QUEENSLAND has caused the upset of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships so far by toppling Vic Metro in a thriller today. The Maroons were sensational throughout the match, never giving in and always fighting back every time Metro looked to be getting away. Led brilliantly by Lily Postlethwaite in the midfield and Zimmorlei Farquharson up forward, the Maroons continually answered the challenge thrown at them. When a Holly Bate goal in the final term looked likely to flick the switch for the favourites, back-to-back goals by Farquharson snuffed out any chance of a Metro win.
The first quarter saw both teams engage in an arm-wrestle which was predominantly up Metro’s end. But the Queensland defence held up well, with the likes of Kitara Farrar doing well. Emerson Woods, Abbie McKay, Madison Prespakis and Katie Lynch were winning plenty of it in midfield, then Britney Gutknecht scored the only score of the first term – a behind. Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw took a good mark inside 50 early and the Maroons were maintaining touch with the Metro team. When Farrar was stretchered off after big hit, the game resumed for a few minutes but still no goals on the board and the score at one behind to no score.
The second quarter remained tight early with Natalie Grider taking a huge contested grab at half-back after Marnie Jarvis booted the ball inside 50. Attacking bravely, Queensland was throwing everything at Metro and not giving them an inch, which was exemplified when Dee Heslop brought Hannah McLaren to ground in a great tackle at half-back. Then the reward for effort paid off when Charlotte Hammans cleanly swooped on a loose ball and used her agility to sidestep a defender and calmly slotted the goal to hand Queensland the first of the match. Brooke Randall produced a fantastic run-down tackle on the nimble Gabby Newton to force a turnover. The belief was high for Isabel Dawes who ran into an open goal, shrugging off a would-be tackler and putting the Maroons back in front. Meanwhile Georgia Patrikios was doing all she could winning touches in defence and attack, and rarely wasting a touch with her sublime skills.
Dawes won an early free from the first stoppage in the third term, but Metro showed they were on from the first bounce with a big tackle from Prespakis at half-back. Tori Groves-Little was working hard through the midfield after a big first half of nine touches, and laid some important tackles to slow Metro down. When Ellie Hampson took a great intercept mark on the wing and charged forward, it showed the Maroons were up for the fight. Hammans took a great mark in space in the forward 50 but her kick fell short. Jade Ellenger had a shot from long range too but it was just touched on the line for a behind. They were not hurting on the scoreboard but they had the momentum. Hampson showed good run and agility to work her way through contested situations. Jacqueline Yorston laid a huge tackle on Northern Knights captain Maddy Brancatisano on the wing as Queensland continued to dominate. Carla Rendelmann moved to the backline and took a good defensive intercept mark, as Farquharson was getting some important disposals at half-forward. Posthlewaite was working hard defensively in the midfield leading the team strongly. Grider’s crucial sliding mark at half-back stopped what was a good Metro build-up. Georgia Macpherson was just as important up the other end, taking a big contested grab.
A costly 50 metre penalty early in the final term saw Holly Bate kick from the goal square and draw within a point. Eleanor Brown was having a super last term winning ball on the inside and outside and mopping up in defence. Chloe Gregory had a huge shot on goal midway through the last but Charlotte Wilson took a grab and kicked clear to Woods. The danger was not over with Tawhiao-Wardlaw receiving a free and having a set shot which missed, but she was becoming a serious threat up forward. Posthlewaite had a fantastic pickup off the deck and weaved around one but could not get an effective disposal under pressure. Then the reward for effort came once again for Queensland as Farquharson kicked a fantastic goal on the run and gave them some much needed breathing space. If that got the home side up and about, then what came next had them roaring. Farquharson took a great run, bounce and long-range kick from inside 50 which sailed home in the goal of the day to seal the match for Queensland in what was huge purple patch for her. With just a few minutes remaining, Queensland held on despite Prespakis kicking a late major – the siren sounding to celebrate a fantastic upset of the unbeaten championship favourites. It was almost impossible to pick the best in Queensland’s side given the depth of talent in that team.
QUEENSLAND 0.0 | 2.0 | 2.2 | 4.3 (27)
VIC METRO 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.1 (19)
QLD: Zimmorlei Farquharson 2, Charlotte Hammans, Isabel Dawes.
VM: Gabby De Angelis, Holly Bate, Madison Prespakis.
QLD: Lily Postlethwaite, Zimmorlei Farquharson, Isabel Dawes, Tori Groves-Little, Charlotte Hammans, Natalie Grider
VM: Eleanor Brown, Gabby Newton, Madison Prespakis, Katie Lynch, Georgia Macpherson, Georgia Patrikios.