QWAFL: Round 18 Preview





Saturday August 29, 4:45pm Leyshon Park

Competition points might not mean much at this stage for these two final bound teams, but don’t expect a watered down contest this Saturday, with both clubs crying out for a win.

For Yeronga, 2015 has been a case of good, but not good enough. Five losses against top two opposition has been the third-placed Devils downfall this season, and something’s got to give.

“It hasn’t exactly been frustrating that we’ve been third all year, but there definitely comes a point where you have to prove to yourself that you are capable to beat the best,” Devils coach Scott Stephens said.

“We’ve got a young side and sometimes the only way for a young side to believe in their own ability is proving it out on the field, so in that sense we need a win.

“If not a win, we at least have to get very close and really push Coolangatta on Saturday, I believe we have the tools to do it, it’s just about execution.”

If the Devils are any chance of upsetting the Bluebirds they will have to drastically improve on last Saturday’s effort against Coorparoo, which by Stephens own admission was average.

“We obviously need to play with a lot more intensity and work a lot harder than what we did last week,” Stephens said.

“We didn’t exactly play bad footy, but we just weren’t working hard enough – we had a chat about it Tuesday night and I think we are ready to have four really positive quarters this weekend.”

Sitting at 12-3, It’s hard to fault Coolangatta’s season in 2015, but an unexpected loss to Zillmere last week and a down month of footy has left the Bluebirds searching for a pick me up.

“There are definitely a few things from the last three or four weeks that we want to amend, but really we are just looking for a good performance,” Bluebirds coach Aaron Russell said.

“It’s been the basics that we have been failing at the last few weeks, too many turnovers and some average defence has probably cost us recently.

“It will be a good test this week for us going into finals and I think overall it is a really good chance to work on a few things and redeem ourselves a little bit.”

Although Coolangatta boast a 2-0 head-to-head record over Yeronga in 2015, Russell is more than aware of the danger the Devils present.

“Yeronga move the footy and hit lead ups really well so we will need to get our defensive structures right and be accountable,” Russell said.

“We know we can score fast and score quickly, so if we work hard in defence and remain disciplined to the game plan I think we can win.”

Expect a cracker on the weekend, two young sides who both love to run the footy should provide plenty of highlights.



Saturday August 29, 2:00pm Oval 7 – St Lucia

The last time these two teams met, Zillmere barely escaped a hungry UQ outfit in a 2-point classic. And if the form guide is anything to go by, this weekend should be just as tight.

The Eagles have been flying recently, three wins from their last four – including a thrilling victory over Coolangatta last weekend – has seen Zillmere storm into finals contention.

UQ, while not as impressive in the wins column, have continued to play extremely competitive football in 2015, pushing some top teams to their absolute limit.

The development of the Red Lionesses this season hasn’t gone unnoticed, with countless coaches around the league heaping praise on UQ, including Eagles senior coach, Jacob Simmons-Bliss.

“I think everyone is aware of how far Uni have come this season, their young talent is very good, they recruited well in the off-season and defensively they are very strong,” Simmons-Bliss said.

“Our more experienced and high quality players need to take control of the match early to make sure we get the early edge, if we don’t do that we will be in for a real fight.

“I still think we will be able to get the four points if we shut down their young talent and continue to remain compliant to our game tactics – but those things must happen if we want to win.”

It has been a slow burn for Zillmere in 2015, but Simmons-Bliss is confident that the Eagles have peaked at exactly the right time and are ready to make a serious run.

“In my eyes it has been no surprise that our form has turned, we always knew that we would be playing our best football now and it is starting to pay dividends,” Simmons-Bliss said.

“Our goal is to make finals first and there is no doubt that if we get there we can go all the way – we’ve got a hell of a lot of hunger and are really excited about how we’re playing.”

The 2015 season might be done in terms of finals for UQ, but there is still plenty to play for according to Red Lionesses coach, Michael Swann.

“There has been lots of development this year and it has definitely been a step forward, we are a little disappointed that we didn’t get some more wins, but all in all it’s been a good year,” Swann said.

“Both times we have played Zillmere we have been close but haven’t got the job done, so there is some incentive this week to rise to the challenge.

“We are doing a lot of good work at the contest, we are just turning the ball over too much, if we can improve that aspect I think we give ourselves a good chance to win games of football.”

Both of these teams love to move the ball quickly and have a number of quick players in their team. Zillmere will need to rely on some of their clutch goal kickers to get the points this weekend.



Saturday August 29, 4:45pm Alexander Park

Griffith Moorooka and Coorparoo will clash at Alexander Park this Saturday in what can only be described as a David versus Goliath battle.

With a whopping 13 extra wins to their name and over 1000 points difference in scoring, it is safe to say that the Navy Roos go into this one as unbackable favourites.

Despite the lopsided matchup, Coorparoo coach, Bernie Cantrell, insists that his mentality and approach to this weekend’s clash won’t change.

“I will probably try a couple of little things this week and switch a few girls around throughout the game, but apart from that I don’t approach this game any different to any other week,” Cantrell said.

“I give Moorooka a lot of respect and I think what they have done this year is pretty admirable, they are always trying to improve and have a great attitude.

“I approach this game like it was a top two clash and that’s how I approach every game to be honest – we can’t take the foot off the pedal now, there is too much at stake.”

Coorparoo have been simply sublime in 2015 and although the Navy Roos are the favourites to take to win this year’s premiership, Cantrell isn’t getting ahead of himself.

“We know we have done well and we are confident in our ability, but anytime you get cocky and think your favourites it goes pear shaped,” Cantrell said.

“When you head into finals it is a completely different ball game and wins don’t really matter, good footy is what counts, so that is what we are focusing on.”

Although the Reds have lost their last two hit-outs against Coorparoo by a combined 368-points, Griffith Moorooka coach, Glenn Hogetts, is adamant there is still plenty to achieve this weekend.

“Obviously it is a really tough ask because Coorparoo are the best team in the competition, but we just have to focus on improving,” Hogetts said.

“We managed to reduce the margin last time we played them and hopefully we can do that again this week, we just want to put pressure on and close the gap.

“We just can’t let them control the footy all day, we need to pressure and get turnovers going our way, if we do that I will be very pleased.”

It might not have showed on the win/loss column this season, but Hogetts has seen plenty improvement out of his group in 2015, which is something he is very proud of.

“I think the girls have come along way from where they started the season,” Hogetts said.

“It’s been a challenging year and a lot of it has been tough on the group, but the way the girls have handled it is a testament to their character.”

By Grant Hitzman – @granthitzman




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