Gregory, Tahlia Mead, Kathryn Hehir

 

2nd Coolangatta Tweed (3-0, 162.96%, 12 points)

The Bluebirds are one of only two Gold Coast-based sides in the top flight QAFLW and started their season off strongly with an unblemished three from three record. In that time they knocked off rivals, Bond University by five points, defeated Aspley Hornets by 27, and got the better of Yeronga South Brisbane by 19 in the most recent match. They take on fellow Gold Coast side Bond University for a second time this weekend in what should be a massive clash. Having wins over two top four sides, albeit this early in the season would be promising for the confidence as they look to build on their season.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Lauren Ahrens, Hannah Dunn, Georgia Breward, Jasmyn Hewett, Jordann Hickey, Leah Kaslar, Paige Parker, Selina Priest, Sally Riley, Maddy Roberts, Kate Surman

Others to watch: Casey Samuels, Alexandra Hamlyn, Ebony Peterson

 

3rd Yeronga South Brisbane (2-1, 119.40%, 8 points)

The Devils had a promising start to the year with a high-scoring 15-point win over last year’s premiers, Coorparoo before toppling Wilston Grange by five goals. Their strong start was halted at the hands of Coolangatta Tweed who won by 19 points, but there was plenty to like about what the Devils had to offer. They take on University of Queensland this weekend and realistically should get up over the winless Red Lionesses. Their opponents are fairly strong defensively though, so Yeronga South Brisbane will need to line-up well.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Sam Virgo, Lauren Arnell, Emily Bates, Jordan Zanchetta, Jacqui Yorson, Gabby Collingwood, Jessie Keeffe, Dee Heslop, Jade Pregelj

AFLW Academy Hub members: Zimmorlei Farquharson

Others to watch: Emmii-Lee Zanker-Close, Madison Goodwin, Vanessa Hart

 

4th Bond University (1-1-1, 228.21%, 6 points)

Backing up from its maiden QAFLW Grand Final last year, Bond University sits at an even balance with a win, loss and draw to start its season. On face value its 228.21 percentage might seem absurd, but they completely tore apart the University of Queensland, 56-1 in Round 2 to bounce back from a shock five-point loss to Coolangatta Tweed in Round 1. Then the clash with Wilston Grange was called off due to fears over the COVID-19 pandemic, with both teams awarded two points for the game, with the Sharkettes in much better shape considering their massive Round 2 victory.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Molly Ritson, Serene Watson, Ellie Hampson, Kalinda Howarth, Lauren Bella, Tiarna Ernst

AFLW Academy Hub members: Maddison Levi, Tegan Levi, Annise Bradfield

Others to watch: Annie Muir, Esther Boles, Georgia Brehmer

 

5th Wilston Grange (1-1-1, 74.67%, 6 points)

It was only two seasons ago the Gorillas saluted in a memorable grand final win, and after missing out on going back-to-back, they hope to start their season off on the right note. They had indifferent form prior to the break with an 11-point win over University of Queensland before going down to Yeronga South Brisbane by 30 points. The called off game against Bond University meant they headed into the long lay-off with one result in each of the columns, but a lowly 74.67 percentage. They take on Maroochydore this weekend in what will be a tough game, but no one knows what to expect after such a long time off.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Sophie Conway, Rheanne Lugg, Kate Lutkins, Brianna McFarlane, Catherine Svarc

Others to watch: Kaitlyn Day, Sarah Fuller, Imogen Stackelberg

 

6th Coorparoo (1-2, 119.26%, 4 points)

The Kings regained their status as the league’s top club with a record fourth title from the nine years, moving outright first ahead of Yeronga South Brisbane (three). However to make it five, the Kings will need to really pick it up after a slow start, dropping matches to the Devils and then Roos back-to-back, before bouncing back with a 57-point smashing of Aspley Hornets. They take on the Hornets again this week up at Aspley, so will be looking to repeat the dose and further boost their percentage. One thing is for sure, the Kings have no trouble scoring so can really put up some big numbers.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Ally Anderson, Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little, Tahlia Hickie, Hannah Hillman, Jamie Stanton, Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw, Jess Wuetschner, Emma Zielke

Others to watch: Charlize Anderson, Macie Brown, Abby Reynolds

 

7th University of Queensland (0-3, 30.00%, 0 points)

The Red Lionesses had a competitive start to the season if you exclude the Round 2 55-point loss at the hands of Bond University. They pushed Wilston Grange in the first round before going down by 11 points, then lost to top of the table Maroochydore in a four-point heartbreaker. Whilst they might only have a percentage of 30 and no points on the board just yet, expect that to change. Their first match up is against Yeronga South Brisbane which will likely be a tough first encounter. If all of their AFL Women’s players, or even some of them return, expect the Red Lionesses to be a real threat this season.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Maria Moloney, Natalie Grider, Breanna Koenen, Dakota Davidson, Greta Bodey, Sharni Webb

Others to watch: Megan Hunt, Mikayla Martin, Tiarna Jericho

 

8th Aspley Hornets (0-3, 21.47%, 0 points)

The league’s cellar dwellers had struggled to start the season, with a 55-point loss to Maroochydore followed by a 27-point defeat at the hands of Coolangatta Tweed. A 57-point loss to Coorparoo rounded out the first three weeks, but they will have a chance to atone for that coming off the break. They take on the Kings again this weekend at home, and will hopefully use the home crowd support to put in a bigger effort.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Nil.

Others to watch: Courtney Daniec, Isabella Kotatis, Shaye Easton

Draft Central’s 2020 Top 50 AFL Women’s Players: #12 – Kate Lutkins

WITH the AFL Women’s 2020 season officially come to a close now the awards are done and dusted, Draft Central looks back on our Top 50 Players of season 2020. This countdown purely looks at the 2020 season so does not look at past performances and will not include injured stars such Erin Phillips or Chelsea Randall.

In this edition, we look at number 12 in our count, a reliable key defender who has become one of the elite players in the competition over the past couple of years.

#12 KATE LUTKINS

7 GAMES AVE: 13.3 disposals, 4.4 marks, 3.1 tackles, 1.1 inside 50s, 3.3 rebounds, 1 goal

The Brisbane Lions key defender comes in at number 12 on our count with Lutkins named at full-back in the 2020 AFL Women’s All-Australian team. Having played for the full four seasons now, Lutkins has earned two All-Australian honours having achieved the feat back in 2018. That year, Lutkins also won the Brisbane best and fairest.

In 2020, Lutkins averaged a career-high 4.4 marks per game, and while her disposals were marginally down, her defensive attributes such as her tackling and rebounding remained consistent. Turning 32 at the end of the month, Lutkins has showed with her performances this year that she has plenty of quality football left in her.

Aside from her six-touch game against the Cats, Lutkins averaged 14.5 disposals, with a 21-disposal (20-kick) effort against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 3 being the highlight game of her 2020 season. She also took a whopping 12 marks in that drawn match, as well as recorded three inside 50s, four rebounds and two tackles.

What makes Lutkins so impressive is her reliability and strength in the air which she has been able to pass on to younger teammates in a year when there was plenty of changes at the Lions. Outside of the elite level, Lutkins has been a leader at Wilston Grange and spearheaded the success at the club with a premiership in 2018.

With Lutkins expected to continue her success at the Lions in 2020 as vice-captain to Emma Zielke once again, the fearless defender will no doubt find her way into the top 20 players in the competition. Often a measuring stick of the Lions’ success, Lutkins is one player any coach can rely upon to get the job done each and every week.

2020 Top 10 AFLW matches: #7 – Suns and Lions play out draw in inaugural clash

NEITHER side could be separated in the first women’s Q-Clash with the Lions and Suns walking away with two points apiece. It was a hard-fought battle between the two sides, who both tried to assert themselves with their physicality around the contest. The conditions ultimately played into the hands of Lions early but the Suns were not about to be bullied by their state rivals upping the ante after half time to get back to level pegging and draw at 28 points each. Prior to their Round 3 clash Brisbane had flexed their muscles winning two games on the trot while the Suns had fallen short in Round 1 and claimed their inaugural victory in Round 2.

It was a tale of two halves with the Lions doing all the attacking early to claim some early ascendancy. Brisbane managed to keep the Suns goalless in the opening term while piling on two goals of their own showcasing just how strong they could be and their ability to shut down their oppositions attacking forays. They kept that momentum going in the second term with five scoring shots however they struggled when it came to accuracy nailing three points and only registering two goals, keeping the Suns in the hunt for glory. Gold Coast could sniff their opportunity coming out after the main break with a real fire in the belly and increased intensity. The Suns worked their way back into the contest in the third term, applying strong pressure with some big tackles and shots at goal.  With the game on the line, Gold Coast pulled out all in the stops in the final quarter, peppering away at the goals with repeat entries and constant pressure. But it was some magic from Kalinda Howarth in the 11th minute that landed the match tying punch, with the 20-year-old showing nothing but composure and class to slot her third major for the day in what is the first of many Queensland battles to come.

Still trying out new combinations across the board the ball was shared evenly amongst a host of Suns players with Kate Surman leading the way with 16 touches.  Not far behind her was Jamie Stanton with the 24-year-old highlighting her strength by foot with 14 of her 15 possessions kicks. When it came to physicality Hannah Dunn proved to be the go to girl for the Suns, laying a team-high six tackles while also showcasing her ability to cover the ground with ease racking up 15 touches. Youngsters in Dee Heslop and Elle Hampson also displayed their gritty attitude with three tackles apiece while the ever reliable Lauren Ahrens was silky with ball in hand for her 14 disposals. For the Lions, the trio of Rheanne Lugg, Jesse Wardlaw and Sophie Conway lead the way on the scoreboard with Lugg the most prolific of the three with two goals to her name, the other two managed a major each. Once again it was the experience and class of Emily Bates that helped to guide Brisbane with the talented mid amassing a game high 24 touches while partner in crime Ally Anderson also managed to get her hands on the ball 22 times. Much like Anderson, Kate Lutkins won her fair share of the ball with 21 disposals but it was her strength in the air to notch up 12 marks that showcased her dominance on the game.

GOALS:

Gold Coast Suns: K. Howarth 3, B. Perry.
Brisbane Lions: R. Lugg 2, J. Wardlaw, S. Conway.

BESTS:

Gold Coast Suns: K. Howarth, K. Surman, H. Dunn, J. Stanton, L. Aherns
Brisbane Lions: E. Bates, A. Anderson, R. Lugg, K. Lutkins, S. Conway