MATCH OF THE ROUND
COOLANGATTA vs. COORPAROO
Saturday August 8, 4:45pm Len Peak Oval
One versus two, identical records and just four games left in regular season. It doesn’t get much bigger than this.
The two premier sides in the QWAFL will square off for the third, and most important time at Len Peak Oval on Saturday, in a game that will likely decide the 2015 minor premiership.
Although finishing in top spot would be a sweet reward after a long season, Coorparoo coach Bernie Cantrell insists that ladder positions mean little at this stage.
“Worrying about where you finish on the ladder and putting a lot of emphasis on it can come back to bite you,” Cantrell said.
“Whether we finish first, second or even third, we just have to get in to give ourself a shot of being there on Grand Final day.
“The girls are really looking forward to the contest this week, we are more interested in the battle on the field and how we play – we can’t buy into the hype of finishing first.”
The defending QWAFL premiers have been stellar in 2015, registering eleven consecutive wins the in dominating fashion.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the Navy Roos according to Cantrell however, who has been openly disappointed in recent weeks.
“The last two weeks haven’t been the type of football we really want to playing, and if we don’t switch on we could get caught out,” he said.
“Tuesday night training was really upbeat and the girls know where they have to improve, but we will have to play well to win on Saturday.
“A four quarter effort is what I’m expecting, we haven’t done it for a while, but it’s what it is going to take to win.”
The last time the Navy Roos and Bluebirds clashed, Coorparoo held on to win in a 2-point thriller, breaking the hearts of a then undefeated Coolangatta outfit.
However, revenge won’t be the motivation this weekend according to Coolangatta coach, Aaron Russell, who is simply hoping for a strong performance.
“We haven’t really discussed the loss to them to be honest, the girls are looking forward to playing them, but that’s more because they are a top side,” Russell said.
“I’m missing 8 or 9 of my top 15 players this weekend, so we are going to work really hard as a unit to get over the line.
“I think if we minimise their disposal efficiency, put them under pressure and move the ball quickly we are a real chance of winning.”
A feature attraction at this weekend’s game will be the huge range of talent on display, with a host of state players set to lineup.
While the regular stars for Coorparoo are a concern for Russell, he isn’t forgetting some of the Navy Roos hidden gems, who have starred in recent weeks.
“We will always target the good players, so obviously players like Hannah (Sexton) and Megan (Hunt) are targets,” Russell said.
“We have plans in place to limit them, but we also have to try and keep Mackenzie Arnold on the leash this week, she has been great recently.”
Expect a ripper of a contest on the weekend, with the winner undoubtedly in the drivers seat to have a huge September.
ZILLMERE vs. GRIFFITH MOOROOKA
Saturday August 8, 4:45pm O’Callaghan Park
They didn’t get the four points last weekend, but Zillmere finally showed some of the form that took them to last years Grand Final.
Three quarters of winning footy against Yeronga is nothing to sneeze at, but Eagles coach, Jacob Simmons-Bliss, believes his group must perform at a higher level.
“We were happy with parts of that game against Yeronga, but there are things we definitely need to improve on, we can’t make slow starts and not show up for a quarter,” Simmons-Bliss said.
“We have no choice but to carry the form we showed in the final three quarters though, we have four games in five weeks and we need to convert.”
It has been an up and down season for Zillmere, who find themselves in a battle with Wilston Grange for the remaining finals spot.
The Eagles always promised to peak at the business end of the season, but even Simmons-Bliss admits 2015 has been a little below par.
“I think we got sucked into just running through the motions for a lot of this year, we have been under performing to be honest,” Simmons-Bliss said.
“But I’m confident we are heading in the right direction, the message this week is to not take last week’s good performance for granted and to earn everything.
“If we continue to move the ball quickly, stay in a good mental state and take the most of our forward opportunities I expect a good result.”
It has been a tough season for Griffith Moorooka, but the Reds have showed improvement in recent weeks, competing admirably against Coolangatta and UQ.
The Reds will start massive underdogs on Saturday, but Griffith Moorooka coach, Glenn Hogetts, will still be looking for improvement from his group.
“I think we just need to be calmer under pressure and not panic as much, we just have to take our time with the football,” Hogetts said.
“We want to limit their whole team performance and try and close the gap like we did last time.
“I think we can take the fight to them and if we constantly apply pressure and continue to get first hands to the ball I think it will be a good battle.”
WILSTON GRANGE vs. UQ
Sunday August 9, 4:45pm PBI Oval
The equation is simple for Wilston Grange; A win keeps your finals hopes alive, but a loss could mean September is spent watching from the sidelines.
With four games to go in the regular season, just one game separates Wilston Grange and Zillmere, making this weekend’s clash against UQ vital for the Gorillas.
Grange have collected the chocolates on both occasions against the Red Lionesses in 2015, but Gorillas coach, Ron Kemp is taking nothing for granted.
“UQ are a pretty good side, they play a similar game to us and have really good tackling pressure,” Kemp said.
“Without doubt it is going to be a close game, UQ are one of those sides that grind it out for a whole game and we will have to stay with them.
“I think we have to get first use of the footy and we have to move and give ourself the best chance of kicking goals – we definitely have to take our opportunities this week.
There is a lot riding on this game for Wilston Grange, and Kemp admits that nothing short of a win will do this weekend.
“The rest of the games for the year are all critical if we want to play finals,” Kemp said.
“In my mind we have to win three of our last four games to make it, so it’s critical that we win this weekend to get some momentum to give ourself the best chance.”
2015 has seen a slow and steady improvement from UQ, who have notched up three wins and some other very close contests.
Two of UQ’s closer contests have actually come against Grange, who they fell to in round 1 by 14-points and in round 9 by 34-points.
Although UQ went home without the points on both occasions, Red Lionesses coach, Michael Swann, believes his group could have won both games.
“I take nothing away from how they’ve played the previous times, but in both games we felt we were in the games and had the chances to win,” Swann said.
“Both sides are closer to full strength now and it shapes as a pretty exciting contest, hopefully we can put in the kind of performance we are capable of.”
UQ have taken huge strides in 2015 against the competition’s top sides, and Swann is hopeful the effort during games transcends on the scoreboard this weekend.
“We want to keep improving each week and we feel like we are doing that, which has been really positive,” Swann said.
“At this stage, we are probably focusing on trying to convert on our good work around the ball and make the most of it when we go forward.”
By Grant Hitzman – @granthitzman