By Ant Wingard
Wilston Grange have capped off a dominant 2018 season with a gruelling 14-point win over Coorparoo in the Grand Final to capture the club’s first ever Bond University QWAFL premiership.
The Gorillas were forced to overcome an opening quarter deficit in front of over 2000 spectators, grinding their way to a historic win to land themselves among the competition’s elite.
“It was very emotional. It was really special and amazing to come away with that victory today,” Gorillas superstar, Kate Lutkins, told aflq.com.au after the match.
Lutkins, who was voted best on ground in the win, was pivotal in her role across halfback and through the midfield for the Gorillas, but not even her heroics could repent the nerves caused by a spirited Coorparoo side.
“The game isn’t over until it’s over and we had to keep working hard to the end. Everyone put their heart and soul into the game,” she added.
The Gorillas had lost just one game throughout the entire season ahead of the contest, but they soon found themselves on the back foot and were forced to dig deep to put a crescendo on a near flawless campaign.
Coorparoo got the edge early in the contest through Jess Wuetschner, who bagged the game’s first goal.
The Kings’ lead was soon extended to 12 unanswered points after Samantha Hurst converted her chance after Brittany Gibson gifted the away side a 50m penalty.
After finally finding their footing in the game, Wilston Grange finally pounce late in the term through Jordan Membrey, who banged home a long set shot.
The Gorillas continued to will themselves ahead in the second term and soon found the lead via a Jamie Stanton special.
With the ball seemingly lost to the boundary line, Stanton pounced on the loose ball and crafted a perfect snap to conjure up the term’s only major.
Wuetschner put the Kings back in the lead early in the third term with her second major, but that goal would soon herald the last time Coorparoo would find themselves in a winning position.
Membrey and Lutkins, who continued to wreak havoc everywhere on the ground, added to the Gorillas’ goal tally and handed the home side a genuine foundation for a win.
They call it the third quarter the premiership quarter for a reason and for Brittaney Gibson, that motive couldn’t have bene any truer.
Gibson all but changed the complexion of the game for the Gorillas, first to beat both Ally Anderson and Emma Pittman with tackles before collecting the ball herself and producing an inside 50.
Minutes later, Gibson interjected herself into a contest on a wing, spoiling a near certain uncontested mark for the Kings’
Her mammoth term was capped off by a rocketing goal form 35 out that gave the Gorillas a 15-point lead heading into the final break.
Coorparoo required a lot in the final term but neither they or Wilston Grange could add any more before the final siren.
Wilston Grange head coach Laura Kidd attributed the premiership win to the club’s improved culture and tightknit playing group.
“This year we had a big focus on culture beating strategy. Our biggest focus this year was on developing a positive culture and that has held us in good stead,” Kidd said.
“We recruited really well this year. This year, we had girls who wanted to come and play for us.”
An emotional Lutkins was short of words following the siren, but insisted the win – a culmination of tough years spent by Gorillas players across several clubs – was well worth in.
“It’s pretty special. It’s extremely nice and reliving to come away with that win today.”
Fellow Gorillas captain, Courtney Daniec, mirrored Lutkins’ emotion and implored the toughness of the contest with the Kings.
“It’s pretty incredible. The week off probably hurt us in the end but we kept pushing,” Daniec said.
“It was definitely intense. Coorparoo make you earn it every time and they just keep pushing and they never give up.”
The Grand Final was the fourth meeting of the season between the two clubs and was by far the most hotly contested of the series.
AFL Women’s stars Jamie Stanton and Lutkins were instrumental for the Gorillas and drew the praise of Kidd following the game.
“They’re fantastic. Kate just leads from the front and Jamie is just a little mongrel who just gets in and under,” she said.
For Coorparoo, Ally Anderson was phenomenal through the midfield, while skipper Cleo Davis produced another vintage performance in defence.
Jade Ellenger and Kayla Geddes provided plenty of run and carry on the outside while Wuetschner was the biggest beneficiary on the scoreboard, kicking two majors for the game.
Bond University QWAFL Grand Final
Wilston Grange 1.0, 2.3, 5.5, 5.7 (37)
Coorparoo 2.2, 2.2, 3.3, 3.5 (23)
Goals: Wilston Grange: J. Membrey 2, K. Lutkins, J. Stanton, B. Gibson. Coorparoo: J. Wuetschner 2, S. Hurst.