By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
Throughout the Bond University QWAFL season, AFL Queensland will take a look at a select few players to watch in the upcoming weekend’s action.
Since the realignment of the premier women’s football competition in South East Queensland in 2014 to its current state as the QWAFL, just 15 players have played over 60 games.
Coorparoo defender Ariana Reilly is the current games record holder in the modern QWAFL era, topping the competition with 70 games, but not far behind her is young Yeronga defender Emily Bliss.
Bliss has chalked up a mammoth 69 games for the Devils since introduction of the QWAFL in 2014 and is the games record holder for Yeronga – seven games ahead of Devils teammate Emily Bates.
At just 21 years-old, Bliss is the second youngest player, behind only teammate Jade Ransfield to have played 60 games in the competition, but her performances in 2018 exemplify her skills well beyond her years.
Yeronga have struggled somewhat this season, now finding themselves down in seventh place.
The side’s premiership defence has returned just three games thus far – a sharp decline from the same time last season.
Yet despite the team’s shaky form, Bliss has remained a rock in defence. Across her seven games this season, she has been named in the Devils’ best players six times; the equal most player in the competition.
Only UQ Red Lion Bree Koenen, who has been named among the best player in all of her six appearances can claim that same acknowledgement.
Bliss is Yeronga through and through, playing in their female Under-18 side in both 2012 and 2013 before making the leap into their senior team.
Yeronga Devils head coach, Scott Stephens, was full of praise about the team’s premier defender.
“When we’re talking about Emily Bliss, there’s about five traits she’s elite at,” Stephens told aflq.com.au.
“I’m a bit biased but she’s definitely one of the key players in the side and one of the real reasons why our back line has been quite solid this year.”
“Over the last three years she’s been like a rock in defence.
“Her ability to just read the play and back herself in along with her courage to take the front spot and keep her eye on the football is just about the best I’ve seen in women’s football.
“She’s one of those players that coaches love to have in the side.”
Yeronga will look to get their 2018 season back on track against Coolangatta Tweed at Leyshon Park,