Round 16 results:
University of Queensland 3.5 (23) def. by Coorparoo 7.5 (47)
Yeronga South Brisbane 9.12 (66) def. Coolangatta Tweed 6.5 (41)
Zillmere Eagles 1.1 (7) def. by Maroochydore 16.17 (113)
BYE: Wilston Grange
The Devils’ redemption:
It had been 315 days since they last played a full game against each other, in the 2016 QWAFL grand final, but we finally got to see the highly anticipated rematch between Yeronga and Coolangatta on Saturday. After falling agonisingly short of the flag last year, a win over their rivals would have been one of the first things on Yeronga’s agenda for 2017, and at last they were able to check that box.
It was an arm wrestle for most of the first half, with each side trading blows to kick then concede a goal. Despite Yeronga controlling the footy much better in the second term, they only managed to head into the main break with a slim two-point lead after Coolangatta managed a late goal against the flow of play. However, the second half was where Yeronga started to pull away, with the Bluebirds seeming to drift from their preferred style of play as they attempted to halt the Devils’ surge. Jessy Keeffe was outstanding in getting Yeronga over the line, orchestrating the clean ball movement from stoppages. Despite a late revival by Coolangatta, the Devils were ultimately too strong for the Bluebirds and ran out 25-point winners.
Koenen show not enough for UQ:
A season-best performance by Breanna Koenen was not enough to secure a win for UQ over Coorparoo on Saturday afternoon. Koenen was excellent in defence and the midfield for the Red Lions, taking close to 10 intercept marks for the game and setting up her side extremely well in transition. Overall, it was a very yin-and-yang style game for UQ, who are in desperate need of a win to keep their finals hopes alive. The Red Lions started and finished well, but just lost touch with Coorparoo during the middle half of the game. To UQ’s credit though, Coorparoo would have had almost double their inside-50 count but were unable to capitalise due to the staunch Uni backline. A 24-point loss doesn’t do UQ any favours as they attempt to reel in Coolangatta who are one win adrift of them on the ladder, meaning everything will come down to the final round next weekend.
Buck stops with the rucks:
Round 16 could aptly be renamed “Ruck Appreciation Round”, after three extremely strong performances from the competition’s talls. As mentioned previously, Jessy Keeffe had an absolute blinder for Yeronga, while UQ’s Cambridge McCormick and Coorparoo’s Emma McKenzie also drew the praise from their coaches.
McCormick, UQ’s FIFO ruckman from down south, was a huge asset to have back for the Red Lions and engaged in a fierce battle with her Coorparoo counterpart on the day. McKenzie did extremely well in that contest, and was able to spoon-feed the Sherrin down her midfield’s throats on a couple of occasions to win some easy clearances. It’s been a huge year of development for the blossoming ruck, whose overall game sense and ruck work has improved dramatically since the beginning of the season to give the Kings something to build from heading into finals.
The ladder now:
It’s now boiled down to a two-horse race for the final spot in the top four. Coorparoo, Yeronga and Wilston Grange are all locked in for finals footy, with Coolangatta and UQ duking it out to stay alive. Coolangatta sit on 30 points with a percentage of 146.75, while UQ are close behind on 26 points and a 116.46 percentage. With round 17 being the final round of the regular season, Coolangatta are primed to hold onto fourth spot; a win or draw against Coorparoo would confirm it. To overtake them, UQ would likely need a 100-point or more win over Maroochydore coupled with a heavy loss to Coolangatta which could be enough to see them leapfrog the Bluebirds on percentage. It sets the scene for a thrilling final round of QWAFL action next weekend.
By Josh Cheadle