AFLW Weekend Wash-up: Round 1
AN entertaining first round of AFLW saw fans pack out suburban grounds as football was back on the menu over the weekend. Carlton claimed victory in a tight, low-scoring affair over Collingwood; Melbourne scraped across the line against GWS in a thriller; Brisbane ran over the top of the reigning premiers, Adelaide; and the Western Bulldogs showed off their firepower with a dominant performance against Fremantle.
Carlton (3.4.22) def. Collingwood (2.2.14)
The rivalry between Carlton and Collingwood was reignited on Friday night, in another blockbuster event. With star players scattered across the ground, the teams were locked in for another tight battle. It was Carlton, however, which once again claimed the bragging rights over Collingwood with an eight-point win.
In a close encounter, it was Carlton’s tackling pressure and desperation for the footy that set the two teams apart. Darcy Vescio’s ferocious tackle in the third quarter helped the Blues keep the ball in their half, mounting further pressure on the Pies, who were unable to remove themselves from Carlton’s stranglehold. While former Bulldog Jaimee Lambert and captain Stephanie Chiocci continued their accumulative ways, Eastern Devil Sarah D’Arcy cost herself two weeks of footy, after kicking Carlton’s Sarah Hosking late in the third quarter.
In a case of history repeating itself, with Jasmine Garner scoring the first goal and Collingwood losing the season opener, all eyes turned to star Blues recruit Tayla Harris. The Zillmere junior proved her worth in navy blue, slotting a goal for her new side in the opening quarter. Harris was in good touch, taking multiple contested marks in the forward 50, and across the ground. Collingwood young gun, Chloe Molloy, continued her outstanding 2017 TAC Cup form, racking up 20 disposals and keeping the dangerous Darcy Vescio goalless.
The Blues face the gutsy Giants next week, while the Pies take on Fremantle in front of what is set to be a huge crowd at Optus Stadium.
Melbourne (7.3.45) def. GWS (6.3.39)
In what shaped up to be a high-scoring and tight spectacle, it was Melbourne that came away with a hard-fought victory. The Demons proved that they had all the goods to be in finals contention for 2018, securing a come-from-behind win over the Giants.
The Giants led at every break, but a determined Melbourne outfit came back strong in the last quarter, scoring three goals to one. Thanks to three huge goals from Geelong Magpies recruit Richelle Cranston, the Demons took control of the match. Captain Daisy Pearce was instrumental as always, taking a match-winning mark in the dying stages, and amassing 19 disposals for the game.
GWS forward Phoebe McWilliams had an impressive day out, slotting three important goals for her team. She and teammate Jacinda Barclay caused some issues for the Dees, as Barclay scored two goals and tallied 14 disposals. Many would not have picked the Giants to give Melbourne a run for their money but with the likes of McWilliams and Barclay, GWS showed that they should not be underestimated in 2018. Darebin premiership captain, Elise O’Dea is one person that is never underestimated, and her leadership was once again on display, as she showed great control and precision throughout the match.
Melbourne will be sweating on the news for injured star Karen Paxman, who went down late in the first quarter with a back injury. Next week, the Demons look to play the reigning premiers, who are fresh off a loss at Norwood Oval, while GWS go on to face the in-form Carlton.
Adelaide (3.1.19) def. by Brisbane (4.7.31)
The grand final rematch between the Crows and the Lions saw Brisbane take the bragging rights, winning by 12 points. The Crows had an explosive second quarter, scoring three goals to start 2018 with a bang. But the Lions stunned the reigning premiers with a huge second-half effort, and got some bitter-sweet revenge for a missed opportunity in 2017.
The Crows were held scoreless in the second half of the game, while the Lions piled on three goals and four behinds to help them secure their first win of the season. Wilston recruit, Shannon Campbell put on a spectacular smother in the third quarter, stopping the Crows in their tracks. Brisbane’s quick transition play was hard to stop, and their clean hands around the footy allowed them to set up plenty of scoring opportunities. While the Crows had their moments of brilliance, they were outclassed by a dominant Brisbane outfit.
With the loss of marquee player Tayla Harris, the Lions looked to the likes of Jess Wuetschner, who kicked two impressive goals, and Kaitlyn Ashmore, who racked up 13 disposals and booted a goal. For the Crows, it was the experienced Chelsea Randall who stood up when her team needed her, kicking one goal and racking up 18 disposals. 2017 AFLW Rising Star, Ebony Marinoff also chipped in with 17 disposals.
In Round 2, Adelaide face a determined Melbourne team while the Lions meet a rejuvenated Bulldogs outfit.
Western Bulldogs (7.7.49) def. Fremantle (3.5.23)
Coming off not-so-impressive 2017 campaigns, both the Dogs and Dockers had a point to prove in the first round of the 2018 season. The Bulldogs came out firing, putting on an absolute clinic in front of goal and across the field, while the Dockers struggled to keep up. Fremantle forged a slight comeback in the second half, but were unable to match the skill and class of the Dogs.
From the get-go, the Western Bulldogs had control over the match, setting the pace of the game and showing off their impressive skills. The Western Bulldogs’ dominant first half put them in good stead for the rest of the match, with three great goals from marquee player, Katie Brennan, and all-round footy smarts from Melbourne Uni’s Emma Kearney setting up a huge Round 1 victory.
The class of Darebin premiership player, Katie Brennan was on show in Sunday’s game, highlighting why she is such an important player when she is firing on all cylinders. The centre half-forward notched up three goals before half time. Her potency in front of goal and ability to lead up at the ball caused the Fremantle defenders extreme trouble. Teammate Ellie Blackburn also had a stellar game, racking up 23 disposals and scoring a goal, making her influence felt across the ground. Former Calder Cannon Monique Conti looked right at home in Bulldogs colours, accumulating 14 disposals on debut. Fremantle’s Amy Lavell and Kara Donnellan were the standouts in a depleted Dockers outfit.
Next weekend the Dogs play the in-form Lions, while the Dockers encounter the Magpies at Perth’s new Optus Stadium.