PREVIEW | QAFLW W2 Finals: Sharks and Hornets face off for grand final spot

JUST one spot remains in the 2023 QAFL Women’s Grand Final with either Southport Sharks or Aspley Hornets to meet Bond University in next week’s decider. The preliminary final kicks off from 2pm tomorrow with a full house expected at Fankhauser Reserve where the minor premiers are favourites to take home the title.

Saturday, August 19 @ 2pm
Fankhauser Reserve

The first placed Southport Sharks ended up in the preliminary final after going down to the young stacked Bond University last week, while Aspley Hornets defeated Coorparoo in an impressive performance to keep their premiership hopes alive. The pair has played twice during the season, with Southport getting up on both occasions.

In their most recent encounter in Round 10, Southport just survived a gallant Hornets outfit at Aspley Road, winning by 11 points, 5.8 (38) to 4.3 (27). On that day, Hannah Davies kicked two goals, while the trio of Madeleine Watt, Georgia Breward and Carly Remmos combined for 91 disposals and 23 clearances, while laying 29 tackles. For the Hornets, Lucy Thompson had 20 disposals, while Mikayla Martin was busy once again.

Way back in Round 3 at the preliminary final venue, the Sharks ran rampant over the Hornets kicking 4.4 to 0.0 in the first half before going on to win by 31 points, 6.8 (44) to 2.1 (13). Equal leading goalkicker Maggie O’Connell kicked four goals that day, while her equal leading goalkicker Jessica Stallard kicked two majors for Aspley. It was all Steph O’Brien though who brought her own ball to the game, racking up 42 disposals, 10 inside 50s and 11 tackles, while Watt picked up 24 disposals and five clearances. Lucia Liessi (22 disposals, six clearances) and Martin (21 disposals, eight clearances) were prolific for the Hornets.

Looking at Southport’s season, the key to success is in the midfield, with Remmos (29.3 disposals, 4.3 clearances, 5.6 inside 50s and 6.2 tackles), O’Brien (29.3 disposals, 3.9 marks, 28 clearances, 6.1 inside 50s and 6.5 tackles) and Breward (25.1 disposals, 2.5 marks, 4.7 clearances, 6.3 tackles and 3.7 inside 50s).

After O’Connell’s almost two goals per game, Georja Davies (1.5) has been impressive, but the Sharks have had to overcome the scoring power loss of Poppy Boltz and Darcie Davies who were drafted by Brisbane and Gold Coast respectively. The biggest loss may be the departure of dominant big, Lilly Pearce who headed to Richmond after averaging a whopping 34.1 hitouts per game.

Martin has lead all-comers at the Hornets with a disposal average of 25.5, as well as 4.3 marks, 3.1 clearances, 3.3 inside 50s, 4.2 tackles and almost a goal per game in her first season since crossing from Maroochydore. Liessi (20.5 disposals, 2.7 marks, 3.9 clearances, 31 inside 50s and 3.8 tackles) and Courtney Daniec (18.5 disposals, 2.0 marks, 3.3 clearances, 2.8 inside 50s and 30 tackles) have also been busy.

Aspley has five players averaging a goal or more per game with Stallard (1.8) the most prominent goalkicker, having slotted 27 now in 15 games. Rachael Vetter (17) has also been a sharpshooter for the Hornets, while AFLW Academy member Rania Crozier is averaging a goal per game and could be a headache for the Sharks defence.

The game is built up to be a ripper, and while the Hornets should keep it tight, the Sharks should still have too much depth across the board. There is a reason Southport only lost to a full-strength Bond University during the year, and expect the Sharks to advance to the decider to have another crack at the Bull Sharks.

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