By Ant Wingard
University of Queensland v Coolangatta Tweed
Saturday, August 11 4:45PM
Griffith University Campus Oval
University of Queensland’s home away from home, Griffith University, will paint the backdrop for the must win showdown between the third place Red Lions and fourth placed Coolangatta Tweed.
Both sides enter the contest in contrasting levels of form and recent performances suggest it may be University of Queensland who will win out and advance onto next week’s preliminary final.
The Red Lions claimed the four points in each of their past four games, qualifying for finals on the back of consistent form over the last month of the season.
The side averaged over 60 points on the scoreboard during that stretch with a number of goal kickers getting in on the action.
Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Kate McCarthy are the biggest names in a star-studded forward line, but cameos from Marnie McGorm, Maddison Wood and Gabby Collingwood could prove too much to handle for the Bluebirds’ defence.
A talented group of hard-running midfielders which includes Nat Grider, Megan Hunt and Marley Beaven also gives University of Queensland a big opportunity to get first use out of the middle.
Meanwhile, Coolangatta are desperate to repent their horror run of form over the past five games.
The Bluebirds rounded out the home and away season with five defeats on the trot in a stretch that included four games against finals-bound teams.
Despite their struggles however, Coolangatta has been a formidable team this year and improvement against the Red Lions, when the stakes are the highest, is likely to come.
The side’s midfield is among the toughest in the competition with players such as Selina Goodman, Holly Mirfield and Maddy Roberts forming an intimidating core between the arcs.
Beth Pinchin is another who’s performance could have significant influence on the outcome of the game.
In her fourth season with the Bluebirds, Pinchin, 21, has found her groove as an enforcer through the middle and across half-forward and also represented the Gold Coast SUNS in the recent Winter Series competition.
If the Bluebirds’ midfield can prevail over the Red Lions, the job will then be for the forward to hit the scoreboard.
Leah Kaslar has drifted forward in patches since returning to the side three weeks ago but it yet to find the scoreboard.
The two sides have already played off twice this season, with both the Bluebirds and Red Lions claiming one win in the series.
Their Round 5 matchup returned a 17-point win in favour of Coolangatta while University of Queensland won out with a 52-point victory in their most recent Round 16 showdown.
The winner of the matchup will go on to play the loser of Wilston Grange v Coorparoo for the spot in the Grand Final.
Wilston Grange v Coorparoo
Saturday, August 11 4:45PM
Bendigo Bank Oval, Wilston Grange
A confirmed place in the 2018 QWAFL Grand Final is up for grabs as the competition’s top two sides go head to head in the biggest game of the season to date.
For the loser though, the season isn’t over just yet as is the perks of finishing in the top two spots at the end of the home and away season.
A date with the winner of the elimination final showdown between University of Queensland and Coolangatta Tweed awaits next weekend for the losing side.
Their matchup this weekend however, pits the competition’s best team of the season against the team in perhaps the best vein of form heading into finals.
The Gorillas have emerged early in the year as the competition’s most dominant team – a motive highlighted by their run of 11 straight wins to kick off their 2018 campaign.
A Round 14 loss to University of Queensland, right amidst the Winter Series and NAB AFLW Under 18 National Championships, was the side’s only blemish in an otherwise glittering season.
Coorparoo too have shown their prowess as a QWAFL powerhouse, dropping just four games throughout the season – twice to Wilston Grange alongside four-point losses to Yeronga South Brisbane and Bond University respectively.
It has been the second half of the season though were the Kings have really shown their knack to win games, losing just one game after their Round 9 bye.
In that stretch, the Kings toppled the 50-point mark six times in seven games and the 100-point mark twice.
Both matchups between the two sides this year in which the Gorillas tasted victory, were played in the opening third of the season when many of Coorparoo’s experienced heads were missing in action.
Since then, both sides have adapted and changed considerably which makes this week’s matchup all that more intriguing.
Ally Anderson will line up for the Kings in the matchup for just her fourth appearance in the competition this season.
After claiming the Kings’ best and fairest in 2017, Anderson will play an integral role for the Kings in the matchup given her ability to play either in the midfield or further forward where she has already kicked four goals.
If the Kings’ have any hope of usurping Wilston Grange, the side’s defence, which has been stable through most of the season, will play a significant role.
Captain, Cleo Davis, Ari Reilly and Jade Ellenger have become keys for the Kings in recent weeks and boast the ability to push further up the ground and impact the scoreboard.
For the Gorillas, a versatile forward line which boasts Maddison Peeters, Jemma Abbott and Delma Gisu, could provide the spark for the home side in the contest.
An experience midfield of Kate Lutkins, Jamie Stanton and Brittany Gibson has the ability to tip the game into the Gorillas hands and propel the Gorillas to their first Grand Final appearance in QWAFL history.