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.
Yeronga’s 2018 campaign has transpired in stark contrast to their premiership triumph last season.
In 2017, the Devils were world-beaters, dispelling their loss to Coolangatta Tweed in the big dance a season prior to defeat arch rivals Coorparoo and win the flag.
Since then, a lot of things have changed at Leyshon Park, but similarly, many things have stayed the same.
A miniature exodus at the club played out over the offseason, with key players in the premiership win leaving for pastures new.
Select key players remained, but the changes from year to year meant Yeronga’s hand was forced to promote from within.
Several players from the club’s QWFA Division 1 side have taken up life in the QWAFL this season.
The Devils currently sit in sixth place and find themselves among a log jam alongside University of Queensland, Bond University and Coolangatta Tweed for the final two spots in the final four.
The likelihood of playing finals or not may not be entirely in their hands, but if they were to qualify, the Devils will need to find more lethality in front of goal. And that’s exactly where you can find this round’s QWAFL One to Watch.
Demi Leach has been with the Devils since 2013 in the club’s Under-18 side and has since, over her 48 club games, developed into one of the most experienced players in the team.
Her 2018 goal tally sits at six thus far having booted 25 and 16 in 2016 and 2017 respectively and continues to be among Yeronga’s best each week.
A versatile forward, Leach has the ability to line up at full forward or across half-forward and even float through the midfield as a skilful option out of the centre.
Yeronga head coach, Scott Stephens, couldn’t talk highly enough of the 20-year-old.
“In my opinion, she’s the best contested mark in the competition. As any coach will tell you, contested marks are gold,” Stephens told aflq.com.au.
“If you caught our Grand Final last year, she took a few really key marks that were probably the difference at the end of the day.”
“I really think she’s a key player in our forward line in terms of being that kind of player where we can play deep but we can also push her up the ground.”
“This year she hasn’t been in the goals as much as previous years but her work rate and her work ethic is just brilliant. She’s probably a bit unlucky not to have more goals next to her name.”
Yeronga, spearheaded by an inform Leach, will aim to keep their finals hopes alive as they face Bond University this evening, 4:45PM, at Bond University.
QWAFL One to Watch
Round 2: Dakota Davison & Courtney Bromage (both UQ)
Round 3: Maddy Roberts (Coolangatta) & Krystal Smith (Bond)
Round 4: Clare Lawton (Wilston Grange)
Round 5: Courtney McDonnell (Yeronga)
Round 6: Isabella Freeman (Maroochydore)
Round 7 : Jade Ellenger (Coorparoo)
Round 8: Kate Surman (Maroochydore)
Round 9: Jemma Abbott (Wilston Grange)
Round 10: Kayla Geddes (Coorparoo)
Round 11: Emily Bliss (Yeronga)
Round 12: Lauren Bella (Bond)
Round 13: Cleo Davis (Coorparoo)
Round 14: Lauren James (Coolangatta)
Round 15: Marnie McGorm (UQ)
Round 16: Demi Leach (Yeronga)