The highly anticipated North Queensland v South Queensland clash, with some of the state’s most exciting, emerging talent, will be played this Saturday at Southport’s Fankhauser Reserve.
Players from North Queensland will fly south to take on their South Queensland contemporaries. For the first time in history, women will feature in the annual North versus South rivalry.
The women’s game kicks off at 2pm and both teams have selected youthful and athletic teams, with several rising stars keen to gain the attention of AFLW scouts.
Inaugural North Queensland women’s coach, Jo Butland, said her coaching group were embracing the challenge of uniting a group in a really short period of time and ensuring they put their best foot forward.
“With players coming from the Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Capricornia regions it’s always challenging when they don’t meet each other until game day in the airport, but we are extremely confident in the group we have assembled and I’m sure they will embrace the challenge and do North Queensland proud”, Butland said.
With the added advantage of having had her group train together over the last three weeks, South Queensland women’s coach, Jamie Stanton, said her group would not be underestimating their NQ rivals.
“Since the inception of AFLW we have seen several talented players hailing from up North drafted, so we expect them to be talented across all lines. We have a good mix of youth and experience and I’m extremely confident our group will be up for the challenge,” Stanton said.
With the victory tally currently 4 – 3 in favour of the southerners, North Queensland men’s mentor Aaron Davey will be eager to square the ledger and has assembled a quality outfit for the big clash.
“We’ve got a really balanced group with guys that can play multiple positions, so we’re quietly confident we will be well positioned to make whatever adjustments we need on the day to give us a chance to make it back-to-back wins”, Davey said.
In his debut as South Queensland coach, Rory Lake, has been faced with some challenges at the selection table with several key players injured or unavailable, however he’s confident they have assembled a young and vibrant group capable of a good showing.
“The upside of having a few automatic selections unavailable is that it’s paved the way for some young guys to make their SQ debut and we think they will bring maximum energy and effort, which will hold us in good stead.”
AFL Queensland Community Football Manager, Barry Gibson, said that with evolution of female across the state that now sees over 8,000 females playing footy in Queensland, it has paved the way for women to become part of NQ versus SQ rivalry.
“Womens’ football in Queensland continues to go from strength to strength, with established and exciting female competitions across the state”.
“With a record number of females playing our game this year, it’s fantastic that senior women’s players now get the opportunity to not only represent their club, competition and region, but also the opportunity to show off their talent in a representative format,” Gibson said.
“We anticipate two cracking contents, however there’s no doubt the inaugural women’s game brings intrigue in respect to how the two regions match up against each other”, Gibson added.
The men’s game kicks off at 4pm and entry is free all day. Both games will be streamed live on cluch.tv.