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AFLW: Lions roar to start Winter Series

Jess Wuteschner kicked four goals for the victorious Lions

BRISBANE showed it will still be a force to reckoned with next year despite the departure of a handful of stars, comfortably accounting for the Southern Giants by 116 points in the first round of the Winter Series.

The series features Brisbane and Gold Coast and two Greater Western Sydney sides, the Northern Giants and the Southern Giants.

Gun forward Jess Wuetschner kicked four goals in the Lions’ big win, with exciting youngster Sophie Conway contributing three.

It was a strong Brisbane line-up, with Sabrina Frederick-Traub, captain Emma Zielke, Ally Anderson, Sharni Webb, Megan Hunt and Gabby Collingwood among the AFLW players taking the field.

By contrast, the inexperienced Southern Giants had just Britt Tully and Jodie Hicks as its AFLW representatives.

Tully starred in the midfield, while Holbrook’s Alyce Parker, who is eligible to be drafted at the end of this year, impressed in the middle and off half-back.

Gold Coast had its first hit-out as it builds towards its AFLW entry in 2020, going down to the Northern Giants by 35 points.

Former Lion and new AFLW Kangaroo Tahlia Randall played for the Suns, who were captained by fellow former Lion Jordan Membrey.

Sun Emma Aeschilimann was dominant in the midfield, while Jenae Govan kicked the side’s first-ever goal.

Gold Coast did well to get as close as it did to the strong Northern Giants, with Alicia Eva, Phoebe Monahan, Ellie Brush and Nicola Barr controlling play. Recently delisted Giants rookie Haneen Zreika also impressed.
Each team will play each other once over a five-week period, with the second round starting on June 23 in Brisbane.

The Southern Giants are made up of players from AFL Canberra, AFL Riverina, Tallangatta and District Football League, Goulburn Valley Football League and the Ovens & Murray Football League, while the Northern Giants feature players from AFL Sydney and the Black Diamond leagues.

Brisbane has priority access to its 2018 AFLW players ahead of Gold Coast and is filled out with players from the Lions Academy. It is being coached by AFLW assistants Daniel Merrett, Brent Staker, David Lake and John Taylor.

Gold Coast may not be joining the AFLW until 2020, but it is starting its preparation well ahead of time.

The Suns held numerous talent identification days around the state during the first few months of the year, with players then selected for the Suns Academy, led by former Queensland under-18s youth girls coach Michael Gugliotta.

Players from the Academy are representing the Suns in the Winter Series.

Round one
Northern Giants 7.8 (50) def Gold Coast 2.3 (15)
Tom Wills Oval at Olympic Park, Sydney, Saturday, June 9

Southern Giants 0.0 (0) lost to Brisbane 18.8 (116)
Tom Wills Oval at Olympic Park, Sydney, Sunday, June 10

Round two
Brisbane v Northern Giants
Zillmere Oval Brisbane
Saturday June 23 at 1:30pm

Gold Coast v Southern Giants
Sunday June 24 at 11am

Round three
Gold Coast v Brisbane
Metricon Stadium
Saturday, July 14 at 4:40pm

Northern Giants v Southern Giants
Tom Wills Oval at Olympic Park, Sydney
Saturday, July 14 at 11am