QAFLW Finals Preview

Bond University QAFLW Finals Week 1 – Preview

Southport v Maroochydore
Saturday July 23rd, 1pm
Leyshon Park, Yeronga
Southport, in their first year of QAFLW competition, have proved to many they have earned their elevation and are every chance of achieving the fairytale debut season. They will be coming into this game brimming with confidence after a strong win against Coorparoo last weekend. Meanwhile, Maroochydore will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing Round 16 loss to Bond University. Head to head the ledger currently sits a one win a piece, with both sides winning away from home on both occasions, and on a neutral venue at Yeronga it is anyone’s guess as to who will prevail victorious.
Both teams offer very different game styles. The Roos are a very structured side, while the Sharks are more free flowing. With wet conditions forecast for tomorrow, expect tough and contested conditions, with the battle likely will be wonby the side with the cleanest midfield.
Players to watch:
Maroochydore’s middle is strong and powerful, with their Captain Rachael Crack a key player for them in the midfield. Mikalya Martin has also been pivotal to the Roos success this year, leading Maroochydore’s disposals (Avg 25.2), marks and tackles for the season. Midfielder Chloe Gregory has also had a consistent year, after winning QAFLW MVP in 2021. Full forward Emma Day has been dangerous for the Roos, booting 19 goalsthis season.
Midfielder Poppy Bolts has been electric for the Sharks in 2022. Following her move from Cairns after winning the Jo Butland Medal in 2021, Boltz has averaged 23.5 disposals per game to be one of the dominant players of the competition. She will be even stronger with news that Sharks ruck, Lilly Pearce  is expected to return from injury this weekend. McDonald has an incredible vertical leap and will be a huge in for the team. Small forward Hannah Davies’ pace and zippiness around the football has been outstanding inside 50 for the Sharks this year. She can both score and set goals up. If she’s having a good day on Saturday, the whole team will up.
Last time they met:
The two sides last met in Round 11 on Saturday 11 June at Fankhauser Reserve, where Maroochydore defeated Southport by three goals.
Where to from here?
The winner from tomorrow’s match will play the loser of the Bond University v University of Queensland clash. The losing side’s season will be over tomorrow afternoon.

University of QLD v Bond University
Saturday July 23rd, 3pm
UQ Playing Field 2, St Lucia
The University of Queensland finished as minor premiers for season 2022, with Bond University closely behind them. Arguably these two sides have been the strongest in the Bond University QAFLW season due to their high skill level, both sides have plenty of players who are clean below the knees and can kick precisely. Following a draw in round 2, and an 8 point UQ victory in Round 7, there is not much separating these sides in season 2022.
The Red Lions have shown great resilience this year despite losing four players, including co-captain Megan Hunt, to season-ending knee injuries.
With Saturday’s game expected to take place in wet conditions, this game will also be won in the midfield.
Players to watch:
University of Queensland:
Key Ruck and former premiership winner with both the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightening, Jacqui Russell, has been strong for the Red Lions this year and is expected to return from injury this weekend which will be a huge boost for the home side
Steph O’Brien, normally an inside mid, filled in for Russell last week and was outstanding. Her 32 disposals, 11 inside 50s and one goal performance, earned her the Zena Sport Impact Play of the Week. This performance in an unfamiliar role was a true testament of O’Brien’s skill and versatility and can be a genuine game changer.
Look out for 18yo Ava Seton, a 2022 Rising Star nominee who continues to impress more and more each week. Seton has been listed among the best nearly every week, averaging 6 tackles per game and is a future star of the competition.

Bond University:
Jessica Maher, who tomorrow celebrates her 50th game for Bond, has had a huge season. Two years ago she was playing as a winger and now finds herself at fullback. She can turn up and dominate anywhere on the field and is currently playing with a lot of confidence. Twice this season Maher has been awarded the Zena Sport Tackle of the week, so expect plenty of ferocious football from her with a spot in the Grand Final on the line.
Courtney Sexton’s organisation for her teammates is a weapon for this group and will be important tomorrow in the wet. Sexton leads Bond’s average disposals (19.5 per game) and is also the teams leading tackler with 66 for the season, so in tight and contested conditions, expect her to lead from the front.
Last time they met:
The two sides last met in Round 7 on Saturday 14, May where the University of Queensland upset Bond at home by only one goal.
Where to from here?
The winner from tomorrow’s match will have the week off and head straight into the 2022 Grand Final, with the losing side to meet the winner of the Southport v Maroochydore clash.
Can’t make the games? Watch it here: QAFLW | Cluch.TV
Insights provided by QAFLW Commentator Daniel Viles.

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