By Andrew Wiles
2014 season wrap
In just their second year of competition, 2014 must be seen as a successful year for the University of Queensland Red Lions. In a season that wasn’t just about wins and losses, but more about establishing themselves within the QWAFL competition, they finished in sixth place with three wins and 11 losses. Having now laid the foundation, look for UQ to be big improvers in 2015.
UQ’s list of inclusions for this season is huge. Former Queensland Under-18 co-captain Belle Baldock, fresh off winning the Toowoomba Women’s League B&F, will join the Red Lions in 2015. Also donning the jumper for the first time will be Queensland Youth Girls Academy members Jordan Smyth, Claudia Wharton and Darcey Campbell. Kate Sargeant, who has been twice selected in the AFL Quebec team of the year, has made the move to Oval 7, as has Mel Goode from Griffith Moorooka.
In a sign of strength going forward, the Red Lions have retained their core senior group from 2014. The only two permanent losses will be Beth Newman and Sinead Hastie, due to work and university commitments respectively. Chantal Beaudin and Millie Read will only be available for selection in half the home and away season, following representative selection.
Now into their third year as a team, senior coach Michael Swann will continue the development focus, building the girls skills and understanding of the game. Through this, there will be a real emphasis on pressure this year. Swann wants the opposition ball carrier to be constantly under the pump in order to create turnovers.
Coach Michael Swann’s thoughts on 2015
“We want to continue our improvement, each year has been a step up in the quality of our performances, and with the couple of recruits we have got, and with the natural development of the girls we have got, we think we will continue along that path. We will be aiming to make finals and then go from there.”
Who has the X factor?
After only being able to play half a season last year due to state commitments, look out for the captain and assistant coach, Sharni Webb. She is having a great pre-season on the track, and looks to be more available in 2015. Swann expects an explosive year from her.