FOLLOWING the conclusion of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s opening round, the six sides go to battle again this weekend as teams aim to back up from the first weekend of competitive football in 10 months. The feature game this weekend which will be live streamed is between Claremont and Swan Districts.
CLAREMONT vs. SWAN DISTRICTS
Sunday, July 26, 2pm
Revo Fitness Stadium
In what is anticipated to be an entertaining contest, Round 1 winners Swan Districts and Round 1 losers, Claremont go at it in a telling clash early in the season. The Tigers fell two points short of knocking off Subiaco, while last year’s runner-up got off to the ideal start with a win over one of the main contenders in Peel Thunder.
Not an easy venture on the road, the Swans will be aiming to take the home ground advantage away early with a strong start. These teams played a remarkable four times last season – including in the first week of the finals – and Swan Districts won all four. The last two victories were one-sided wins, though the only clash at this venue saw the Tigers get the closest they did all season, going down by only 14 points.
Claremont might have the better team balance overall, but it is hard to pick a winner in this clash. Emily Bennett and Amy Franklin were able to debut last week having come across on permit from West Perth with the Falcons not competing in the top grade this year. Swan Districts were able to blood a couple of 15-year-olds in Round 1 in Tara Stribley and Olivia Cripps who did not look out of their depth.
Swan Districts is a young side, with a massive 12 players under 18 in Round 1 that picked up the four points, while Claremont still has some good young talent, but also some much needed experience which makes the Tigers a really competitive outfit.
Players to watch:
Jacinta Valentini (Claremont)
Having come through the West Australian pathways, Valentini is a talented player who was not too far off those who were drafted a couple of years back. She had a really solid appearance last week in Claremont’s narrow loss to Subiaco and looms as a key player in Claremont’s side. Others who stood out in the defeat were Sasha Goronova, Rachel Ortlepp and Jess Low.
Mikayla Hyde (Swan Districts)
The clever forward who can play further up the ground was able to kick a goal for the Swans last week and is capable of some special moments. She has high upside and is one who stands out from a junior level perspective who can impact each game with her goal sense. She is far from the only one though, with Nyra Anderson, Shanae Davison, Mikayla Morrison and versatile veteran, Fi Boucher amongst the players to keep an eye on.
SOUTH FREMANTLE vs. PEEL THUNDER
Sunday, July 26, 1pm
Fremantle Community Bank Oval
After a baptism of fire in Round 1, South Fremantle returns to Fremantle Community Bank Oval to host Peel Thunder in the first game of the weekend. The Bulldogs were no match for reigning premiers, East Fremantle as they failed to score in an 88-point defeat. Like any new side, structures and cohesion will take a while to work and one would expect they are better for longer in this match. However Peel Thunder deservingly start as favourites after pushing last year’s grand finalists, Swan Districts all the way in a six-point defeat at home. Given the other results, the Thunder will be looking to capitalise against the League’s newcomers with a big win to help boost their percentage. These teams have never played before given South’s entry into the league this year, which provides viewers with unpredictability.
Players to Watch:
Breanne Spencer (South Fremantle)
The reliable defender really stepped up in the face of some fierce pressure coming into her zone. Time and time again she would intercept mark or drive out of defence. No doubt this week will be just as big of a challenge given Peel has some really damaging forwards.
Kira Phillips (Peel Thunder)
The renowned goalkicker started her 2020 season off with three goals in the narrow loss and will be keen to boost her numbers here. Last year the former Fremantle player won the Reserves goal kicking and is looking to make a real statement for the Thunder.
EAST FREMANTLE vs. SUBIACO
Sunday, July 26, 2.15pm
New Choice Homes Park
Subiaco got the win against Claremont last week in a thriller, 4.6 (30) to 4.4 (28), but this is a different beast altogether. The Sharks are a genuine champion side, and have great strength across the board even without their AFL Women’s players. East Fremantle might have been slow to start last round, but soon clicked into gear and showed no mercy against the Lions. Added to this clash will be Sara Lewis lining up at full-forward, fresh off a four-goal haul against the Bulldogs and taking on her former side in Subiaco. The match will be a good measuring stick for the Lions, while the Sharks will have a greater challenge than the week before which makes this a game to watch. Last season the sides played four times with East Fremantle winning two and Subiaco winning two. Interestingly enough, the Lions won their respective clash against the Sharks in Round 2 last year at Leederville Oval, then backed up with an impressive victory at New Choice Homes Park in Round 7.
Players to watch:
Sara Lewis (East Fremantle)
The competition leading goalkicker, albeit from one round will have pencilled this game in her diary. Coming up against her former side, Lewis will be keen to repeat her efforts from Round 1 against the Lions, though will no doubt be up for a bigger challenge in this game.
Abbey Dowrick (Subiaco)
One of the top talents now in her top-age year, Dowrick is the sister of West Coast’s McKenzie and loves a scrap and is really vocal on the field. She knows how to win the ball and really have an impact around the ground, and no doubt can match it with more experienced players.