The AFLW’s elite will face off in the AFLW State of Origin clash this Saturday night at Etihad Stadium. The game will pit Victoria’s best against the rest of Australia’s best, the Allies.
It’s perfect timing for footy fans, with a week off in the AFL before finals start.
The State of Origin game will feature a strong contingent of Queensland talent,et to line up in the Allies squad, coached by Bec Goddard.
After a very successful season, the Brisbane Lions will have six players from their ranks representing their club in the Allies squad.
They include; Sabrina Frederick-Traub, Emily Bates, Emma Zielke, Jess Wuetschner, Kate McCarthy and Leah Kaslar.
There will also be Queensland players from other clubs representing the Allies.
Current Carlton and former Brisbane player Tayla Harris will be in the Allies jersey, alongside Katie Brennan from the Western Bulldogs.
An interesting possible matchup is the battle of the ‘speed demons’ on the wing with Kate McCarthy a chance to play directly against Brisbane teammate Kaitlyn Ashmore, who is in the Victorian squad.
Ahead of this inaugural clash Saturday night, here is some background on the Queensland born, or Queensland developed, players set to invade Etihad Stadium.
A Yeronga Devil, Bates was taken with the second pick in the inaugural AFLW draft. An All-Australian, Bates is one that fans and her Victorian opposition should be watching out for. Bates has played for the Yeronga Devils since the age of 11 when the women’s competition was established. From there, Bates captained the Queensland Youth Under 18 side for three years in a row, after starting in the role as a 15-year-old. Bates will be looking to win the ball and break the lines with run and carry like she has done, both in the AFLW and QWAFL. She brings exceptional leadership and don’t be surprised if she takes some good grabs as she is elite overhead for her size.
The UK born, high leaping and hard- hitting Brisbane ruckman, Frederick-Traub will be a wrecking ball in this Saturday night’s origin contest. Frederick-Traub moved to Australia when she was seven and began playing football with the boys to help get used to Australian life. After successful stints playing footy in Perth and Melbourne in state leagues, she now calls Brisbane home. Frederick-Traub is likely to spend most of her time in the ruck and up forward demonstrating her strong overhead marking.
A late comer to AFL, Zielke didn’t play her first game of AFL until the age of 19 with the Morningside Panthers. After the team at Morningside folded, Zielke established the women’s team at Coorparoo and led them to state league premierships in 2013, 2014 and 2015. She now captains the Brisbane Lions and will be vice-captain for the Allies on Saturday night. Emma will bring elite foot skills and a highly competitive attitude.
Picked at number 34 in the first AFLW draft by the Brisbane Lions, Wuetschner is a small half forward/midfielder with elite kicking skills and is one of the best left-footers in the competition. Wuetschner played football with East Fremantle before being drafted by the Lions. She will look to do Queensland proud this Saturday night using her elite kicking and goal sense to get the Allies over the line.
Taken with the 82nd pick in the 2016 AFLW draft, McCarthy has made a name for herself as the speed-machine of the AFLW. McCarthy played for Yeronga South Brisbane in the QWAFL before signing for the Lions. Described by some as the fastest player in the AFLW, McCarthy is capable of taking five to six bounces on the Etihad turf and kicking a running goal from 40. McCarthy has carried over her athletic ability to AFL, from her pre AFLW career representing Australia in touch football.
Referred to as “Xena Princess Warrior” by her teammates, Kaslar is Brisbane’s main shut down defender. Kaslar first played football in Cairns and then at Coolangatta Tweed AFC in 2016, where she won the QWAFL best and fairest. Taken with pick 31 in the 2016 AFLW draft, Kaslar has made a living by being a fierce competitor and defender. Look for her to provide some big spoils and crunching tackles on Saturday night.
An AFL footballer from birth, Brennan played her first game of football at the age of 6 in her brothers under eight side. She went on to play for the Logan Cobras until the age of 15. This was followed by a move to Victoria, where she was signed by the Western Bulldogs in 2016 as a marquee player. Brennan is a well-known goal kicker, kicking over 150 goals in her past three seasons in the VFL Women’s competition. Brennan is one of the danger forwards for the Victorians with her goal kicking ability and her athleticism.
One of the most well-known names in the AFLW, high-flying Tayla Harris will be looking to have a strong performance after her recent trade to Carlton from Brisbane. Harris began playing competitive football for Aspley at age five and then moved to Zillmere at 15 to play senior football. At Zillmere, she won the league best and fairest award in her first season. Harris has taken some spectacular marks in the AFLW and can be labelled as one of, if not the best, marks in the AFLW. Look for her to show off her aerial prowess and technically perfect set shot kick.
Queensland AFL fans should tune in to 7Mate on Saturday night at 7:30pm to watch the state’s best in action against their Victorian rivals.
By Aaron Goodwin