AFLW previews: Round 2

AFTER an interesting first round of matches, AFLW sides are looking for ways to either improve or consolidate on their efforts from week one. Each week AFL Draft Central will preview the weekend’s matches and look ahead to what is set to be an entertaining sequel to the inaugural 2017 season.

GWS vs. Carlton

Friday February 9, 7.05pm at Drummoyne Oval

Last week Carlton once again claimed the four points in round one against the Pies in the season opener, while the Giants came up short against an experienced Melbourne line-up, after dominating for most of the match. 2017 AFLW leading goal-kicker, Darcy Vescio will be hoping for a big performance in navy blue, after she was kept quiet by the round one Rising Star nominee, Chloe Molloy. But at the other end, expect fireworks from exciting GWS forward, Phoebe McWilliams, who booted three goals to keep her side in the game when it began to slip away from them. Dandenong recruit Georgia Gee will get her chance in the midfield for Carlton, but former Stingrays teammate, Bridie Kennedy, will once again sit on the sidelines. This comes after an impressive performance by the Blues’ ruck, Alison Downie, who booted a goal against the Pies, and was lively throughout the game. The GWS recruits shined at Casey Fields last week, and expect no different this week. Despite being 36 years-old, Courtney Gum kept up with the 19-year-olds and was an efficient ball-user, while Irishwoman, Cora Staunton had some real X-factor with the ball in hand. Watch out for her in front of goal, in what will be a tight contest between two rapidly-improving sides.

 

Melbourne vs. Adelaide

Saturday February 10, 5.05pm at Casey Fields

Melbourne put its hand up for premiership contention with a come-from-behind win over the Giants last week, but it was not good news for the reigning premiers at Norwood Oval. The Crows unfurled their flag in their season opener, but came up short of last year’s runner-up, Brisbane. Expect a much better performance from the Crows, with the experienced Abbey Holmes slotting into their line-up. The goal-sneak will be able to help out Sarah Perkins in the forward line, who struggled against Brisbane’s Leah Kaslar’s  wonderful shut-down performance. But without the reigning AFLW MVP Erin Phillips in the midfield, it may mean that experienced spearheads, Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman can run free in the middle of the ground. Paxman dominated early last week but was slowed by a lower-back injury, so a full game from her will cause huge issues for the Crows. Norwood recruit Ruth Wallace was up-and-about in the forward line last week, and even kicked a goal to complement her energy. Watch out for her and Glenelg product, Eloise Jones, who both had a solid run in the forward 50 last week. The second-gamers will be hoping to help their side secure its first win of the season, and get them back to the status that saw them claim the 2017 AFLW premiership.

 

Fremantle vs. Collingwood

Saturday February 10, 7.10pm at Optus Stadium

It has been the most talked-about game throughout the week, as a sell-out crowd is expected at Perth’s new Optus Stadium. Despite a lacklustre performance from the Dockers, their fans have stayed loyal and purchased tickets to what is expected to be a much better performance from the women in purple. However, they will be without experienced campaigner, Lara Filocamo, after she was left out of the side for the round two blockbuster. That was not even the most controversial omission of the week though. Collingwood star forward, Moana Hope, will not board the flight to Perth joined on the sidelines by suspended forward, Sarah D’Arcy. Hope did not score in the season-opener last week, and seemed frustrated at times throughout the night. But instead of redeeming herself this week on the field, she will have to sit back and watch as her team fights for its first win of the season. With TAC Cup joint Best and Fairest winner, Chloe Molloy in the backline, it gives the Pies every chance to claim the four points. At the other end, expect a huge debut from Cranbourne product, Holly Whitford, who looks set to light up the forward line for the Pies. But she will have to overcome the determined Dockers, who will be looking to put on a show for their home crowd. Coastal Titans recruit Amy Lavell was the shining light for Fremantle last week, and will be hoping to continue her good form this week to get the Dockers over the line.

 

Brisbane vs. Western Bulldogs

Sunday February 11, 4.35pm at South Pine Sports Complex

You know you are watching an entertaining competition when you get to witness a top-of-the-table clash in round two! The Bulldogs and Lions both got to enjoy impressive wins in their season-openers, but only one can win at South Pine Sports Complex. Brisbane will be hoping to silence the doubters again, with recruits Sophie Conway and Jordan Zanchetta raring to impress in round two. But they will come up against the Bulldogs’ brilliant Melbourne Uni duo Isabel Huntington and Monique Conti, who both starred on debut at VU Whitten Oval last week. Another Melbourne Uni product who had a stellar game was Ellie Blackburn, as she racked up plenty of possessions in her side’s thumping win over the Dockers. But all eyes will be on each side’s forward line, with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Katie Brennan lining up at either end of the ground. Frederick-Traub starred for the Lions last week with a whopping 10 marks, but could not convert any into goals. But it was the opposite story for Katie Brennan, who slotted three first-half goals for the Dogs at VU Whitten Oval. Will it be Brennan who continues on her merry way or will Frederick-Traub hit the scoreboard in a big way for the first time in 2018?

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