Queensland v Tasmania 2024 – Women’s Match Preview

By Daniel Viles

The next chapter in the emerging rivalry between Queensland and Tasmania in women’s Australian Rules Football will be written at Bond University on Saturday.

North Hobart Oval saw Queensland take a 19-point victory twelve months ago, but the other significant victory on the day was ending a gap of eight years since the last match between the senior state sides.

Neither team will resemble their 2023 versions: the Sunshine State retaining only eight players and the Apple Islanders six.

One reason for Queensland’s changes is that three players are now with AFLW clubs: Taya Oliver with Gold Coast, Lilly Pearce now at Geelong, and Lily Tarlinton with Adelaide. Take note, this game will attract important viewers.

Tasmania’s side has been match-hardened by their recent All-Stars series between sides representing their three major leagues. Brieanna Barwick worked her way into the final side from outside the initial squad of 40 by winning the Player of the Series award, although Glenorchy’s current player-coach and multiple award winner was hardly an unknown quantity.

The NWFL (North-West Football League) won the All-Star series and have players selected in every line from veteran defender Jess Whelan, new vice-captain Olivia Smith in the centre, and sharpshooter Shania Saward up front.

The obvious stars for the Maroon and White are the six former AFLW-listed players in Emma Pittman, Tahlia Meyer, Lucy Schneider, Ari Clarke, Imogen Evans and Kaylee Kimber.

But fans may walk away from the match talking about unpredictable small forward Louise Tyson, a former Launcestonian now starring for Aspley in the Bond University QAFLW. Or Southport’s Maddy Watt whose bone-rattling tackles can overshadow her intelligent ball use. Or maybe Jasmyn Davidson whose transition from ruck to key defender in 2024 has been stunning but not surprising.

Davidson may also be encouraged by seeing three players from the Penguin club in the Tassie side (two of whom, Libby and Chloe Haines are identical twins), given that penguins who look identical to the rest of us are her workmates at Sea World. Although, this advantage may be offset by Jenna Griffiths who knows Tasmania Zoo as well as she knows the middle of a footy field.

Multi-sport athletes will be on show for both sides. Queensland’s Steph O’Brien is a state league netballer who has now won an Emma Zielke Medal (Best and Fairest in the Bond University QAFLW), and forward Jess Stallard who switched from netball to footy in 2020, won last year’s leading goalkicker and has already surpassed her 2023 tally this year.

Keeping cricketers fit in the winter was a primary reason for creating Aussie Rules in the nineteenth century, so Meg Radford of the Launceston Blues and the Emerging Tigers squad, and Ava Curtis of Old Scotch and a Hobart Hurricanes rookie, continue a long link between the two sports.

The men’s teams from Queensland and Tasmania can rightly be proud of their history of matches going back to 1908, but the story of women’s matches between the two states is being written now. The tale of the 2024 match could inspire female teams for decades to come. Pay attention; you’ll be rewarded.

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