MATCH OF THE ROUND
COOLANGATTA vs. WILSTON GRANGE
Saturday August 15, 12:00pm Len Peak Oval
They might have kept their finals hopes alive with a clutch win over UQ last week, but Wilston Grange will need to play some super footy in the next month to secure a spot in September.
First up for the Gorillas in their home stretch is a trip to Coolangatta this Saturday, where they will take on the heavily favoured Bluebirds.
Despite falling to Coolangatta both times in 2015, Wilston Grange coach Ron Kemp believes this weekend is a chance for the Gorillas to prove themselves against a top side.
“They (Coolangatta) are a very, very good side, but this is the kind of game we need to perform well in as a team to prove we can mix it with the elite,” Kemp said.
“You really have to control the tempo against a side like this, if we can get first use of the footy and use it effectively then we’re in with a chance to put some real pressure on them.
“There will be some really talented girls running around for them which makes it difficult to matchup, but I believe with the right formula we can take the fight to them.”
Wilston Grange have struggled for regular numbers in 2015, but a slew of returning players has rejuvenated the Gorillas in the last fortnight.
A nail bitting two-goal win over UQ last week and a spirited performance against Coorparoo in round 14 have been arguably the two best hit-outs for the Gorillas this season, who are starting to put it all together.
“We have definitely been playing better football the last two weeks, it’s just whether we can keep that consistency going,” Kemp said.
“That’s the key really, as long as we are consistent week in week out for the rest of the season now we can work on enough to become a better side.
“This week that means being accountable for your player, continuing to lift the work rate and applying a fierce amount of pressure, if we don’t do that we could get cut to shreds.”
In contrast, the last month has been a little disappointing from Coolangatta and the Bluebirds have struggled to recapture their early season form that made them so dominant.
A 32-point loss to Coorparoo last weekend has raised some question marks over the Bluebirds game, but senior coach Aaron Russell insists his group are on the right path.
“We spoke about the loss recently at training and I felt like we learnt a lot from the game, we started poor and it hurt us but I think we are playing the right style of football,” Russell said.
“We’ve had a lot of ins and outs so it’s been hard to find consistency and the girls on a whole have done a great job to get the results we’ve had.”
Coolangatta have dominated Wilston Grange in 2015, winning both games by 10+ goals, but Russell expects this week to have a very different feel to it.
“They (Wilston Grange) are right in a battle with Zillmere at the moment so we know they will be hungry to get a win,” Russell said.
“I think this week will feel a lot like a finals game in terms of the physicality Grange will bring, we are expecting a really tough gritty game in that sense.
“If we can navigate some of that damage early I’m confident we can use our speed and athleticism to get over the line.”
Wilston Grange have a genuine chance to cause an upset here if they can slow the pace of the game down, but Coolangatta’s class and speed in their midfield will likely prove too much.
UQ vs. YERONGA
Sunday August 16, 12:00pm Oval 7 – St Lucia
Yeronga have already done enough to guarantee September action in 2015, but the Devils face an extremely tough stretch to finish the season, starting with UQ this Sunday.
It has been a very polished season for the Devils to date, tidy 8-4 record, third on the ladder and some great performances against the top two sides.
With Coorparoo and Coolangatta to follow this weekends contest, the Devils will be hoping for a dominant performance as a confidence booster, but Yeronga coach Scott Stephens isn’t taking anything lightly.
“I don’t think you can take any week for granted or any team lightly, because it can seriously come back and bite you on the backside,” Stephens said.
“We look at University as a side who play four quarters, regardless of the score, which is a really good trait to have in a young team.
“We are playing on a smaller oval this week that they (UQ) are more accustomed to, it will be a good challenge and I expect it to be a hard one.”
Yeronga have been on the cusp of a breakthrough on a number of occasions in 2015, but the Devils have fallen just short of capturing a big scalp that is season defining.
Two losses a piece to both Coorparoo and Coolangatta has been frustrating for Yeronga, but Stephens is adamant that the girls are doing all the right things.
“Our goal always has been and still is to capture a four quarter performance every week,” Stephens said.
“There are games when we have lapsed this year which is frustrating and to be honest a lot of the time the four quarter effort hasn’t quite been there.
“That’s something I want this week, we need a four quarter performance before finals and I think if we stick to our game plan we can go a long way.”
UQ won’t contend for a premiership in 2015, but there is a lot to like about the Red Lionesses.
Tough, young tenacious group, chocked full of talent and plenty of the best intangible quality in footy; ticker.
The Red Lionesses have been playing arguably their best football in recent weeks and UQ coach, Michael Swann, is looking to carry that momentum over into 2016.
“I think the girls think they can be big challengers next year, and finishing off the season well can give you some momentum leading into next year, so we really want to finish on a good note,” Swann said.
“The goal is to improve each week and it will be a focus again this week, it’s been a long process but we are continually growing.”
Although Yeronga have comfortably beaten UQ on both occasions in 2015, Swann is expecting a very competitive contest.
“The previous games we have had against Yeronga have been open, fast games and the score has blown out a little because of the style of play I think,” Swann said.
“I think we need to be accountable both ways, spread well from the contest and get to the contest first – if we do that I think we can run with them.
“One thing that has lacked a little bit for us is creating space in the forward line, if we continue to focus on that I think we go to that next level.
The battle in the midfield should be elite between these two sides this weekend. Bree Koenen, Emily Bates, Sharni Webb and Jordan Zanchetta are the ones to watch in the middle.
UQ must also look for ways to shutdown Hayley Newberry and Jade Ransfield in front of goal if they want the points.
BYE – ZILLMERE, COORPAROO, GRIFFITH MOOROOKA
By Grant Hitzman – @granthitzman