PREVIEW | QAFLW W1 Finals: Post-season series begins

FOUR teams remain in contention for the 2023 QAFL Women’s flag, with the first week of finals taking place tomorrow. In the qualifying final, Southport locks horns with fellow Shark rival Bond University for a spot in the grand final, while Aspley and Coorparoo go head-to-head in a do-or-die elimination final.

Saturday, August 12 @ Fankhauser Reserve, 2:00pm

Ladder leaders and premiership favourites Southport secured the minor premiership a little while ago, but looked almost unbeatable throughout the majority of the season, finishing with a percentage of 483.98. Unfortunately for the Sharks, the one loss they did have was against the Bull Sharks.

The two sides are the two leading clearance teams in the QAFL Women’s, with the Sharks also ranked first in tackling, while Bond University is ranked equal last. However the Bull Sharks are second in most areas from disposals to inside 50s, and are first at centre bounce clearances.

Maggie O’Connell shared the leading goalkicker award this season after kicking 26 goals throughout the course of the season. She was the dominant goalkicker for the Sharks, with the likes of Hannah Davies, Rianna Schipp and Tayla Gregory all finishing their seasons on double figures. For Bond Uni, Isabella Iverach (17 goals) and Lily Tarlinton (16) have been the major scoreboard operators.

Southport is also a high possession club, with Georgia Breward (361 disposals) ranked third in the lead for touches. She is not alone with Steph O’Brien (330), Carly Remmos (324) and Madeleine Watt (315) all prominent overall. Courtney Sexton (255) is the sole major ball-winner inside the top 20 for the Bull Sharks given the overhaul they receive due to the influx of AFLW Under 18s filtering through the team.

Bond Uni will be thrilled to welcome back its star young guns such as potential number one picks the next two years, Havana Harris and Ava Usher, as well as top talents, Tara Harrington, Nyalli Milne, Josie McCabe and Kiara Bischa. Southport of course will be minus its two drafted players, Lilly Pearce and Caitlin Wendland.

Though Southport is an incredibly strong side, the Bull Sharks won with a similar team last time, and if that is their finals lineup, will be incredibly difficult to knock off.

Saturday, August 12 @ Aspley Oval, 4:45pm

In the do-or-die semi-final, third placed Aspley hosts the fourth placed Coorparoo with one team’s 2023 campaign coming to an end. These sides famously played off in a 41-apiece draw in the opening round of the season at Giffin Park, as the Hornets kicked away an additional two points with a 5.11 (41) to 6.5 (41) tie. In Round 8, the Hornets came out and stormed past the Kings en route to a 9.14 (68) to 2.3 (15) win.

Aspley is the top ranked disposal side with an efficiency of 56.8 per cent across the board, while being ranked third in disposals. Coorparoo is ranked six in terms of disposals, but is ranked first in uncontested marks and equal first in contested marks. Most of the other statistical areas are fairly even between the Hornets and Kings.

Jessica Stallard also shared the league’s leading goalkicker award with O’Connell after 26 majors. She has been well supported by Rachael Vetter, and Maroochydore recruit Mikayla Martin. Coorparoo’s Chelsea Chesterfield is the King’s leading goalkicker with 15, while young gun Jacinta Baldwick and forward Chloe Gaunt are next up on eight.

In terms of disposals, Martin is second overall on 362, with Lucia Liessi stepping up in the midfield with 264, and Courtney Daniec on 255. For the Kings, Lucy Schneider (330) has been a key inclusion, with Jessica Watts (258) also finding plenty of the ball.

From the middle, Liessi, Martin and Daniec are all inside the top 10 clearance winners and will have a great battle against Watts, Hannah McLaughlin and Sally Young. Winning the ball from congestion and getting it inside 50 to the forwards will be key in the game where both sides have some scoring keys. Watch out for the returns of Baldwick (Coorparoo) and Rania Crozier (Aspley) in their respective forward ends.

Aspley at home looks the way to go with the Hornets having a strong season. Coorparoo has shown it can match it with the best, but will be underdogs in the clash.

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