By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
Coorparoo v University of Queensland
Saturday 18 August, 4:45PM
Giffin Park Oval, Coorparoo
The last spot in the 2018 Bond University QWAFL Grand Final will be up for grabs just before 5pm tomorrow in Brisbane’s southside as the Kings host the Red Lions in simply a must-win contest.
Coorparoo have already had one bite of the cherry to qualify for the big dance but couldn’t overcome the Wilston Grange behemoth last weekend despite inaccurate kicking on the tap-toppers’ behalf.
The Red Lions on the other hand, escaped a gallant Coolangatta Tweed in their do-or-die elimination final, overcoming a slow start to progress to the second week.
Already, and despite a potential loss to Coorparoo this weekend, the 2018 season has been University of Queensland’s equal best performance at QWAFL level; levelling the side’s 2016 season which saw the club reach a preliminary final.
For the Kings, preliminary final weekend has become a familiar sight for the side over their tenure.
Since the reformation of the QWAFL in 2014, Coorparoo has made the Grand Final in three of the past four seasons meaning they are certainly no strangers to the occasion.
Ahead of the contest, University of Queensland head coach, Phil Lovett, had already noticed a buzz around the playing group and seemed optimistic about his side’s chances against a side they are yet to beat this year.
“It’s been fantastic. It’s almost easier to coach because you don’t have to worry about the intensity or the mood. We have a good vibe and the team has been willing to get stuck in on the training track,” Lovett told aflq.com.au.
“I have no doubt we can provide the contest and take it up to Coorparoo. I spoke about six weeks ago about making an impact and I think we still can. This game is an opportunity for that to happen.”
For the showdown, University of Queensland have named a strengthened line up which has been bolstered by the returns of Dakota Davidson and Bree Koenen – both players who are dependable and versatile assets for Lovett on the field.
But for some, team selection has come at a cost and the plethora of experienced options for the Red Lions has meant Maddison Wood, who has booted five goals over the past fortnight, has missed the cut.
Coorparoo too has named a strong side, although it represents one similar to one they have named on many occasions this year.
Team Captain Cleo Davis and running defender Jade Ellenger have both been named following injury scares after the loss to Wilston Grange last week. Caitlyn Huth has also been named for her first game in over a month after a stint in the team’s QWFA Division 1 side and a fortnight away on holiday.