By Ant Wingard
Bond University v Maroochydore
Saturday May 11, 3:00PM
Ormeau Sports Park
Bond University’s rich vein of form could be in jeopardy this weekend as a host of the Bullsharks’ most talented players will be vying for a spot in the Queensland Under 18 state team.
The Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Under 18 Academy Trials will be held this weekend in Coffs Harbour and mean plenty of underage players will be unable to suit up for their respective QAFLW clubs, however the trials will likely be felt the most at Bond University.
The Bullsharks have more academy members than any other QAFLW clubs and their involvement in the high performance program has meant as many as nine changes for the Gold Coast club.
Among the key outs are Kitara Farrar and Serene Watson – both who have been revelations for the Bullsharks in the midfield over the past two weeks, along with Charlotte Hammans, in-form tall Taylor Smith.
SUNS AFL Women’s ruck Lauren Bella will also miss the clash while Krystal Smith and Tamsin Perry are among the raft of inclusions for the team hoping to win their third game in a row.
The forced changes perhaps couldn’t have come at an inopportune time for the Bullsharks who face an in-form Maroochydore side reinvigorated in 2019.
The Roos have won their past three matches – a first for the side in the QAFLW – and in their last two, have exceeded 90 points in both contests.
In fact, across the past fortnight, no team has scored more freely than Maroochydore and over the past three weeks, they also rank first in the competition for points scored. Funnily, Bond University rank second making this weekend’s showdown even more intriguing.
Maroochydore hasn’t been exempt from the changes either with midfield duo Isabel Daws and Lily Postlethwaite among those who will miss while veteran defender Ashleigh Hales has also been named among the outs as she assumes duties as an assistant coach for the Lions Under 18 Academy.
Coolangatta Tweed v Wilston Grange
Saturday May 11, 4:45PM
Wilston Grange coach Rod Podbury will have a crucial decision ahead of Saturday’s contest with ladder leaders Coolangatta Tweed that could significantly impact the outcome of the contest.
The decision relates to Kate Lutkins and where the versatile tall lines up across the ground on the ground.
As we know, Lutkins is one of the premier talents of the QAFLW and has the ability to play as a tall defender or forward or through the midfield.
Against Yeronga last week, Lutkins spent the majority of the game in her usual post in the defensive half but as the Gorillas found themselves well down on the scoreboard as the game neared a conclusion, Lutkins was thrust forward where she booted two late goals to bring the margin back to a respectable 15-points.
As a forward, Lutkins could give the Gorillas the edge they need to claim their second win of the season but if Podbury decides the deploy her inside the forward 50, the Wilston Grange defence could come under fire.
As it stands, Coolangatta possess one of the most consistent forward structures in the QAFLW.
Holly Mirfield has been a revelation for the Bluebirds as a fast-moving tall capable of pushing up the field while Rosalie Adams and Sandra Carter continue to boast significant influence on the scoreboard.
The tall multifaceted Bluebirds forward could pose a significant problem for the Gorillas defence, especially given their dominant form as a unit, and could well be the deciding factor as to where Lutkins lines up.
Ahead of the contest, Bluebirds coach Matt Bedford said the side would formulate some kind of plan to combat Lutkins’ influence,
“Kate presents an interesting challenge because she can play either forward or back,” Bedford said.
“We’ll put some thought into that leading into the game and then just see how we can best manager her influence on the game.”
Wilston Grange has made three changes for the game by bring in Charlotte Taylor, Charlotte Kittle and Lyndal Unwin, who will play her first senior state league game since 2013, for Nicole Geddes, Mackenzie Findlay and Rachel Fillmore.
Meanwhile, Coolangatta will welcome back Sandra Carter after a week off as well as Lauren James and Kara Membrey for the contest.
Coorparoo v Yeronga South Brisbane
Saturday May 11, 4:45PM
The wedding bells have finally stopped ringing at Giffin Park as the Kings welcome back a plethora of stars to the fold for a must win game against famed rivals Yeronga South Brisbane.
A bevy of Kings players have tied the knot over the opening four rounds of the competition as the side has battled to match the potency of some of the competition’s other seven teams.
But for their crucial Round 5 matchup, there will be no weddings as the Kings have named a plethora of experience to their line-up.
Jessica Weutschner headlines the inclusions for what will be her second game of the year while stalwarts Emma Gibson, Sally Young also return as three of seven changes for the Kings.
Another of the seven include young forward talent Mary Ross, who will make her club debut after switching over from Morningside where she kicked 34 goals in the Panthers’ 2018 QFAW Division 2 South premiership side.
Among the outs are Tori Groves-Little, Georgia Paulsen and Caitlyn Rawding.
The contest against the Devils looms crucial in the scope of the Kings season though.
Coorparoo has won just one game from its opening four games thus far – the teams slowest start since the 2014 season but considering the wealth of talent at Giffin Park, external and internal expectations of the team remain a constant high.
Yeronga enter the game in a rich run of form as one of the most in-form teams in the competition. Despite dropping a game against University of Queensland a fortnight ago, the Devils have found opportunistic ways to win football games including grinding out wins against both Bond University and Wilston Grange so far this season.
The Devils have made a number of changes to the side that beat the Gorillas as they’ll lose young trio Dee Heslop, Lily Bougoure and Kayla Milne.
University of Queensland v Aspley
Saturday May 11, 4:45PM
Southpine Sports Complex
The opportunity to reignite season 2019 will be on offer for either University of Queensland or Aspley in Brisbane’s north with both clubs presented the opportunity to notch their second win of the season.
The Hornets haven’t tasted success since their opening round showdown against Coorparoo, while the Red Lions too haven’t enjoyed the best start to their season with their lone victory coming against Yeronga a fortnight ago.
Megan Hunt, who booted six goals for the Red Lions in the win over the Devils, returns this week after missing last with an engagement party.
The former Brisbane Lions midfielder has been a shining light across half-forward this year and will be one of a handful of changes for the bolstered University of Queensland team.
Hunt joins QAFLW regulars Jane Childes, Marley Bevan and Jamie Stone as four of the six inclusions for the team to the face the Hornets.
For Aspley, their young side has too been hit with the Under 18 trials in Coffs Harbour and will find themselves without Ainsley Rintala-Apps and Jazmyn Pringle while Chloe MacDonald, Lucy Pengelly and Kaitlyn Cantrell will also miss.
Lucia Leissi and Kylie Gurarino add needed speed to the Hornets set up as among the five inclusions for the team.
With respective matchups against fellow bottom four sides in Wilston Grange (UQ) and Coorparoo (Aspley) awaiting next week, a win this week could act as the launchpad either side need for a finals berth in 2019.