QAFLW Preview – Maroochydore

By Daniel Viles 

The Maroochydore Roos will seek a fifth consecutive finals appearance in the 2023 Bond University QAFLW with new coaches and an unfamiliar playing group, but a familiar sense of positivity.

The departure of beloved coach Steve Moody after three years in charge preceded an unusually tumultuous off-season which delayed the club finalising a new coaching team until March.

It was worth the wait. Dave Hume, a long-time player and coach in both Tasmania and Queensland, will be joined by former Wilston Grange and Maroochydore defender Hetti Malone to form the first instance of two head coaches of a Bond University QAFLW team in recent memory.

Malone is confident that the team is ready for Round 1 despite the disrupted pre-season.

“I feel like the squad is anticipating a good hit-out with Bond University in our first round. Dave and I have worked closely together to give the girls an opportunity to try different positions on the field, put different groups in different spots. They’ve had an opportunity to play alongside each other and learn all those nuances that create a better flowing game,” she said. 

The Roos playbook in recent years has been built around a highly structured midfield and defence. As a former defender herself, Malone has no desire or reason to change that.

“Traditionally, the Maroochydore defence is tough to beat, particularly with Sara-Jane O’Grady leading the back, and Kelsee Sills with her direction and communication. So, we get a slow and controlled exit out of our defence line, connecting through our wings and then coming back through the corridor. It’ll be good to see it all link up.

Maroochydore’s ability to attract talent to Fishermans Road from all over Queensland and beyond means that Roos fans used to seeing elite midfields featuring Rachel Crack, Belle Dawes, Chloe Gregory, Mikayla Martin and Lily Postlethwaite won’t have to dampen their taste for luxury.

Cairns Saints’ multiple premiership captain Kate Fowles and Dakota Hooper from Sydney’s North Shore Bombers have met halfway to lead a fleet of speedy Lions Academy midfielders, including Sophie Peters, Amber Swan and Indi Williams.

“Kate will play centre for us and provide leadership. Dakota is a little firecracker who will provide a lot of maturity and steady football through the middle of the ground. Real consistency of effort is what you can expect from Kate and Dakota. Then we’ve got those Academy girls who will run through there.”

A long-term knee injury to 2022’s breakout star, Emma Day, forced some renovation of the forward line. Enter prolific Cairns Saints goal scorer Grace Perry and an experienced player from University of Queensland about to enjoy a positional switch.

“Grace will be a key forward for us. We want her to give our mids plenty of opportunities. Naomi Fitzpatrick has come from UQ, and we’ll play her forward and potentially in the ruck. She’s got a good grab on her and a good sense of the game. Smart footy brain on that one.”

Any club with a large turnover of players reassesses what it considers to be a successful year. Malone is typical of coaches throughout the Bond University QAFLW who prioritise growth and development over results.

“My perception of success will be to see what we’ve been training to do happen on the field on game day and have that result in goals for us. There are a lot of young, very competitive women that are striving to be better every time they turn up for training so it’s exciting to see them step into their own and build their confidence as well.”

The coaching relationship between Hume and Malone shows every sign of remaining harmonious.

“Dave doesn’t do any of his leading with an ego; he is really receptive of feedback and remains quite agile in what we’re trying to achieve each week as we’re leading into our first round,” Malone said. 

Nickname: Roos

Coaches: Dave Hume & Hetti Malone

Captain: Kelsee Sills

Home Ground: Domino’s Oval (aka Neil Upton Oval, Maroochydore Multisports Complex, Fishermans Road)

QAFLW Premierships: nil

2022: Elimination Finalists (8 wins, 1 draw, 6 losses; 91 goals scored, 62 goals conceded)


Lilly Baker (Noosa juniors)

Lily Bromilow (Gympie)

Zoe Dwyer (Lavington, NSW)

Brydie Eva (Maroochydore juniors)

Taylah Field (East Ringwood, Vic)

Keely Fitzgerald (Hurstbridge, Vic)

Naomi Fitzpatrick (University of Queensland)

Kate Fowles (Cairns Saints)

Nicole Geddes (Wilston Grange)

Kyla Hamilton (Inverell, NSW)

Charlotte Healy (Morningside, QFAW)

Kaiya Hides (Noosa juniors)

Dakota Hooper (North Shore, NSW)

Maddison McCarthy (North Shore, QFAW)

Emily McGregor (Gympie)

Tiona McMenamin (North Shore, QFAW)

Grace Perry (Cairns Saints)

Arden Quilliam (Maroochydore juniors)

Renee Teys (Coorparoo)

Kiah Thompson (Kawana juniors)

Annemieke Thorbecke (St Mary’s Salesian, Vic)

Brooke Wegener (Richmond Central, Vic)

Anneka Williams (Pine Rivers, QFAW)


Elli Aitken

Taya Bowman

Rachel Crack (Caloundra, QFAW)

Emma Day (knee reconstruction)

Chloe Gregory

Bree Grentell

Maggie Harmer

Te Aorangi Jordan

Rianna Maloney

Mikayla Martin (Aspley)

Brooke Matheson

Kellie McPherson

Tahlia Mead

Jazmin Tweddle-O’Donnell (Collingwood, VFLW)

Neve Underwood

Taylah Whitehead

Mia Woodburn


Sara-Jane O’Grady

It’s not possible to succeed in the Bond University QAFLW without a fullback who can read the play, act decisively, and begin counterattacks. O’Grady gets better in all these areas every time she plays. She missed six weeks with injury early in 2022; when she returned, the Roos went six matches unbeaten. Not a co-incidence. At 21, O’Grady isn’t even close to reaching her peak as a footballer.

Malone says: “When the ball goes back, it’s almost as if the team takes a sigh of relief because they know ‘SJ’ is there to clean it up.”

Kiara Hillier

Hillier may not appear often for Maroochydore in 2023 due to her Lions commitments, but don’t miss her when she is available. Most defenders don’t mature until their twenties; Hillier combines the fearlessness of the teenager she is with the vision of the veteran she isn’t. Her strongest suit is possibly her marking which is reliable overhead and strong in the contest.

Malone says: “She’s similar to Kate Lutkins; really explosive off the halfback line, can hit targets, and put the ball out in front of our wingers or mids or whoever is presenting for her.”

Sophie Peters and Amber Swan

The only thing better than one speedy midfielder who can sneak through a congested pack and then deliver accurately to the forwards is two speedy midfielders who can sneak through a congested pack, etc… Peters and Swan have progressed together through Maroochydore’s junior program onto the Lions Academy, and both made an instant impression in their first year of senior football. They are fast enough to play wide, skilful enough to play inside, and sneaky enough to play as small forwards.

Malone says: “I’d put them next to when Lily (Postlethwaite) and Belle Dawes played together in the mids. Because they’ve got that history of playing together, it’s like they can communicate through a look.”


The 2022 season preview for Maroochydore says this team is perfect for coaches who want to show their teams how to play with structure. That still applies in 2023, but an arguably better reason to watch Maroochydore is that they play with so much joy. The Roos play hard, but no team seems to laugh as much as Maroochydore. On one cold night in 2022, they stayed on the field during the half-time break to keep themselves moving. They joked their way through the interval, then won the game.

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