By Beth Newman
Coorparoo’s Emma Zielke lived every sports person’s dream, kicking the winning goal for Coorparoo in the SEQAFL Women’s League Division One grand final, giving them a 5.14 (44) – 6.6 (42) victory.
It was a drought breaking win for Coorparoo, who have come agonisingly close to Yeronga in all of their matchups this season.
In front of a massive crowd at EK Anderson Oval, Coorparoo showed all of their fight to bring down the powerhouses of the competition, who tasted defeat for the first time in two seasons.
After being down by as much as 31 points early in the game, the Navy Roos mounted an incredible second-half comeback, ending the Devils’ bid for a three-peat.
It took until five minutes into the third quarter for the Navy Roos to slot their first goal, courtesy of Cleo Davis, but once they kicked one, they were almost impossible to stop.
Emma Zielke kicked another after Yeronga missed a slew of chances, and reduced the margin to only 19 points.
A mammoth from Ariana Reilly put Coorparoo well and truly back in the game, with only two goals the difference.
It was a stark comparison from the first half, in which Coorparoo had plenty of the ball but they simply couldn’t convert their opportunities early.
Yeronga punished the Navy Roos at the other end, scoring from almost every forward entry.
It was the same story in the second, term with some heartbreaking misses from Coorparoo, including a shot from Rachel Smith that clipped the post on the way through.
A fifty metre penalty set up a shot for Coorparoo’s Megan Evans and a 31-point ball game had suddenly became a four-point affair.
With less than a minute to go in the game it was parked in the Roos’ forward 50, but Yeronga’s experienced players, like Kate Lutkins and Nat Thomas, stood up.
Then Zielke claimed the mark and went back with the poise of a seasoned veteran and slotted the winning goal with ease.
It was a doubly sour day for the Devils, with Jess Croft stretchered off in the second term.
Roos’ Cleo Davis was a rock in the forward line, while Sheena Sidin was sensational in the ruck.
Yeronga’s Jordan Zanchetta put on a clinic, running hard all day, and her sensational performance earned her the best on ground medal.
Coorparoo coach, Damien Richards, applauded his charges for their efforts through the season.
“Yeronga has been the benchmark of the competition and at the start of the year, we really set out to beat them,” he said.
“It took us five goes but we finally got there.”
“It’s a credit to how hard they worked, before training, after training and all that extra skill work. I’m really proud of my girls and how far they’ve come.”
Yeronga coach, Nicola Zammit, said it was great to have so many to watch the thrilling encounter at Kedron.
“It’s great to see this support for women’s footy,” she said.
“We put in a good season, just didn’t make it over the final hurdle and Coorparoo played really, really well and they deserved the win.”
Palm Beach claimed the SEQAFL Division Two Pineapple Cup premiership, 15.8 (98) – 5.2 (32).
It was an intense affair from the get go, with both sides laying on incredible pressure.
After a tussle in the opening term, the Lions had the better on the scoreboard by a solitary point leading 2-1, at the first change.
The Lions kicked four unanswered goals to kick off the second term, before the Reds’ Jenna Vandyk stopped the flow, to open the major scoring for her side.
One more to Ebony Zuber put the Lions ahead 40-7 at half time, and all the momentum going into half time.
The Reds came back with a vengeance in the third term, but couldn’t quite translate their pressure onto the scoreboard, exchanging goals with the Lions after a goalless opening 10 minutes.
Lauren James kicked two in the third term for the Lions, which helped keep Griffith Moorooka at arm’s length.
It was all Palm Beach in the final quarter, with the Reds failing to take their opportunities.
Palm Beach Currumbin’s Nikki Wallace picked up the best on ground medal for the grand final, after a stunning performance in the midfield.
Palm Beach Currumbin player-coach, Indy Sleeth, said the game was one of the toughest of the season for their side.
“Thanks Moorooka, you definitely gave us a good challenge today,” she said at the post-match presentation.
“It was the best game of the season that we’ve had against anyone.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my girls. Today, you proved that you’re amazing footballers.”
The Lions were the form side in the SEQAFL Women’s League Division Two competition, once the league split into two, and the grand final showed their class.
Reds coach, Adam Fry, paid tribute to his charges after the grand final.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a tough, physical game and you (Palm Beach) proved us right,” he said.
“It was by far our best performance, and definitely best performance against PBC.”