Match Centre

QAFL 2015: University of Queensland preview

By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles

2014 season wrap

2014 was always going to be a difficult year for the University of Queensland Red Lions after making the step up from the SEQAFL into the newly restructured QAFL. They finished the year in ninth spot on the ladder with just the two wins over Sandgate and the Western Magpies respectively, but the results are not a true reflection of the success of the year on the whole. Having now established themselves within the QAFL, combined with new coach Darren Pfeiffer at the helm, the Red Lions will be looking to vastly improve the win/loss column in 2015.

Who’s in?

Ex Port Adelaide and Redlands player, and now Red Lions playing coach Darren Pfeiffer heads an extensive list of inclusions to their line up this year.  Following Pfeiffer over from Redland will be former Gold Coast SUNS Academy member Jack Rusbridge as well as Phil Lovett. Also bringing his NEAFL experience to the Red Lions line up will be George Hannaford, who played with Aspley last season. 2014 strength and conditioning coach, Ross Wilkinson, will pull on the boots again in 2015, and joining him will be Sebastian Curtis, the 2014 premiership captain and coach of the Moranbah Bulldogs.

Who’s out?

Michael Stewart and Cameron Stevenson have both committed to NEAFL club Aspley in 2015. Stewart will be a huge loss to the line up after playing 15 games last year. Stevenson, who was also linked to the Brisbane Lions NEAFL side in 2014, was only available for the two games in UQ colors last season.

Pre-season focus

After looking at the 2014 results and statistics, Pfeiffer has targeted the need to strengthen the Red Lions defense in 2015. They want to ensure a strong defensive performance across the entire ground, so that they have the opportunity to attack on the rebound though quick ball movement.

Coach Darren Pfeiffer’s thoughts on 2015

“I just want to see the team improve from last year. Looking at the stats we averaged 124 points against but only 78.4 for, we just want to bridge that gap. 

“Every year you go in looking to play finals so we are not shying away from that, we all go in with that hope so that’s the expectation.”

Who has the X factor?

When the Lions run out in round one against Mt Gravatt, keep an eye out for Jake Evans. The tall forward has dropped around 10kg over summer, and increased his aerobic capacity massively. His work over pre-season has left Pfeiffer with no doubts on his ability to impact the contest in 2015.

Pfeiffer’s previous AFL and NEAFL experience also ensures he is one to watch out for in 2015.

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