QWAFL: Round 1 Preview

After a grueling and lengthy preseason, we have finally arrived to Round 1 of the 2016 QWAFL season.

Following some significant off-season recruiting from every club, the six teams will kick the year off with a bang, and no doubt there will be some big surprises.

Be assured, this year will be the season where the competition will even out, as six elite female teams battle it out to achieve the dream of holding up that premiership cup in September.

An introduction to the 2016 QWAFL, from Competition Manager, Fiona Jones

“With the National Women’s League not far away, coaches and players alike have discovered a new level of competition, and the QWAFL has certainly taken a step up since last season.

“There’s been a whirlwind of movement and recruitment over the past couple of months, creating what I imagine is going to be a really even competition this year.

“If the Flash Footy Tournament is anything to go, Yeronga are going to be the team to watch, although don’t discount any others. There’s a wave of youth girls now coming into the competition this season that are going to bring a whole new competitive dynamic.

“Also, keep an eye out for some game style changes and a new level of expertise as we have three new head coaches coming into the mix, with four of our coaches holding a Level 2 accreditation.”


Match of the Round
University of Queensland vs. Coorparoo

There’s no better way for the ex-Coorparoo girls to start their 2016 season, than playing against their old teammates in Round 1. It will no doubt be a game bursting with emotion and intensity from the first bounce. It’ll be interesting to see just who comes out on top, as both teams will look to run the ball and make the most when going forward. Follow live twitter coverage on @AFLQFemaleFooty

Where & When: UQ, Field 9 St Lucia at 4:45pm

Last time they met: Round 19, 2015 – Coorparoo defeated UQ by 79 points

Key match up:  Sharni Webb (UQ) v Rachael Crack (Coorparoo) Key forward on key defender. They may not be playing directly on one another, but there is no doubt that these girls will at some point come across each other on Sunday.

Coach’s Thoughts: Damien Richards, UQ Coach  

“We’ll be focusing on what we’ve been trying to build over the preseason. Trying to change the style of play that UQ has been playing over previous years and really just trying to get improvement out of the squad. We want to win a lot of the loose ball, through the contest and open up the play and to make Coorparoo chase us.”

Prediction:  University of Queensland by 9 points


Coolangatta Tweed vs. Zillmere

This game will be an absolute cracker, with both teams having tight contests throughout the entire 2015 season. There will be some fascinating match ups, with both sides testing out new players from their youth girls ranks. It will be physical and played in close, as both look to get 2016 off to the perfect start.

Tune in to Smash FM for live coverage on Facebook, Twitter and smashfm.com.au.

Where & When: Bond University at 4:45pm

Last time they met: Round 17, 2015 – Zillmere defeated Coolangatta by 1 point

Key match up: Leah Kaslar (Coolangatta) v Tayla Harris (Zillmere) – It was already an interesting match up in last Saturday night’s Women’s Exhibition Match between the two, with Kaslar keeping Harris to just two behinds. They are playing for two completely different teams on Saturday, which will change things, but on thing is for sure, the pair will leave nothing on the field.

Coach’s Thoughts: Aaron Russell, Coolangatta Coach 

“We don’t really know what to expect. We just have to control what we can control… which is how we play. We do know Ally Anderson links up pretty well, so we will be looking to give her a tough day at the office. We’ve really focused in the off-season to educate our girls about recovery and preparation, as we were really affected by injuries last year. The biggest thing is improving our skills, specifically our kicking when moving the ball forward.”

Prediction: Coolangatta by 15 points


Yeronga vs. Wilston Grange 

This should be an interesting game, as one of the favourites will line up against the newest to Queensland’s elite competition. I wouldn’t count out Wilston Grange with new recruit Tahlia Randall, who is set to play a big role for the Gorillas. Yeronga will be playing with fresh faces on Saturday and will be looking to quickly find some fluency.

Where & When: Leyshon Park (Oval 1), Yeronga at 4:45pm

Last time they met:  Round 11, 2015 – Yeronga defeated Wilston Grange by 30 points

Key match up: Tahlia Randall (Wilston Grange) v Danielle Wall (Yeronga)– Both of these players are extremely physical when attacking the ball and are talented ball users. It’s hard to predict what position Randall will be playing, she will float around for the day, but will line up on Wall at some stage.

Coach’s Thoughts: Scott Stephens, Yeronga Coach

“They are all very keen to get out there. Our best policy at this stage of proceedings is to go out there and get what we want to get right on the day. You’ve got to watch Tahlia Randall obviously as she’s such a quality player, but we aren’t going to be concentrating to hard on any particular individual. It’s going to be good to see how the new players mix in with the new girls.”

Prediction: Yeronga by 30 points

By QWAFL writer Jessica Stewart

Twitter: @Jess_Stewart16

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