2024 Bond University QAFLW Season Preview – Coorparoo

By Hannah Davies

It’s time for a new era for the Coorparoo Kings: the Rory Lake and Leigh Harding era.

The Kings come into season 2024 with an exciting change up in the coaching department, with former Coorparoo premiership player Lake taking on the role of head coach – his first time coaching women’s football.

Having played over 100 games with the Kings – including premierships in 2016 and 2022 – Lake was the club’s senior men’s coach from 2015 to 2019, and has also notched more than 150 state league games with Morningside and Mt Gravatt.

Despite originally not seeing a club coaching job on his horizon for 2024, Lake said this was an opportunity he couldn’t look past.

“Coaching wasn’t on the radar for me, I’d taken a step back in the men’s space towards the back end of my playing year,” Lake said.

“I was doing some coaching at a school level, at St Laurence’s College, and that was about it. But then this job came up – and there weren’t many jobs that interested me – but this one piqued my interest. I’d always loved what the women’s team had brought to the footy club, they’ve always been a really competitive side, and I knew the people and that I’d have great support from the club.”

Inspired by the “united” culture he’d witnessed from the women’s department, Lake was quick to take on the job – noting that becoming a father to his daughter had provided only another reason to become involved in the women’s space.

“I always thought the girls brought a great energy around the footy club. They were always really competitive no matter the game,” he said.

“Having a daughter absolutely played a part in me accepting this role. My father had coached a little bit in the women’s space at the Gold Coast SUNS, and having a daughter and knowing there’s a pathway for her in Aussie rules is exciting.”

It was during Lake’s time as South Queensland coach in 2022 where he met his now senior assistant coach, and former North Melbourne player, Leigh Harding.

After a successful AFL career, Harding’s coaching resume includes coach of the Brisbane Lions’ NEAFL side from 2013-2016, including their 2013 premiership, and coach of Redland’s NEAFL side from 2017-2018.

With two new coaches has brought a whole new game plan for the Kings. In 2023, Coorparoo had plenty of upside, but ultimately lacked consistency.

One week they were knocking off eventual premiers Bond University (Round 14), and the next they were walking off the field scoreless (Round 15 v Southport Sharks). They fought hard to make the elimination final against Aspley, but spectators were left with the feeling there was more to be said for the top four side.

“We’ve had a high turnover of players, and we’re going to play a pretty different brand of football to what they did last year, and we’re training differently to what we did last year,” Lake said.

“We’ve thrown a lot at the girls, done a lot of educating, a lot of game type situations and worked through different scenarios. They’ve taken everything on board and really embraced it and run with it. I can’t commend them enough for the work they’ve put in – change can be difficult but they’ve really embraced it.”

Captaining the side this season will be Ajla Fetahagic with Lucy Schneider as her vice-captain. Long-term captain Sally Young is stepping back from leadership roles to focus on being a player.


Key recruits

Emily Bleney – Midfielder comes across from Yeronga.

Mia Teubler – Premiership ruck with UQ. Now plays as a defender.

Emily Harding – Midfielder who comes down from the Herbert Park Tigers in Townsville. Was voted most valuable player in Townsville across the men’s and women’s leagues by the Townsville Bulletin.

Alyssa Gall – Former Cairns Saints player, won Best on Ground in a losing Grand Final side. Will play mid forward.

Grace Perry – Key forward comes across from Maroochydore (before which she was at the Cairns Saints)

Jenae Govan – Previous key forward for Coorparoo comes back from long-term injury.


Key outs

Laura Blue – Williamstown (VFLW)

Coco Garton – UQ 

Josii Hargreaves – UQ

Liz Hills – Southport 

Hannah McLaughlin – Injury (ACL)

Jo Miller – Glenelg (SANFLW)


Player/s to watch

Jasmine Fretwell – “She’s played a fair bit of senior football over the last few years but mainly as a ruck or forward, but we’ve been training her as a key defender. She’s really surprised us.”

Grace Roberts-White – “She’s another one who’s shown a huge amount of growth over the preseason. She used to play half forward, but is stepping into the midfield.”



“I haven’t come in with any expectations, I don’t have any preconceived ideas of our team or our opposition. I know we’ll be really competitive, and we’ll be hard to beat if we’re at our best. There are no limits to it, we’ll just see what happens,” says Lake.


Prediction: Big changes are happening for the Coorparoo Kings, with Lake and Harding at the helm and a new skipper to boot. By end-of-season we’ll see the Kings in formidable form but the question remains how long it will take this team to adapt to their new training style and game plan. If they don’t make finals, they’ll be a team that will make or break other finalists.

Our Supporters