UQ goes back-to-back in overtime classic
THE University of Queensland (UQ) has created history in the Queensland Australian Football League Women’s (QAFLW), with the Red Lionesses winning back-to-back premierships after defeating Southport 5.1 (31) to 3.6 (24) in an overtime classic.
Red Lionesses’ co captain Marnie McGorm had a final game to remember, as did Laura Ernst who was playing in her 200th match as the Red Lionesses held their composure in extra time to take her win. Best on ground went to UQ star Steph O’Brien, who was instrumental in the win up forward for the Red Lionesses.
Despite Southport getting the early look at goal, it was UQ via Ava Seton that got the first goal on the board. Southport almost got a reply via Darcie Davies but was unable to thanks to a stellar goal-saving tackle from Jessi Henning. Selina Priest almost got on the board too but hit the post from directly in front.
Southport certainly had the wobbles in front of goal but the Sharks were getting enough attempts at goal that they were slowing chipping away at the margin via behinds. It was the battle of the backlines for much of the opening quarter, as the defensive pressure was very high from both sides and goals were very hard to come by. Seton’s goal was ultimately the only one for the quarter as the Red Lionesses took a two point lead into the first break.
The ball began the second term in UQ’s forward 50, and the Red Lionesses got their second goal through Sasha Rival-Quinn to extend their lead out even further. Davies replied for Southport less than a minute later and the margin was back down to a tight two points.
Southport continued to pepper the goals for much of the next few minutes but could not convert on the scoreboard. Goals remained hard to come by in the second term, so the two point quarter time margin remained at half-time.
The third term belonged to the Sharks. Priest continued to have the yips in front of goal early in the third term, but her behind did bring the margin back to a single point. But it was not long before Brianna McFarlane finally got on the board for Southport which saw them take the lead for the first time all day. She got her second minutes later and suddenly the momentum had very much swung in the Sharks’ favour.
After missing a few opportunities earlier in the day, Jessica Stallard finally got one on the board for UQ to halve the margin back to one goal, and add another twist to the tale of the grand final. That one goal margin was where things sat at the final change, so things were really up in the air at the final change and the result could have gone either way.
UQ was looking to be about to level things up in the opening minutes of the final term, but some poor passing meant that Southport were able to quell the danger. The Red Lionesses kept peppering the forward 50, but just struggled to convert on the scoreboard. UQ finally got one on the board via Seton, and scores were level again.
Play was absolutely frenetic for much of the back half as the seconds ticked down and a draw drew closer to reality. The final siren then blew, the draw was confirmed and the teams were off to extra time.
It was UQ who got the first foray into forward 50 of extra time, and they got their reward when Stallard kicked truly. Stallard’s goal was the only one of the first half of extra time as UQ took a goal lead into half-time of extra time and they had one finger on the cup.
UQ kicked one more behind in the second half of extra time, but by the way UQ and their fans celebrated you would be forgiven for thinking it had been a goal. That would ultimately be the final score of the game as the Red Lionesses ultimately emerged victorious.