PREVIEW | QAFLW Round 9: Gorillas set for Hornets test

REIGNING wooden spooner Wilston Grange has enjoyed a much stronger season to-date, winning four games from seven matches, but now welcome the red-hot Aspley Hornets to Hickey Park in Round 9 of the QAFL Women’s. The Gorillas have taken care of the sides below them, which makes them a deserving fourth spot, but also have a percentage of 67.28, compared to Aspley’s 190.32.

Saturday, June 10 @ Hickey Park, 11:30am

Aspley has been a team on the rise this season, overcoming a Round 1 draw to Coorparoo to win five of the Hornets’ next six games and sit second on the ladder. In that run, Aspley accounted for everyone except raging premiership favourites Southport, but even then gave the Sharks one of their greatest challenges, going down by only 31 points in Round 3.

The Hornets have been tested the last few rounds, with the 53-point win over Coorparoo coming back from the league-wide bye a nice return following narrow wins over University of Queensland (14 points) and Bond University (six). Wilston Grange has strung three consecutive wins together, beating Coorparoo (five points), Maroochydore (seven) and Yeronga South Brisbane (33) in the past month.

No doubt Aspley will be a far greater challenge for the Gorillas and a great test of where they are at. The sides have yet to face-off in season 2023, with the double-up match coming in the final round of the regular season on July 29. That return trip will be at Graham Road, so the Gorillas will look to make the most of the homeground advantage in Round 9.

Wilston Grange will miss Mia Geere, but regain Zimra Hussain who returns from Lions Academy duties. With plenty of experience in the team including Ella Smith, Naomi Celebre and speedster Keyshia Matenga, there is enough talent on the Wilston Grange list to worry the Hornets. The leadership of Chloe Litherland and Mackenzie Findlay, and form of Kalista-Jayne Shiner further adds to the depth at the club.

Aspley will be excited to welcome back talented tall Rania Crozier for the clash after her Lions Academy stint in the Coates Talent League. The likes of Lucia Liessi and Mikayla Martin have been in great form, with the latter on track to be a league best and fairest contender. Co-captains Courtney Daniec and Angela Lingard have been important in driving the culture at the club, with Emma Pittman and Rachael Vetter among the raft of key players in the brown and yellow.

Wilston Grange should be competitive early, but Aspley looks too strong across the board, and is a top two side for a reason, so expect the Hornets to come away with the four points.

Saturday, June 10 @ Giffin Park, 4:45pm

Another crunch gam between two finals hopefuls takes place when Coorparoo hosts Maroochydore at Giffin Park. The fifth placed Kings will be favourites and are only six points off Wilston Grange with a superior percentage, so it should be a game they will win. The Roos will be keen to not lose touch with the top four though, and be hungry to leapfrog Coorparoo into fifth.

Saturday, June 10 @ Leyshon Park, 4:45pm

This game looks like one that could get ugly on the scoreboard, with the winless Yeronga South Brisbane taking on the unbeaten Southport. With more than 850 per cent difference between the sides, and opposite formlines of 0-7 and 7-0, it will be a tough ask for the Devils to take it up to the Sharks. Given the Sharks will regain their Suns Academy members, it could be a percentage booster. Not that the Sharks, with a percentage of 888 per cent, really need one.

Saturday, June 10 @ University of Queensland, 4:45pm

Rounding out the weekend is another potentially lob-sided match, with seventh placed University of Queensland hosting third placed Bond University. The Red Lionesses have begun to get some cohesion in the lineup since a heavy turnover from winning the flag in 2022. They come up against a Bond University side that has not played its best footy in the past month, but with star draft prospects set to return, expect that early season form to return as well.

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