By Ant Wingard
Bond University v Yeronga
Bond University captain Molly Ritson produced a best on ground performance in her first competitive football game in 18 months in the Bullsharks’ narrow six-point loss to Yeronga South Brisbane.
Ritson, who was elevated to the role of team captain over the summer, starred for the Bullsharks in her return from stress fractures that have kept her on the shelf since Bond University’s 2017 QFAW Division 1 premiership in August 2017.
The former Brisbane Lions AFLW draftee split her time in the midfield and on a wing where she went head to head with Devils’ skipper Sam Virgo for much of the day, but despite Ritson’s efforts, it was the away side who came away with the win.
Both sides found themselves on equal pegging throughout most of the contest with the margin never exceeding any more than five points at any point in the first half.
But it was the Bullsharks who mounted an assault in a tense third term.
The home side booted two goals in the term, including one to Ritson who added her name to the goal kicker’s list with a sublime passage of gut running, to take a 13-point lead into the final change.
Bond University’s lead was shortened early in the final term as Jade Ransfield hit back for the Devils making it a seven-point game.
Yeronga continued to will themselves in the contest and it soon became apparent the away side had the momentum, using Bond University’s wide field to move the ball upfield.
Courtney McDonnell evened the scores five minutes later adding her third of the day through a crafty snap.
But it was Demi Leach, who stood tall and kicked the go-ahead major for the Devils with just three and a half minutes to spare that sealed the Yeronga comeback.
The win continues Yeronga’s undefeated run against the Bullsharks in the QAFLW. Yeronga will travel to Aspley next week while Bond University will aim to notch their first win of the season against Coorparoo at Giffin Park.
Yeronga South Brisbane 2.1, 4.2, 4.5, 7.7 (49)
Bond University 2.1, 4.4, 6.6, 6.7 (43)
GOALS, Yeronga South Brisbane: C. McDonnell 3, D. Leach 2, J. Ransfield 1, L. Bougoure 1. Bond University: K. Howarth 3, J. Watts 1, G. Brehmer 1, M. Ritson 1.
BEST, Yeronga South Brisbane: S. Virgo, M. Goodwin, V. Hart, N. Thomas, K. Davidson, S. Duncan. Bond University: M. Ritson, K. Howarth, L. Attard, M. Cairns, E. Boles, K. Smith.
Aspley v Coorparoo
Aspley has made an emphatic statement in the opening round of the QAFLW by slaying perennial powerhouses Coorparoo in their first competitive game.
The Hornets were relentless with their pressure throughout all four quarters to notch their first win in the QAFLW while rendering the Kings goalless for the first time in nearly three years.
Coorparoo, without many of their top players through absence following the AFLW season, high performance programs or unavailability, struggled to move the ball past half way and mustered a flurry of behinds for the game.
Aspley coach Jacob Simmons-Bliss said the win was an exciting time for the football club.
“As a Club and as a squad we couldn’t have been prouder of the way our players applied themselves across every contest throughout the match,” Simmons-Bliss told aflq.com.au.
“Clearly any win for a new side to the QAFLW competition is going to be an exciting one and our group certainly felt that excitement on the weekend given the way both our senior and development league sides performed.”
The Kings’ final score of 0.5 was Coorparoo’s lowest score under Michael Hewitt and lowest since the side booted 0.3 against Zillmere in Round 7 of the 2016 season.
It took just three minutes for Aspley to muster their first inside 50 of the matches, but Kylie Guarino’s early chance was squandered for only a behind. It wasn’t until ten minutes later until the Hornet’s finally booted their first through Morgan Lanigan.
The Hornet’s pressure continued and while Coorparoo soon found an ounce of footing in the game with a few inside 50s of their own, it was apparent Aspley were truly on top.
An onslaught through the middle stanzas of the came ensued with two goals in the second and four in a blitzkrieg third term meant the score tilted heavily in the Hornet’s favour by the final break.
Among the Hornets’ best were reliable defender Lucia Liessi, outside midfielder Kaitlyn Cantrell and skipper Courtney Daneic while former Wilston Grange sharpshooter Michaela Campbell finished with three majors.
Aspley Hornets 2.2, 4.4, 8.4, 10.5 (65)
Coorparoo 0.0, 0.0, 0.1, 0.5 (5)
GOALS, Aspley Hornets: M. Campbell 3, K. Guarino 2, L. Liessi 1, K. Cantrell 1, S. Madden 1, S. Easton 1, M. Lanigan 1. Coorparoo: N/A.
BEST, Aspley Hornets: K. Cantrell, N. Clark, H. Hinze, S. Easton, L. Liessi, C. Daniec. Coorparoo: A. Reynolds, C. Huth, E. Mckenzie, M. Ingram, R. Keith, K. Geddes.
Coolangatta v Maroochydore
Coolangatta Tweed is back on the winning list for the first time in six games as the Bluebird’s first half blitz paved the way for their 34-point win over Maroochydore at Exxim Oval.
The Bluebirds fielded four debutants in the contest but the biggest change to the team from their last matchup was a bevy of players returning from injury.
With a rejuvenated team, Coolangatta held steady against the Roos who were missing many of their regular QAFLW contingent for the game.
The Bluebirds’ defence remained stingy throughout the entire first half and conceded just one behind to half time.
The defensive unit was led by co-captain Alex Hamlin who boasted a “strong presence across centre-half-back and read the game really well,” according to Bluebirds coach Matt Bedford.
Bedford also welcomed the team’s return to the winners’ list but implored the best aspect of the win was the even contribution across the board.
“I started my after-game address by saying ‘welcome to the winners list,’” he said.
“The girls just all played their roles particularly well, everyone was really aware of the role they had to play in our team and everyone executed that really well.”
Coolangatta were well serviced by Maddy Roberts who again impressed in the midfield but also managed to push forward and kick two majors.
Elsewhere, returning AFLW forward Jordan Membrey was also among the team’s bests.
For Maroochydore, Kate Surman willed herself across all four quarters while Ruby Mcdowell and Bella Smith were also welcomed contributors on the scoreboard, helping the Roos to fight back in the third term.
Coolangatta Tweed 2.1, 3.8, 4.9, 6.12 (48)
Maroochydore 0.1, 0.1, 2.2, 2.2 (14)
GOALS, Coolangatta Tweed: M. Roberts 2, S. Carter 2, H. Mirfield 1, G. Moodie 1. Maroochydore: R. McDowell 1, B. Smith 1.
BEST, Coolangatta Tweed: A. Hamlyn, A. Fortescue, L. Turney, J. Membrey, M. Roberts, S. Priest. Maroochydore: J. Dover, K. Hehir, R. McDowell, M. Harmer, B. Smith, K. Surman.
University of Queensland v Wilston Grange
Wilston Grange’s culture renaissance paid dividends in the opening round of the season as the new-look Gorillas continued their winning streak with a 31-point win over University of Queensland.
Despite storming to the 2018 QAFLW Premiership last August, the Gorillas undertook a makeover across the summer aimed at refreshing the culture around the team.
And despite a plethora of Queensland state and AFL Women’s players departing for rivals clubs, the positive environment helped carry the Gorillas to an emphatic win to kick off their title defence.
That positive mindset has been significant across the preseason and that same notion carried into Saturday’s game according to Gorillas forward Sophie Wheeler.
“It’s literally one of the biggest things that has helped us get the win. It’s just really positive at the moment,” Wheeler told aflq.com.au.
“It’s one thing that is really making us excited this year. Everyone is enjoying just coming to training and encouraging each other.”
Wheeler, who was one of around seven who returned from the Gorillas’ 2018 premiership team, booted an equal game-high three majors in the win.
After even footing in the first term, where the Red Lions actually bettered the Gorillas but couldn’t convert their opportunities in front of goal, the Gorillas’ revolution truly kicked into gear in the second term.
In an eventful second quarter, the way side booted five goals to two and carried the team to a hefty 20-point lead at the main break.
The Gorillas continued to will their way in the contest, using their mix of outside speed on Griffith University’s wide oval to continually offer the team’s forwards such as Wheeler ample scoring opportunities.
Catherine Svarc and Maddison Peeters were again among the side’s best contributors while Dakota Davidson and Marni McGorm were among University of Queensland’s bests.
Wilston Grange 1.2, 6.7, 8.11, 9.12 (66)
University of Queensland 1.4, 3.4, 5.5, 5.5 (35)
GOALS, Wilston Grange: S. Wheeler 3, C. Taylor 3, E. Gerke 2, R. Fillmore 1. University of Queensland: D. Davidson 2, K. Williams-Browne 1, R. Vetter 1, X. Cerutti 1.
BEST, Wilston Grange: C. Svarc, M. Peeters, A. Kelly, C. Taylor, J. McMullin Matthews, S. Wheeler. University of Queensland: M. Martin, M. McGorm, A. Moran, D. Davidson , R. Vetter, C. Wharton.