QWAFL Preview: Round 19





Saturday September 5, 4:45pm O’Callaghan Park

This is it.

After more than four months of QWAFL competition, just two hours of twilight footy on Saturday will decide whether Zillmere or Wilston Grange play finals in 2015.

The Gorillas currently sit one game clear of the Eagles, but a loss on Saturday would see Wilston Grange relinquish their spot in September by percentage.

A tight 7-point victory to the Gorillas in round 6 has been the only meeting between these two clubs in 2015, but Wilston Grange coach, Ron Kemp, is confident his group can do it all again.

“At the end of the day we had a good win against them earlier in the year, that was on the back of numbers available and I see no reason why we can’t do it again,” Kemp said.

“We are really excited for the challenge, it (the game) is a situation where we have no one else to blame but ourselves, it just comes down to who wants it more.

“We trained really well on tuesday, had great numbers and I’ll be going in with one of the strongest sides I’ve had this year, so we are feeling positive.”

With so much on the line this weekend, Kemp believes that the Gorillas must act as a cohesive unit  and shutdown a few of Zillmere’s stars to get over the line on Saturday.

“We must be accountable out there, I’ve been saying all year that we have to be committed for four quarters, get first use of the footy and use it efficiently, that’s the only way to win,” Kemp said.

“Tayla Harris, Ali Anderson and Madi Crowley stand out in my mind as ones to watch, we have a couple of ideas for Tayla specifically and I think if everyone does their job we should come out on top.”

The Eagles have had an up and down year in 2015, slumping to a mediocre 6-9 record after a grand final berth in 2014.

Despite the inconsistencies from Zillmere, Eagles coach Jacob Simmons-Bliss is confident that his group has all the tools to get the job done on Saturday.

“We have been looking forward to and preparing for this matchup for the last few weeks and I think we are absolutely ready for it and to earn our spot in finals,” Simmons-Bliss said.

“There are of course elements which I think we can improve on – decision making being one of them – but we know we have the ability to beat Grange, we just have to be ready.

“I’m expecting us to go hard from the first bounce, we can’t ease our way into this one, we have to be fierce from the get go.”

The Eagles and Gorillas have two very contrasting styles that could make Saturday’s clash very interesting, it will be a case of ball running vs. physicality and who can do it better.

For Zillmere, the key lies in their run according to Simmons-Bliss, which he believes will either make or break the Eagles on the weekend.

“We will be committing to the style of football that suits our game, which means playing at a fast tempo and producing outside run,” he said.

“Grange like to grind it out and slow the game down to a slog, we can’t let that happen, we must use our pace and use our run if we are a chance at winning this football game.”

Expect a close, tense and fierce clash on Saturday as Zillmere and Wilston Grange battle for the last spot in finals.



Saturday September 5, 4:45pm Leyshon Park

Yeronga proved last weekend that they are more than capable of going all the way this season, but the Devils will have to shift their focus to Griffith Moorooka before they begin their finals campaign.

The Devils are unbackable favourites heading into this Saturday’s final round clash with the bottom-placed Reds, but Yeronga coach Scott Stephens is refusing to take it lightly.

“Obviously coming up against a team that hasn’t won a game you would expect to get a win, but we can’t adopt that pattern of thinking at this stage of the year,” Stephens said.

“Their ladder position can’t be a concern to us, we haven’t played them in a long time and they have had some competitive results since then – so we don’t really know what to expect.

“We also have a lot of girls out this week through minor injuries who we just can’t risk going into finals so the girls will have to work hard to cover those outs.”

With an Elimination Final looming for Yeronga in a week’s time, Stephens is adamant that the Devils must use every second on Saturday to prepare as best as possible.

“The win against Coolangatta last weekend gave our girls the belief that we can match it with the top sides, we just have to go on with it now,” Stephens said.

“There are still things we need to work on and this weekend is another opportunity to do that – our goal is to get our hands on the football first and apply consistent pressure.

“If we do that for four quarters and continue our form from last weekend I have no doubt that we will walk away with a win and plenty of confidence heading into finals.”

It has been a tough year for Griffith Moorooka in 2015. A dismal 0-15 record and seven 100-point losses has seen the Reds fall well behind the competition this season.

Although Griffith Moorooka are unlikely to record their first win of the season this weekend, Reds coach, Glenn Hogetts, insists his group will continue to fight as well as have some fun in their final game of the year.

“It’s been an exhausting year, but we still want to be competitive – just because it’s the last game of the year doesn’t mean we can stop pressuring the opposition,” Hogetts said.

“The motivation is still there, but we also want to have fun – it’s been a long year and we just want to finish by enjoying it.

“We have nothing to lose, we will definitely try to take them on and be as completive as we can.”


Sunday September 6, 2:30pm Giffin Park

The top dog vs. the rising star.

UQ can’t play finals this season, but there is still plenty of motivation heading into their final round clash with Coorparoo,

The Red Lionesses had a breakthrough win against Zillmere last weekend and will be looking to back it up with a big performance against the minor premiers on Sunday.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but a lot of the work we’ve been doing is paying off and if we continue that form I think we can give it a real shake this weekend,” UQ coach, Michael Swann said.

“We still go into this game with the same attitude we do every week, but we’ve been playing really well the last month and another good result would give the girls a great platform in next year.”

Despite winning just four games in 2015, UQ have been extremely competitive this season, showing plenty of promise to be a serious threat in 2016.

The Red Lionesses showed real chops in a round 6 clash with Coorparoo, losing by just 34-points with a far less experienced side.

“The aim is to use that game as a bit of confidence and improve on that performance, but I think that game (round 6) was so long ago and we should be focusing more on how we’ve played over the last month,” Swann said.

“It’s my last game coaching the girls before I hand over, so personally I’d like us to put in a really good performance, but it’s really about the bigger picture.

“The message is to have confidence in our own ability – if we can do that and are prepared to take the game on I give us a chance.”

Coorparoo have clearly been the best side in 2015, registering 14 wins on the road to an impressive 1st place finish.

Despite their dominance, Navy Roos coach, Bernie Cantrell, is wary of the Red Lionesses this weekend, who he sees as a genuine threat.

“Last time we played them they were very competitive and I’m expecting another tight and tough contest,” Cantrell said.

“Hopefully our style gets us over the line, but we’ve only played them once and if I base it on that one meeting I think we have our hands full.

“It’s been a little tough to keep the girls motivated after we secured top spot, but I’m confident that we can keep our winning form going and put in another good four quarter performance.”

Regardless of the result this Sunday, Coorparoo will clash with Coolangatta next week in a mouthwatering clash to determine the first grand finalist of 2015.

By Grant Hitzman – @granthitzman


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