University of Queensland v Southport Sharks
Saturday August 7th, 1pm
Leyshon Park, Yeronga
The time has come for the 2022 Bond University QAFLW Grand Final, where one team will be crowned Queensland’s best.
Will it be the Southport Sharks? Who in their maiden year in the QAFLW competition made it all the way to the Big Dance?
Or will it be the University of Queensland? Who will be aiming to be the first club to go back-to-back since Coorparoo did in 2013,14 and 15?
On Sunday we will find out.
After winning their Qualifying final, the Red Lions have had the week off to rest. While Southport will be full of confidence after a resounding victory over Bond University in the Preliminary Final.
The battle in the middle will be interesting to watch. Southport have an impactful combination in the midfield Madeleine Watt, Poppy Boltz and Georgia Breward who are slick with their handballs and backing each other.
Likewise, UQ are tough in the middle with the versatility of Steph O’Brien a tough job for any opposition mid-field. They also have several speedsters in Issy Hartog at halfback and Madi Crowley-Long and Tarryn Meyer on the wing.
The ruck battle on Sunday will also be fierce, with two of the competition’s best going head-to-head. Southport’s Lilly Pearce has incredible vertical leap, height and accuracy in tapping. Opposite her is UQ’s Jacqui Russell, who has mobility across the ground, is excellent in following up and has demonstrated impressive inside 50 entries.
Players to watch:
University of Queensland:
Jessica Stallard, previously found in the defensive line, was playing reserve grade earlier this year when she kicked seven goals. Sine being elevated back up to senior grade, she has regularly kicked two or three. In the Qualifying Final win over Bond University, she lead the kicked three in a dominant display.
Young gun Ava Seton, has stood up all season as an 18 year old, and played a crucial role in UQ’s Qualifying final win, with 16 contested possessions, 7 tackles and a goal. Labelled as a future star of the competition, Seton is pushing her case to already be considered amongst the best in the competition.
Caitlin Miller, she is a half forward and kicked two goals against Bond last Saturday. She’s been kicking goals most weekends. Has come into the side last and has given them a genuine goal scoring option up front.
Madeline Watt has starred this year, and her physicality around the ball has seen her a dominant force for the Sharks mid-field. Her 18 disposals, 14 of which contested and 11 tackles in the preliminary final was another great example of that, setting the example for her teammates around her. Watch for her to rise in the big game and bring the intensity from the first bounce.
What the Captain’s say:
Madi Crowley-Long, University of Queensland Co-Captain
“I think we’re in for a great game of footy on Sunday. We’ve got the two best teams playing on the last day of the year which is what you want.
“Southport have probably been our toughest opponent this year, so we know we’ve got to bring four quarters of footy. It should be a good game.
“I think we’re a really cohesive group. I just think we love each other to bits. We love playing with each other. We love going hard for each other and I just think that team unity is what’s been driving us this year.”
Jessica Malouf, Southport Sharks Co-Captain
“To play in a Grand Final in our first year as a club together is just incredible. It 100 per cent comes down to the belief we have in each other. That’s been the driving force for us this year.
“We’ve got nothing but respect for them (UQ). They’ve been the benchmark for the competition for the last couple of years so we’re just expecting a good, hard game so just really excited.”
Last time they met:
The two sides last met in Round 15, where UQ (8.5) 53 defeated Southport (6.3) 39.
With both sides having to re-adjust their setups following a number of players being elevated to AFLW duties mid-season, the 2022 Premiership will be a true test of depth of talent.
Can’t make the game? Watch it here: QAFLW | Cluch.TV
Insights provided by QAFLW Commentator Daniel Viles.
Image by Highflyer Images