Seven teams, 19 rounds, 52 matches. We’ve finally reached the finish line for the 2017 Bond University QWAFL season. This year, we’ve got the Yeronga South Brisbane Devils taking on the Coorparoo Kings.
It was just two weeks ago they last played each other, with the Kings coming away with the win in a nail-biting five-point affair to book their spot in the Grand Final.
Yeronga had another hurdle to overcome last week, when they came up against a spirited Wilston Grange outfit determined to continue its fairytale season.
After motoring home in the final quarter, the Devils have set the scene for the competition’s two best sides this year to face off one last time.
Coorparoo’s win in the qualifying final gives them the upper hand in their matchups so far, winning two out of the clubs’ three encounters this season.
While they’ve had an extra week of preparation, the Kings are still sweating on the fitness of a couple of key players, including Britt Gibson, Emma McKenzie and Tarni White. They’ll be given until Sunday to prove they’re up to the task.
Yeronga have just one change from last week at this stage, with star midfielder Kate McCarthy recovering from illness to resume her place in the side for the big game.
How Yeronga got here:
It was just twelve months ago Yeronga were in this same position, playing Coolangatta in the 2016 QWAFL Grand Final.
After snatching the lead in the fourth quarter, a late Coolangatta goal sealed their fate and the Devils ultimately went down by two points at the final siren.
While they’ve moved on from the loss, it’s something that has driven those grand final players to greater heights this year.
Winning ten games this year, the Devils have laid the foundation for a successful finals campaign and now have their opportunity for redemption.
How Coorparoo got here:
While Yeronga were preparing for finals footy, at the same time last year the Kings had played their last game of 2016, winning the final two matches to only just avoid the wooden spoon.
They finished that season with 13 losses and just three wins.
In just one season, the Kings have been able to completely reverse their fortunes to go from the outhouse to the penthouse.
They finished the 2017 regular season with 11 wins, two losses and a draw to claim the minor premiership.
One of their losses came to the Devils in round three, but since then the Kings have been nearly unstoppable on their road to finals footy.
Qualifying Final: Coorparoo 10.2 (62) def. Yeronga South Brisbane 7.15 (57)
Round 14: Coorparoo 8.7 (55) def. Yeronga South Brisbane 8.6 (54)
Round 3: Yeronga South Brisbane 14.16 (100) def. Coorparoo 5.5 (35)
Matchups that matter:
Yeronga have been packing heat all year up forward, and Sunday will be no different. With Jade Ransfield, Sabrina Frederick-Traub, Demi Leach and Kaitlyn Cantrell to deal with, to name a few, it will be all hands on deck for the Coorparoo defence.
Cleo Davis has regularly been one of the Kings’ best in defence, so it would be logical for her to pick up either Ransfield or Frederick-Traub depending on which one is playing higher up the ground. It will be a big challenge for Davis, but she’s proved repeatedly throughout the season she’s up for the task.
Coorparoo’s danger duo up forward has been Lions teammates and Tasmanian natives Britt Gibson and Jessica Wuetschner. They’ll likely come up against Sam Virgo and Renee Cowan in defence for Yeronga, which should be another great contest to keep an eye on.
Both Devils were posted in the halfback line in the win against Grange last week, and were able to read the play well and break lines after causing a turnover. If they can restrict the output of the Kings’ forwards it will go a long way towards winning the match.
“We understand what we need to do, the girls understand what they need to do but it’s a matter of going out and executing. We’ve got to make sure though the whole 80 minutes we go out there and make sure we’re switched on. They’ve (Coorparoo) been the other top side all year and we think we deserve our place there so I think it will be a great game and hopefully we’re on the right side of the scoreboard this year.”
- Yeronga Coach Scott Stephens
“To go from the bottom of the ladder to minor premiers to a chance of winning the flag is a really positive experience for our girls and our club in general. I’m sure there will be plenty of nerves and the girls might be a bit intimidated by the atmosphere but whichever team settles quickest will probably get the score on the board and it could be the difference between the winner and the loser.”
- Coorparoo Coach Michael Hewitt
Craig Starcevich (Brisbane Lions AFLW Coach) – Yeronga by 2 points
Laura Kidd (Wilston Grange Coach) – Yeronga by 4 points
David Thorpe (Coolangatta Coach) – Coorparoo by 12 points
Phil Lovett (UQ Coach) – yeronga by 21 points
John Taylor (Zillmere Coach) – Yeronga by 18 points
Josh Cheadle (QWAFL Writer) – Yeronga by 11 points
— Josh Cheadle (@JoshCheadle20) August 24, 2017
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The match will be live-streamed with commentary from 3pm Sunday.
By Josh Cheadle