QWAFL Preliminary Finals preview

 

It’s do-or-die for the top four in the preliminary knockouts this Saturday at Wilston Grange. It will be a massive day for women’s football, QWAFA Grand Final headlining the day at 5:00pm. Two teams will book their spots in the QWAFL Grand Final and two teams will say goodbye to their 2016 seasons.

Listen to our preliminary finals podcast here

Catch the back-to-back live blog via aflq.com.au from 11:45am   

Preliminary Final 1:

Coolangatta     v     Zillmere

These two met just two weeks ago. It was one of Coolangatta’s best games of the season and a day Zillmere would want to forget.

All season the two has been separated by 23 points or less. But this time the Bluebirds were all over the Eagles; at the contest, on the outside and in front of the sticks; ultimately dishing out a 90-point drubbing.

Now, it’s finals; a time where anything can happen. No one loves underdog status more than Zillmere, but it’s going to take a massive game from the likes of Ally Anderson, Tayla Harris and Shaliese Law to win this one. If these three can get moving and start working their magic, it will lift the rest of the side.

Cooly’s Charlie Duke has done a brilliant job this season in shutting down tall and dominant players. Harris managed to kick a couple of goals in the last encounter, but Duke’s role becomes even more important on Saturday.

For Cooly, it’s their midfield group who really impact the game. Captain, Leah Kaslar was superb last time and loves the hype of finals. Playing next to her are the talented likes of Nikki Wallace, Selina Goodman and Jamie Stanton who show complete class when using the footy.

Let’s not forget the competition’s leading goal kicker, Kalinda Howarth, who bagged six last time. If she’s let lose it could be damaging.

Both sides will welcome back some key players; Zillmere, forward Paige Parker and experienced midfielder Kylie Guarino. For Cooly, Alex Hamlyn, Lauren James and Maddy Coe will come back in.

Where & When:
Bendigo Bank Oval, Wilston Grange @ 12:00pm, Saturday September 10

2016 Encounters:
Round 1 – Coolangatta defeated Zillmere by 12 points

Round 10 – Coolangatta defeated Zillmere by 15 points

Round 13 – Coolangatta defeated Zillmere by 23 points

Round 16 – Coolangatta defeated Zillmere by 90 points

2016 Form: Coolangatta (14/16 Wins) Zillmere (7/16 Wins)

Key match up:
Leah Kaslar (Coolangatta)   v   Ally Anderson (Zillmere).

These two play one of the most crucial roles for their side; they are leaders in the engine room. Ally Anderson is one of the competitions hardest contested ball player, she will stop at no cost to find the footy and generate movement. Kaslar is much the same, she brings fiery intensity to the game and isn’t afraid to lay some big tackles. Whoever can get their hands on the ball first and use it to their advantage will have the upper hand in this battle.

Prediction:
Coolangatta by 13 points

Coach’s Thoughts:

Aaron Russell, Coolangatta

“With the finals structure being different this year, it puts everyone in the same boat which is not a bad thing.”

“We need to make sure we do everything we can to play a good final on Saturday, because that’s it, that’s our only chance.”

“We’re playing for a chance for the grand final and we will be looking at Saturday as a new game.”

“It’s a do or die game, both teams have equally as much to gain and equally as much to lose.”

“We’ve made sure that we’re going in a fresh as possible, we’re taking no risks.”

 

Jacob Simmons-Bliss, Zillmere                  

“We’ve had a really good two weeks, having the extra week to prepare for a preliminary final has been really crucial to us.”

“Obviously we were very disappointed with our last match, so it gave us an opportunity to focus on a couple of different things last week and then get back to a more football-oriented focus this week.”

“The morale is up, and they’re all very determined to get the job done on Saturday.”

“We just want to make sure that we stay with them, if we can keep Cooly at bay that is where we want to build our platform from.”

“We’ve got a free hit a grand final birth and we are going to throw absolutely everything we have at that.”

“Whilst we acknowledge that we are [the underdog], I look at every other result between us besides two weeks ago and it make me think it’s going to be a ripping contest.”

C

 

Preliminary Final 2:

Yeronga     v     UQ

This match should be an absolute ripper. UQ welcome back a colossal nine players to their side this week for their inaugural finals series in the top competition.

Yeronga go into this match as favourite after a burning hot 144-point win two weeks ago against Wilston Grange. It’s going to be a midfield battle of epic proportions with the Yeronga trio of Emily Bates, Kate McCarthy and Sam Virgo set to line up against Megan Hunt, Emma Zielke and Breanna Koenan.

Watch the wing for the youngest matchup of the day, with Queensland U18 representative duo, Courteney Bromage (Yeronga) taking on Alanna Perry (UQ).

For UQ, their first quarter will be critical. If they can get an early jump and put Yeronga on the back foot it will set them up for a prelim victory. However, if Yeronga is given too much space and time they will hurt the Red Lionesses on defensive transition, as well as run and carry.

Yeronga’s Jade Ransfield, who tied as the QWAFL leading goal kicker, will be one to watch after she bagged a season high 12 goals two weeks ago.

The Devils will be without in form Delissa Kimmince in their backline, which will help the UQ forwards. UQ’s nine additions include Emma Zielke, Marnie McGorm, Laura Stampa, Sharni Webb and Emma Pericic. Keep your eye on Kate McCarthy, the last time these sides met the zippy midfielder kicked six goals.

Where & When:
Bendigo Bank Oval, Wilston Grange @ 2:30pm, Saturday September 10

2016 Encounters:
Round 3 – Yeronga defeated UQ by 29 points

Round 8 – Yeronga defeated UQ by 18 points

Round 14 – Yeronga defeated UQ by 41 points

2016 Form:  Yeronga (14 /16 Wins) UQ (9/16 Wins)

Key match up:
Emily Bates (Yeronga)  v  Emma Zielke (UQ)

You probably won’t get a better midfield matchup in the QWAFL than this. They are prime ball movers with lethal kicks. Bates plays a more defensive transitioning role, and generates a lot of run and carry, all while being superb overhead.

Zielke shows plenty of class and smarts with the ball in hard, and is more influential as the final kick going in forward. Both have bright futures in the National Women’s competition, and can really be the difference for their respective side on Saturday.

Prediction:
Yeronga by 5 points.

Coach’s Thoughts:

Scott Stephens, Yeronga

“The girls are very keen and ready to go, we’re very aware that we have to be playing our best football on Saturday or it could mean season over.”

“All the girls, QWAFA included are very excited, it’s a big day for Yeronga as a women’s club.”

“We’ve got a great culture at our club, we are one big group and our two teams train together which benefits both grades.”

“We’ve got tremendous amount of respect for UQ as a side, and you’ve got to go into every game with caution about your opponent and it will be no different to every other time we’ve played them this year.”

“We’ll go into the game with the same intentions we’ve had against UQ previously, but we haven’t executed our game plan the best in our previous meetings.”

Damien Richards, UQ

“The attitude has been really positive, the last two weeks of training has been the best all year.”

“I think the Coorparoo loss two weeks ago has really helped everyone switch on.”

“We’ve been lacking effort the last four weeks of the season, since the Coorparoo game the training standards and intensity has lifted to the level it needs to be.”

“It’s going to be interesting to see who can play the better defensive brand of footy in the Perry and Bromage matchup.”

“They’re both great offensive players, but whoever can win defensively out of the two will win that matchup.”

“We will be watching their quality players through the middle such as Bates, Virgo and McCarthy.”

“We are definitely the underdog, so there’s not too much pressure at all.”

UQ

 

Jessica Stewart

Jess_Stewart16 (Twitter)

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