University of Queensland look set to build from their 2016 campaign where they finished third, with some off-season recruiting putting them firmly in the mix for the flag this year.
Last time we saw them:
After going down to Yeronga by two points in the preliminary final last year, UQ have set themselves up to go bigger and better in 2017. The club has seen a big influx of players during the pre-season, with as many as 45 women showing up each night to training sessions.
The club has also been active on the recruitment front, securing the services of Brisbane Lions player Shaliese Law.
New coach Phil Lovett will be joined at UQ by ex-Zillmere assistant and Army Women’s head coach, Georgia Jones, who has been instrumental in bringing more players to the club.
What to expect:
An increase in numbers has given UQ more depth this time around to put together a very competitive squad. However, a big loss to the Red Lions is Brisbane Lions captain and 2015 QWAFL Best and Fairest Emma Zielke deciding to move on.
UQ will get Breanna Koenan, Sharni Webb and Megan Hunt back later in the season. More tackling pressure and physicality is something coach Phil Lovett wants to see from his team in 2017, with some fringe players putting their hands up in the pre-season to fill any early vacancies.
Expect to see UQ start to really hit their straps with a full strength team after Easter.
On the radar:
Look out for Annie Shewring this year. The 27-year-old has put in another big pre-season for UQ after finishing 2016 as one of their best. The speedy midfielder is skilful on the inside and outside and will look to run and carry when she can this season.
After multiple years of being named in representative squads and with a clear pathway to the AFLW now an option, Shewring will be looking to take her game to another level for UQ to give herself the best chance of playing at a higher level.
Ladder Position: 3rd
From the coach:
“We’d love to take it a step further from what we did last year and make the Grand Final. The girls are very hungry and know what they’ve got to do. It’s definitely been self-driven by the players and I’ve just got to help them get there.”
- UQ coach Phil Lovett
By Josh Cheadle