Crunching the numbers: AFLW – Round 2

ROUND two of this year’s AFLW season created many headlines. There was a record-breaking attendance in Fremantle, a goal-of-the-year contender at Casey Fields, and Carlton’s Sarah Hosking’s display of tackling prowess. But not all the headlines showed positive signs, with Brianna Davey, Isabel Huntington and Brianna Green going down to season-ending injuries. The weather also generated some headlines, with a storm delaying GWS’ encounter with Carlton, and wild winds dominating the day in Melbourne on Saturday. Fair to say, it was most definitely an eventful weekend for the competition.

GWS vs. Carlton

Friday night’s match was a hard-fought slog in dire conditions. A huge storm resulted in a 30-minute game suspension just after the first quarter, and a wet ground made it almost impossible for clean footy. The players found it hard to mark the wet ball, with only 41 grabs taken for the night. But the Blues were the better judge of the conditions, and executed their running game better than the Giants. Regardless of their low goal-kicking efficiency (20 per cent), the Blues were able to get more points on the board through their determination inside 50 (56 per cent). The Hosking twins starred with their hard-ball gets and ferocious tackling (Sarah 16, Jess five), as did skipper, Brianna Davey (16 disposals) before being stretchered off in the final term.

Melbourne vs. Adelaide 

Despite a hot and windy game at Casey Fields, the Demons still managed to execute an all-round elite performance, even adding a goal of the year contender to top off the day. Melbourne’s ability to penetrate the ball against the wind was remarkable in a game that by all accounts, should have been played in one half of the ground. Four goals against the wind in the second quarter set the Dees up to take back-to-back victories to start the season. It was a dominant showing against the reigning premiers, with Melbourne’s star midfield trio Karen Paxman (21 disposals), Elise O’Dea (19 disposals) and Daisy Pearce (17 disposals, 11 tackles) putting on a clinic. In defence, it was Bianca Jakobsson who looked like marking everything that came her way (seven marks), and caused some real trouble for the Crows. As a team, Melbourne had the most total disposals (248) and inside 50 marks (13) of the round, and they had 15 players with more than 10 disposals. They also had six different goal scorers, and limited Adelaide’s goal-scorers, in Sarah Perkins and Abbey Holmes, to three disposals each.

Fremantle vs. Collingwood

The Dockers took their first win of the year in front of a record-breaking home crowd of 41,975 in a heated and fiery clash against the Pies. Collingwood came out strong, kicking the first two goals, but Fremantle came back with four of their own before half-time. The Pies had more disposals (222 v 193), out-marked their opposition (66 v 42), and had a round-high contested marks (11). But for the second week in a row, they could not capitalise in front of goal, or come away with the win. Fremantle, on the other hand, dominated in the clearances (21 v 12), and reigning best-and-fairest, Dana Hooker starred with 21 disposals, in which 17 of them were kicks.

Brisbane vs. Western Bulldogs

The final game of the round resulted in back-to-back wins for the Bulldogs, after beating the Lions on the road in the scorching heat. However, it was ultimately bitter-sweet, as they lost their number one draft pick, Isabel Huntington, to a season-ending ACL injury. In round two, the Bulldogs yet again displayed their efficiency with the ball (64.4 per cent), recording the highest kicking efficiency for the round. Even though Brisbane was superior in the ruck hit-outs (30 v 19), the stellar Bulldogs midfield, led by Kirsty Lamb (20 disposals) and Emma Kearney (18 disposals), were able to capitalise. Despite a smaller winning margin this week, the Bulldogs almost doubled their opponents in marks (62 v 34) and conversion rate (63 per cent v 33 per cent). After a slow start, the away team kicked four unanswered goals in the second term to set up their victory, and despite a late two-goal comeback by the Lions in the last quarter, they were able to hold on.

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