Red Lionesses Bow Out Gracefully

The UQ Red Lionesses made history by securing a finals berth in their first season in the SEQAFL Women’s League.

The girls were ultimately unlucky not to proceed further, going down narrowly in their elimination final to Griffith Moorooka 4.10 (34) – 2.8 (20).

It was an arm wrestle in the first, with the ball caught in midfield congestion for much of the term.

UQ had a number of opportunities early but couldn’t quite damage the Reds on the scoreboard.

After a goalless opening term, the Reds managed to take a slight edge in the second, with some clean transition through the ground.

Reds coach, Adam Fry, said the game started to fall in their favour when his side started taking possession from stoppages.

“I think once we started to win the clearances, we were delivering it int our forwards and we started to turn around a bit,” he said.

Samantha Virgo was damaging across the ground, clearly the best on gorund for her side, in the win.

After losing a couple of players early to injury, Fry said it was efforts from players like Sheridan Connor that made the difference in the match.

“Both teams had to grind it out,” he said.

If we were hurting, then UQ was hurting equally.”

“For Sheridan to just keep on running even though we were out on our legs was fantastic,” he said.

Fry said he hadn’t spoken to the girls about the improvement over the last 12 months, going from winless in their inaugural season to a Div 2 preliminary finalist, and was simply focusing on the game at hand.

While the Reds look to their final against Logan on Sunday, UQ was left to reflect on their own improvement in their debut season.

The Red Lions showed their grit in the match, led by midfielder Amelia House and Daryl Jenson.

Kate Heliotis was a rock at centre half-back, continuing her recent run of good form.

UQ coach, Nick Kent, said he was proud of the efforts of his side in their first finals experience.

“Finals footy isn’t about flashiness, it’s about guts and determination & the girls showed plenty of guts,” he said.

“Whether it was putting their heads over the footy, backing into packs, every girl on the park for both sides gave 100 percent.

“Every girl on the park played above themselves.”

And while many sides could find negatives from a finals elimination, Red Lions coach, Nick Kent, said he struggled to find any from their first season of competition.

“On a results basis, we exceeded expectations, on a personnel level we exceeded expectations and on an enjoyment level, judging by the group & the smiles you on the girls’ faces after the game yesterday,” he said.

“I have already received texts from girls talking about how much they can’t wait for next season, which is the real kicker for me.

“The fact that hours after being knocked out of a finals race they already want to jump back in is how you judge the real success of an inaugural season of women’s football.”

Beth Newman