AFTER conceding the first goal of the game, it was all Yeronga South Brisbane as the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s side claimed a remarkable 47-point win over Coolangatta Tweed on Sunday. The Devils had a terrific back-end of the season, coming from fourth on the table to defeat danger side Coorparoo in the elimination final, then the top two teams in succession, from minor premiers Bond University last week and the Bluebirds in the decider.
Jordan Zanchetta won the best on ground medal, but it could have gone to any number of players for Yeronga South Brisbane, who booted 8.8 to 0.2 after the first eight minutes. The midfield brigade of Zanchetta, Courteney Bromage and Emily Bates, and the outside run of Jacqui Yorston was outstanding for the winners, while Zimmorlei Farquharson looked damaging every time she went near the ball.
For the Bluebirds, Alex Hamlyn was a standout in defence, trying incredibly hard with a number of intercept marks, whilst the likes of Beth Pinchin and Selina Priest were also gallant. Courtney Ugle got better as the game went on, and Ebony Peterson was another who showed some great signs despite the lob-sided scoreboard, as all those players were among our best in the contest.
The first term started well for the Bluebirds, as Leah Kaslar had the first shot on goal registering a behind. A few minutes later, Paige Parker marked strongly on the lead and converted from just inside 50 to get the higher ranked side up and about at Bond University. Unfortunately, that would be where the celebrations ended as the last eight goals of the game went in favour of an impressive Devils outfit. Despite this, the Bluebirds never really looked completely out of the contest until midway through the final term.
Later in the first quarter it was great work from Farquharson at the top of 50 to sidestep her opponent and kick long to a pack that was roved by Sam Virgo who centred it to Lucy Bellinger at the top of the square for a quick snap and goal. Not more than a few minutes later, Bellinger was in the thick of it again, hitting up Lexia Edwards who clunked a massive contested mark going back with the flight and drilled the goal with a minute left on the clock to hand her team a five-point lead at the break.
Peterson was getting busy, while Bromage was absolutely everywhere in the first half, but it was Yorston with her slick skills hitting up Edwards early in the second. Looking like she was going to convert back-to-back goals, spotted a leading Lauren Arnell and surprised the defence to set it up. The veteran who would become a 16-time premiership player by the final siren and made no mistake with a goal from 20m out.
The Devils could have blown the game apart in the second term, but inaccuracy and pressure from the Bluebirds’ defence kept them in it. The Devils kicked 2.5 to 0.0, but it was Hamlyn and Priest who showed courage in defence. In one instance, Priest flew across the marking contest as third up, copped a huge knock in the path of Edwards and had to come off a bit sore, whilst Edwards was bleeding from her head. With all that going on, it was Courtney McDonnell who decided to put in her contender for goal of the day, sidestepping Hamlyn and with the outside of the boot curled it around and in.
Once again it was Edwards early in the third term that almost had a huge major, but her shot on goal at the 32-second mark missed to the right. Zanchetta was starting to build as Yorston, Bellinger and Edwards were combining strongly in the first half. Kate Surman looked to come off sore but returned to play a key role in the second half for the Bluebirds. Most of the premiership quarter was an arm-wrestle with Keyshia Matenga providing some run but a couple of great tackles by Jade Pregelj helped the Devils counter.
Ugle was also starting to build, but it was Farquharson who had the moment of the term. With another quick step to the right and shot on goal just inside 50 missed, but she read the kickout perfectly to intercept and this time convert the goal midway through the term from 30m out. It was the only goal of the term, but it provided the Devils fans with much celebration from their young gun. Meanwhile Coolangatta had a number of chances late in the term, with Peterson hitting up a leading Holly Mirfield in the 17th minute but her set shot 20m just stayed left of the post. It was the Bluebirds’ first score since the eighth minute of the second term.
With one last roll of the dice, Coolangatta Tweed had to start the final term strongly facing a 29-point deficit at three quarter time. They looked good in the opening couple of minutes as Parker got it out of the middle and hit up a leading Kaslar 40m out. Unfortunately the set shot fell short and the ball was locked up, and then in a cruel twist of fate, the Devils went end-to-end aided by a huge bump from Farquharson in midfield and landed in the arms of Edwards 35m out. In what effectively iced the game, she kicked the goal that her opponent missed up the other end, and drove another nail into the coffin for the result.
Coolangatta refused to give up despite the goal, with Lauren James trying to repeat her six-goal heroics from last week with a couple of snaps on goal, but it would not work as this would be Yeronga’s day. Once against rebounding off half-back, the Devils ran it down the other end with Virgo cleverly putting it over the tip for McDonnell to run in and kick her second and ice the game. It was party time from then on, as Bromage, Yorston and Zanchetta enjoyed a great finish to the match. A late goal to Virgo stretched the final margin out to 47 points, the highest of the game. When the siren sounded just after 22 minutes, it marked the end of a terrific performance by Yeronga South Brisbane and despite the Bluebirds’ best efforts, they could not hold up the overwhelming inside 50s from the Devils.
COOLANGATTA TWEED 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 (9)
YERONGA STH BRISBANE 2.0 | 4.5 | 5.7 | 8.8 (56)
Coolangatta: P. Parker.
Yeronga: L. Edwards 2, C. McDonnell 2, L. Bellinger, L. Arnell, Z. Farquharson, S. Virgo.
Coolangatta: J. Zanchetta, C. Bromage, Z. Farquharson, E. Bates, J. Yorston
Yeronga: A. Hamlyn, C. Ugle, E. Peterson, B. Pinchin, S. Priest
Picture: RF Photography