By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
The benchmark for a successful Bond University QAFLW season has been proclaimed as the Maroochydore Roos look to regain footing in their third season in the state competition.
After winning just one game throughout their 2018 campaign, the Roos are adamant an influx in personnel and an enhancement to game style and structure will aid them in their quest to climb the league hierarchy.
Maroochydore head coach Stu Jackson was happy to lay down the gauntlet after the team completed their preseason camp over the weekend.
“We won’t be happy if we win less than six games,” Jackson told aflq.com.au.
“We’ve had a lot of those discussions to be honest.
“We’ve just concentrated on game style which our girls have taken to reasonably well. Hopefully our game plan will take us up a notch or two.”
A majority of the playing list partook in the team’s preseason camp, just 20 minutes north of Noosa and the theme across the early stages of the season looks to benefit from the plethora of outside runners among the team’s ranks.
“Our speed is going to be a real asset for us this year with all of the younger girls coming in. We’ve got a few girls who can get around traffic really well,” Jackson said.
“We’ll have a fair bit of outside run this year. I’m pretty confident that the skill improvement that the team has made will be enough to keep us in the mix up. I think we’ll keep up.
“We’re at least as fit as we were at the start of the year if not fitter.”
Of course, the Roos have shown a knack of causing the odd upset on their day.
On the opening weekend of last season, the team humbled University of Queensland by 12-points in what would be their only win of the season.
They also came within ten points on two other occasions throughout the year, against Yeronga and Bond University in back to back weeks in Rounds 7 and 8.
But the gap between those close encounters and the four points could well change for the better this time around and a bevy of experience recruited over the off-season will provide an undeniable boost to the competition’s only Sunshine Coast team.
Brisbane Lions AFLW defender Shannon Campbell returns for her second spell with the team where she played ten games in 2017 having spent last year as part of the formidable Wilston Grange defence.
Brisbane Lions Academy pair Lily Postlethwaite and Belle Dawes (also from Wilston Grange) have also signed up over the summer and will provide some youthful exuberance to the Roos’ midfield rotation.
Postlethwaite, who claimed the QFAW Division 1 Best and Fairest with Moreton Bay last year after kicking ten goals in 11 games for the Lions, makes the move up to QAFLW level in what will be a draft eligible year for both herself and Dawes.
The trio represent just a portion of Maroochydore’s new and returning names for 2019 which also includes versatile tall Jen Carlton-Davis and Melbourne University VFLW midfielder Martha Cantwell.
But it’s the inclusion of Campbell who promises the most potential for the team and not in the role most are accustomed to.
“Shannon has been developing her coaching knowledge and skills so she’s actually going to be able to do a bit of coaching on the field for us which will be huge.”
“She has indicated that she wants to spend a fair bit of time up forward which I’m more than happy about.
“We’re lucky we’ve got a reasonable backline and she’s capable of plugging a hole in the forward line. It works out well for everyone. I’d imagine she’d play at least 80% of the time as a forward.”
Campbell’s deployment inside 50 appears to offset the departure of Bella Freeman who has relocated to the Gold Coast and will play for Bond University in 2019.
Maroochydore open their 2019 Bond University QAFLW account with a trip to the Gold Coats where they face Coolangatta at Eximm Oval on Saturday, April 6.