MATCH OF THE ROUND
COOLANGATTA 4.5.29 DEFEATED BY COORPAROO 8.13.61
Coorparoo have emerged as the undeniable favourites for the 2015 QWAFL Premiership after brushing aside chief finals rival, Coolangatta, by 32-points at Len Peak Oval on Saturday.
It was another entertaining match between the top two sides, but the Navy Roos managed to keep their noses in front all afternoon to secure outright top spot on the ladder.
A three goal opening term was the perfect start for Coorparoo, who utilised the breeze expertly to lock the ball inside their forward fifty for most of the quarter.
Mackenzie Arnold was the danger player heading into this clash, and she showed why, taking two cracking overhead marks in the goal square to bag a pair of opening quarter goals.
Trailing by 23-points at quarter time and yet to kick a goal for the game, Coolangatta were in danger of getting blown out on their own turf.
The Bluebirds lifted in the second quarter however, finding plenty of run off half-back to swing the momentum their way.
Goals to Acacia Powell and Alicia Murray sliced the deficit to 11-points half-way through the term, and suddenly Coorparoo had a real fight on their hands.
Megan Hunt was at her electric best in the second quarter, and some silky skills from the Coorparoo gun set up Arnold for her third to give the Navy Roos a 19-point half time buffer.
If Coolangatta were going to have a serious chance of beating Coorparoo, they needed quick goals, and Acacia Powell delivered at the start of the third quarter, slotting one inside a minute.
Trailing by just two goals for most of the quarter, the Bluebirds looked a real shake of knocking over Coorparoo, with Kaslar, Wallace and Pinchin starting to fire.
But it all unravelled for Coolangatta in the final five minutes of the quarter, with Arnold and Mueller both bagging majors to lead by 23-points at the final change.
It was a spirited effort from the Bluebirds, but when Arnold kicked her fifth to start the final quarter it was curtains.
Natalie Curtis was best on ground for the Navy Roos, playing a pivotal role in the guts to keep the clearance count in Coorparoo’s favour.
Coorparoo have now won 12 matches in succession and will likely finish 2015 as minor premiers with Yeronga, Griffith Moorooka and UQ to round out the year.
Aaron Russell – Coolangatta
“I was expecting our girls to have a better start than they did, obviously when you give away a four and a bit goal first quarter it’s always going to be tough against quality opposition.
“I was much more happy with our approach to the contest in the last three quarters but the first quarter in particular I thought we were second to the footy which you just can’t be.
“We knew what we needed to do (to win) but it was just a whole quarter too late, and when they flooded the backline it was always going to be hard to kick a score to win.
“We really need to get a few games under our belt with our full side and work on our forward line entries, I think those are the two big things heading into finals.”
Bernie Cantrell – Coorparoo
“We very close to a four quarter performance tonight, we probably played three quarters of good footy, but in terms of the physical side the girls definitely brought it tonight.
“Really happy with the way they came out and started the game, our goal kicking has let down the last few weeks and again a little bit tonight, but other than that I’m really happy.
“It was a real improvement tonight from the last three or four weeks, I think that spirit is back and hopefully we can keep pushing forward.
“We are very close to where we want to be, there were a few little lapses out there but I’m really proud of what they’ve done.”
ZILLMERE 11.9.75 DEFEATED GRIFFITH MOOROOKA 3.1.19
Zillmere have kept their finals hopes alive in 2015, knocking over bottom placed Griffith Moorooka by 56-points at O’Callaghan Park.
Sitting one game behind Wilston Grange with just four games left, this weekend was a must win for the Eagles, and they didn’t waste any time getting going, kicking four goals in the first quarter.
Zillmere’s midfield nucleus were on fire in the opening quarter, clearing the ball with ease and using the corridor to set up a multitude of scoring plays.
Alexandra Anderson again led from the front for the Eagles, working hard off half-back and in the guts to mount a heap of pressure on the Reds.
A 26-point quarter time lead was the perfect start for Zillmere, who have struggled in recent weeks to find their feet early.
The second quarter was more of the same dominance from the Eagles, who used every inch of O’Callaghan Park to keep the ball away from the Reds.
Tayla Harris kept her recent month of good form going, booting three of the Eagles seven goals in the first half to steer Zillmere to a dominant 42-point half time lead.
The contest looked like getting away from Griffith Moorooka in the second half, but the Reds showed plenty of fight, refusing to let the Eagles run rampant.
Two third quarter goals from Helena Thong and Rebecca McInnes breathed some life into the Reds outfit, and from there Griffith Moorooka found their feet.
Jenna Vandyk was brilliant in defence for the Reds, while captain Sam Virgo led from the front, controlling the battle in the midfield.
Despite their huge effort around the contest in the second half, the Eagles were just a cut above Reds, kicking three goals in the final term to run out eight goal victors.
Meg Pullinger was the star of the day for Zillmere, kicking a bag of five in a breakout performance.
With Coolangatta, UQ and Wilston Grange left for the season, Zillmere will need to win at least two to ensure they return to the finals in 2015. Watch this space.
Jacob Simmons-Bliss – Zillmere
“One of our key focuses for this week was to start the game quickly and obviously kicking four goals to zip achieved that.
“The fast start gave us the opportunity to play the game on our terms, we probably could have kicked a few more goals, but we were scoring almost every time we went inside fifty.
“It was a good four quarter performance today, we got control of the game early which gave us the opportunity to play some flexible free flowing footy.
“Over the last three or four matches, every player has had a bit of a breakthrough, the belief and the ability is really there now to beat the top sides.”
Glenn Hogetts – Griffith Moorooka
“Very pleased with how we went about our game today, we were quite good all around the ground and the scoreboard didn’t show how much we had of the ball.
“They had plenty of it early, but I thought our backline was really good and overall it was a pretty hard contest all over the ground.
“We had well over half the game in our forward half, but we just couldn’t convert that field position, that is the next step I think.
“Zillmere got most of their goals from breaking tackles and catching us out a little bit around the ball, but we shut down a lot of their running which is really pleasing.”
WILSTON GRANGE 5.4.34 DEFEATED UQ 3.4.22
It wasn’t the prettiest game of football, but Wilston Grange have given themselves every chance of playing finals this season, defeating UQ by 12-points to remain in fourth spot on the ladder.
Conditions were cool and breezy Sunday night at PBI oval, and it was clear from the opening bounce that goals were going to be hard to come by.
The opening quarter was a congested one, with both sides applying a mountain of defensive pressure, which allowed very little room to move.
Katie McGlade managed to navigate her way through the chaos eight minutes into the contest, but Sharni Webb replied with a goal of her own just minutes later to make it a dead even opening term.
Both sides continued to throw themselves at the football in the second quarter, desperate to stop any scoring opportunities.
Alexandra Moran played a key role for UQ all evening off half-back, cleaning up behind the contest to save the Red Lionesses skins a few times.
Likewise for Wilston Grange, Shannon Campbell was scintillating off half-back for the Gorillas, stopping the run and carry game of UQ almost single handily.
A goal midway through the second term to Marley Beaven swung the momentum UQ’s way, but two class goals from Katie McGlade was enough to get the Gorillas back in front, who led by 6-points at the main break.
Both sides lifted their intensity in the second half, making it even tougher to find the goals in the breezy conditions.
Kate Lutkins in Emma Gerke were instrumental in the guts for the Gorillas after half time, while Jordan Smyth and Jess Sullivan played arguably their best games for UQ.
A lone goal to Claudia Wharton was the only major for the third quarter, and at the final change scores were deadlocked at 22-22.
20 minutes of football was either going to hand UQ their biggest win of the season or keep Wilston Grange’s finals hopes alive.
It was the latter. Goals from Casey Cubis and Amy Kelly finally got the Gorillas over the line in the end, but UQ deserve to be applauded for yet another gutsy four-quarter effort.
Great game of football.
Ron Kemp – Wilston Grange
“I am immensely proud of the girls, they just kept at it the whole game, never lifted their heads and really fought through.
“Both sides were hard at it and it was one of those tight tussles – no one could get a clear run at it, but we were able to put points on the board when it counted.
“I give it UQ, they have a lot of young good players and they used the ball a lot better than us at some stages, so I’m really proud to have that sort of win.
“If we lift our work rate to a higher level and use the football a little more efficiently I think we can put real pressure on the good teams.”
Michael Swann – UQ
“I think we played really, really well – very proud of the effort we put in tonight.
“Once again it felt like we had a lot of the football, but when we did turn it over we weren’t quick enough to react that’s all.
“It was a very scrappy physical game, really happy that we were first to the contest a lot and there were times when we broke the game open.
“Sometimes close games of footy just don’t go your way, but the positive is our improvement – I think some people are blown away at the improvement we’ve had.”
By Grant Hitzman – @granthitzman