Crunching the numbers: AFLW – Round 3

THE unpredictable 2018 AFLW season continued into round three, with major upsets in three out of the four matches. The return of AFLW MVP, Erin Phillips saw Adelaide take home its first win of the season against the red-hot Western Bulldogs. Brisbane continued its strong start with another dominant victory, handing Carlton its first loss of the season. Meanwhile, GWS reigned supreme on the road against Collingwood, and Fremantle took an unexpected five-point victory over potential flag-favourites, Melbourne.

Adelaide vs. Western Bulldogs

The round of upsets began on Saturday, with the return of Erin Phillips giving last year’s premiers the spark they needed to win against the previously unbeaten Bulldogs. Phillips picked up where she left off last season with a dominant four-goal performance, and was aided by usual suspects, Chelsea Randall (24 disposals) and Ebony Marinoff (21 disposals, 15 tackles). After a quiet start to the season, cult hero, Sarah ‘Tex’ Perkins (11 disposals) was a physical influence in an unexpected move into the midfield. As usual, Ellie Blackburn (17 disposals) and Emma Kearney (20 disposals, one goal) put up a commendable performance for the Dogs. 

Carlton vs. Brisbane

Brisbane took out the largest winning margin of the round against the Blues, regaining composure after equalling the lowest halftime score so far in AFLW. Carlton was unable to compete against Brisbane’s physical approach, and struggled in front of goal with a conversion rate of 25%, compared
to the Lions’ 60%. Carlton forward, Tayla Harris looked visibly frustrated, as she struggled against her former squad. Conversely, Brisbane’s Nat Exon flourished against her old side, laying seven tackles and kicking her first goal in AFLW. The experienced Emily Bates was on fire for the Lions with 20 disposals and six tackles, and their forward line put on a dominant performance, including two final-quarter goals from Rising Star nominee, Sophie Conway.

Collingwood vs. GWS

It was the Giants taking home their first win of the season in the battle of the winless teams. GWS dominated in the inside 50 count (37-18) and despite struggling with inaccuracy, the away side was able to grind out the game to cement their first win, with a five-goal final term. New Giant, Alicia Eva starred against her former teammates, as the Pies had little response to her match-high 23 disposals and explosive pace through the midfield. Omitted marquee player, Moana Hope managed two goals in her return, and the Collingwood on-ballers continued to rack up disposals, but were ultimately out-hustled by GWS’ determination.

Fremantle vs. Melbourne

The first quarter was dominated by the Demons, as their explosive midfield generated 15 inside 50s to the Dockers’ zero. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalise on the scoreboard with inaccurate goal kicking, going into the quarter-time break with one goal and five behinds. Inspired by their captain Kara Donnellan (18 disposals, eight tackles), the Dockers were able to wrestle back the momentum. Debutant, Emily McGuire was vital in the forward line, being Fremantle’s only multiple-goal scorer. The Swan Districts recruit kicked two dazzling snap goals, including the sealer in the final term. The Dees were dominant in the numbers yet again, and captain, Daisy Pearce (24 disposals) did everything she could to get her girls over the line, but unfortunately, it just was not Melbourne’s day. 

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