After the success of their coast trip in 2014, the Red Lionesses had been looking forward to the 4th of July for many months. With both the QWAFA & QWAFL sides set to play on the Gold Coast the girls booked their accommodation and headed down the M1 for two big games and an even bigger night.
QWAFA vs Burleigh
The first fixture of the day saw the QWAFA girls take on the Burleigh Bombettes in what would pan out to be a very hotly contested match. Neither side was able to put a major on the board in the first quarter, and it was much of the same in the second with the Red Lionesses having the only goal of the game at half time.
With uni holidays and injuries leaving less than 30 of our 65+ playing list available we were forced to call on a few friends for a game, which saw Ellie Starkey & Holly Nugent impress on debut. Ellie took some vital grabs around the ground while Holly’s attack on the footy had many assuming that she was a seasoned veteran.
After last week being called on to cover QWAFL absences, Shannon McCartney continued her recent run of good form to lead a backline which fought hard all day repelling Burleigh’s attacks. Through the middle Tayla Mackay and Steph Bragg (in just her second game for the club) were instrumental in winning the clearances for UQ.
Pip Gibbins slotted her second goal late in the third quarter to stretch UQ’s lead, but Burleigh came home strong in the last to close the margin to just 7 points. The Red Lionesses rallied in the final minutes to put one more goal on the board in the dying seconds to end a superb contest. We look forward to the return bout in just two weeks time at Oval 7.
QWAFL v Coolangatta
The Coolangatta Bluebirds have taken the QWAFL competition by storm this year, and despite missing a finals-berth in 2014 now stake a claim as a premiership favourite in 2015. Up against such a tough side with many key players missing, this was always going to be a difficult match-up for the Red Lionesses.
But, after notching up their second win for the season the previous weekend, the UQ girls were determined to dig deep and put in a solid performance.
From the very start Coolangatta’s pace and polish shone through, quick clearances placing our backline under enormous pressure. The Uni backline was doing all they could to hold the Bluebirds out, but through sheer weight of numbers couldn’t stop the home side from slamming through six unanswered goals in the first quarter.
Missing this week with a knee injury, Red Lioness captain Sharni Webb had control of the board and steadied her girls and reiterated the focus for the match: tackle pressure and attack on the footy. Despite receiving very little reward for their efforts, the girls responded with a number of big tackles and begun making it much more difficult for Coolangatta around the contest.
Bre Koenen was yet again impressive for UQ through the middle and sweeping across half-back with a huge number of intercept marks. Given a run-with role, pacy winger Emily Bowden limited the impact that one of Coolangatta’s best outside midfielders had on the game to claim best-on for UQ.
With our ruck stocks severely depleted Jess Wiggan battled hard at the bounces, and presented well when resting forward, while new-comers Alex Moran and Annie Shewring continue to improve which each game.
Each quarter was a marked improvement for the Red Lionesses, typified by keeping a quality outfit goalless in the final term. UQ managed to take it forward on a number of occasions in the last half but were unfortunately unable to capitalise on their forward-pressure.
Both sides got together after the game for a post-match function which then kicked on late into the night. The Bluebirds and the Red Lionesses will look to keep building the bonds between their clubs, with the UQ girls already looking forward to next year’s coast trip!
The girls now have a bye and will be hoping to welcome back some personnel over the following month to mount serious challenges to fellow mid-table teams Zillmere, Yeronga and then Wilston Grange respectively.
On the reserves front UQ now faces Bond Uni, Burleigh and Jindalee and will also be looking to claim a few wins to stage a late finals charge. Get down to Oval 7 on Saturday 18 July to see both girls sides in action!
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