Lions AFLW 2019 Best and Fairest winner and All Australian Ally Anderson will play her first QW Winter Series game for the Lions after being named in Coach Craig Starcevich’s 21-women team to take on the SUNS.
Joining Anderson for their first Winter Series match against the Gold Coast are her AFLW teammates Jessy Keeffe, Sharni Webb and Gabby Collingwood who have all returned from injury. Keeffe will play in the ruck, while Webb has been named on the wing. Collingwood will start on the interchange bench.
Selina Priest (née Goodman) will play her first game for the Lions since 2017. She was a member of the Lions inaugural team and has been named in the backline against the Suns.
Tarni White, a Hyundai Help for Kids Lions Academy player, has been named on the interchange bench. White plays for Coorparoo in the QAFLW and has only recently returned from an ACL reconstruction.
Kayla Geddes and Amy Kelly have been named as emergencies.
Jesse Wardlaw will not take to the field due to shin soreness; Emma Zielke is being managed and Rheanne Lugg has interstate work commitments.
Starcevich said the team were looking forward to their first game in Mackay.
“It’s a good experience to fly together and play at a new venue, to try something new,” he said.
“I know how good a venue Great Barrier Reef Arena is, so I’m really keen for our team to get out there and play.”
Starcevich is aiming for a second victory over the SUNS and said he will continue to experiment with his AFLW players’ positions. This Winter Series has seen gun forward Jessica Wuetschner play in the backline, Bre Koenen play in the midfield and Shannon Campbell move to the forward line.
“It’s exciting for us to keep experimenting with their roles,” he said.
The series has also helped developed some of the Lions less experienced AFLW players as they take on more responsibility and minutes.
“It’s great for players like Nat Grider and Jade Ellenger to get a lot of game time and sink their teeth into their roles with a lot of touches,” he said.
This Sunday the team’s focus will be to convert more of their opportunities in front of goal. In QW Winter Series Game 1 the Lions had more inside 50 entries but failed to capitalize.
“Hopefully we can generate a little more pressure on the scoreboard for the opposition,” he said.
“We’d like to convert more entries into scoring shots.”
Bounce is at 12pm at the Great Barrier Reef Arena on Sunday 23 June. The match will also be live streamed.