2024 Bond University QAFLW Season Preview – Maroochydore

By Hannah Davies

A new crop of local stars will headline the Maroochydore Roos’ lineup for 2024 as the club builds toward a stable future.

It was a tough season for the Roos in 2023, winning just three of 14 games, but a new year has brought fresh hope, with the club signing some of the best players from the Sunshine Coast region and surrounds, including those yet to taste the Bond University QAFLW.

Ellen Hopkins, noted as one of the best from the SEQ rep team in 2023, comes across from the premiership-winning Moreton Bay Lions (QFAW Div 1) to play forward. Orla Crowley and Isabelle Trusler have also come from premiership success in 2023, winning the QFAW Div 2 competition together with Noosa, defeating Caloundra. Their rival during the Div 2 grand final, Caloundra’s Jesse McMillan, will unite with Crowley and Trusler this season.

Rounding out the Roos’ injection of youth is Abbey Rankin, AFL Queensland’s 2022 Troy Clarke Scholarship holder. The Scholarship is awarded to regional Queensland athletes who display the qualities late Brisbane Bears player and AFL Queensland Development Manager Troy Clarke embodied during his career – dedication, passion and respect. Rankin is a former Gold Coast SUNS Academy player who comes into the state league for the first time.

Recruiting locally has been a key focus for the Roos, who are looking to create a sustainable culture for their present and future players.

New head coach Paul Magher, a former player in the Geelong league with experience coaching across multiple Queensland leagues and the Northern Territory women’s competition, said the club were focussed on signing and training up the “best of the best” around the area.

“We want to be a Sunshine Coast based team,” Magher said.

“We want to be that team that is a pathway (to the AFLW), as it’s shown with our girls drafted in the last few years. We want to give the girls the best opportunity to move forward in the season and that means building the club up to the highest standard we can.”

Coming to the club after his recent role as Director of Coaching for the AFLNT Umpires, Magher said last year’s woes were not of concern.

“I didn’t want to pay a great deal of homage to last season,” he said.

“What happened, happened, and there was some fallout from a couple of years beforehand. We don’t want that to happen again, we want to put some stability into the program because there’s a lot of youth there; we’ve picked the best of the local talent, youth wise. We know in a few years those girls will be really experienced. 

“There’s been a fairly massive turnover from two years ago when they made finals, so for me, it’s a clean slate. We’ve got some really good young talent that has come in.”


Key recruits

Orla Crowley – QFAW Div 2 premiership player with Noosa 

Ellen Hopkins – QFAW Div 1 premiership player with Moreton Bay Lions. Plays forward

Jesse McMillan – QFAW Div 2 grand finalist with Caloundra. Plays forward 

Abbey Rankin – 2022 Troy Clarke Scholarship player. Played with Mackay City Hawks in 2023. Former Gold Coast SUNS Academy player

Abbey Tognazzini – Comes across from Outer East Football Netball. Plays centre half back  

Isabelle Trusler – QFAW Div 2 premiership player with Noosa


Key outs

Grace Perry – Coorparoo 

Renee Teys


Player/s to watch

Emily Casey – With previous QAFLW (UQ), VFLW (WIlliamstown) and NTFL WPL (Nightcliff) experience, returns to football after having a baby and is ready to go.

Sarah-Jane O’Grady – Fullback in the 2023 Bond University QAFLW Team of the Year, the Roos have moved her around to see what other positions she can play this season.

Abbey Rankin – Playing inside mid, Rankin is tough on the footy, very bullish, and has a good footy IQ.



“I can see what’s there (in our youth) and we’re building on something. We’ve just got to stick to that and get the best of the best in from our local clubs, and we’ll give some clubs a run for their money for sure. We’re going to play team footy and challenge some clubs, especially at home,” Magher said.



In the first three to four rounds of the season, the Roos will have a strong team bolstered by their youth and Academy girls. After that will come the challenge as they push against the mid-season slump that saw them fall down the ladder in 2023. With the bottom half of the competition looking to be tight, percentage will be key for Maroochydore, particularly in the first third of the season. What will be most exciting is watching an expected culture shift at the Roos unfold – with plenty of early positive signs for the years to come.

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