Tag: Taylor Smith

AFL Women’s Saturday wrap: Roos book finals spot with clutch win over Dockers

NORTH Melbourne has produced a clutch performance to come from behind and defeat Fremantle at Arden Street and secure a 2021 AFL Women’s finals spot. The Roos trailed by five points at the final break, but kicked the only goal of the last quarter to grind out a win, 4.6 (30) to 4.5 (29) over the finals-bound Dockers. The win meant North Melbourne held off seventh placed Carlton to secure the post-season series wrap, and confirm the finalists for this year.

Back at their spiritual home, North Melbourne took just 57 seconds to kick the first goal of the game off the boot of Sophie Abbatangelo and race off to a six-point lead. Despite the early goal, it was a tight armwrestle for the first term, with just an Emma O’Driscoll behind added to the scoreboard, and the final 15 minutes seeing neither team add to their total. North Melbourne led by five points at the first break, and much like the first term, were out to a flyer in the second. This time it took less than 90 seconds to convert their second goal, this time through Daria Bannister off a perfectly timed crumb, and the lead was out to two straight kicks. In eerily similar circumstances, the Dockers again hit back with a score at the three-minute mark, but this time it was through the big sticks off Gemma Houghton running into goal.

Beth Lynch missed a chance 90 seconds later to respond, and it was Gabby O’Sullivan who capitalised via a free kick for push in the back midway through the term to cut the half-time deficit to just one point. It was neck-and-neck at the main break as neither side could really break away. The key for the Dockers was not allowing North Melbourne another early goal in the third term, and trying to grab the momentum themselves. But alas for the visitors, Jasmine Garner was the first one to create a major, in the first four minutes, and the gap widened to eight as the Roos were edging closer to a finals berth.

Fremantle refused to give in though, and created their own chances in the third quarter with Kiara Bowers being her usual self after being allowed to play in the crucial contest, kicking a goal midway through the quarter. That major cut the deficit to just two points, and when Kara Antonio goaled in the dying minutes of the quarter, Fremantle was out to a five-point lead. The Dockers held that advantage heading into three quarter time, and the onus was on the home side to return fire if the Roos wanted to play finals in 2021.

A Roxy Roux behind in the opening minute was a chance gone begging after a massive contested mark for the Dockers as they came out firing, and the lead was a team-high six points. Three consecutive behinds over the next eight minutes had plenty of nervous moments for the home fans, as North Melbourne slowly clawed its way back into the contest. Daisy Bateman became the hero with a goal in the tenth minute of the term, with her major putting her side three points up after being knocked over going for the mark. It would not be completely done and dusted just yet, as Fremantle would throw everything at the Roos in the last eight minutes to try and win the game. Ironically it would be Bateman again up the opposite end who would again play the role of hero, almost handing the ball across the line in the dying moments, waiting to be tackled for pressure, and it was enough to secure the one-point win.

Ash Riddell was unbelievable in the win, racking up 33 disposals, three tackles and seven inside 50s to lead all-comers, while Garner (24 disposals, six marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, two rebound 50s and a goal) and Emma Kearney (24 disposals, two tackles and six inside 50s) were also prolific. Bateman’s clutch efforts late were important in getting her side over the line, while Bannister (11 disposals, two marks, two tackles and a goal) and Emma King (eight disposals, three marks, two tackles and 23 hitouts) were also among the best on the day.

For the Dockers, Bowers was relentless throughout, picking up 19 disposals, two marks, two inside 50s, five rebound 50s and laying seven tackles. Stephanie Cain (14 disposals, six marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Tiah Haynes (14 disposals, three marks and four tackles) were also impressive, while the experience of O’Sullivan (nine disposals, four marks and a goal) and Kara Antonio (nine disposals, two marks, four tackles and a goal) was vital.

North Melbourne’s win means the Roos will finish sixth, but their opponent is yet to be determined. Collingwood plays Adelaide today, and if the Pies get up, the Roos will remain in Melbourne to face the Demons, whilst if Adelaide get up, the margin will depend on whether or not they head to South Australia, Queensland, or remain in Victoria to face the Magpies in the first week of finals. For the Dockers, they are in a similar boat, with fifth place secured, and as of now will head to South Australia if the Crows lose to the Magpies, but could face the Demons in Melbourne if Adelaide wins against Collingwood.

NORTH MELBOURNE 1.0 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 4.6 (30)
FREMANTLE 0.1 | 2.1 | 4.2 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS:

North Melbourne: S. Abbatangelo, D. Bannister, J. Garner, D. Bateman.
Fremantle: G. O’Sullivan, G. Houghton, K. Bowers, K. Antonio.

DC BEST:

North Melbourne: A. Riddell, J. Garner, E. Kearney, D. Bateman, E. King
Fremantle: K. Bowers, S. Cain, T. Haynes, G. O’Sullivan, E. Antonio

 

Picture credit: Robert Cianflone / AFL Photos

 

Image credit: Getty Images

DEMONS CLINCH HOME FINAL FROM LIONS’ CLUTCHES

IT was a two-point ball-game that decided the AFL Women’s top five on Saturday afternoon, as Melbourne pipped Brisbane Lions at the post in a huge battle for a home final next week. Whilst the Lions commanded possession and retained control for much of the middle two thirds, the final quarter was all Demons as the red and blue ran home in front of a home crowd, 6.2 (38) to 6.0 (36).

The win was soured by an early injury though, as Dees superstar Daisy Pearce went down with what appeared to be a knee injury within the opening minutes, which saw the side sent into a flurry rotating the roles to suit the loss. Eden Zanker was pushed up through the midfield and had an immediate impact, piling on 12 touches in the first quarter alone as the Lions stayed in touch by a lone goal to be a minor down at the first break. But the second was where the game broke open, with both sides finding the scoreboard with ease and a tantalising contest became apparent. Dakota Davidson was the first to put a goal on the board in the second term before a huge running goal from Courtney Hodder proved the Lions would not back down on the Dees home turf. The Demons bit back with two of their own as Karen Paxman and Shelley Scott pounced on the ground ball, while a second within the term to Davidson proved the two sides had a game on their hands. A goal to Taylor Smith right on the halftime siren saw the Lions head into the second half with a marginal 11-point lead, with players across the field playing their roles and doing it well to create a phenomenal matchup.

The second half began with another tight quarter, as the two sides remained accurate in front of the big sticks with limited opportunity credit to tight defence. Veteran Lauren Arnell got in on the action and piled on another major to extend the lead, before a third Scott goal showed the Dees would not relent, especially with finals on the line. The match really came to blows in the final term though as the red and blue overcame the 11-point margin and turned it into a two-point win, with two straight goals to young guns Alyssa Bannan and Tyla Hanks, popping up at the right time to force the Lions onto the back foot as the physical matchup went to the dying moments, with Greta Bodey afforded a shot on goal after the siren but falling agonisingly short.

The tight matchup was set up by the likes of Zanker and Cathy Svarc, with the opposing duo both relentless in their own way – Zanker with her game-high 25 touches and Svarc with her whopping 21 tackles. Hodder (eight tackles, 10 touches, one goal), Sophie Conway (10 touches, seven tackles) and Ally Anderson (22 touches, six tackles) also provided plenty of hunt for the Lions, as Lily Mithen (23 touches, five marks), Paxman and Kate Hore (both 18 touches) and Lauren Pearce and Maddi Gay (both 17) were well and truly in the match. Hodder and Eliza McNamara were both lively for their respective sides as Scott’s three goals and Davidson’s two paved the way in the huge matchup.

Next week’s finals encounters will be decided by tomorrow’s Round 9 results, with both sides awaiting confirmation given their guaranteed finals entry, although the Dees will be waiting for news on Pearce’s injury.

MELBOURNE 1.1 3.1 4.1 6.2 (38)
BRISBANE 1.0 5.0 6.0 6.0 (36)

GOALS
Melbourne: S. Scott 3, K. Paxman, A. Bannan, T Hanks.
Brisbane: D. Davidson 2, J. Wardlaw, C. Hodder, T. Smith, L. Arnell.

BEST
Melbourne: E. Zanker, S. Scott, L. Mithen, K. Paxman, L. Pearce, K. Hore
Brisbane: C. Svarc, T. Hickie, A. Anderson, O. O’Dwyer, S. Conway, N. Grider

 

Image Credit: Matt Roberts/AFL Photos

GEELONG GETS UP IN BATTLES OF THE WINLESS

GEELONG claimed its first points of season 2021 at the final time of asking, holding off Gold Coast to win by 17 points at Metricon Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The result sees Gold Coast finish the season as wooden spooners, becoming just the second side in AFLW history to go winless through a full campaign. The Cats’ three-goal burst in the first quarter set up their salute, as they held strong thereafter to come away 6.5 (41) to 3.6 (24) victors.

The Cats had many reasons to celebrate on the day; with young ruck Rene Caris booting her first senior goal during the opening term, women’s footballing stalwart Aasta O’Connor sent off to retirement in style, and Rebecca Webster‘s goal on the final siren proving the cherry on top of a memorable day for travelling side. On the other hand, Gold Coast could not scrounge a saving grace in what was a season which earned them a series of unwanted records.

First year midfielder Laura Gardiner finished as the winners’ highest ball winner on 18 disposals, one ahead of Amy McDonald who was one of her side’s revelations during 2021. Veteran forward Richelle Cranston was the game’s sole multiple goalkicker with two, while Webster and Olivia Barber were others to prove impactful while hitting the scoreboard.

For Gold Coast, Alison Drennan capped off a terrific individual campaign to lead all comers with 23 touches, as the reliable Lauren Ahrens also fared well for the second year side. Kalinda Howarth tripled her season goal tally in one go with a couple of majors, arcing back to her roots having become an All Australian forward last year.

The 2021 season ends there for both clubs, with just one win between them and plenty to work on heading into the next campaign. With a bunch of exciting youth scattered across either squad, the green shoots have shown and should give these sets of fans plenty more to cheer about going forward.

GOLD COAST 0.1 | 1.3 | 3.3 | 3.6 (24) 
GEELONG 3.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 6.5 (41)

GOALS:

Gold Coast: K. Howarth 2, S. Virgo.
Geelong: R. Cranston 2, O. Barber, R. Caris, P. McWilliams, R. Webster.

DC BEST:

Gold Coast: A. Drennan, K. Howarth, L. Ahrens, M. Levi
Geelong: A. McDonald, L. Gardiner, R. Cranston, R. Webster

Lions reclaim top spot with roaring third term

BRISBANE has reclaimed top spot on the AFL Women’s ladder after a five-goal third term saw the Lions run out 45-point winners against West Coast at Hickey Oval. In the competition’s first-ever Monday night fixture, the home side was tested early but absorbed all of the Eagles’ first half pressure to then slingshot it back at them thereafter in what ended up a comfortable 10.5 (65) to 2.8 (20) result.

Having booted 15 goals and conceded just one across the first two rounds, Brisbane was hounded by West Coast in the first half but somehow managed to scrounge a one-point half time lead. It was a case of the Eagles ruing missed opportunities, particularly in the opening quarter as the Lions found it all too easy to score once they broke out of their own half.

While West Coast’s pressure gauge was at an all-time high, the lack of scoreboard impact proved telling once Brisbane clicked into gear. A flurry of three Lions goals immediately after half time broke the game open, and eventually broke the Eagles once that feat was extended to five. The difference; Brisbane was ruthlessly clinical with their territorial advantage, while the Eagles lacked the polish to make good on theirs.

There were some key individual performers and breakout stars across the board, with arguably none more impressive than Brisbane tall, Taylor Smith. The 21-year-old finished with five marks and three goals from her 11 disposals in an exciting display, proving a good barometer for Brisbane’s eventual scoring flow.

Dakota Davidson was strong early and snared two majors to now head the competition’s goalkicking charts. Veteran Lauren Arnell led all comers with 18 touches in a vintage display, as the likes of Sophie Conway (15 disposals), Nat Grider (15), and Ally Anderson (14) all stood up when it mattered. Kate Lutkins and Breanna Koenen were important down back when the pressure was on, while Greta Bodey and Orla O’Dwyer worked to break the game open in the second half.

In what was largely a front-loaded effort from the Eagles, Aisling McCarthy (17 disposals, one goal) gave her all rotating forward from midfield, much like Parris Laurie did in the ruck. Young midfielders Bella Lewis and Mikayla Bowen were both promising in patches with their attack on the ball, with skipper Emma Swanson solid and Imahra Cameron a shining light up forward.

With Round 3’s fixtures run and done, the next set of games lie just around the corner. Both sides are set to play next on Sunday, with Brisbane back home to take on Adelaide while West Coast travels once again to face Greater Western Sydney in Blacktown.

BRISBANE 1.0 | 3.1 | 8.5 | 10.5 (65)
WEST COAST 1.5 | 2.6 | 2.6 | 2.8 (20)

GOALS:

Brisbane: T. Smith 3, D. Davidson 2, G. Bodey, A. Anderson, J. Wardlaw, L. Arnell, E. Bates
West Coast: A. McCarthy, A. Gilmore

DC BEST:

Brisbane: T. Smith, L. Arnell, S. Conway, A. Anderson, K. Lutkins, G. Bodey
West Coast: A. McCarthy, P. Laurie, E. Swanson, M. Bowen, B. Lewis, I. Cameron

Image Credit: AFL Photos

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: #10 Jade Ellenger

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 begin the countdown at number 10 with Brisbane Lions’ Jade Ellenger.

Brisbane is going through a rebuilding phase after making two grand finals in its formulative years, and the Lions are making great strides. Ellenger is one of a number of talented prospects who are competing for a spot in the Lions’ outfit. Having played both her games in 2019 and not able to add to that tally in 2020, the reason the versatile utility makes this list is her form from last year’s Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition.

Running out for Coorparoo, Ellenger was a star, finishing two votes off the winners – a three-way tie with Lions’ teammates Jordan Zanchetta, Taylor Smith and Isabel Dawes – with nine for the season. Despite only playing the two games, the 164cm defender who can also push up the ground and rebound well, and based off her state league form, is every chance to make 2021 her year.

Ellenger does the defensive things well, and is a reliable tackler and one who can fill a role wherever her side needs her. Kicking two goals in her debut against Carlton, Ellenger showed she can drift forward and hit the scoreboard, and will take an opportunity with both hands. Having now made Team of the Year for the QAFL Women’s two years running – including in the Kings’ 2019 premiership season, Ellenger is a class above at state league level and every shot to put together a strong season.

The Lions’ core is strong and hard to crack into, but Ellenger has the talent – as evidenced at junior level for Queensland – to force her way into the side with great form. While she has yet to show her wares consistently at the top level, the Brisbane side is brimming with young talent poised to transition from good young talent into established senior talent, and Ellenger – based on her consistent state league form – is definitely in that bracket.

Picture: RF Photography

AFL Women’s Draft preview: Brisbane Lions & Gold Coast Suns

THE AFL Women’s Draft is fast approaching and in the lead-up to the draft, we take a look at each of the AFL women’s sides in pairs and see what they might look for, and who might be available with the selections they have. Next up in our series are the two sides from Queensland, in Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns.

Brisbane Lions – Queensland pool

Draft selections: 8, 37, 38, 51, 52

Off-season summary:

Brisbane had a relatively quiet off-season, picking up just the one player in Queensland Taylor Smith who crossed from their southern neighbours in Gold Coast, whilst also gaining picks 37 and 51, losing Pick 24. In terms of their list changes, the Lions delisted Bri McFarlane and Hannah Millman, whilst Arianna Clarke retired.

This made for minimal chances on the primary list, effectively only losing two on difference. The Lions also picked up Courtney Hodder who as a former AFL Women’s National Academy member, could be a huge inclusion taking up the sport again from rugby union. Unlikely to use all their picks at the draft due to list numbers, the Lions will head into the draft second in the pecking order from their state.

A draft look:

The name who has been talked up the last few years at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships and is finally in her top-age year is Zimmorlei Farquharson. The most exciting player in the draft, Farquharson is capable of the impossible in the air or ground level, and while she has been piecing together consistent games over the past few seasons, she has been playing at the elite junior level for a few years now. Her huge game for Yeronga South Brisbane on the weekend helped the Devils reach the 2020 QAFL Women’s Grand Final.

Other Lions Academy players who have stood out at QAFL Women’s’ level this season include Maroochydore’s Chloe Gregory, Coorparoo’s Chelsea Chesterfield and Aspley’s Izzy Kotatis. Of course they could look to bring in some extra experience such as versatile Yeronga and former Carlton VFL Women’s co-captain, Courtney Bromage. She has enjoyed a consistent season and is still only 21-years-old, while Madison Goodwin has been another Devils forward shining this season.

Gold Coast Suns – Queensland pool

Draft selections: 7, 23, 56

Off-season summary:

Like Brisbane, Gold Coast remained a relatively settled side after making finals in the Suns’ first season in the AFL Women’s. They made a number of list changes by delisting Georgia Breward, Alexia Hamilton, Tayla Thorn and Kitara Farrar, while Maddy Roberts retired. Smith headed north to the Lions and Charlotte Hammans flew south to join Carlton, while St Kilda’s Alison Drennan was the sole inclusion for the Suns during the trade period.

It has allowed the Suns to be fairly flexible when it comes to picking up new players, with the AFL Women’s Sarah Black reporting that former Adelaide and Hawthorn forward, Sarah Perkins had nominated Queensland as her state of preference, so she could well be on the Suns’ radar as a forward target. They need more experience to add to their youth, and she could be a good fit inside 50.

A draft look:

In theory, the Academies do not guarantee only players from their respective academies, so the Suns holding the first selection in the draft could swoop on Farquharson or anyone they wish in the open Queensland draft. Though they also have the player with the largest endurance base across the board in their Academy with Daisy D’Arcy a standout prospect. She is a consistent all-round player and won the yo-yo test in the preseason by so much, she was left doing laps by herself for some time. The male and female testing is done differently, but her score was the equivalent of a 22.1 – absolute elite.

Another couple of AFL Women’s National Academy members who earned Draft Combine invites are Bond University’s Maddison Levi, and Southport’s Annise Bradfield. Both have come through the Queensland pathway system and have shown great promise in the AFL Women’s Under 18s level in past seasons. Also standing out in the QAFL Women’s competition was Coolangatta Tweed’s Ebony Peterson who also earned a Draft Combine invite. Throw in the likes of fellow Academy members Jasmyn Davison, Annie Muir and Keyshia Matenga who all had strong seasons, and the Suns Academy have plenty to pick from.

As an overall look at other Queensland options, Beth Pinchin is a lynchpin defender who captained the Suns Academy and could be ready to make the next step up, whilst a couple of dual-sport academy members Lucy Single (rugby 7s and karate) and Laura Blue (soccer) both earned invites, as did Coorparoo’s inside midfielder, Brooke Spence.

QAFL Women’s Semi-Finals wrap: Devils cause upset to face Bluebirds in final

YERONGA South Brisbane has toppled minor premiers, Bond University to book its place in the 2020 Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s Grand Final against Coolangatta Tweed. This year’s decider will see the second and third placed sides do battle for the ultimate prize on the weekend.

It was a memorable win for the Devils who grabbed the lead early, held off a second term fightback and then finished strongly to run out 35-point winners over the Sharkettes. Yeronga South Brisbane slotted three goals to one in the opening quarter to lead by 11 points at the first change, before Bond University hit back with three goals to two, cutting the deficit to just four points at the main break. Putting the foot down, Yeronga South Brisbane stepped up in the premiership quarter and final term to pile on six of the last seven goals to run out 11.6 (72) to 5.7 (37) victors.

Young gun Zimmorlei Farquharson slotted three goals and was named among the best for the Devils, as Sam Virgo (two goals) and Madison Goodwin (two) also hit the scoreboard multiple times. Jacqui Yorston (one) was among four single goalkickers, named in the best with Emily Bates, Jade Pregelj, Vanessa Hart and Mia Walsh. Lauren Arnell, Lexia Edwards and Lucy Bellinger were the other goalkickers in the famous win.

For Bond University, Taylor Smith kicked a couple of goals in the third term, with Casidhe Simmons, Jess Maher and Charlotte Hammans also kicking goals in the loss. Maddison Levi was outstanding in the loss, Hammans tried hard with the young brigade of Serene Watson, Lauren Bella, Lily Tarlinton and Annie Muir but could not help their side across the line.

In the Bluebirds’ win over Maroochydore, they controlled play for the most part, winning the first two terms to lead by 10 points at quarter time and 27 points at half-time. Maroochydore fought back in the third quarter to boot three goals to two and claw the deficit to within 21 points at the final break. Whilst the last term was even – both side booting a goal – Coolangatta Tweed had done enough in the first half to run out 11.4 (70) to 7.6 (48) winners.

Lauren James was massive for the winners, slamming home half a dozen goals in a huge performance up forward. She was joined by Kitara Farrar (two) as a multiple goalkicker, whilst the likes of Leah Kaslar, Leigh Alder and Hannah Martin all slotted a goal apiece. Lucy Turney, Paige Parker and Alexandra Hamlyn were all amongst the best players on the ground, with Kate Surman, Ebony Peterson and Casey Samuels also impressed in the win.

For the visitors, Shannon Campbell‘s terrific season up forward came to an end, but not without finishing on a high note of slotting three goals. Kelly Woods and Jacqueline Dupuy both kicked majors and were named among the best, whilst Tahlia Mead and Jennifer Carden-David also kicked goals in the loss. In terms of top performers, Chloe Gregory, Rachel Crack and Lily Postlethwaite all stood out, with Jessee Sills also named among the Roos’ best.

QAFL WOMEN’S SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

Bond University 5.7 (37) defeated by Yeronga South Brisbane 11.6 (72)
Coolangatta Tweed 11.4 (70) defeated Maroochydore 7.6 (48)

Picture: Obtained via Gold Coast Bulletin (supplied by Coolangatta Tweed)

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Semi-Finals – Top four sides remain in title hunt

IT was fitting that the two highest ranked teams in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition won through their respective elimination finals last week, allowing the top four teams to remain in the hunt for the 2020 QAFL Women’s flag. In the two do-or-die semis, top of the table Bond University will host fourth placed Yeronga South Brisbane, while second placed Coolangatta Tweed takes on third placed Maroochydore.

You have to go all the way back to Round 1 to find the last time Bond University lost. Since then, they have strung together nine wins, as well as two COVID-related cancellations. Given one of those cancellations was against bottom two side Wilston Grange, it is fair to say the Sharkettes could have been even further ahead at the top of the table. For the Devils, they lost to Bond University back in Round 11 to effectively lose the chance at a top two spot, but have won four of their past five matches, and are coming off the back of a nine-point win against Coorparoo so they bring form into the clash.

The Round 11 battle between the sides has been the only clash thus far, with Bond University winning in a low-scoring match, 4.6 (30) to 1.5 (11). Trailing at both quarter time and half-time the Sharkettes kicked the last four goals of the game, with a three goals to zero third term being the difference. Jess Maher kicked a couple of goals for the winners, with Maddison Levi and Taylor Smith also snagging a couple, while Emily Bates kicked the opening goal of the game for the Devils.

Having had a nice rest over the first weekend of finals, the potent Sharkettes forward line returns with Smith leading the way with 15 snags in 10 matches, and being one of her side’s best throughout the season. The team has plenty of good young talent with Annie Muir and Annise Bradfield also named among the best on multiple occasions, as has been the case with Gold Coast’s Lauren Bella, and both Krystal Scott and Lucinda Pullar.

For the Devils, Lexia Edwards leads all-comers in the goalkicking with 13 majors in 11 games, ahead of Lucy Bellinger (nine), Courtney McDonnell (eight) and Sam Virgo (eight). The experience of Bates, Jordan Zanchetta, Jacqueline Yorston and Lauren Arnell has been telling this year and the quartet have been among the top players for Yeronga South Brisbane in 2020.

The Sharkettes will head in as favourites for the clash, but the Devils will hope to catch the rested Bond University off early, trying to take full advantage of the fourth placed side’s recent form.

Coolangatta Tweed comes into its semi-final clash against Maroochydore having won six of its past seven games, and having only dropped three matches for the season. No doubt avoiding Coorparoo in the finals would have been a relief for the Bluebirds, who have suffered two defeats at the hands of the Kings, whilst the other loss came against Bond University in the first match back from the restart on July 11.

Meanwhile Maroochydore is on a four-game winning streak, having had some percentage-boosting wins in the final fortnight to leap up to third, After dropping back-to-back games against Coorparoo and Yeronga South Brisbane following a COVID-19 related cancellation, Maroochydore looked to have slipped down the order after such a strong start to the season. The Roos have picked it up since and enjoyed a good run home.

The last time these sides played was on July 25, when Coolangatta Tweed got home in a five-point thriller, 3.4 (22) to 2.5 (17). It was neck-and-neck for the most past, with the Roos leading by seven points at the first change, then the Bluebirds holding a solitary point advantage at the next two breaks. Kicking the only goal of the final term, Coolangatta Tweed held on in a low-scoring win. Leah Kaslar booted one of her side’s three goals and was named among the best with Alexandra Hamlyn and Keyshia Matenga, while for the Roos, Mikayla Pauga was the best and also slotted a goal, with Sophie Bale and Maggie Harmer also named among the best.

Looking across the whole season, Kaslar won the club goalkicking for the Bluebirds with nine majors, two ahead of youngster Kitara Farrar and another AFL Women’s talent in Selina Priest. The AFL Women’s experience of Kaslar and Sally Riley has helped the Bluebirds this season, with Hamlyn, Matenga, Kate Surman and Ebony Peterson all featuring in the bests five times.

At the Roos, Shannon Campbell has been the competitions most reliable goalkicker with 18 majors in 10 games, and also been named among the best five times. Pauga is next, with 13 goals and six bests. Overall Harmer leads the way in the coaches votes, with eight bests in 12 games, one ahead of young gun Lily Postlethwaite, whilst Isabel Dawes and Ruby McDowell also feature highly.

Coolangatta Tweed will be favourites in this game, but Maroochydore is a huge chance based on recent form and will be looking to carry that form into the semi-final with no turning back for the loser.

QAFL WOMEN’S SEMI-FINALS:

Bond University vs. Yeronga South Brisbane
Coolangatta Tweed vs. Maroochydore

Picture: RF Photography

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Elimination Finals – Roos and Devils earn hosting rights

FINALS fever is here in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition, with Maroochydore and University of Queensland facing off, before Yeronga South Brisbane and Coorparoo do battle. For the losers, it is season over, while for the winners, preliminary finals dates with Bond University and Coolangatta Tweed await.

MAROOCHYDORE vs. UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND

The third placed Maroochydore hosts the sixth placed University of Queensland in the opening game of the round, with the winner set to play second place Coolangatta Tweed in the semi-finals. Finishing the season with seven wins, three losses and two draws, Maroochydore will be the clear favourite compared to the Red Lionesses who finished the QAFL Women’s season with three wins, eight losses and a draw.

Prior to the COVID-19 postponement, Maroochydore raced out of the blocks to win all three of its games – including a thriller against the Red Lionesses – then by Round 5 had four wins and a draw to its name. They stumbled a little over the next few rounds with losses to Coolangatta Tweed, Coorparoo and Yeronga South Brisbane around a precautionary draw with top of the table Bond University. A nine-point win over the Red Lionesses gave the Roos confidence again and they went on to finish the season with a three-game winning streak, smashing Aspley Hornets 95-0 to grab third spot on percentage, and then taking care of Wilston Grange, 43-9.

The University of Queensland had the opposite start to the season as Maroochydore, dropping all three games prior to the break, and losing by a narrow two points to Yeronga South Brisbane in the first game back in Round 4. They clicked into gear with impressive wins over Wilston Grange and Aspley Hornets to look like a team on the move up the ladder. Unfortunately for Red Lionesses fans, that was a false mirage as they only won one of the last six games, and that was against the Hornets by four points – the closest the Hornets came to a win. Despite this, the University of Queensland can take plenty out of two narrow losses to the Roos, knowing they match up well and would have been their preferred opponent out of the other top four teams.

Shannon Campbell finished the year with 13 goals in nine games, and was among the best on multiple occasions, Mikayla Pauga remains a huge best and fairest chance, averaging a goal a game and named in the best every second game on average from her 12 matches. Ashleigh Hales (six goals), Chloe Gregory (five), Jacqueline Dupuy (five) and Jennifer Carden-David (five) have also been consistent sources of goals this year. Maggie Harmer‘s seven bests from 11 games has her with the most consistent performances this season for the green and golds, while Brisbane Lions young gun, Lily Postlethwaite has six with Pauga. Others who have shone include Ruby McDowell (five), Bella Smith (four), Isabel Dawes (four) and Tayla Gesch (four).

Dakota Davidson has been the clear standout in front of goal, snagging 13 majors in nine games, named in the best on three occasions for the Red Lionesses. Greta Bodey has not played in a month, but prior to that she kicked eight goals in five games, while Megan Hunt – potentially leading the club’s best and fairest with seven bests – has six majors. Sophie Ure (four goals) has also been productive in her nine games. Aside from Hunt, players further up the field have also been named among the best many times, including Jane Childes and Mikayla Martin (both six). Jamie Stone has five bests ahead of Alexandra Moran, Breanna Koenen, Mia Teubler and Sara-Jane O’Grady who all have four.

Maroochydore go in as strong favourites on recent form, though University of Queensland will have confidence from pushing the Roos twice.

 

YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE vs. COORPAROO

In the second match on Saturday, fourth placed Yeronga South Brisbane plays host to fifth placed Coorparoo for the right to take on minor premiers, Bond University in the preliminary finals. There is not much separating both these sides on the ladder, with the Devils snatching the home ground advantage in the final round with a win over the University of Queensland, whilst the Kings went went down to the Sharkettes to drop to fifth. In season 2020, the Devils finished with seven wins, three losses and two draws, while the Kings had the seven wins and five losses, just five points behind.

Yeronga South Brisbane comes into the match off the back of some pretty good form, winning three of the past four games, and that loss came against Bond University a fortnight ago. The Devils have been running hot since the break, starting with a couple of draws in Rounds 4 and 5, then narrowly avoiding a remarkable third draw in a row with a one-point win over Wilston Grange. They found their form again after Round 7’s win over Aspley Hornets, with wins over all the other sides except the top two. In the two matches with Coorparoo, they won in a high scoring Round 1 clash, 69-54, then again three weeks ago, 46-28.

Coorparoo started slowly this season, having a couple of losses in Rounds 1 and 2, then got on the board with a comprehensive 57-point win over Aspley Hornets. Upon returning to the QAFL Women’s, the Kings had the fortune of playing the last placed Hornets again and smashed them by 93 points, a record that would stand until the Roos’ 95-point shellacking over them. They easily accounted for Coolangatta Tweed and looked the team to beat, before falling to Bond University by 21 points in Round 6. From there, the Kings picked up three consecutive wins, before dropping games to both the Devils and Sharkettes in the final three rounds either side of a 40-point triumph over Wilston Grange.

Yeronga South Brisbane shares the goals around with Lexia Edwards (10 goals) averaging a goal a game to lead the Devils in goalkicking this season. Lucy Bellinger is not too far behind with eight goals – five of those in one game against the Hornets – and named among the best four times. Courtney McDonnell (seven), Sam Virgo (seven), Adrienne Keeffe (four) and Madison Goodwin (four) have also been prominent in 2020. Jordan Zanchetta has been the stand out for the Devils, named among the best five times in her 10 games, just ahead of Bellinger, Emily Bates, Jacqueline Yorston and Vanessa Hart who have all earned four bests nominations. Hart has only played the six games since the break, which makes her the in-form player.

For the Kings, the AFL Women’s experience is at the top of the table with Jamie Stanton kicking a competition-high 15 goals to share the leading goalkicker award with Bond University’s Taylor Smith. She has been named in the best on five occasions, and has clearly been the standout and one of the league’s top performers since returning to the Kings’ outfit in July. Also fantastic, Jess Wuetschner has booted 12 goals in eight games, one more than Emma McKenzie (11) and just ahead of Chelsea Chesterfield (10). Kelsey Crosbie who has remarkably not played since March, booted eight goals in three games to remain inside the top five, one ahead of Tori Groves-Little (seven). Jade Ellenger leads all-comers when it comes to bests with eight nominations from 12 games ahead of Stanton’s five, and then a host of experienced players on four such as Ally Anderson, Emma Zielke and Tahlia Hickie.

Yeronga South Brisbane have the form against Coorparoo, but the Kings can never be discounted with the stack of AFL Women’s talent on the list.

QAFL Women’s weekend wrap: Round 12 – Favourites win as finalists confirmed

THE final round of the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition went as expected for those backing the favourites in, as the four highest sides in each of the respective matches won their clashes to see just one change on the overall ladder from Round 11 to Round 12. That change came in the form of Yeronga South Brisbane moving up one spot to fourth, sentencing Coorparoo to fifth, in what ultimately just means the Devils will be the home team in their elimination final clash. Maroochydore held onto third spot and will take on the sixth placed University of Queensland outfit, whilst Bond University and Coolangatta Tweed’s efforts to finish top two earned them a week off.

In what lived up to be the tightest match of the round, top of the table Bond University won by 24 points over Coorparoo in what could be a preliminary finals clash in a couple of weeks time. It was a tight first term with the Sharkettes booting 2.0 to 1.1, then kicked the only two majors of the second term to extend the lead out to 19 at half-time. Both sides managed a goal in the third term for the difference to remain at just over three goals, before a high scoring final term of five goals – three to the Sharkettes, two to the Kings – resulted in Bond University winning 8.5 (53) to 4.5 (29).

Taylor Smith led the way for the winners, snagging three goals, while Casidhe Simmons kicked the two. Also amongst the goalkickers for the Sharkettes were youngsters, Charlotte Hammans, Lily Tarlinton and Tegan Levi. Serene Watson was best on ground in the victor, whilst Lucy Single and Annise Bradfield helped their side secure the minor premiership. For the Kings, Tori Groves-Little, Emma Zielke, Jess Wuetschner and Jenae Govan all kicked goals, while Jade Ellenger continued her ripping 2020 QAFL Women’s form with another best-on performance from the navy blue side.

Taking on the bottom side, Coolangatta Tweed still needed to win to secure a week off in finals, and the Bluebirds did just that, kicking six goals to zero after quarter time to win by 35 points. They booted 6.2 to 0.4 in the final three quarters to record an impressive 7.3 (45) to 1.4 (10) win. Selena Priest, Lauren James and Kitara Farrar all kicked the two goals for the winners, while Ebony Peterson, Bethany Pinchin and Alexandra Hamlyn were named among the Bluebirds’ best. For the Hornets, Shaye Easton snagged the first quarter major, while Kylie Guarino, Sarah Giles and Courtney Daniec were once again named among Aspley’s best.

Posting an equally one-sided victory over a bottom two side, Maroochydore locked away third spot with a 34-point triumph over Wilston Grange. After a tight first half which saw the Roos lead the Gorillas by just six points at the main break – and a goalless second term – Maroochydore booted the only four goals of the second half, whilst restricting Wilston Grange to just one behind, to win 6.7 (43) to 1.3 (9). Mikayla Pauga (three goals) was the standout up forward and named among the best with Isabel Dawes (one), Shannon Campbell (one) and Tayla Gersch. For the Gorillas, Brianna McFarlane kicked the only goal of the game, while Chloe Litherland, Mackenzie Findlay and Brooke Randall were named among the team’s best in defeat.

In the final game of the round, fifth placed Yeronga South Brisbane moved ahead of Coorparoo on the table with a comprehensive 32-point win over sixth placed University of Queensland. The Red Lionesses still held on to make finals, but only booted the one third quarter goal, going down to the impressive Devils, 6.5 (41) to 1.3 (9). Courtney McDonnell and Lexia Edwards both snagged a couple of majors each, while Zimmorlei Farquharson and Lauren Arnell registered a major. Jade Pregelj, Rachael Anstey and Jordan Zanchetta were all named among Yeronga South Brisbane’s best on the day. For the losers, Megan Hunt kicked the only goal, while Mikayla Martin, Sara-Jane O’Grady and Nat Grider all impressed across the field.

QAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 12 RESULTS:

Aspley Hornets 1.4 (10) defeated by Coolangatta Tweed 7.3 (45)
Wilston Grange 1.3 (9) defeated by Maroochydore 6.7 (43)
Bond University 8.5 (53) defeated Coorparoo 4.5 (29)
University of Queensland 1.3 (9) defeated by Yeronga South Brisbane 6.5 (41)

Picture: RF Photography

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Round 12 – The final frontier as teams eye off top six spots

THE final round of the most unusual season in Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) history is here, with the following week’s finalists already decided – barring a massive upset in the final round – but the order of which they enter the post-season series can still change.

The biggest question marks lies between the second to fifth positions with just four points separating those teams. Bond University has sewn up top spot with a massive percentage of 369.23, well clear of the only team that could mathematically catch them in Coolangatta Tweed. So barring what would likely need to be a 500-point odd victory, and a Sharkettes loss, the Bluebirds will have to settle for second. The top two get a week off, which will give both sides a refresher coming into the penultimate week of the season a week later.

Bond University takes on Coorparoo this weekend, and the Kings are a dangerous side. If they win, they can go as high as second barring other results, but the two teams they can catch – Coolangatta Tweed and Maroochydore – both play the bottom two sides. The Bluebirds play the winless Hornets who have nothing to lose, but know this is their last game of the season and would love to go out with a bang. The Roos take on Wilston Grange, with the Gorillas still a mathematical chance of making finals.

Last week Maroochydore’s 95-0 win over Aspley Hornets helped the Roos leapfrog Coorparoo on percentage, gaining a whopping 40-odd per cent and now in firm control of third spot. If that form is anything to go by, then Wilston Grange is up against it in this game, but if they can somehow produce a huge win, and University of Queensland lose, then they can technically grab sixth spot. The Red Lionesses are playing firth placed Yeronga South Brisbane with the Devils also keen to win, though it seems clear they will face Coorparoo in the elimination final a week later. A home ground advantage would be nice however, so the four points should do that, unless the Sharkettes go down to the Kings.

If the favourites all win, then the only change to the ladder would be the Devils leapfrogging the Kings, but if the Red Lionesses can knock off the Devils and officially lock up a finals spot, then Yeronga South Brisbane will remain in fifth and the ladder will remain the same even with a Coorparoo victory.

The finals series is structured with the top two teams – Bond University and, barring a loss to the last placed Hornets, Coolangatta Tweed – having a week off. The third placed team will take on the sixth placed side, whilst fourth and fifth will do battle in a couple of elimination finals. The importance of Maroochydore’s percentage-boosting win in Round 11 to grab third is not to be undersold as they now take on University of Queensland who are clearly a step below the others on the table with 14 points and being that distance away from the top five. Coorparoo and Yeronga South Brisbane are evenly matched with 28 points apiece, and would be a huge elimination final regardless of who hosts it.

Fast forward a week later, and the top of the table Sharkettes will take on the winner of fourth or fifth, which if the top sides win in week one of finals, would be either Coorparoo or Yeronga South Brisbane, leaving the second placed Coolangatta Tweed to play Maroochydore in that scenario. The winners of those preliminary finals would go through to the grand final where they will contest the 2020 premiership title.

One award that will be determined at the end of the round is the leading goalkicker, with Coorparoo’s Jamie Stanton in pole position with 15 majors this season, two clear of University of Queensland’s Dakota Davidson. Maroochydore’s Shannon Campbell sits in equal third on 12, alongside Bond University’s Taylor Smith. Also hitting double-figure goals are another trio of Kings in Emma McKenzie (11), Jess Wuetschner (11) and Chelsea Chesterfield (10).

In terms of the league best and fairest, there is only one player to be named in her team’s best in all 11 rounds which is Courtney Daniec (Aspley Hornets). The Hornets have had a tough season, but clearly have some standout players who perform week-in, week-out with Isabella Kotatis (eight), Morgan Lanigan (seven), Lucy Pengelly (seven) and Angela Lingard (six) always featuring prominently in the bests. Wilston Grange have a trio of players also having good seasons in Kaitlyn Day (nine bests), Catherine Svarc (seven) and Kristen Tyquin (six). Others who have stood out in that top group are Coorparoo’s Jade Ellenger (seven), Maroochydore’s Maggie Harmer (seven) and Lily Postlethwaite (six), and University of Queensland’s Megan Hunt (seven) and Jane Childes (six).

QAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 12 FIXTURES:

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

Picture: RF Photography