by Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles
2014 season wrap
There can be no denying that Coorparoo set the QWAFL benchmark in 2015. The Navy Roos finished the home and away season with 13 wins and just the one loss, heading into the finals series as the team to beat. A comfortable win over second place Zillmere in the first week of finals sent them straight through to the grand final, where they once again faced the Eagles. The Roos stood up when it counted most, running out 33-point winners, and becoming the 2014 QWAFL premiers, capping off an outstanding year all round.
Coorparoo have bolstered their list this year through the addition of not one, but two players that have previously represented their state. Bree Littlejohn and Rachel Crack, former Tasmanian State Team members, have made the move from the Devonport Football Club to Coorparoo. Expect to see them both running off half back in 2015.
Unfortunately for the Roos, they have lost five of their premiership 22 over summer. Natalie Curtis, Rhianna Nelson, Rachel Smith, Jenae Goven and Kate Hilton have all moved on from Coorparoo. All will be huge losses to the lineup, as premiership experience is never easy to replace, but Hilton may be the biggest loss of all. She provided an important target for Coorparoo across center half forward last year, so the Roos will have to find a new avenue to goal.
New coach Bernie Cantrell has placed a real emphasis on fitness across summer. Refusing to rest on the clubs results from last year, he has been putting miles into the legs to ensure their fitness is at an optimum level. With up to 11 new players around the club, there has been a lot of skill work done this pre-season. Cantrell wants to build the foundation for these new players by getting the basics right before their game evolves.
Coach Bernie Cantrell’s thoughts on 2015
“We are hoping to push for finals footy. We think that we have still got the group there to be successful and hopefully push for a grand final. Training has been really good, we have had plenty of numbers, with me as new coach there’s always that little bit of excitement around the club, it’s something different and something new, so we are ready for this year.”
Who has the X factor?
Emma Zielkie will be the one to watch in 2015. Captain of the team, the commitment and voice she brings each week has led to Cantrell labeling her “one of the best female captains running around.” She will kick start the team out of the middle, but look out for her to also push forward at times and provide an extremely dangerous option.