By Ant Wingard
2019 in a nutshell
Coolangatta-Tweed were the form team of the competition in the opening month of the 2019 season, blitzing the competition by winning three of their first four contests. From there however, the Bluebirds would win just four of their remaining next as injuries once again took their toll. Still, they remained in the hunt for a place in the finals and could mathematically make the top four heading into the final round of the season. A win over Yeronga in Round 14 helped their case but Coorparoo’s narrow win over Bond University killed any hope of a return to finals. Selina Priest and Alex Hamlyn earned QAFLW Team of the Year honours.
What’s new in 2020?
With former Bluebirds’ coach Matt Bedford assuming a Development Coach role with the Gold Coast AFLW team, Coolangatta Tweed have looked toward an experienced head to shuffle the magnets in 2020 with Nicole Graves appointed as coach. Graves joins the side after offering her expertise in the latter part of 2019 but hopes to develop the pathway from Corpsure Oval to the elite. Bedford will return to the team following the AFLW season. The Bluebirds have also lost key forward Bri McFarlane to Wilston Grange.
Britt Perry (Macquarie University)
While it may be quite murky how many games of QAFLW the competition’s AFLW-listed players may play in 2020, there is no denying the coup of Perry for the Bluebirds. A crafty small forward, Perry has already etched her name into the SUNS’ history books having kicked the side’s first ever AFLW goal and joins the side having notched up nearly 150 senior games in Adelaide.
Maggie Riley (Lismore Swans)
Coolangatta have a great track record in recruiting from northern New South Wales and Riley may well be their prized recruit this summer. The former Lismore captain produced a consistent 2019 season with the Swans, winning the club’s best and fairest as she emerged as one of the competition’s best and most damaging midfielders.
Ahlani Eddy (Sawtell Toormina Saints)
A former Eastern Allies representative at the NAB Under 18 AFLW National Championships, Eddy joins the Bluebirds having rubbed shoulders with current AFLW alum such as Alyce Parker, Mia King and Georgia Breward and is now ready to make a name for herself at QAFLW level. Eddy suffered an MCL sprain in 2017 but returned to play in a premiership with Sawtell in 2018 and was named best on ground in their ANZAC Day showdown.
2020 will be a win if…
They can produce wins in any of Rounds 5, 6 and 7. It’s always a difficult task gauging the form of teams ahead of the season proper but if the tea leaves read truly, Coolangatta face a tough stretch of games in the middle portion of the season. In three successive games, the Bluebirds face Wilston Grange, Bond University and Coorparoo in what may be a defining run of games that could shape their season. If they can win games here, a return to finals may be on the cards.
2020 will be a miss if…
Injuries hamper the second half of the season, again. Coolangatta Tweed have endured a tough run over the past two seasons. And while they still made the finals in 2018 and only narrowly missed out in 2019, it was certainly a case of what could have been if they were able to stay fit and healthy down the stretch. Fingers crossed.