YERONGA 15.13.103 DEFEATED ZILLMERE 5.16.46
Yeronga have kept their quest for a premiership alive in 2015, outclassing a sluggish Eagles outfit by 57-points at Leyshon Park to set-up a preliminary final showdown with Coorparoo next Saturday.
The Devils were a cut above the weakened Eagles from start to finish, using their superior clearance game and speed to full advantage to tear Zillmere apart.
Yeronga didn’t have it all their way however, the first quarter was an arm wrestle and Zillmere were arguably the better side in the early going.
QWAFL leading goal-kicker Hayley Newberry got things underway with a quick major inside the first five minutes before Eagles captain Mikayla Anderson levelled it up a minute later.
The next 10 minutes were as even as it gets, with both sides trading inside fifties without any scoreboard reward.
The Eagles looked very good in the middle part of the first term, but were struggling to find a target up forward to finish some nice passages of play off.
Yeronga eventually regained control through some excellent pressure, finishing the term off with three goals to head into quarter-time with a 17-point lead.
Although they looked a step behind, Zillmere continued to fight and again had a better start in the second term than Yeronga, kicking a goal through Selee Pa inside three minutes.
Trailing by 11-points, Zillmere were well and truly in with a shot at overrunning the Devils in the second quarter, but they just couldn’t make the most of their forward pressure.
Countless opportunities inside fifty were squandered as Yeronga were forced to go into all out defence mode for the bulk of the second term.
But as great teams do, the Devils were able to turn the tide in their favour and again kick three goals on the trot to finish the quarter.
Behind by 27-points at the main break, Zillmere needed a big start to the third term to be any chance of causing an upset, but unfortunately for the Eagles it never came.
Tia Broughton and Hayley Newberry slotted a goal each inside the first five minutes of the quarter to extend the Devils lead to a near uncatchable 39-points.
Zillmere continued to battle hard though, with Mikayla and Ali Anderson leading the way in the guts.
Kiana Riley booted a lovely goal from the boundary to keep things interesting, but four consecutive goals from Yeronga to start the fourth quarter put the game to bed.
Zillmere battled gallantly all afternoon and should be applauded for their guts and determination, but on the day the Devils were way too strong.
Hayley Newberry and Jade Ransfield were dynamic for Yeronga up front, booting eight between them for the afternoon in a clinical goal-kicking display.
Jordan Zanchetta and Emily Bates were once again the stars in the middle for Yeronga, combining beautifully all afternoon to limit the Eagles opportunities.
If Yeronga continue to play as free flowing as they did on Saturday, they will be very hard to beat next week.
Scott Stephens – Yeronga
“I think there were finals nerves early, but once we settled into the game we started to break it open which was the most pleasing thing.
“We managed to put a bit of distance on the scoreboard which was an aim heading into the game, I was glad we didn’t play cat and mouse.
“What today really showed me is that they really want this, next week is a different kettle of fish all together but we will go in with a lot of confidence.
“We are in a do-or-die situation every week during these finals and so far it is bringing the best out in us – we didn’t just win the game today, we put the opposition today, we really shone.”
Jacob Simmons-Bliss – Zillmere
“We were definitely pleased with the first half of footy, we thought we were on top and thought we were in with a good chance to win the football game.
“Obviously Yeronga got the opportunity to get their run and carry going and they ran over us a bit, but we were also down on personnel today.
“This year was always about building a foundation for sustained success and we’ve done that – we’ve debuted 18 players at QWAFL level and have shown that we can compete with and beat the best sides.
“Obviously we would have liked to go deeper into finals, but the depth we have across our list is insane and going forward I believe we will be premiership favourites in the coming few years.”
COORPAROO 5.13.43 DEFEATED BY COOLANGATTA 7.5.47
Coolangatta have pulled off the upset of the season in their qualifying final clash with Coorparoo on Saturday, stunning the defending premiers in a 4-point thriller to head straight through to the 2015 Grand Final.
The Bluebirds and Navy Roos have had a few good battles in 2015, but Coorparoo were slight favourites given their finals experience and hugely talented list.
Coolangatta didn’t let history or experience bother them on Saturday however, playing with a ferocious intensity from the get-go.
It was end-to-end stuff in the opening ten minutes, with both sides struggling to find any space in a very congested quarter.
With more than half the quarter gone, neither side had managed to kick a goal until Morgan Lowe poked one through from the goal square to give the Bluebirds some early momentum.
There were limited opportunities for both sides for the remainder of the quarter, but Arianna Clarke managed to nail one from 40 just before quarter-time to give Coolangatta a 14-point lead.
It was the perfect start for the Bluebirds, who achieved something no other club has against Coorparoo this season; keeping the Navy Roos goalless in the opening quarter.
Coorparoo came out hard in the second quarter, but Coolangatta were doing everything right to limit the damage.
Some excellent team defence and tackling pressure from the Bluebirds denied Coorparoo a goal in the first five minutes of the quarter despite a heap of forward pressure.
Eventually time inside fifty paid off and Megan Hunt capitalised with a classy checkside finish to reduce the deficit to 8-points.
Coorparoo continued to dominate possession after their breakthrough goal, but were again denied by Coolangatta’s back six, who were playing out of their skins.
Defence eventually turned into attack for Coolangatta and Nikki Wallace made the most of it, kicking two goals in two minutes to extend the Bluebirds lead.
The Navy Roos pegged one back through Kaitlyn Cantrell just before half-time, but overall it was a quarter of missed opportunities for Coorparoo with a staggering eight behinds for the term.
Trailing by just 7-points at half-time, many expected Coorparoo to burst out in the third-quarter and take the game by the throat, but it never happened.
Coolangatta were sublime in the third term, completely shutting Coorparoo down and kicking two goals to take a 20-point lead into the final change.
When Rosalie Adamson kicked a goal three minutes into the final quarter to give Coolangatta a 26-point lead, you would be forgiven for thinking this one was over.
But that’s why you should never count champion teams out. A switch flicked on from out of nowhere for Coorparoo, and suddenly they were playing like they have all season long.
The Navy Roos started dominating the centre clearances and three goals in ten minutes from Henderson, Arnold and Gisik reduced the margin to just 6-points with 3 minutes on the clock.
As the clock ticked down, the ball was trapped in Coorparoo’s forward fifty and it was clear that this was the Navy Roos game for the taking.
Mackenzie Arnold snapped but missed a behind with two minutes remaining, and with just under a minute on the clock the ball spilled out over the boundary just metres away from Coorparoo’s goal.
The last 30 seconds felt like they dragged on forever, but one final clearance from the Bluebirds sealed it and secured a Grand Final berth in the process.
Coorparoo led the scoring shots 18-12 for the day, but unfortunately for the Navy Roos inaccuracy cost them dearly.
The thrilling 4-point win now earns Coolangatta a week’s rest before the big dance, while Coorparoo will have to regroup for a preliminary final showdown with Yeronga next weekend.
Bernie Cantrell – Coorparoo
“Coolangatta’s pressure around the ground for the whole game was pretty special and I have to give it to them.
“To be honest, they came to play footy and we didn’t, our best quarter was the last quarter but it was just too late.
“We were terrible in the first three quarters, we were flat and they exploited that with their run and really they ran all over us.
“Honestly today the commitment wasn’t there from the start and that showed, but we have a week to turn that around and I’m confident in our group that they have the ability to do it.”
Aaron Russell – Coolangatta
“I knew the girls had it in them and they have done themselves justice, it was a really good game of footy and I think it deserved to be the spectacle it was.
“A game like this is really great for football and especially female football, I’m a little lost for words really, I’m just trying to get my head around what we just saw.
“We absorbed a lot of pressure, especially in those last five minutes – I said to the girls Coorparoo were going to come and it wasn’t over and I’m just really proud they held on.
“Every player out there had a really good game and that’s what it takes to beat a side like this, everyone has to be accountable and we did that today.
“The girls just have to use the bye really wisely now – we have to use it to our advantage to be fresh and ready for a Grand Final.”
By Grant Hitzman – @granthitzman