By Ant Wingard
Coorparoo: 2.0 7.5 9.5 9.5 (59)
University of Queensland: 1.1 6.2 6.7 6.7 (43)
Goals, Coorparoo: T. Groves-Little 4, J. Wuetschner 2, M. Ingram 2, K. Geddes. University of Queensland: D. Davidson, M. McGorm, E. Pericic, S. Frederick-Traub, G. Collingwood.
Best, Coorparoo: L. Blue, J. Ellenger, K. Lawrence, S. Young, T. Groves-Little, K. Geddes. University of Queensland: S. Frederick-Traub, M. Hunt, A. McNabb, S. Webb, E. Pericic, G. Brennan.
After their shock loss to Yeronga South Brisbane in last year’s Grand Final, Coorparoo have a shot at retribution after triumphing in a tough Preliminary Final slog against the Red Lions.
The Kings will meet Wilston Grange in the 2018 Bond University QWAFL Grand Final after inflicting University of Queensland’s second Preliminary Final loss in three years at Giffin Park on Saturday evening.
Tori Groves-Little led the way for the home side with a crucial four goals haul, while Kayla Geddes and Sally Young produced well-rounded performances in the midfield against the Red Lions’ experienced bodies.
In a tight opening term, the away side drew first blood through the in-form Marnie McGorm, who nailed home a long shot – her ninth goal in three weeks before Coorparoo responded through sharpshooter Jess Wuetschner and Matilda Ingam to edge ahead at quarter time.
Sabrina Frederick-Traub then put the Red Lions ahead early in the second term after chasing down veteran foe Cleo Davis to win a free kick.
After the frantic opening stanza, the University of Queensland had firmly found their footing in the contest, moving the ball from a centre stoppage uncontested before Gabby Collingwood increased the team’s lead.
But just as they did in the opening term, Coorparoo regrouped and through sheer will-power, continued to push the ball forward. A long kick inside 50 allowed QWAFL leading goal kicker, Jenae Govan, to swoop in and deliver Groves-Little her first major.
Georgia Brennan saved a certain major on the goal line, but the Red Lions’ defence couldn’t do anything to stop Kayla Geddes moments later, whose kick tipped the scales in Coorparoo’s favour once again.
University of Queensland earned some relief through Emma Pericic but further goals to Ingam and Groves-Little ensured Coorparoo would hold a ten-point lead at the main break.
While Coorparoo’s smalls were doing the damage at one end, with Wuetschner kicking the first goal of the third term, the Red Lions struggled to find any consistency on the ground down forward after the omission of Kate McCarthy to illness hours before the game.
Govan and Wuetschner had ample opportunity to extend the Kings’ lead late in the quartet from genuine opportunities yet neither could find pay dirt.
Instead, it was Queensland Under 18 representative, Groves-Little, who provided the match winner with two more goals that extended the lead to 16 at the final change.
With each team’s season on the line, the last quarter quickly became an arm-wrestle played exclusively between the arcs as neither side could muster even as much as a behind, ensuring Coorparoo’s advancement to the Grand Final.
Kings defender Jade Ellenger was the exception at the coal face alongside Kayla Geddes and Laura Blue for the winning side while Nat Grider and Alana McNabb were pivotal for the Red Lions.
After their agonising defeat in the Grand Final last year, Coorparoo will be out to throw the kitchen sink at the premiership this time around.
Coorparoo will now face Wilston Grange this Saturday in the 2018 Bond University Grand Final at Leyshon Park, Yeronga at 2:30pm.