By Daniel Viles

Sunday 27 August 2023, 2:20pm at Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield
Live stream with commentary on YouTube

Head-to-Head: Played 10 – Bond University won 8; Aspley won 2
Last five meetings:
8 Jul 2023 – Bond University 11.8 (74) d Aspley 7.3 (45) at Bond University Oval
13 May 2023 – Aspley 8.1 (49) d Bond University 6.7 (43) at Zupps Aspley Oval
9 Jul 2022 – Bond University 5.4 (34) d Aspley 2.1 (13) at Zupps Aspley Oval
23 Apr 2022 – Aspley 7.1 (43) d Bond University 5.4 (34) at Bond University Oval
8 May 2021 – Bond University 4.3 (27) d Aspley 3.4 (22) at South Pine Sports Complex

The 2023 Bond University QAFLW Grand Final will be contested between two teams that have made one change between them from their sides that qualified for the decider.

Bond University winger Sally Evans has largely recovered from her injury sustained in the Qualifying Final two weeks ago but will take her place in the Bull Sharks’ Reserve Grade side. The fully fit Sienna McMullen provides a like-for-like replacement.

Aspley had two changes forced upon them by injury and suspension before the Preliminary Final and have no need to make any more now.

Every player in a Grand Final, so goes the truism, begins it with some level of injury. The 2023 state league has been notable for its physical toughness, so it would be no surprise if either side gave one or more of its emergency list a dream elevation into the starting side between now and 2:20 on Sunday.

The two matches between Bond and Aspley this year have gone with home advantage, but the pattern of those matches creates one important piece of advice for spectators – don’t arrive late.

At Zupps Aspley Oval in Round 5, there were seven goals and no behinds by quarter-time (4-3 to Aspley). In Round 13 at the Canal, it was eight goals and three behinds (6-2 to Bond), the first of which Bond scored within 12 seconds (which they did again to begin the third quarter). Both first quarters featured a five-minute period in which each side goaled twice. Aspley’s 45 points at Bond was the highest losing score this year; Bond’s 43 points at Aspley was equal second highest. Sunday’s forecast is for attack and plenty of it.

The question of which team has more experience is muddled. As a club, Bond will play its third QAFLW Grand Final while Aspley is making its debut. However, seven Hornets have a state league Premiership medallion (Pittman with Coorparoo in 2015; Daniec with Wilston Grange in 2018; and Bryant, Martin, Stallard, Tyson and Vetter with UQ in 2021 and/or 2022) whereas Leah Kaslar’s 2016 premiership with Coolangatta is the sum total of the Bull Sharks’ individual medal collection.

Dig deeper again and you hit the bedrock that is Bond Uni captain Paris Lightfoot. An original member of Bond’s women’s program in 2015, Lightfoot played in the Bull Sharks sides that defeated Yeronga in the 2017 QFAW Grand Final, plus the Reserve Grade (Development League) teams that beat Coorparoo in 2019 and 2021, the second as captain. At time of writing, Lightfoot was undergoing a fitness test to determine her place in Sunday’s team, but even if she were to be ruled out, success that frequent is never an accident. Lightfoot is one of the mentally toughest players in the Bond University QAFLW and she knows what it takes to win.

Her problem is that opposite her is Courtney Daniec, who was just 22 when she captained Wilston Grange to the premiership. That team contained Kate Lutkins, Shannon Campbell and Jamie Stanton, but they made Daniec captain at 22. And they won.

Add to that Ange Lingard who, like Lightfoot, won a QFAW Premiership with her only club (in 2018 alongside Lanigan, van de Wiel and Thompson) and whose ownership of the key defender role this year makes her the Chelsea Randall to Daniec’s Erin Phillips in the Hornets’ co-captaincy dynamic.

Many story arcs will be completed on Sunday afternoon, but their beginning could be traced back to 14 April 2018 – Bond University’s first match in the eponymous QAFLW. Click the link and have a look at who’s wearing 20 for Bond and 4 for Wilston Grange.

FB | 49 Kiara Bischa | 10 Grace Moodie
HB | 20 Paris Lightfoot (c) | 36 Leah Kaslar | 11 Georgia Hutton
C | 40 Charlotte Taylor | 32 Josie McCabe | 27 Sienna McMullen
HF | 26 Nyalli Milne | 63 Havana Harris | 18 Ava Usher
FF | 9 Bella Iverach | 56 Lily Tarlinton
FOL | 50 Jasmyn Davidson | 7 Courtney Sexton | 17 CJ Landwehr
IC | 2 Georgia Johnson | 4 Tara Harrington | 8 Ella Calleja | 14 Gabby Deller | 29 Jemma Blair

EMG | 3 Shannon Nolan | 12 Sally Evans | 44 Sophie Balcombe | 62 Paige Price

Coach: Andy Lovell

IN: Sienna McMullen
OUT: Sally Evans

FB | 13 Lucy Thompson | 10 Morgan Lanigan
HB | 20 Emma Pittman | 23 Ange Lingard (c) | 5 Lucy Pengelly
C | 15 Jaimie Bryant | 8 Maddy Kawa | 22 Holly O’Flaherty
HF | 9 Louise Tyson | 37 Rania Crozier | 40 Rachael Vetter
FF | 19 Hanna Brennan | 25 Jess Stallard
FOL | 54 Emma Lendrum | 4 Courtney Daniec (c) | 30 Mikayla Martin
IC | 1 Ari Williams | 12 Lucia Liessi | 16 Anna van de Wiel | 29 Elysse McNiven | 59 Holly Mirfield

EMG | 7 Abby Hewett | 11 Tarryn Meyer | 32 Bree McKenzie | 35 Ella Desrettes | 42 Izzy Kotatis

Coach: Luke Glacken

IN: nil
OUT: nil


Sunday 27 August 2023, 12pm at Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield
Live stream with commentary on YouTube

Head-to-Head: Played 15 – Bond University won 8; Coorparoo won 7
Meetings in Reserve Grade/Development League Finals:
30 Jul 2022 – Preliminary Final: Bond University 2.5 (17) d Coorparoo 1.4 (10) at Bond University Oval
11 Jul 2021 – Grand Final: Bond University 6.8 (44) d Coorparoo 5.2 (32) at Leyshon Park
19 Sep 2020 – Preliminary Final: Coorparoo 10.14 (74) d Bond University 0.2 (2) at Bond University Oval
25 Aug 2019 – Grand Final: Bond University 3.8 (26) d Coorparoo 3.3 (21) at Leyshon Park
10 Aug 2019 – 2nd Semi Final: Bond University 2.6 (18) d Coorparoo 1.8 (14) at Bond University Oval

For the third time in the five-year history of the Bond University QAFLW Reserve Grade competition, Bond University and Coorparoo will contest the Grand Final.

Each club is playing its fourth Reserve Grade decider, with the one Grand Final that each of them missed being courtesy of the other beating them in a Preliminary Final. Both Bull Sharks’ titles have been secured against the Kings, whose one success was, co-incidentally, at Bond University in 2020 when they lost and then regained the lead in the final 90 seconds against Yeronga.

Sunday’s match-ups are similar to those in the Seniors Grand Final. Coorparoo assumes Aspley’s role of being full of experienced players with previous Grand Final day success in both grades, while Bond Uni takes on the role of, well, Bond Uni with a few stalwarts guiding a fleet of current and former Academy players around the park.

Up front, this match not only features the top two scorers in Reserves this year, namely Izzy Lowe for the Bull Sharks and former ACT Team of the Year member Amy Dwyer for the Kings, but also the fourth and fifth highest goalscorers with Coorparoo’s Kelsey Crosbie and Bond Uni’s Tshinta Kendall each slotting 21 majors.

Dwyer’s likely match-up is her opposing captain Boston Jackson, winner of last year’s QAFLW Reserve Grade Best and Fairest medal. Izzy Lowe was four months old when her likely match-up, Addy Henderson, won the first of her 7 QAFLW premierships (5 with Logan Cobras and 2 with Coorparoo).

Bond’s centre halfback, Andria Heard, ended 2022 as a Grand Final winner with the Cairns Saints. One player she’ll be watching is Hannah Sexton who won First Grade Grand Finals with Coorparoo in 2014 and 2015 before popping down to Coolangatta the following year to win another one, one of only two players on record to win consecutive QAFLW premierships with different clubs (the other being Sarah Boniface in 2017-18).

Reserve Grade Grand Finals are notable for featuring players who are the lifeblood of their clubs alongside stars at either end of their careers. The easiest way not to arrive late for Seniors is to not arrive late for Reserve Grade either.

FB | 17 Adair Henderson | 43 Alana Mitchell
HB | 11 Bella Wright | 8 Mel Sweeney | 58 Tshanti Parry
C | 1 Bridget Taylor | 7 Amy Melino | 44 Josii Hargreaves
HF | 51 Hannah Sexton | 34 Liz Hills | 13 Gabby Fares
FF | 28 Kelsey Crosbie | 5 Amy Dwyer (c)
FOL | 55 Courtney Alder | 50 Sammy Nunn | 19 JJ McLean
INT | 10 Georgia Paulsen | 33 Hayley Johnston | 35 Kalei Brighton | 37 Renee Keith | 40 Rose Collins

EM | 21 Tasha Cole | 46 Ciara O’Neill | 52 Madison Pitman | 53 Shantelle Wilson

Coach: Clinton Bateman

IN: Gabby Fares; Josii Hargreaves; Liz Hills; Hayley Johnston; Mel Sweeney
OUT: Jasmine Fretwell; Binta Lamin; Rebecca McCarthy; Ari Reilly; Giuliana Simionato

FB | 30 Boston Jackson (c) | 31 Tobi Chapman
HB | 44 Sophie Balcombe | 28 Andria Heard | 53 Mia Salisbury
C | 13 Aleira Usher | 12 Sally Evans | 39 Madi Furlong
HF | 21 Sunny Hewett | 25 Tshinta Kendall | 33 Skye White
FF | 19 Evy Reeves | 58 Izzy Lowe
FOL | 62 Paige Price | 3 Shannon Nolan | 59 Jess Nguyen
INT | 16 Georgia Wakefield | 22 Jasmine Single | 52 Piper Phelan | 54 Ash Russell | 55 Lexi Samuels

EM | 6 Hunter Heck | 23 Tracey Ashley | 38 Zoe O’Sullivan | 43 Mitzi Adamson

Coach: Gough Greer

IN: Sally Evans; Shannon Nolan
OUT: Mitzi Adamson; Zoe O’Sullivan

You can watch all matches in the Bond University QAFLW by visiting the Official AFLQ YouTube channel.

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