By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
Coolangatta Tweed v Bond University
Saturday June 30, 4:45pm.
Corpsure Oval, Coolangatta
Ahead of Round 12, it appears Wilston Grange have all but sewn up top spot of the ladder. That leaves just three remaining finals places up for grabs, and it appears likely that those three places will be contested between Coolangatta, Bond University, Coorparoo and University of Queensland. With those four teams facing off against one another this weekend, the contests in Round 12 appear the most crucial matchups this season.
As it stands, the Bluebirds hold the ladder advantage over the Bullsharks with the teams sitting in third and fourth place respectively, but any chance of moving up the ladder – or the risk of slipping down – could come via the outcome of this match.
Bond University claimed an underdog victory in the two side’s only and most recent contest at QWAFL level after two goals in the last two minutes sealed the upset win for the Bullsharks. Bond University will likely enter this weekend’s Gold Coast showdown again as underdog, but are coming off a string of two losses prior to their bye last week.
Bond University leading goal kicker Charlottle Hammans will return for the contest alongside ruckman Lauren Bella and Brisbane Lions defender Ariana Clarke.
Maroochydore v Wilston Grange
Saturday June 30, 4:45pm.
Maroochydore Multisports Complex
Wilston Grange have the opportunity to extend their 2018 undefeated streak to double figures this round at the Gorillas travel northward to Maroochydore in search of win number ten on the year. A win against the Roos in Round 12 cement Wilston Grange as one of the best teams in QWAFL history, joining Coorparoo as the only team since the realignment of the competition to win ten or more games straight.
As it stands, the Gorillas’ nine-game win streak puts them in equal fourth place all time, but a victory would lift them to new heights and into third place overall. Only the Coorparoo teams of the 2015 and 2014, who won 15 and 14 games in a row, will have fared better in competition than Wilston Grange. With six rounds remaining, a win would all but ensure Wilston Grange can also win the minor premiership.
But for all of Wilston Grange’s dominance this season – where the side has scores more than 250 points more than the second ranked team – small cracks may be appearing and present the perfect opportunity for Maroochydore to claim their second win of the season in what would be the biggest upset of the year.
In last week’s matchup to the Red Lions last week, Wilston Grange conceded three goals in the opening term and trailed at the main break. Obviously, the side went on to win the game, but having trailed to a severely undermanned University of Queensland side highlights the mortality of the Gorillas. With rumours circling that the side will take a less experienced team to Maroochydore this weekend, the Roos may just shake up the competition this weekend.
University of Queensland v Coorparoo
Sunday July 1, 4:45pm
Griffith University Campus Oval
The importance of this matchup for the Red Lions simply cannot be stressed quite enough. With the flame still faintly alight on their 2018 season, a win would jolt the side, who have been continually hampered by the availability of their experienced players seemingly every week this season, right back into the think of it. A loss this weekend to the Kings, coupled with a potential Bond University win over Coolangatta could spell a premature end to the Red Lions’ season.
The 2018 Bond University QWAFL season has been a handful of the Red Lions to date. The side boast one of the most exciting and talented squads in the entire competition, but every week – whether it be through the Winter Series, holidays or injury, one or two of their best side have been missing. It’s staggering that in Round 12, the competition is perhaps yet to see the very best of what University of Queensland can offer on field. Perhaps this weekend, in a crucial matchup against Coorparoo, we will find out.
Coorparoo enter the contest with a wet sail of form, with three wins in their past five matches. Much like UQ, the Kings have been without a bevy of their experienced players out. But the side has been bolstered by the next wave of players including the competition’s leading goal kicker, Jenae Govan. This week, both teams will welcome back their stars such as Red Lion duo Megan Hunt and Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Kings pair Jess Wuetschner and Emma Zielke.