This time 12 months ago, the Queensland Women’s team beat the Tasmanian Women’s team comfortably.
Don’t expect a one sided game this year.
With nine new girls coming into the Tasmanian lineup, Queensland coach Craig Starcevich realises there wont be much correlation between then and now.
“It’s really hard to judge because of the new girls. We have had a look at the tapes from last year to get a guide, but its an unknown with the others,” Starcevich said.
Queensland are taking a very youthful lineup into Sunday’s game, especially in comparison to the Tasmanian age profile.
“We have 12 players who are 21 years or younger. They have only got the seven, and we have only got five over the age of 25,” he said.
“They are a little bit more evenly spread.”
“There is a few now that have had a year or two in senior QWAFL, and have excelled at the level, so once they dipped their toe in the water and felt comfortable at QWAFL level where there is some really good footy played,” Starcevich said
“Then they come up to the state team, age becomes irrelevant after that.”
With Tasmania’s experience around the ball, Starcevich has planned around where he believes the game will be won early.
“We will need to make it a contest early that’s for sure,” he said.
“They will have strong bodies around the ball, and some older bodies, so it’s going to be a battle for us early on.”
If they can withstand the opening stanza, Starcevich thinks their outside run and carry will then come to the fore.
“We think we have got enough athleticism to cause the opposition some problems, if we can utalise that we will be fine,” he said.
“Burpengary is a really big ground so it should really suit us from that point of view.”
He will be looking for his leaders, in Bates, Zielke and Zanchetta to stand up, but also expects to get great return from their rucking combination.
“We think our rucks are really strong this year. Siden and Anstey normally go head to head and belt the daylights out of each other, but now, happily, we now have them on the same team,” Starcevich said.
“Hopefully they can put that same energy and aggression into the opposition.”
Starcevich will be putting a bit of work into Tasmania’s guns, Nietta Lynch and Emma Humphries, while keeping a very close eye on Sandy Eaton’s influence.
“Sandy Eaton had a bit of a quite one last year, so I think she will have enough pride to want to bounce back this year.”
Tasmanian coach, Trent Bartlett said this year’s team is vastly different from last years.
“This year, we have nine new girls,” Bartlett said.
“We’ve got a more athletic squad; more girls that have played netball, basketball, cricket and those sorts of things.
“We have had a lot more choice this year which has been great.”
Still relatively young in terms of female footy, Tasmania will use this weekend as another stepping-stone in their growth.
“It’s all about learning the game, learning what each other is good at and how we use each other, how we communicate and how we play our game,” he said.
But don’t think they won’t be out there to win come Sunday evening, as Bartlett thinks the key to getting on top will be how well they dispose the footy.
“We have just got to use the ball well. We will win our own footy, there is no doubt about that, I would be bitterly disappointed if we didn’t win our own ball at the contest,” Bartlett said.
“They are hard at it, they are tough, and they like the physicality of it. It’s about executing that at the stoppage and making sure we spread and use the ball efficiently going into the forward line.”
If Queensland get their outside game up and running, they will be hard to stop. Expect Tasmania to really lock them down in the middle.
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles