Queensland Rep Clash – Coaches Locked In

With over 150 matches of AFL and AFLW experience between them, and stellar coaching resumes, Leigh Harding and Emma Zielke have been named as the Senior Men’s and Women’s Queensland Coaches for the upcoming interstate representative clash. 
After a four-year hiatus from state representative footy, the two sides will take on Tasmania at North Hobart Oval on July 1.
As a pioneer for women’s footy in Queensland, Zielke was named the inaugural Brisbane Lions AFLW Captain in 2017 and went on to be the first ever NAB AFLW Premiership Captain in 2021.
Zielke also has a rich history playing Queensland women’s state league football, winning two QAFLW Best and Fairest Medals which are now named in her honour.
Her accolades continue in the coaching space, where she is now Head Coach of the Brisbane Lions Girls Academy and recently selected for BHP Women’s Coaching Academy.
Zielke said she was thrilled to be leading the women’s side.
“It’s really exciting to have the state representative program back on the calendar for 2023,” she said.
“There is nothing better than pulling on that jumper with that big Q on the front and representing your state!
“I’m really looking forward to the program and competing against Tasmania.”
Former North Melbourne footballer turned coach, Leigh Harding will lead a strong line up of coaches for Queensland’s men’s side.
After a successful playing career, Harding coached the Brisbane Lions NEAFL side from 2013 to 2016, including to their 2013 premiership. He then went on to coach Redland’s in the NEAFL from 2017 to 2018.
After coaching Queensland’s Under 16 team in 2019, Harding has since been an integral part of the South QLD men’s coaching team from 2021 to 2022.
Bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience, Harding said he was looking forward to the test.
“I’m really looking forward to being involved in a program that will showcase the AFL talent in Queensland,” he said.
“To take on one of the proudest footballing states and rekindle state footy will be a great experience for all players involved.”
Assisting Zielke with leading the women’s side will be Assistant Coaches Ryan Davies, Rebecca Randazzo and Kieran Daley.
Ryan Davis has played over 130 WAFL and 44 NEAFL/VFL matches for Southport. With a Level 3 coaching accreditation he led Southport’s Senior Women’s team to the Grand Final in their inaugural QAFLW season.
Rebecca Randazzo has completed her Level 3 in coaching and currently leads the QAFLW team at Coorparoo Football Club.
Kieran Daley has been a part of the Gold Coast SUNS coaching team as Women’s Assistant Coach and was also named as the Lead Assistant Coach for the 2022 North Queensland side.
Coaching alongside Leigh Harding for the men is Brad Moore, Adrian Pilgrim and Paul Grentell.
Brad Moore has completed his Level 3 in coaching and was the QAFL Coach for Surfer’s Paradise from 2017 to 2022, leading them to 2019 premiership.
Over the last couple of years, Level 3 coach Adrian Pilgrim has taken on the role of Aspley’s QAFL Midfield Coach and helped the team win the premiership in 2022. Prior to this he was Assistant Coach to both Coburg’s VFL senior side and Western Jets NAB League team.
Paul Grentell, who will also act as chair of the selection panel, has five years’ experience as Senior Coach of the Western Magpies QAFL side and four years’ as Assistant Coach of Brisbane’s NEAFL team, where he secured two premierships. Grentell brings a wealth of experience also having coached the Queensland and Queensland Country rep sides.
Further match details including squad and team lists will be made over the coming months.

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