Tag: qaflw

Evolving Evans interested in improving “everything”

2020 GREATER Western Sydney draftee Tarni Evans is a name you may already be familiar with. In 2021, her younger cousin Sally Evans is looking to join her in the top flight come AFLW Draft day, on Tuesday. The 17-year-old Queenslander represented her state this year, while also developing through the Gold Coast SUNS Academy and at QAFLW level.

Akin to her established cousin, Evans has good speed on the outer and moves forward well. With the similarities evident, she says Tarni has been a key source of inspiration along her own journey.

“Watching her journey from where she started to where she is now (has been inspiring),” Evans said. “She played nearly every position, they’ve thrown her around and she’s adapted so well. She had a really great season.

“I would say my speed is a strength as I predominantly play along the wing, and my ground level movement – especially crumbing in the forwardline.”

Evans started out in Australian football five years ago, playing all of her juniors at Coolangatta Tweed before eventually cracking the senior grade. After getting a couple of QAFLW games under her belt for the Blues, she transferred over to Bond University and added a few more outings before season’s end.

While Queensland was beaten handily to the tune of 54 points against Vic Country in its sole Under 19 championships match, Evans could not fault the team for effort. She was also glowing in her review of the SUNS Academy.

“Obviously we didn’t love the outcome that we received, but I think we tried our hardest,” Evans said. “We probably could’ve gone in respecting them a little bit more knowing how good of a team they were, but I think we did our best.

“I love the academy. Our head coach Sam (Iles) is awesome, he’s always wanting the best for us and always trying to give us as many opportunities as possible. All the girls are fantastic.”

Being drafted “for the SUNS or any team” is Evans’ end goal for this year, but she also has her sights on simply improving “everything” in her game. Learning game structure and sharpening her marking skills are top of the list, and would add to the promising arsenal of weapons she hopes to wield at the top level.

Rising Sun Davies learns from the best

NOT everyone gets the chance to talk footy with AFLW stars in between classes at school, but Gold Coast Academy prospect Giselle Davies is taking plenty of learnings out of that exact opportunity. The 18-year-old tall defender attends Southport State High School, where current Suns midfielder Jamie Stanton teaches.

While the two are quite different players, Davies says the mentorship of Stanton has been a valuable peek behind the curtain of what it takes to cut the AFLW grade.

“(Stanton) has been a teacher at my school for a few years now so I’ve definitely looked up to her,” Davies said. “I’m always talking to her about her games on the weekend and how she went. Obviously I watch a lot of her play and even though we don’t really play similar positions it’s good to have a mentor who you can talk to.”

The link is one of Davies’ many ties to the senior-listed Suns, having also come up through Gold Coast’s academy and initially being introduced to Australian football by a certain 2020 draftee.

“I started playing footy a few years ago, my best friend Annise Bradfield got me down to play,” she said. “I was playing heaps of touch football (and) netball, I went to a footy session and it was just a perfect mix of both of those sports. I loved it from there.

“I have loved every single part of playing with the Gold Coast Under 19s Academy. We did heaps of work in the off-season after last year – pre-season training in the heat, gym, running, just loving it.

“I’m really grateful that we have the academy that looks after us so well. There’s all this new talent coming through the pathway, it’s just amazing that they really give you a perspective on what you could have and what you’re working towards.”

Through her work in the pathway and form for Bond University in this year’s QAFLW season, Davies was also selected for Queensland representative honours in 2021. While the Maroons’ Under 19 squad went down by 54 points against Vic Country in their sole carnival outing, Davies took plenty away from what was “the highest level of footy [she’s] ever played.”

“It was probably the best weekend I’ve ever had,” she said. “Just playing with a bunch of girls that you don’t usually play with, people who want to be there and played as hard as they could. Despite the loss, it was such a good game of footy to be a part of and see the different ways that Vic play their game and how I can improve mine. It was really good.”

At 180cm, Davies is aware of her strengths and areas for improvement, with her decision making by foot already sound and her ability to utilise said size on the incline. Clunking more contested marks and having the confidence to take the game on are among the next steps to take, by her own assessment.

She is one of many Queensland talent hoping to end up on an AFLW list in just a few days, with the 2021 draft set to go down on Tuesday, July 27.

Draft hopeful Harmer looks to find “the best of both worlds”

IN the air and on the ground. Intercept marking combined with run-and-carry. That’s the kind of impact Maroochydore prospect Maggie Harmer aims to make across half-back. The versatile talent is in line to become one of the first Brisbane Lions Academy products called out on draft night, and has a pair of senior defenders to look up to.

Come July 27, Kate Lutkins and Nat Grider could go from idols to teammates for Harmer, who is hoping to harness their respective strengths in order to get “the best of both worlds” as a player.

“Kate has such a good intercept mark and Nat has also got that run-and-carry which is really good, so it’s the best of both worlds between them,” Harmer said.

With the long-term goal of simply improving as a player in mind, the 18-year-old recognises her strengths, but also her areas for improvement.

“Across half-back, (my strengths are) reading the play and taking intercept marks when the opposition is looking for those forward 50 entries and trying to cut off those long kicks,” Harmer said.

“I’m more of an (aerial) player, so my ground balls are always something I’ve wanted to work on, just clean pick-ups. Also my one-on-one contests, holding my own up against those bigger girls.”

Harmer has earned a raft of opportunities since being introduced to Australian football in her final years of primary school, culminating in AFLW Academy honours, Under 19 All Australian selection, and the opportunity to represent her state throughout 2021.

Harmer kicks Queensland forward during this year’s National Championships

Above all else, Harmer says the opportunity to test her skills and be challenged by the nation’s best talent provided some valuable tests and lessons.

“I didn’t think it was going to be that much of a flogging (against Vic Country),” she said. “But the score didn’t really represent the contest.

“(AFLW Academy training) is big challenge because it’s another step to what we’re used to at club training and even academy. But I think it really pushes you to be the best player you can be and try to keep up with those older girls that are playing at such a high level.”

In their only National Championships dig for 2021, Queensland’s Under 19s went down to Vic Country by 54 points down in Melbourne, but Harmer was able to showcase some of her best traits with 15 disposals, five marks and five tackles.

Her ability to turn attack into defence with that aforementioned intercept game, as well as positive forward running makes Harmer a productive type. Queensland talent manager Mark Browning also gave a glowing review, boding well not just for draft night, but for her impact on the game in years to come.

“She’s probably the one that excites me the most when she trains,” Browning said. “It hasn’t quite transpired to games yet, but I think she’s got the most natural running out of all of them.”

Smith taking things “week by week”

POWERFUL prospect Bella Smith has proven herself as one of Queensland’s top draft chances in 2021, but is taking a steady mindset into next week’s big day. The Maroochydore midfielder has been aligned with the Brisbane Lions Academy and there are plenty of former ‘Roos to look towards for inspiration in the same pathway.

“At this point in time I’m just taking everything week by week and just trying to play well in my QAFL games,” Smith said during the season. “But the end goal is definitely to get drafted.”

As a member of this year’s AFLW Academy intake, Smith has picked up plenty of elite standards along the way and got the chance to meet up with her fellow academy members earlier in the year. Queensland’s Under 19 Championships clash with Vic Country also served as a handy “experience”, with Smith notching 14 disposals and five marks despite her side’s 54-point loss.

“It was an interesting game,” she said. “I was very excited for it all, but at the end of the day they were definitely a better side than us. It was still a great experience and good to see friends that we’ve known from the (AFLW) Academy as well.

“(The Academy) is awesome. It’s such a good experience to get around girls that are like-minded. We got to catch up all together not too long ago down in Melbourne.”

At that point in time, Smith had hoped the national academy would be able to play their then-postponed game together, though it never came to fruition. Instead, she honed her craft back home with Maroochydore in a QAFLW campaign which yielded a finals win.

Described by Queensland Talent Manager Mark Browning as a “very, very tough inside mid (who) loves the contest”, Smith says strength and power are her go-to traits. While she is a terrific handler and distributor on the inside, she is still working on her outside game and improving the all-important fundamentals of kicking.

“(I’m looking to improve on) everything really,” Smith said. ” But I’ve been working a lot on my kicking. I’ve been doing work outside of training with Enhanced Football, he’s been helping me over the season on my kicking.”

Cracking the next level would mark another great chapter in Smith’s footballing story, which began at eight years old when she topped up for her brother’s local side.

The likes of Belle Dawes and Lily Postlethwaite have already stepped up from Maroochydore to the Brisbane Lions’ AFLW squad, can Smith be the next Roo to bounce to the bigtime?

QAFLW Player Focus: Mikayla Pauga (Bond University)

WITH the Under 19s AFL Women’s National Championships match against VIC Metro being delayed from the weekend due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the QAFL Women’s was treated to a plethora of Queensland state representatives returning to their sides, with Bond University welcoming back AFLW National Academy and Brisbane Lions Academy member Mikayla Pauga against reigning premiers Yeronga South Brisbane, looking to keep their undefeated start to the season continuing.

PLAYER PROFILE:

Pauga is one of the leading Queensland prospects for the 2021 AFLW Draft, often splitting her time between the forward line and midfield, she uses her clean skills, particularly her quick hands, to compliment her stoppage work, able to spot out her loose teammates and put the ball in an advantageous spot for them to run onto. Her work off the ball is also a staple of her game, working hard to lay tackles, apply pressure and force mistakes on the inside, but also looking to control the corridor and provide meaningful leads as a forward, where she gets separation through her game sense and delivers the ball well by foot afterwards. Usually pushing up the ground as a forward, she’s also handy closer to goal, with 14 goals in her 10 QAFLW appearances, including a haul of four. Pauga chimed in with 11 disposals for the U19 AFLW National Championship game against VIC Country, bringing those midfield strengths to the game.

 

ROUND 12 QAFLW vs YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE

Q1:

Starting the game in the forward line, she got involved early being the intended target off the first clearance, leading to the top of the 50. The ball went over her head, but she beat her opponent to it on the way back, taking the shot that drifted just to the right for a behind. About a minute later she would take a mark in the centre of the ground, kicking it well to her teammate just outside of 50, unfortunately unable to mark. The next few disposals came under pressure, with her next kick pretty impressive given she managed to escape three opponents to put it inside 50. In the latter stages of the quarter she managed to intercept a kick from fellow U19 Queensland representative Christine Okesene, following up with a great handball to an oncoming runner that resulted in Bond’s third behind.

Ending the quarter with; 5 kicks, 4 handballs, 2 marks, 1 clearance and 1 behind, Pauga really should have had more of the ball given the leads she made and how hard she worked forward of the ball to be an option, often creating separation on the lead and streaming through the middle, just not being used as Bond looked to play closer to the boundary moving forward.

Streaming forward in the second quarter.

Q2:

Once again in the forward line, Pauga was put on a bit of a tighter leash from Yeronga, who seemingly looked to negate and limit her movement off the ball, not giving her an inch around the play, and sticking right on her as she attempted to make leads like she did the previous quarter. All her earliest work was in the forward 50, pressuring opponents and forcing turnovers that she rarely saw the reward for effort from the pressure. Her most impressive play of the quarter came from her controlling the corridor, able to get onto a ball handballed over the top in transition and deliver well inside 50, unfortunately seeing the mark dropped and punched over the boundary line.

Overall it was a quiter second term on the stats sheet for Pauga, finishing with; 2 kicks, 2 handballs and 2 tackles, although the same work off the ball and effort to control the corridor of the ground was present, with her getting more into it later in the piece when she had found ways to deal with the tighter opponent.

Firing away a handball under pressure close to goal in the third quarter.

Q3:

Another quarter of ‘almosts’ for Pauga as she one again drew attention from the opposition, at times having two players dedicated to stopping her off the ball when Bond were in transition, so despite continuing to look to control the corridor and be a link up player, working hard with her leading, she was rarely the best option given the opposition attention. She looked to work harder defensively, pushing up the ground and impacting contests with her pressure work, even managing a spoil and forcing opponents to work hard to mark as she looked to push them out a bit. Still had her highlight moments in the forward 50, with the speed and accuracy of her handballs to oncoming runners giving Bond plenty of opportunity to score.

Getting a return of 3 handballs did not quite do her efforts justice, but it was another quarter where she worked hard and would have earned plenty of praise from teammates and coaches.

Assessing her options going forward in the final term.

Q4:

Started well in the fourth, being rewarded early for a lead very similar to the ones she had been doing all game, where she followed up with a centring kick that gave Bond the entire 50 to kick into. The kick itself was a darting sort that hit her teammate, showing her class by foot. The next bit of play saw her used by a teammate, running toward goal and then delivering the ball high for a pack inside 50 where she realistically could’ve gone for goal. The one time she was allowed space alone she picked the ball up with ease and passed it off to an outside runner to deliver inside 50, showing why she so often had an opponent hanging on to her.

Pauga gathered 2 kicks, 1 handball, 2 marks and 1 tackle in the final quarter, wrapping up an all-round good performance especially considering the circumstances.

In full flight set to launch another attack forward.

SUMMARY:

19 Disposals, 9 Kicks, 10 Handballs, 4 Marks, 3 Tackles, 1 Clearance, 2 Inside 50’s, 2 Intercept possessions, 1 Behind.

Pauga had a performance that any forward would be happy with, when you add the amount of attention she drew from the opposition after the first quarter it was a superb performance, as she worked hard to move up and down the ground to provide a meaningful option, especially in the centre corridor. Her ability to keep her hands free and fire out quick and piercing handballs to teammates that were in space was a big part of her game, and especially inside 50 it led to scoring opportunities that unfortunately were not rewarded. Her kicking was also a class above, always placed to the advantage of her teammates and more often than not looking to put it into central spots to open up the play ahead. Although likely due to the role she was playing, she wasn’t going in and winning contested ball as often as she has done in the past, especially the U19 Championships, much more inclined to wait out the side or back of the contest and try to receive the ball from a teammate.

QAFLW Player Focus: Smith’s star quality evident ahead of Coorparoo clash

YOU couldn’t watch Maroochydore’s Round 7 QAFL Women’s match against Aspley and not be amazed by Bella Smith.

From the very first bounce, the hard running midfielder was in everything. From a brutal don’t argue, to a goal saving tackle, the first quarter belonged to Smith, and she didn’t slow down from there. Her spread from a stoppage was excellent as she worked to provide an option for teammates whenever she didn’t have the ball in her hands (which wasn’t too often). She displayed a quality that catches the eye; the ability to grab a game by the collar and make it her own. It’s a talent not seen too often, and one that is likely worrying her Coorparoo opponents ahead of this weekend’s matchup.

Smith is simply a midfielder who does it all. She hunts the footy, she tackles, she runs hard and most importantly, she plays to her strengths. Not a noted goalkicker, Smith often puts in the hard yards getting the ball into the hands of the forwards, allowing them to take the shots. A memorable moment from the first quarter saw Smith spread from the stoppage, receive the ball, then proceed to conjure a Dustin Martin-like fend off that put her opponent the ground. It was a moment that drew a collective gasp from the crowd, as Smith then dished the ball inside 50 to set up a shot on goal for her teammates. It was reflective of her entire day, strength, hard work and a little bit of magic.

She will be a hard player for Coorparoo to contain, simply due to how hard she works from contest to contest. Her coverage of the ground was unmatched by any other midfielder in the Round 7 contest. She works remarkably hard to receive the ball, and when she gets it, her strength and smarts make her quite difficult to tackle. She shrugged off opponents on plenty of occasions, and she always keeps her arms free.

By the time the second quarter rolled around, Aspley midfielders were very cautious of Smith’s ability to impact the stoppage, resulting in Smith having a shot on goal after a holding free went her way. While the attempt unluckily hit the inside of the post, it was a testament to Smith’s ability to make other players worry too much about her and not enough about the ball.

The only visible flaw in her came was her own aerobic undoing, as she looked tired at times, but this was only due to the fact that she had worked so hard previously. Still, when the ball was in dispute, she found another gear and was able to work hard and get to the contest to provide another number for her side. If she continues to put in performances such as the one she displayed in Round 7, it will continue to prove difficult for opposing players to minimise her impact on the game. Not only does she find plenty of the ball, she also damages the other team when she uses it. In the third quarter, she found the ball on the wing and then broke the game open with an excellent inboard kick that found a teammate on the run.

Maroochydore have a star on their hands here with Smith. In Round 7, she affected the contest more than any other player on the ground and was clearly best on ground. This looked like the emergence of a star, and if she can do it again against Coorparoo, she will have established herself as one of the premier midfielders of the competition.

Picture credit: Sunshine Coast Daily

QAFLW Player Focus: Mikayla Pauga leads from the front in electric performance

CLASS was the word of the day for Bond University’s Mikayla Pauga during their clash against Aspley a fortnight ago. Pauga kicked three in a best on ground performance, but her performance was so much more. She created opportunities for teammates inside Bond’s forward 50, worked hard to help in defence and was smooth around the stoppages, constantly getting a desperately needed clearance for her side. This was all against a quality opposition, who struggled to contain her as she found her way around the ground with ease. On top of the three goals she kicked herself, she also set up plenty of others for her teammates. Whether it was a direct assist through clean hands or proving an integral part of great team ball movement, she seemed to be everywhere, and deserved every bit of her best on ground honours.

The game started in ideal fashion for Bond kicking the opening goal of the game in no time. The second goal came from some excellent hands inside 50. With an errant handball flying over her head, Pauga completed an excellent pickup of a deviating ball before dishing a handball to Annie Muir on the run, who finished with an excellent goal. With the ball locked in Bond’s forward half for a lot of the quarter, Pauga popped up everywhere, from applying constant pressure around the stoppage or winning a two-on-one contest on the wing. She also had the chance to add one more goal for her side, with a nice gather, sidestep and long shot on goal just fading to the right for a behind. Regardless, she looked dangerous all over the ground.

The second quarter started strong for Bond and Pauga. With the ball launched inside Bond’s 50, it kicked off a foot race between Pauga and her opponent. She cleverly toe-poked the ball to the goal square, where teammate Caitlin Thorne simply had to soccer the ball through a metre from the goal line. The play summed up Pauga’s performance on the day; clever, unselfish and attacking. The second quarter also saw Pauga hit the scoreboard multiple times. Chasing the ball inside 50 after a horrendous bounce, she calmly gathered the ball, evaded her opponent and kicked a goal from 25 metres. Bond already had the momentum, and this continued that. She wasn’t finished there, with her second goal on the halftime siren coming from an important one-on-one win and assist from teammate Lily Tarlinton allowing Pauga to chip through the goal from the top of the goal square.

In the third quarter, Bond continued its dominance on the game and so did Pauga. Taking a mark on the half-back flank, she played on, shrugged off a would-be tackler and delivered a 40-metre precision pass to a teammate down the field. She then followed up to receive the handball on the run, evading another tackler and then hitting a teammate lace out on a lead who unfortunately spilled the mark. After Bond locked the ball in their 50 from this play, Pauga was constantly peppering the goals, before finally kicking her third shortly after, finishing some nice ball movement up the field with a fantastic goal on the run from the pocket. Pauga was certainly showing why she was the ‘Riewoldt Family AFL Excellence’ scholarship recipient at Bond.

Spending some more time forward of the ball in the last, she was able to take it back a gear with Bond having an extremely comfortable lead. She was still able to find the ball around the half forward flank, displaying her speed and class that served her and her team so well throughout the game. Overall, an excellent game from the crafty mid/forward, displaying a performance that likely won’t be the last of that caliber.

Pauga and Bond University remain undefeated after the win, and take on reigning premiers Yeronga South Brisbane on Saturday.

Picture credit: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos

QAFL Women’s Round 5 wrap: Sharkettes streak ahead with favourable results

BOND University has maintained its unbeaten run with a comprehensive 43-point victory over Aspley, to move a win clear of the rest of the competition, with a game in-hand. The win over the Hornets gave their opposition their second consecutive loss, whilst Yeronga South Brisbane and University of Queensland also lost in upset results on the road, meaning every side has at least two losses except for the Sharkettes.

After a tight first quarter, Bond University turned up the heat, booting five goals to zero over the next two quarters to race out to a 41-point advantage at the final break. Aspley did hit back in the last quarter, splitting the goals two apiece, but it was a case of too little, too late and the home team got up, 10.8 (68) to 4.1 (25).

Young guns Mikayla Pauga and Lily Tarlinton were the stars for the Sharks, slotting five goals between them in the victory, while Courtney Sexton and Lucinda Pullar were also impressive in what was an even team performance. For the Hornets, Courtney Daniec was named the best, one of four players to kick a goal on the day. Ashleigh Hales and Angela Lingard were others who stood tall in defeat.

The biggest upset was Coolangatta Tweed’s thrashing of University of Queensland in front of home fans. Averaging six points per game coming into the match, the youth of the Bluebirds was outstanding, running out 7.10 (52) to 2.5 (17) winners over the Red Lionesses. Leading by 14 points at half-time, the Bluebirds managed to keep their opposition scoreless, while booting 3.5 themselves to run out 35-point victors.

Kitara Farrar was the dominant goal kicker in the win with three majors, whilst the youth of Laquoiya Cockatoo-Motlop, Sophie Ure and Keyshia Matenga all stood out to be named amongst the best. For the Red Lionesses, Mia Teubler and Lucinda Benjamin hit the scoreboard, while Meagan Cook and Jane Childes were strong despite the loss.

Maroochydore handed reigning premiers Yeronga South Brisbane its second loss in three games with a hard-fought four-point win. The match was a topsy-turvy one with neither team able to gain any ascendancy and the siren sounded with the Roos four points ahead. Maroochydore led by a point at quarter time and seven points at the main break, but a two goals to zero third term resulted in the Devils hitting the front. Kicking the only goal of the last term, and restricting their opposition to one behind, the Roos won 4.7 (31) to 4.3 (27).

Brianna McFarlane, Maggie Harmer and Sara-Jane O’Grady all impressed, while Maroochydore also had four individual goalkickers to share the scoring load around in the performance. For the Devils, Adrienne Keeffe slotted two majors, with Jessy Keeffe among the best with a goal, teaming up well with Emmii-Lee Zanker-Close as some of the top performers on the day for the losing team.

In the other match on the weekend, Coorparoo won its third consecutive game, sentencing Wilston Grange to its fifth consecutive loss in the process. After back-to-back one-point wins where the Kings finished on 32 points, it might have looked almost a touch strange to see that being the three quarter time scoreline, but kicking two goals to one in the last, Coorparoo extended the final margin out to 14 points, 7.4 (46) to 3.4 (22).

Coorparoo had seven individual goalkickers to go with the Gorillas’ three individual ones for a total of 10 in the match. In terms of standout players, Jenae Govan, Kayla Geddes and Macie Brown (one goal) stood out, while for the Gorillas, it was Kaitlyn Day, Grace O’Donnell and Ruby Svarc (one) who tried hard throughout the match to no avail.

The teams will all have a break over the Easter weekend, with the teams returning for Round 6 on Saturday, April 10.

QAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 5 RESULTS:

Coolangatta Tweed 7.10 (52) defeated University of Queensland 2.5 (17)
Bond University 10.8 (68) defeated Aspley 4.1 (25)
Coorparoo 7.4 (46) defeated Wilston Grange 3.4 (22)
Maroochydore 4.7 (31) defeated Yeronga South Brisbane 4.3 (27)

 

Picture credit: RF Photography

2021 QAFL Women’s Round 5 preview: Top three clash headlines weekend

THERE is plenty to like about the Round 5 fixtures for the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition, with much on the line even this early in the season.

The pick of the bunch is a top three clash between the undefeated Bond University and third placed Aspley Hornets, with the latter coming off their first loss of the season, whilst the Sharkettes have met every challenge thus far. The ruck battle between Jasmyn Davidson and Angela Lingard will be crucial, whilst the versatile Lucia Liessi has been named in the centre for the Hornets, set to go up against Shannon Danckert in another fascinating clash. Bond University’s AFL Women’s Academy member Mikayla Pauga is back at half-forward, lined up on another youngster in Hayley Moore, whilst up the other end, second-gamer Kadie Fletcher will lock horns with Lucinda Pullar. With plenty of young guns across the field – including Phoebe Baird and Isabella Kotatis – Aspley has enjoyed its resurgence this season, but the Hornets will need to find a way to contain Jordann Hickey and State Academy representative Lily Tarlinton if they are to get the points in this one.

Yeronga South Brisbane will travel to Maroochydore in what is always a tough encounter, though the reigning premiers will fancy themselves on the road against the Roos who picked up their first win last round after some narrow losses. The Devils come in having toppled Aspley in a huge win after going down to University of Queensland a fortnight ago. Zimmorlei Farquharson has been a live-wire this season, and whilst she did not kick a goal in Round 4, had plenty of teammates who did. In the 22-point win, the likes of Christine Okesene and Lexia Edwards were able to be damaging up forward, though the team would love to make more of their chances up forward than their 5.11 (41) final scoreline. With experience such as Lucy Bellinger, Jordan Zanchetta and Madison Goodwin, the Devils are well placed against the Roos. Maroochydore on the other hand stacked its midfield with you, as AFL Women’s Academy members Bella Smith and Maggie Harmer joined Chloe Gregory in there which emphasised the future of the green and gold. Brianna McFarlane and Makeisha Muller make for a dangerous combination at half-forward as well, which the Devils will need to be aware of.

Another team looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season is University of Queensland who travel to Coolangatta Tweed to face the Bluebirds, who are stuck at the bottom of the table and needing a win to kick-start their season. A win to the Red Lionesses could see them leapfrog some teams – and will do so to at least one team with the top three clash happening – as the likes of Megan Hunt and Mia Teubler took to continue their form. Jessi Henning and Madi Crowley-Long have been damaging across the board, whilst Lucinda Benjamin kicked four goals a fortnight ago for a season total of seven, ahead of Grace Brennan (six) and Rachael Vetter (six). Coolangatta Tweed have only been able to average six points a game from the first three matches, still waiting for the postponed match with Bond University to be completed. The Bluebirds have the talent to match it with any opposition, as the likes of Kitara Farrar, Keyshia Matenga and the Cockatoo-Motlap twins in Laquoiya and Litonya named in this weekend’ clash. Janet Baird will provide that AFL Women’s experience alongside Georgia Breward in the hope of causing an upset.

In the final game of the round, Coorparoo has been working the lucky charms the last couple of weeks, closing out two consecutive wins by one point in a show of strength and determination to come-from-behind. The Kings now host a winless Wilston Grange, with the Gorillas needing a win to keep in touch with the top six sides. Despite winning their last two games, the Kings still only have a percentage of 80.41 this season, whilst Wilston Grange are 0-4 with 26.37. They have managed to put scores on the board, but have conceded more than 50 points in every game thus far which has been the problem. The Gorillas will look to Abby Hewett and Mackenzie Findlay to take control of the midfield against Jenae Govan and Rose Collins, whilst Sophie Wheeler (three goals) and Holly O’Flaherty (two) are the leading scorers named for the match. Ruby Svarc has the AFL Women’s experience to provide some run on the wing, whilst for the Kings, Chelsea Winn has been in good form, and combining with Chelsea Chesterfield and Macie Brown, the side has some good young talents alongside experience. Coorparoo will back themselves to make it three wins on the trot here in front of home fans.

QAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 5 FIXTURES:

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

Picture credit: RF Photography

2021 QAFL Women’s Round 4 preview: Hornets and Devils to face-off in blockbuster clash

NOT too often do you get a scenario where the reigning premiers and reigning wooden spooners will create a highly-anticipated matchup the very next season, but the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition offers just that. Reigning premiers, Yeronga South Brisbane will travel to Aspley where they face the Hornets at Graham Road, in a game that will be a measuring stick for both teams. In other matches, the unbeaten University of Queensland hosts Coorparoo fresh off its first win of the season, whilst Coolangatta Tweed – having been forced into a bye last round – will lock horns with the fellow winless side, Maroochydore. In the sole Sunday game, a fresh Bond University will head to Hickey Park where they take on Wilston Grange.

Unfortunately the recent COVID-19 scare in Queensland stopped the Under 19 State Academy members from flying down and competing in Victoria last weekend, which meant a number of top teenagers will have gone without the competitive match. Aspley has a number of talented youngsters in their ranks, with Lucia Liessi back in the side and named at half-forward, with Kadie Fletcher (wing) and Charlotte Mullins (half-forward) also earning state honours. They take on a Yeronga side stacked with talent, and goalscorer Zimmorlei Farquharson named up on a wing, allowing the likes of Emmii-Lee Zanker Close and Lexia Edwards to hit the scoreboard. Starting in the ruck, Queensland Under 19s representative Christine Okesene will be hoping to impress against Angela Lingard while the midfield battle because Luca Mason and Courtney Daniec, and Madison Goodwin and Jordan Zanchetta will also be key within in the match.

Lauren Middleton has earned Queensland Under 19s state honours and will be hoping her University of Queensland side can remain unbeaten up against Coorparoo in their clash. The Kings are coming off a thrilling one-point victory over Maroochydore last week, and they were made to work for the win, with the likes of Madi Crowley-Long and Lucinda Benjamin in great form. Macie Brown (interchange) and Kalista-Jayne Shiner (emergency) are the Kings’ representatives in the state side. The Red Lionesses had a great upset win over Yeronga South Brisbane last week, and Mia Teubler was impressive, as has been Megan Hunt all season. The Kings will look to Chelsea Chesterfield and the returning Emma McKenzie as a source of goals in the match as they hope to cause an upset themselves against the in-form Red Lionesses.

In the battle of the winless sides, Maroochydore has loaded up on its elite young talent, with AFL Women’s Academy members Bella Smith and Maggie Harmer back in the line-up and midfield for the clash. They will rove to the in-form Jacqueline Dupuy, while Chloe Gregory and Jya Epstein round out a strong midfield. Brianna McFarlane and Makeisha Muller are others up forward who could cause some headaches for the Bluebirds. Coolangatta Tweed have a ridiculous amount of Queensland Under 19 representatives, with eight making the final 29-player squad. Keyshia Matenga (onball), Imogen Evans (centre half-forward), Casey Wynne (onball), Faith Alchin (back pocket), Sally Evans (half-forward), Sophie Ure (forward pocket), and the Cockatoo-Motlop twins in Laquoiya and Litonya (midfield) all made the final cut this week. In terms of young talent, this is the game to watch.

In the final match of the round, all eyes will be on Bond University after a week off, with the young guns returning to the team to face Wilston Grange. AFL Women’s Academy member Mikayla Pauga is back at half-forward, with top talent Teagan Levi coming off the bench, but is sure to impact the contest. The inside midfield is stacked with Ellie Hampson returning to the side, and then the likes of Georgia Brehmer and Shannon Danckert also in. Jasmyn Davidson (ruck), Lily Tarlinton (forward pocket) and Giselle Davies (back pocket) are the other Sharkettes to make the state side. For the Gorillas, Abbey Hewett will look to have her say in the midfield with Mackenzie Findlay following Hewett being named in the state squad, as was full-forward Brooke Sheridan. Rheanne Lugg and Ruby Svarc are other Gorillas who could use their experience to have a real say on the result.

QAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 4 FIXTURES:

Saturday, March 20:
Aspley vs. Yeronga South Brisbane @ Graham Road, Aspley, 2pm
Maroochydore vs. Coolangatta Tweed @ Maroochydore Multisports Complex, 3.45pm
University of Queensland vs. Coorparoo @ UQ, 3.45pm

Sunday, March 21:
Wilston Grange vs. Bond University @ Hickey Park, 2.00pm