QWAFL Preview: Round 9





Sunday June 21, 2:30pm Giffin Park

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for. The top two sides in the QWAFL, an undefeated streak on the line and bragging rights until August. We are in for a Sunday afternoon screamer.

It might only be June, but this one definitely has a finals feel to it. Coorparoo and Coolangatta have been the benchmark this season, dominating the rest of the competition to rightfully claim the top two spots on the QWAFL ladder.

The Bluebirds are unblemished in 2015, winning six straight after convincingly knocking off Coorparoo in round 1 by 34-points.

Coolangatta coach, Aaron Russell, knows the Navy Roos will be a whole different beast this time around, but is confident his group can keep their undefeated run going.

“The girls are really keen for the challenge, we have had great numbers this week and a cracking session on Tuesday which was done at a really high intensity,” Russell said.

“We know that Coorparoo will probably come in with a different mindset from round 1, they are a champion side and I know they will be well prepared.

“We definitely need to dictate the terms and play our style of footy if we want to win – I have massive belief in this group, we have come really far and I think we can get the job done.

Despite being the only undefeated side in the competition, Russell is adamant that Coorparoo have some of the most dangerous players in the competition, a few of which he’ll be keeping his eye out for.

“Coorparoo have a really great side, they really are one of the few teams that have threats across all lines, so we have to be on top of our game,” Russell said.

“It all depends where they line up, but we expect their midfield to rotate forward so our back six will need to be very accountable on Sunday.

“Hannah (Sexton) will probably play on the wing so we have to watch her speed, Megan Hunt is always dangerous, but the key for me is to shut down Emma Zielke, we can’t let her get off the chain.”

The Navy Roos have come leaps and bounds since their opening round loss to Coolangatta, smashing Griffith Moorooka by 200-points and totally dominating Yeronga and Wilston Grange on their way to five consecutive wins.

Coorparoo’s free flowing style has been damaging this season and the Navy Roos are averaging 94-points a game heading into round 9, the most of any side in the competition.

The Navy Roos offensive structure has been a huge weapon this season, but Coorparoo coach, Bernie Cantrell, believes the key to victory lies in the basics.

“Cooly are a great side and if we don’t give them the respect they deserve we will get beaten on the day,” Cantrell said.

“It has been a great motivator for us since copping that lose to Cooly in round 1, we got a kick in the backside and we have been working really hard ever since to catch them.

“But we can’t get caught up in the whole top of the table stuff, we just have to trust what we have been doing – play man on man footy and play at a high intensity.”

Sunday should see some ripper match ups with the likes of Kaslar, Zielke, Sexton and Adamson lining up, but Cantrell insists it will require a team first mentality to get the points.

“We know some of their girls can do some damage but we can’t be putting two or three girls on someone like Leah (Kaslar) and forgetting the rest of their team,” Cantrell said.

“I put in the faith in my girls to get the job done, that’s been a big part of our game plan this season, being accountable, whatever girl goes to the big names will know the role they have to play.

“We have a lot of girls that we can rotate and switch into different positions, and I’m confident we have what it takes to get the win.”

Expect this to be one of the games of the season, either team could take the points here.



Saturday June 20, 9:30am Oval 7, St Lucia

UQ and Wilston Grange have been on the losing end of the ledger recently and this Saturday presents a perfect opportunity for both sides to get back on the horse.

The Red Lionesses have fought gallantly this season, running out good performances against Zillmere, Coorparoo and Yeronga without getting the points.

Although the focus has been on development this season for UQ, Red Lionesses coach, Michael Swann, admits his girls are hungry to add to their solitary win in round 2.

“We are probably in a pretty difficult patch of the season with holidays and exams kicking in, but we still think we can get some more wins and continue to close the gap between the top sides,” Swann said.

“I don’t think we are far away, it is just about gathering some momentum and continuing to run out four quarter performances.

Despite winning just one game in 2015, UQ and Wilston Grange shape up as two very even sides.

The Red Lionesses went down in a tight 14-point game against the Gorillas in round 1, but Swann believes UQ can go one better on Saturday if his side can dictate the terms.

“We think we were pretty unlucky to not get the win last time against Grange,” Swann said.

“There has been a history of close matches between our two sides and I think this week will be no different quite honestly.

“I think we need to break away from the contest and beat them on the outside, Grange are fairly physical so if we can focus on moving it away from the contest we are a good chance.”

Wilston Grange have three wins to their name this season and have looked excellent in patches, but the Gorillas have faltered in recent weeks, losing to Yeronga and Coorparoo by big margins.

Gorillas coach, Ron Kemp, is keen for his side to get back in the winners circle on Saturday, but isn’t underestimating the improving Red Lionesses.

“I’m expecting another tough game from UQ, they are an ever improving side and we seem to play a similar style which will probably make it a bit of an arm wrestle,” Kemp said.

“We are going to have to control the movement of the football, if we don’t control the tempo and the position of the footy, UQ can bounce back and kick some goals.

“This week I’m down some pretty important personnel, but I’m hoping we can dig deep and come away with the points.”

UQ’s Breanna Koenen has been a rock for the Red Lionesses this season and can do some serious damage if let loose, however, Kemp believes his group must focus on the bigger picture.

“I think this week we are going to be focusing on taking the whole team on, rather than pick targets,” Kemp said.

“We don’t have the personnel to to put too much attention on one player, so we just have to focus on gelling together and concentrating on high work rate for four quarters.”



Saturday June 20, 4:45pm O’Callaghan Park

Zillmere will return to action for the first time in three weeks this Saturday to face the struggling Griffith Moorooka at O’Callaghan Park.

The Eagles have been a little disappointing in 2015 by their own admission and Zillmere coach, Jacob Simmons-Bliss, admits the bye rounds came at the right time for his group.

“The byes in hindsight came at a very good time and they have really helped our group,” Simmons-Bliss said.

“We haven’t had to prepare for football matches in the last few weeks so we have had the chance to work with players individually during the training week.

“We are maybe a win or two behind where we would have liked to be, but we definitely think we are a real contender and we want to come home with a wet sail later in the year.

Griffith Moorooka have fought gallantly this season, but have really struggled against a much stronger QWAFL competition in 2015, finding themselves winless after six games.

Although the Reds have suffered some big losses this year, Simmons-Bliss is refusing to take Griffith Moorooka lightly, believing they are more dangerous than most think.

“We will be going out there like we are playing any other team, otherwise it could come back to bite us,” Simmons-Bliss said.

“Griffith’s scores don’t look very good on paper, but by my estimate they have actually been fairly competitive and have controlled some parts of a game I’ve seen.

“We have about five or six things implemented this week that we want to achieve and with the right attitude and a good application we are confident we can play a good game of football.”

It has been a tough slog so far for the Reds in 2015, but Griffith Moorooka coach, Glenn Hogetts, has been impressed with his group’s commitment so far.

“Training has been really good the last few weeks, we are getting good numbers to the sessions and everyone is enthusiastic and up beat,” Hogetts said.

“I have been really impressed with the girls attitude each week and the effort they continue to put in, it’s really great to see as a coach.”

The Reds will go into this one as pretty heavy underdogs, but Hogetts is adamant that his group are looking forward to the challenge.

“We are looking forward to see how far we have progressed since the first round and see where we are at against Zillmere now,” Hogetts said.

“I want the girls to learn from the first time around and continue to improve the one on one pressure as well as being accountable for the whole game.”

By Grant Hitzman – @granthitzman


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