AFLW previews: Round 3

IN a round that had it all last week, it is hard to predict what will happen in round three. There is no doubt the players will be motivated to deliver standout performances to gift their sides much-needed wins, as they aim towards the ultimate prize – an AFLW premiership. This week, there will be plenty of new faces in AFLW colours, players coming up against their old sides, and even a former Calder Cannons coach going head-to-head with the TAC Cup Best and Fairest winner.

Adelaide vs. Western Bulldogs 

Saturday, February 17, 1.35pm ACDT at Norwood Oval

Reigning premiers, the Adelaide Crows, take on the in-form Western Bulldogs who are yet to be seriously threatened. This is just the second time these sides will meet in the AFLW competition. In their first clash, the Crows were victorious by 25 points, but this year is a different kettle of footballs on many fronts. Captain and AFLW MVP, Erin Phillips is yet to play a game this year, but will be returning for Saturday’s home game. It is a crucial game for the Crows, whose finals hopes hang on winning this one. After being recruited from Norwood itself, Marijana Rajcic will have the opportunity to debut at Norwood Oval, where she is set to slot into the Adelaide defence. The Bulldogs will be looking to continue their solid form, on the back of a convincing win against the dangerous Lions, where Bonnie Toogood and Libby Birch scored Rising Star nominations for the round. Melbourne recruit Jess Anderson will make her debut this week, after coming into the side to replace the injured Isabel Huntington.   

Carlton vs. Brisbane 

Saturday, February 17, 7.45pm AEDT at Ikon Park

Even though the Blues fought out a crash-and-bash game in the wet against GWS, you could not see the excitement of the win on their faces, as captain, Brianna Davey was stretchered off with a knee injury in the last quarter looking very distressed. Her injury  will have shaken up the players, who will face their biggest challenge of the season this week. With coach Damien Keeping still battling illness, they will have to dig deep on home soil against Brisbane, who are fourth on the ladder with one win. Brisbane’s Jess Wuetschner will need to fire again in front of goal, and we will expect Sabrina Frederick-Traub to return to her round one form, after last’s week struggle.

Collingwood vs. GWS

Sunday, February 18, 4.35pm AEDT at Olympic Park Oval

The deceivingly small heavyweight Alicia Eva will be playing against her old club at the Pies’ nest, with both clubs having everything to lose in this game. Eva will also face off against Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan – two Calder Cannons players she coached, who don the black and white. Both sides are yet to secure a win so you can expect hard bumps and no love lost in the clash between these two club as they strive to keep any finals hopes alive. Melbourne Uni forward, Moana Hope comes back into the side this round, and will be hoping of a repeat performance of last year’s match against GWS, where she was dynamic in the forward line, and owned her role. War-horse, Meg Hutchins has been named for the Magpies, who will provide a much-needed presence in defence to steady the side, and revive their confidence in the backline. The Pies will be hungry for a win after a taxing loss to Fremantle in front of a record crowd at the hard-surfaced Optus Stadium. 

Fremantle vs. Melbourne

Sunday, February 17, 3.35pm AWST at Fremantle Oval

Fremantle are coming off an epic win. They did their fans proud with their first win on home soil, performing solidly against Collingwood in front of a historic crowd. No doubt their collective spirit will be high, and they’ll be brimming with confidence that they can back up the win against a consistent Melbourne outfit on Sunday at Fremantle Oval. Forward, Emily McGuire will debut for the Dockers, replacing the experienced Stacey Barr, who was suspended for striking. Melbourne have been unstoppable so far in the competition, and they add Brooke Patterson and Harriet Cordner to their side travelling to Fremantle. 

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