MATCH OF THE ROUND
YERONGA vs. COOLANGATTA
Saturday July 18, 4:45pm Leyshon Park
If Yeronga want to make a serious run at a top two finish this season, this one is a must win.
The Devils started slow against Coorparoo last Saturday, but proved in the final three quarters that they have what it takes to hang with the best.
Despite the 32-point loss to the Navy Roos, Devils coach, Scott Stephens, is adamant that his girls can knock anyone off when they fire on all cylinders.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we are capable of beating anyone in this competition if we are in the right mindset,” Stephens said.
“It can be hard for a group to keep fighting after a bad start, but we did that last week and I think we can take that confidence into Saturday.
“Win or lose, it’s important that we go out this week and put in a four quarter performance, that is our benchmark.”
With the Queensland Women’s team taking on NSW/ACT this Sunday in Blacktown, there will be a host of outs for both sides.
The likes of Bates, Zanchetta, Kaslar and Wallace will miss Saturday’s clash, and Stephens believes the final team lineups should make for a very interesting game.
“Cooly have a few key players that drive their group, and they are all out this round, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust,” Stephens said.
“We will be missing three of our best to state duties also, so it will be a pretty even matchup to be honest, we just have to take our chances.
“I think this weekend more than anything else is a chance for new leaders to emerge, our three best aren’t out there, so it will be a real test of the girls character.”
One of the secrets to Coolangatta’s success this season has been their ability to utilise their talent-pool to keep players fresh and rested.
And the Bluebirds will need to rely on every ounce of their depth this Saturday, with countless players unavailable through state commitments and injuries.
“It’s going to be a real different look for us out there on the weekend, but it’s a chance for new players to step up,” Coolangatta coach, Aaron Russell said.
“We will be relying a lot on our under 17’s to step up to the higher level, but I think everyone is pretty excited for the challenge.”
The last time these sides met in round 4, Yeronga blew a two-goal lead late in the final quarter to fall painfully short by 11-points.
Despite pulling a bit of a Houdini to get the points last time, Russell is confident that his group has the ticker to record another win.
“We let ourselves down in front of goal last time, and we know Yeronga have some dangerous forwards who can hurt us, so we can’t let that happen again,” Russell said.
“We want to be the best so we have to find a way to win – I think pressure is going to be key for that to happen, we can’t give them space.
“I think if our backline continues performing the way they have and we can shutdown Hayley Newberry we will be a really good shot.”
UQ vs. ZILLMERE
Saturday July 18, 2:00pm Oval 7 – St Lucia
By their own coaches admission, Zillmere haven’t performed the way they wanted in 2015, but last weekend was a turning point.
A spirited second-half win over the ladder leaders breathed some new life into the Eagles players and proved that they are capable of mixing it with the top teams.
“It was a win without four points last Saturday,” Zillmere coach, Jacob Simmons-Bliss said.
“We matched it with the best side in the competition and that is our benchmark now, we all agree that is the standard we should and can play to.”
Despite the huge morale boost for his team, Simmons-Bliss is adamant that his side must refocus to face a hungry UQ outfit this weekend or risk being caught napping.
“It is fantastic that the girls have found a bit of a spark after last week, but UQ are the most improved side in the competition and we need to be ready for that,” he said.
“We want to stop their run and scoring opportunities, so we are going to have to play some terribly tough footy and be hard over the football all afternoon.
“Our forward structure is capable of kicking goals now and If our intensity is where it was last week we will go and get the four points.”
UQ will be without their star players Sharni Webb and Bree Koenen through state duties this week, but Red Lionesses coach, Michael Swann, insists his side won’t approach this game differently.
“We have been forced this season to give QWAFL experience to a lot of different girls, so this week is similar to most for us in terms of ins and outs.
“The focus doesn’t change because of availability though, we will focus on our own development and try to get a win on the board.
Despite going down to the Eagles by 24-points in round 4, Swann is confident that the Red Lionesses can collect the points on Saturday if the commitment is there.
“If we can spread the ball and move the footy forward that will give us a good chance at getting on top of them,” Swann said.
“We haven’t quite got the stage of converting our chances into points this season, but if we can make the most of our forward opportunities we are a chance.
“It’s going to be a really tight tussle, both teams are missing their top tier talent, so in my mind it’s about getting stuck in, showing effort and whoever commits the most gets the win.”
GRIFFITH MOOROOKA vs. COORPAROO
Sunday July 19, 2:30pm Alexander Park
They might be sitting at 8-1 with one of the most impressive lists in the competition, but Navy Roos coach, Bernie Cantrell, is refusing to take this weeks clash with Griffith Moorooka lightly.
“Where we are sitting on the ladder doesn’t really matter this week, we are very much struggling for numbers and our focus is to just battle through it,” Cantrell said.
“We respect Griffith Moorooka just like any other club, it doesn’t matter what sort of year they’ve had, depending on who lines up for us it could be a very close crunch game.”
The Navy Roos will miss seven of their stars on Sunday through state duties which means no Zielke, Sexton and Hunt to lead the charge.
Despite the lack of cavalry at his disposal this weekend, Cantrell views Sunday as an opportunity for new blood to prove themselves.
“The new girls that run out this week have the chance to prove what they can do and show me that they understand and can execute the Coorparoo brand of football,” he said.
“I want the girls to go out there and enjoy their footy and continue to improve, but I’ll also be looking for them to run hard, play man on man footy and play to team structures.”
It’s been a tough old slog for Griffith Moorooka in 2015, winless through 12 rounds of gruelling competition.
The Reds put in their best performance of the season last week however, pushing Wilston Grange up until half time and kicking three goals.
It will be another huge challenge for Moorooka this Sunday, but Reds coach, Glenn Hogetts is confident his group are in the right frame of mind to take on the challenge.
“We are feeling pretty good overall, we did better again last week and the girls are looking forward to the challenge this weekend,” Hogetts said.
“It’s going to be tough again for us this week with Sam (Virgo) at state’s and a few out through work commitments, but I have no doubt the side we field will give 100%.”
Although the Reds copped a 200-point hiding last time they played the Navy Roos, Hogetts believes the girls will be more competitive on Sunday.
“We know they have an abundance of talent, but we aren’t mucking around, we want to give them a run for their money,” Hogetts said.
“Tackling pressure all over the ground will be a big focus for us, we want to make sure we challenge them all day and don’t allow free runs at the football.”
By Grant Hitzman