QAFLW Round 1 preview: Sharks and Devils out to prove themselves

A NEW season of Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s action is upon us, with a fresh face joining the eight-team competition. Southport has stepped up from Division 1 to take over the spot of Coolangatta Tweed for the 2022 season. The Sharks will take on Yeronga South Brisbane at Leyshon Park in what will be a new era for the Gold Coast-based side.

Southport has two AFLW Academy members on its list with ruck Fleur Davies and midfielder Alana Gee headlining the list for the 2022 season. Along with some serious talent from the north east part of the country, Sharks coach Ryan Davis is confident his side will be competitive in their first season.

“I think Georgia Breward goes about her business quite quietly, but everything she does is exceptional, and working in and around the contest, her spreading, her skills. She’s a real lead-by-example type operator. “One from last year, Zali Cheffers she had a big off-season, and a really big preseason and put herself in really great shape to attack in the forward line. She’s given herself the best opportunities.”

“We expect internally I suppose to be challenging for finals at the end of the year, so that is where our pass mark will be. “But again stepping up into a new competition, there is going to be new challenges we haven’t faced before and new sides we haven’t faced before. “We’re well aware of that, and we know it’s not going to be easy, but we feel we’ve done enough work, got a good list together to be able challenge for that kind of stuff at the end of the year.”

Yeronga South Brisbane has also gone through a lot of change since triumphing in the 2020 QAFL Women’s Grand Final, though more through a reassessment than personnel, with the majority of the team sticking with the Devils for the 2022 season after a disappointing 2021 year saw them miss finals and fail to defend their title.

“I think last year was a struggle for a lot of the girls,” new coach Lexi Edwards said. “Because we played in a Grand Final and won it in 2020, we didn’t finish until probably mid October, and trying to turn around with a short preseason. We actually lost half our premiership side from 2020 to 2021, so it was just about making sure that we have some stability with the players. We haven’t lost any of the players from last year to thus year, which is awesome we’ve been able to carry that through.

“We’ve tried to really work on our contested footy. I felt like last year that was probably one of our biggest weaknesses. Just trying to get the ball out of the traffic and trying to play the way we want to work, and using the girls weapons.”

The Brisbane-based outfit will have a couple of Lions Academy talents in their ranks with Sarah and Courtney Browne coming down from Toowoomba. Both sides have a balance of youth and experience, and will be looking to win the contested battle in order to give their forwards the best opportunity.

Around the grounds, Bond University – who has welcomed a host of Gold Coast Suns Academy members to the club including Imogen Evans and Jasmyn Smith – will play host to last year’s wooden spooners, Wilston Grange. Meanwhile Aspley will host Coorparoo in a bid of trying to get off to a great start, and in a theme of Brisbane and Sunshine Coast matches for Round 1, Maroochydore will take on reigning premiers University of Queensland.


Bond University vs. Wilston Grange
Yeronga South Brisbane vs. Southport
Aspley vs. Coorparoo
Maroochydore vs. University of Queensland

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