By Larissa Mouttou
This Sunday, two of Brisbane Lions’ finest AFLW talents will fight it out for the Bond University QWAFL Premiership at Leyshon Park, Yeronga.
Defensive powerhouse Kate Lutkins will pull on the red and blue for the Wilston Grange Gorillas, while goal-kicking sensation Jess Wuetschner will don the Coorparoo navy.
Both women have played pivotal roles in the success of the Brisbane Lions AFLW side in the competition’s first two seasons.
Under the leadership of coach Craig Starcevich, the Lions claimed the inaugural minor premiership in 2017. In both seasons, the side went on to compete in Grand Finals, only to be narrowly beaten by Adelaide in 2017 and the Western Bulldogs earlier this year.
Despite all the hype surrounding the AFLW and the spot light is has shone on female footy, both Lutkins and Wuetschner credit their local community footy experience to their success.
“The culture at Wilston Grange is one of the things than drew me to the club in the first place,” Lutkins told aflq.com.au.
“The coaches were always really nice, and the girls were all out there on the field having fun and making the most of it. It is such a nice vibe to be around.”
Wuetschner mirrored Lutkins’ perspectives.
“I think having the ability to come back to a local competition keeps my grounded,” Wuetschner told aflq.com.au.
“For me, being able to work not only on my game but also my leadership as a more senior player at the club, it’s really important to have that outlet outside of AFLW.”
Having grown up in nearby Ipswich, local girl Lutkins fell in love with Aussie Rules ten years ago when introduced to the game by friends. Honing her craft through the Queensland female football pathways, she had stints at Western Magpies and Yeronga, then joining her current team Wilston Grange in 2015.
Despite having some of the best defensive stats in the AFLW and being named the Lions’ best and fairest player for 2018 Lutkins is ever modest about her achievements. She credits camaraderie and team work for the Gorillas success this season.
“This is our first Grand Final ever, but our culture started four or five years ago and has continued building,” Lutkins said.
“In my first season at Wilston Grange, we lost every game and collected the wooden spoon, so we’ve come a long way and the culture has been a massive part of that.”
“Kiddo [coach Laura Kidd] is amazing. She’s done so many great things for the club. A lot of the other girls have come from other teams just because of her and it’s put the club in a really good place.”
Wuetschner, on the other hand, has travelled great lengths to realise her AFLW success. Growing up in Hobart, Tasmania, she would often drag her parents out of the house to kick around the ball. All that backyard footy had an impact though and last season, Wuetschner was the AFLW’s top goal kicker.
However, when she was playing in Tasmania in her late teens there were just three teams across the entire state. To realise her dream she relocated to Fremantle, earning selection from the Western Bulldogs in a 2015 exhibition match. It was here she met Craig Starcevich, who encouraged her to make the move to Queensland to join his Brisbane Lions side.
Since making the move up north, Wuetschner has called Coorparoo home.
“The culture is amazing. Ever since I first walked in there, it’s been a great club to be around. Apart from the Brisbane Lions, It’s the best club I’ve ever been a part of,” Wuetschner said.
“Before I chose a club, I had a chat to the coaches and just the way they spoke about the club and how important female football is to them really struck a chord to me and straight away I knew that’s where I want to play.”
“Coorparoo treats us almost more importantly than the men sometimes which is crazy to think because at some clubs I’ve played at, we had no affiliation with the men.”
Join Wuetschner and Lutkins this Sunday, August 26, to witness the best female footballers in Queensland play off across FOUR Grand Final matches!
From 10:00am games across all four senior women’s football competitions will take place, culminating with the Bond University QWAFL Grand Final at 2:30pm.
The Bond University QWAFL Grand Final will also be livestreamed here.
Food, coffee, a canteen and bar will all be operational throughout the day plus a kids zone full of fun!
A number of Brisbane Lions AFL Women’s player will be available for autographs from 1:30-2:30pm.
The Gold Coast SUNS will also be there with a merchandise tent and photo booth.
QWFA D2 North 10.00am, Oval 2
Jindalee v Sandgate
QWFA D2 South 10.30am, Oval 1
Robina v Morningside
QWFA D1 12.30pm, Oval 1
Aspley v Coorparoo
Bond University QWAFL: 2.30pm, Oval 1
Wilston Grange v Coorparoo
TICKETS are just $7 for adults and $5 for concession. Kids under 16 are free.
For more details visit AFL Queensland Finals Hub