2022 QAFLW Preview – Yeronga South Brisbane

By Daniel Viles

Yeronga South Brisbane is relying on its resilient nature and an injection of young talent to return to finals football in the 2022 Bond University QAFLW.

No fewer than ten regular top-grade players missed games through injury in 2021 as the then-defending Premiers finished outside of the finals for only the second time in their history.

Yeronga hasn’t exactly begun 2022 with devil’s luck either as the recent floods damaged facilities at Leyshon Park forcing new coach Lexi Edwards to redesign the team’s training schedule.

“All of our energies since the flood have been about trying to find a venue for training. We’ve been using the Yeronga State High School undercover basketball court area. We’ve brought our training forward so we can train in daylight on the oval and then transition for the other half undercover.

“We also did a swap with Coorparoo, we’ve been at Moorooka, but that’s all right; the girls are resilient.”

These difficulties have not damped the excitement of a squad now enhanced by six players at the Lions Academy: forward Georgia Carmody from Mount Gravatt; Georgia Hewett and Ebony Milne from Victoria Point; ex-South Toowoomba and Jindalee twins Courtney and Sarah Browne; and ruck Peppa Poultney who moves north from Victorian powerhouse, Darebin Falcons.

“The juniors we’ve got coming through are really exciting. It’s important for their development if they’re playing in the Lions Academy that they’re playing against bigger bodies in the QAFLW competition as well.”

Yeronga has plenty of inside midfield strength to cover the loss of Jordan Zanchetta, including Madison Goodwin, Christine Okesene, Kara Stock and Jaida Tabb. The trickier task for Lexi Edwards might be replacing their classic full forward and last year’s equal leading goalkicker in the Bond University QAFLW – Lexi Edwards.

“Adrienne Keeffe will be a key forward now that I’m not taking that role. We’ve added Taylah Day who has come across from Ipswich; she’s agile and really good overhead. Sophie Wheeler has come across, so we’ve added a bit of experience. Jess Matthews will rotate forward; she’s got an elite kick. We’re still a relatively tall forward line. It’s also pretty young once you take me out.”

Matthews, who returns to the Devils after four years at Wilston Grange, will also strengthen a backline that struggled to cohere in 2021 after losing all but one defender, captain Mia Walsh, from its 2020 Premiership team. Walsh begins her third season as Yeronga captain now sharing the role with halfback flanker and former Brisbane Lion Lucy Bellinger.

Also bolstering the defensive third will be Theresia Meissner who arrives from Geelong’s VFLW side having begun her football with the Hamburg Dockers in her native Germany.

Edwards’ appointment happens to make her the first female to be named head coach of the four-time premiers, an achievement which brings pride but not surprise.

“I don’t think anyone has mentioned that I’m the first female coach (for Yeronga). We are a very, very inclusive club; that’s one of our club values. I’m honoured to be the first female coach, but I know that I won’t be the last.”

QAFLW Premierships: 2011, 2012, 2017, 2020

2021: 5th (7 wins, 7 losses, 98 goals scored, 76 goals scored)

Coach: Lexi Edwards

Captains: Lucy Bellinger and Mia Walsh



Courtney Browne (Jindalee)

Sarah Browne (Jindalee)

Georgia Carmody (Mt Gravatt)

Taylah Day (Ipswich)

Shae Gundlach (Sturt, SANFLW)

Georgia Hewett (Victoria Point)

Jess Matthews (Wilston Grange)

Theresia Meissner (Geelong, VFLW)

Ebony Milne (Victoria Point)

Grace Moodie (Coolangatta)

Peppa Poultney (Darebin, VFLW)

Jaida Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens, SANFLW)

Charlotte Taylor (Wilston Grange)

Emma Thompson

Madi Twin (Redland-Victoria Point)

Sophie Wheeler (Wilston Grange)



Rachael Anstey

Abi Ashford

Monet Broughton-Ferris

Laura David (Aspley)

Lexi Edwards (retired, now coach)

Lyneeka Hollows (North Mackay)

Jess Malouf (Southport)

Nicole O’Loughlin

Jordan Zanchetta (Essendon, VFLW)



Madison Goodwin

Goodwin is a tough inside midfielder who, at 174cm, can break tackles, rip the ball from contests and put her forwards into space. She also has one of the best vertical leaps of any female footballer in Australia, her 64cm standing jump at last year’s NAB AFLW Draft Combine briefly giving her the all-time record. On-ballers who can ruck, play in key positions and score running goals don’t come along every day. Go see her play now.

Edwards says: “She can play anywhere on the ground even though she’s not tall; so she’s really good to have in the team to balance it out”.


Jamie Howell

Howell is a former long jumper and sprinter (and rugby player, netballer, crossfitter…) who broke into Yeronga’s top grade in 2021. You’ll notice Howell’s speed on the wing within sixty seconds of watching her play; the second thing you’ll notice is her tackling. Many opponents last year thought they had beaten the Devils midfield only to find themselves chased down and brought to ground with a technique straight out of the textbook.

Edwards says: “Jamie is a really good outside runner, but we’re keen to push her through the middle as well as she continues to learn the game of footy”.


Emmii-Lee Zanker Close

Every coach gives the same answer when asked what quality they most want their players to have: clean below the knees. Zanker Close stands 177cm but routinely makes outrageous pick-ups of the bouncing ball. The SUNS Academy graduate made the transition from centre halfback to centre half-forward in 2021 and was rewarded with 11 goals, including two high quality finishes during a difficult loss to eventual premiers, University of Queensland.

Edwards says: “Emmii is really starting to find her voice up front and will take a big leadership role this year in the forward line”.



The second line of the club song is: “Yeronga Devils are on the attack”. That pretty much sums it up. Since they joined and then won what is now the Bond University QAFLW in 2011, the philosophy of the club has always been to take the game on and never stop believing that a goal is only a few good disposals away. This approach sometimes cost them in 2021 when their high pressing defence was caught on the counterattack, but the style won’t change in 2022 and you’ll get to see plenty of flowing play as a result.


Picture by Chris Hyde/AFL Photos 


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