By Alex Suchocki
Coorparoo captain, Emma Zielke, has cemented herself amongst the top midfielders in the competition, with a sensational season.
She has received a number of highly valued accolades ranging from a QWAFL Premiership to the QWAFL Best and Fairest Medal. But that’s not all.
The 2014 Queensland captain was rewarded for her hard work after Melbourne recently drafted her at pick no.7 at the 2014 AFL Women’s Draft.
Navyr Roos coach, Damien Richards said her rewards this season were the result of plenty of hard work.
“Her season has been very good, she has improved a lot as a player from 18 months ago when I first coached her,” he said.
Richards said it was what Zielke did without the ball that had improved so much, making her a threat in attack and defence.
“Emma is very good defensively,”he said.
“She works hard to win the ball back and always racks up the most tackles, which was highlighted in her draft game in particular.”
Her role as a hard running and in and under midfielder has gone to another level, now frequently threatening opposition in the forward fifty.
With this improvement also saw her marking reach greater heights, Richards said.
“Her marking overhead has come a long way as well as following up and linking in with the play, getting on the end of a few goals,” he said.
Zielke has averaged just under four goals a game, with 42 for the season. Her prolificacy up forward has seen her rise above other midfielders in the competition, setting her apart.
Her determination speaks volumes, having miraculously recovered from a gruesome broken arm earlier on in the piece last year.
Returning from an injury isn’t easy for anyone but Zielke has come back stronger, both physically and mentally and has looked more ominous then ever before.
“Her confidence has been on another level which has improved her game massively as she has been more hungry and eager to perform better,” Richards said.
Furthermore, she is a real barometer of the CoorparooFootbal Club, having set the standard with eight best on ground performances out of the eleven games.
An uninterrupted pre-season, injury-free and fully fit Zielke has seen Coorparoo reap in the benefits as they voyage on to another grand final this Saturday against Zillmere.
Zielke is no stranger to the big stage, having lived every footballer’s dream of slotting the winning goal, where she did so in Coorparoo’s maiden grand final last year.
As the biggest day in the AFL calendar approaches, Richards is looking forward to the challenge.
“We are feeling pretty good, we noticed some things to work on to cut them [Zillmere] down,”he said.
Expect Zielke to be a heavy contributor, setting set the tone early as they fight till the demise for the QWAFL Premiership.