By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
Photo: AFL Media/Jason O’Brien
On Tuesday, the Queensland Under-18 girls side made history in Round 2 of the NAB AFL Women’s National Championships.
Their nine-point victory over historical powerhouse Victoria Metro signalled the first time ever any Queensland representative side had gotten the wood over their southern rivals.
Everyone, from the coaches to the players, knew just how big an achievement the win was following the game and what it meant to women’s football in Queensland.
AFL Queensland State Academy Manager, Mark Browning, even offered his congratulations to the team post-game such was the enormity of the occasion.
But Queensland’s win over Metro was no flash in the pan.
SING IT LOUD GIRLS! pic.twitter.com/5gqCEBUyTV
— AFL Queensland (@AFLQ) July 11, 2018
The maroon side dominated play throughout the four quarters using a game plan that combined unrelenting pressure with a willingness to spread quickly when in attack.
“Our key word today was desperation and we just hit everyone hard,” midfielder Jade Ellenger told aflq.com.au post-game.
“We had a focus on our defensive pressure. We knew our offense would come if we kept applying the pressure. We knew it would come off eventually. We stuck to our game plan.”
“It was the best game we’ve played in this jumper.”
That ethos became the difference between the two sides and the catalyst for Queensland’s breakthrough win.
Five Queensland players laid four or more tackles throughout the contest, headlined by midfield duo Lilly Postlethwaite (nine), Jaqueline Yorston (eight) and Ellenger (five).
Only one Metro player accomplished the same feat.
Queensland’s dominance, which produced 63 tackles to 27 and ensured no Metro played produced more than one clearance, wasn’t just reserved for their defensive acts either.
Ruckman Lauren Bella proved unbeatable in the ruck as Queensland conceded just four hit-out oppositions all day whilst generating 23 of their own.
A total monopoly in the ruck afforded Queensland’s midfielders first opportunity at stoppages, where they manufactured double the amount of clearances and won the inside 50s 29-10.
Perhaps most indicative of Queensland’s stoppage dominance came in the second term when Isabel Dawes broke through a half forward stoppage, eventually steadying to nail home her side’s second goal of the game.
Queensland Head Coach, Craig Starcevich, noted post-game just how effective his side were in constricting Victoria Metro’s midfield contingent who found more of the ball than his own players.
“They had to be desperate and bring the pressure.”
“The tackling pressure was a highlight. That perceived pressure grew as the game went on.”
“Our midfield group is really determined and desperate to win every stoppage they can get their hands on.”
Queensland’s next contest will be against the Eastern Allies side today at Bond University.