AFLW Weekend Wash-up: Round 4
TWO records were broken in round four, despite a weekend dominated by trying playing conditions. On Friday night, Bulldog, Brooke Lochland kicked seven goals in front of a packed VU Whitten Oval for the AFLW Pride Game. Then on Sunday, last year’s Rising Star, Ebony Marinoff regained the AFLW tackling record, laying 21 tackles against the Giants in the first draw of the year. The weekend also saw Collingwood move off the bottom of the ladder, after defeating the Demons in Darwin. Now, with no winless teams in the competition, the premiership race is more open than ever.
Western Bulldogs 12.14 (89) def. Carlton 2.1 (13)
The Bulldogs annihilated the depleted Blues by a whopping 73 points, but all the talk was about Brooke Lochland’s seven goals. In a dominant display, the Dogs did not let up, piling on the goals and making themselves a force to be reckoned with throughout the night. Carlton had no answers for the masterclass that the Bulldogs put on, only notching up 13 points for the match. The Dogs’ stellar performance was headlined by their dominance in front of goal, as they created a staggering 26 scoring opportunities and restricted Carlton to just three.
The forward pressure was the breaking point for the Blues, as they struggled to combat the onslaught of the home side’s scoring power. The Western Bulldogs did not seem to miss key forward and captain, Katie Brennan, with Brooke Lochland zipping around the forward line for each of her seven majors. Her effort and accuracy in front of goal was second to none, becoming the first player in AFLW history to kick seven goals, beating the previous high of four goals in a match. The former figure skater put on an absolute clinic, putting the rest of the competition on notice with her impressive bag of tricks. The Carlton backline struggled to contain the explosive forward, whose night got started with four second-quarter goals. Lochland showcased her amazing footy skills and ability to get herself into dangerous scoring positions without fuss, helping the Bulldogs hand the Blues their second consecutive loss.
Though Brooke Lochland was a clear stand-out for the Dogs, the performances of Emma Kearney and Ellie Blackburn did not go unnoticed. The classy midfielders oozed extreme skill and poise with ball in hand, dominating all over the field. Kearney racked up an impressive 26 touches, with 25 of those being kicks. Blackburn also starred, amassing 18 disposals and contributing to the scoreboard with a goal. In her return game for the Blues, former captain Lauren Arnell dug in deep, scoring the only two goals for Carlton and racking up 13 possessions in what turned out to be a disappointing outing for the navy blues. Acting captain Sarah Hosking also stood tall for the Blues with 18 touches.
Brisbane 3.4 (22) def. Fremantle 2.3 (15)
A low-scoring affair in extremely difficult conditions made it hard for both teams to move the ball into their forward line. But it was the Brisbane Lions who found a way, and came away with a seven-point win. Both teams applied plenty of pressure, making for a highly contested match, but the pressure that the Lions applied in the opening half left the Dockers goalless. Brisbane proclaimed their dominance once again, especially in the second half, and were able to notch up their third win for the season. Though the Dockers fought back, they could not match the Lions, who dominated the inside 50s, contested and uncontested possessions, marks, and tackles.
Simple ball-handling became more difficult as the match went on, as the extreme conditions did not die down. The heat, humidity and wet weather plagued the players who struggled to control the footy, but it was Brisbane who managed to control the footy more. The Lions racked up 57 turnovers in comparison to the Dockers, who had 65 clangers, which proved to be the difference between the two teams. The game was also won and lost in the ruck contest with the Lions getting hands first to the ball, winning 44 to 14 hit outs. The Lions midfielders have Tahlia Randall to thank for this, as she ran a muck against Fremantle’s Alicia Janz at the stoppages. This allowed for Brisbane to control the flow of the match and apply pressure on the Dockers, who struggled to win the footy.
Star forward, Jess Wuetschner starred again for the Lions, bagging an impressive two goals. Her speed, agility and footy smarts up forward gave her plenty of scoring opportunities. Not only did the East Fremantle recruit impress in front of goal, but she was also one of the leading disposal-getters for the Lions, racking up 18 touches. Though Sabrina Frederick-Traub did not hit the scoreboard, her forward pressure and ability to penetrate the footy inside 50 allowed for her teammates to dominate in front of goal. For the Dockers, Lara Filocamo starred with 18 touches and five tackles, showing her ability to go hard at the footy, and apply plenty of pressure on her opponent. Fremantle captain, Kara Donnellan once again stood tall against the Lions, amassing 15 possessions, with 14 of those being kicks.
Melbourne 3.6 (24) def. by Collingwood 9.4 (58)
In 37-degree heat, it was the Magpies that claimed their first victory for the 2018 season. The heat and humidity did not seem to bother Collingwood, who mounted on the pressure against one of the premiership favourites to claim a much-needed win. Though the Dees controlled the first quarter, they could not sustain the energy, with Collingwood over-running them by 34 points. The Demons were out to redeem themselves after their shock loss to Fremantle, but the Pies had other plans, dominating across the ground and in front of goal.
After Melbourne’s dominant first quarter, the momentum switched with the Pies piling on the pressure for the remaining three quarters. The Magpies’ pressure was relentless all night, laying 11 more tackles than the Demons, which proved to be the difference in the trying conditions. Collingwood kept the Dees to one goal and four points after the first quarter, while they piled on nine goals to receive that coveted first win of the season. Collingwood ensured that their pressure was felt across the ground, as midfielder Brittany Bonnici shut down superstar Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce. The smothering defence that the Pies put on the classy midfielder limited her destructiveness, only allowing her nine touches for the game.
Chloe Molloy continues to improve and impress with each game she plays. The former Calder Cannons star once again showcased her explosive speed and strength, racking up 11 touches. Teammate and former Western Bulldog, Jaimee Lambert also had a stellar game with 19 disposals. The Eastern Devils recruit imposed herself on the contest, and used the footy with great composure. Former Murray Bushranger, Iilish Ross played her best game for the season, taking plenty of intercept marks and hitting the packs hard. Moana Hope continued her convincing form in the forward line, slotting another two goals for the Pies in their first win of the year. In a disappointing night out for the Demons, the likes of Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman stood up, and racked up plenty of disposals. Paxman followed the ball wherever it went while Darebin premiership captain, O’Dea bagged an important goal for Melbourne.
GWS 2.7 (19) drew Adelaide 2.7 (19)
An unpredictable game at Blacktown saw the Giants leading for the majority of the game. But an Adelaide fightback saw them take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but were unable to maintain their advantage. The wet and difficult conditions made for a challenging game, with GWS and Adelaide struggling to control the bounce of the footy at times. The Giants failed to slot a major after the half-time break, while the Crows went on to score a goal to help even the score up. Both teams suffered from inaccuracy in front of goal, with seven points each, and could not break the deadlock late in the game.
The game was evenly poised, with neither team able to break away from each other, making for a hotly contested match. Having to contend with the temperamental weather, both teams struggled to capitalise on scoring opportunities. The Crows had 13 shots from 27 inside 50s, compared to the Giants’ nine from 24, but that ultimately had no effect on the game, with scores being tied. GWS and Adelaide racked up very similar numbers in contested and uncontested possessions, as well as marks inside 50, showing how evenly spread the game was.
In her first game for 2018, All-Australian defender, Courtney Cramey had made her presence felt, scoring a pivotal goal for the Crows, and shutting down GWS star recruit, Courtney Gum. Teammate and Morphettville Park recruit, Ebony Marinoff made AFLW history, laying a whopping 21 tackles for the match, making sure her physical presence was felt around the ground. Marinoff hit the contest hard and put her body on the line with her crunching tackles. After a big hit last week, Giant Cora Staunton impressed in front of goal, showing her Gaelic roots with a set-shot snap to help secure a much-needed major for GWS. Alicia Eva picked up from where she left off last week, racking up another 23 touches for the Giants. Eva showed her great on-field leadership and composure with ball in hand, and kept fighting for a win, despite being heavily targeted by the Adelaide midfield.