With Round 1 of the Bond University QWAFL just days away, QWAFL writer Josh Cheadle gives us the lowdown on the reining premiers.
Last time we saw them:
The Bluebirds were queens of the QWAFL. Led by their captain Leah Kaslar, Coolangatta stormed through a 14-win season to finish on top, holding off Yeronga in the big dance to win by two points. Since then, a personnel change has seen ex-Western Bulldogs captain and Richmond premiership player David Thorpe take the reins for the 2017 season, replacing former coach Aaron Russell. The Bluebirds have had two consecutive grand final appearances under Russell, but the injection of fresh ideas and tactics from Thorpe can help them continue that success.
What to expect:
Coolangatta have five players currently on the Brisbane Lions’ AFLW list: Leah Kaslar, Selina Goodman, Nikki Wallace, Jamie Stanton and Jordan Membrey. Until those key players re-join the team later in the season, the Bluebirds will be relying on their depth and off-season recruiting to get them through the early rounds of the competition. While Coolangatta will be vulnerable without a full-strength team for round one, expect their young talent to lift and keep the Bluebirds in the mix for another successful season.
On the radar:
Coolangatta are host to a wave of young and exciting prospects, but two that stand out this year are Hannah Sexton and new recruit Georgia Breward. Sexton (sister of GC SUNS player Alex) played for the club in 2016 where she kicked 11 goals, but is now primed for a breakout year after a strong pre-season. 17-year-old Breward comes to the Bluebirds from Northern Rivers, and has the potential to break her way into the side with her hard-running playstyle. Expect both these rising stars to play a key role in Coolangatta’s title defence.
Ladder Position: 1st
From the coach:
“My aim is to obviously go back-to-back and put Coolangatta in the position where they are the team people are talking about.”
- Coolangatta Tweed coach David Thorpe
Coolangatta Tweed Vs. Yeronga South Brisbane
4:45pm Sat April 1
Len Peake Oval
By Josh Cheadle