By Ant Wingard
University of Queensland v Coolangatta Tweed
University of Queensland face a do-or-die showdown in Round 11 against Coolangatta Tweed – a side who accounted for the Red Lions easily in their previous fixture this season.
The Red Lions have won just two games of their past five – wins over Aspley and Maroochydore to sit awkwardly in sixth place.
Currently, they trail the finals bracket by the one win and bagging the four points on an equally topsy-turvy Coolangatta side would certainly propel them into the mid-table logjam; especially given their superior percentage.
A loss though, would only widen the gap between them at the top four and with just two weeks to go following this weekend’s action, it could be a case of too much left too late.
The game is the most crucial of the season for the Red Lions but the task won’t be any easier as they’ll be without their two leading goal kickers, Megan Hunt and Dakota Davidson, who have contributed more goals as a pair that any other two players in the competition this season.
The duo have been incorporated in the AFL Queensland Emerging Talent team that will play in Perth this weekend. The team also features key defensive Bluebirds Alex Hamlyn and Selina Preist, making this week’s QAFLW showdown even the more intriguing.
Coorparoo v Maroochydore
Coorparoo have called in the big guns for their must-win clash with Maroochydore with Mackay product Lily Tarlinton set to make her QAFLW debut for the Kings.
Tarlinton, a tall ruck-defender that played a pivotal role in Queensland’s Under 18 National Championships campaign, will play for the Kings as one of many state inclusions for the home team.
Ellie Hampson, Hayley Moore, Macie Brown and Tarni White will all return for the navy blue in a crucial clash between the two sides jostling for the final spot in the top four.
As it stands, the Kings and Roos remain on par with six wins and five losses and with just over one percent separating the two clubs.
As we near the end of the season, a win here could well set up a finals spot – something which Maroochydore are still chasing in their three years in the QAFLW competition.
Maroochydore will too usher back in a trio of state Under 18 representatives with Lily Postlethwaite, Belle Dawes and Chloe Gregory, a trio of the best performers for the maroons over the carnival, all set to return for the clash.
The Roos will be without diminutive midfielder Kate Surman though while Coorparoo have also lost Mary Ross, Sally Young and Jade Ellenger among a host of changes.
Bond University v Wilston Grange
Bond University’s merry-go-round of talent will continue in Round 11 with as many as nine changes expected for the Bull Sharks, who could definitively sew up a finals berth with a win over Wilston Grange.
Given the sheer amount of talent within the Bull Sharks ranks, it’s unsurprising to see so many changes especially considering the return of their Under 18 state contingent – a figure higher than any other club.
Emmii-Lee Zanker Close, Serene Watson, Charlotte Hammans, Maddison Levi, Georgia Eller, Briley Bradfield, Annie Muir, Taylor Smith and Haze-lee Martin are all named to return for the Bull Sharks – eight of which donned the maroon for Queensland last week.
While all talented in their own right, state representatives – given their commitments – haven’t been able to play copious amounts of QAFLW football this season meaning this weekend’s clash won’t just be a test to qualify for finals but to quickly gel with the team on-field.
It’s likely though that Bond University, given all of their dominance throughout the 2019 season, will qualify for finals and if not this week, it will happen in the weeks to come.
For Wilston Grange, the Gorillas fall on the other side of the spectrum. Five straight losses have rendered their hopes of going back to back, or even making finals, not possible but that certainly won’t stop them from ruffling some ladder positions in the run home.
For the clash, Wilston Grange have lost the likes of Amy Kelly, Emma Gerke and Cathy Svarc while gaining Lauren Shakleton, Emily Bashforth and Madeline Edmunds.
Yeronga South Brisbane v Aspley
Yeronga’s hopes of a return to finals action for the first time since their 2017 premiership could rest solely on the boot of gun forward Jade Ransfield.
The Devils need just one win to all but seal their fate in the post-season and they have the opportunity to do so against the Hornets on their home deck.
Ransfield though, may hold the key.
She has been their best forward this season – booting 21 goals to date to rank third in the competition – and without fellow talls Demi Leach and Madison Goodwin, her influence could turn the game in the red and black’s favour.
She’s been a consistent threat at the goal face the entire season and even notched 150 career goals with the Devils last month.
That’s not to say however that Ransfield is without other goal kicking teammates in the clash though. You’d only have to look for Courtney McDonnell who ranks second in the team this season as another capable of locking away a finals place.
Jordan Zanchetta and Emily Bates will return this weekend while Jessy Keefe, Jacqui Yorston and Jade Pregelj will all miss.
For the Hornets, an upset would lift them above the ladder’s floor as they’d leapfrog Wilston Grange – a side they are still yet to play again this season.