Tag: Belinda Smith

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

AFTER an exhilarating first round, which saw four of the five matches go down to the wire, teams prepare to tweak game styles or mix up team sheets in order to get an advantage over their opponents. Four of the first round losers face off, with Melbourne heading to Victoria Park on Saturday to face the Magpies, while Carlton hosts Adelaide at Ikon Park on Sunday. The two sides who head home without any points face an uphill battle in the race for finals action. The fifth losing side from Round 1, GWS GIANTS has its own mammoth effort – trying to take down North Melbourne who simply blitzed Carlton. A maximum of three sides can remain undefeated after Round 2 with first round winners, Geelong and Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle and Brisbane facing off over the weekend.

GWS GIANTS vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Friday, February 8, 7.15pm
Drummoyne Oval

In the opening game of the round, new side North Melbourne fresh off a huge victory over Carlton, head to Drummoyne Oval to face the GIANTS. The GIANTS are playing just their second game at the venue, following a loss to the Blues this time last year. The battle within the contest is the All-Australian rucks going head-to-head with Kangaroos’ Emma King and GIANTS’ Erin McKinnon. North Melbourne’s midfield has great depth to it, lead by last year’s League Best and Fairest winner, Emma Kearney, Jamie Stanton, Jess Duffin and Ash Riddell, of whom the latter was ultra-impressive on debut. North Melbourne’s dynamic forward line features former Magpies, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope, premiership-winning Bulldog Jenna Bruton, and former Lion Kaitlyn Ashmore. With the strength around the ground, it will be hard to contain the Roos if they win the midfield battle.

The one area the GIANTS could get an upper hand is through rebounding forward with an equally impressive, albeit underrated forward line. Jess Dal Pos, former Magpie Christina Bernardi and defender-turned-forward Cora Staunton are all capable of multiple goals, while Haneen Zreika was impressive on debut last week. The midfield simply has to win its fair share of head-to-heads, with Courtney Gum, Rebecca Beeson, Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker leading the way, while Amanda Farrugia, Emma Swanson and Tanya Hetherington will have big jobs coming out of defence. The Kangaroos took a massive 56 marks in last week’s huge win over Carlton, while still laying 66 tackles. The GIANTS laid just the 42 and only five in the forward 50, and will need to show more pressure inside 50 against a side capable of hurting you on the scoreboard really quickly. Both teams are generally good ball users and make the most of their opportunities so it will be fascinating to see which team can take the early advantage and put it on the scoreboard. North Melbourne will head in as favourites, but it is far from completely clear cut, and this will be a huge win for the GIANTS if they can get the job done at home.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 0-1-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • Emma Kearney averages 20 disposals, 6.5 tackles, 4.5 clearances, four inside 50s and a goal against the GIANTS from two clashes.
  • Both AFL Women’s All Australian rucks are set to go head-to-head with Emma King taking on Erin McKinnon. In the battle between the pair last year, King won convincingly with 11 disposals and 18 hitouts to McKinnon’s three disposals and 14 hitouts.
  • GWS GIANTS’ only game at the venue resulted in a loss to Carlton last year, while North Melbourne looks to back up its only game – a huge win over Carlton last week.
  • The GIANTS have won two, drawn two and lost three games in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

 

COLLINGWOOD vs. MELBOURNE
Saturday, February 9, 4.45pm
Victoria Park

At one of the homes of traditional football, Collingwood hosts Melbourne in what has become a must-win for both sides. After heart-breaking losses in Round 1 despite leading at the final change, neither team can afford to go 0-2, with the reality that teams need at least four wins to secure a finals berth. A second loss means they must win four of their final five games as a minimum and with both still to play their respective conference favourites, it would spell trouble for their post-season hopes. However, for the winner, it is a chance to balance the ledger and get back on track early in the season. Collingwood has been a slow starter in year’s gone by, and has been overhauled with youth since last season, while Melbourne has also brought a number of young players into the team, furthering the development of players who got their starts last season. With both teams defensively capable, it will make for a great clash. The sides also sit at one win each in the head-to-head, funnily enough after the losing side in each game got a head start, but was run over the top of in the second halves.

Both teams have made two changes, with a debutant and a return from a long-term injury headlining the selection moves. Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch comes into the side after Sophie Alexander’s concussion last week ruled her out of the game. Kristy Stratton was also ruled out through injury, with the Magpies opting to go tall by bringing in Eliza Hynes to try and stretch the Melbourne defence when forward, while rotating with Sharni Layton and Eliza Fowler. Melbourne have brought in Ainslie Kemp who has not played since 2017 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear – sadly replacing Shae Sloane who suffered the exact same injury. The Dees have also brought in Ashleigh Guest for Claudia Whitfort. The key to victory for the Demons is restricting the run of Collingwood’s defence, which helped the Magpies hold up against Geelong last week with Ash Brazill causing all sorts of headaches, while Jordyn Allen was equally as impressive. They also need to clamp down on Jaimee Lambert who has the ability to turn a game with great plays, while Catherine Phillips could be the one asked to restrict Sarah D’Arcy from dominating in the air. For the Magpies, they need to be wary of Melbourne’s firepower with Tegan Cunningham and Eden Zanker likely to stretch the defence, while Aliesha Newman has pace to burn and both Kate Hore and Maddison Gay are capable of getting over the back and hurting teams on the rebound. Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen are up there with the best midfields in the competition, and will look to control the stoppages around the ground and give their forwards early opportunities.

H2H: Collingwood 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Collingwood 9.4 (58) defeated Melbourne 3.6 (24) at TIO Traeger Park, Round 4, 2018

After booting the opening two goals of the match and keeping Collingwood goalless in the opening term, the Demons only managed 1.4 for the rest of the match as the Magpies piled on 9.4 to run away with the match by 34 points. Magpies captain, Steph Chiocchi played one of her best games under lights, booting a goal from 17 disposals, two marks, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Jaimee Lambert had a team-high 19 disposals as well as three inside 50s and two rebounds. Caitlyn Edwards and Mo Hope both booted two goals in the victory, but arguably the best performance was that of Brittany Bonnici who tagged Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce and restricted her to a career-low nine disposals. For the Demons, Elise O’Dea was the top performer with 19 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Karen Paxman had 18 touches and three rebounds.

Fun facts:

  • Of the 42 players to take the field in last year’s clash in the Top End, just 24 players remain available for selection in season 2019. Even more remarkably, just eight players from Collingwood’s first match against the Demons – two years ago – remain on the list.
  • Elise O’Dea (17 disposals) and Karen Paxman (16.5 disposals) average the most disposals against the Magpies from their two clashes.
  • Sarah D’Arcy and Emma Grant average the most disposals against the Demons, with 10 touches apiece.
  • Both sides were in the lead at three quarter time after holding their opponent scoreless in the third term last week only to go on to lose the game in heartbreaking circumstances.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. GEELONG
Saturday, February 9, 7.15pm
VU Whitten Oval

H2H: Western Bulldogs 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 4-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

In the other game that will be the first time these teams go head-to-head is between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs and new side, Geelong. Both teams had a win in Round 1 and this weekend marks the first home game for the Bulldogs, which means they will unfurl the 2018 AFL Women’s flag in front of what is predicted to be a strong crowd at VU Whitten Oval. The winner will most certainly get an early advantage given the strength of their opponent, and it marks the first game for the sides which sees them pitted against a non-conference rival. Both teams also know how to close out tight games, having survived one-point thrillers in the opening round to secure the four points. Given their experience and depth across the field, Western Bulldogs will head in as favourites, but Geelong are expected to throw down a challenge with a couple of key players returning.

The Cats have welcomed back key forward, Phoebe McWilliams and ruck, Erin Hoare to bolster their side against the reigning premiers. Georgie Rankin and Maighan Fogas have been the two unlucky players omitted from the victorious side last Saturday night, with Fogas and key defender, Georgia Clarke named as emergencies for the clash. The Dogs will unveil Irish debutant, Aisling McCarthy who comes into the side, replacing the omitted Belinda Smith. The enticing battle will see which defence holds up the best as both sides proved to have their respective opposition’s measure last week. Co-captain, Katie Brennan booted the Bulldogs’ two goals against the Crows, while Meg McDonald, Rebecca Goring and Madeline Keryk were among the Cats’ best under pressure when the Magpies were attacking. While the heartbreaking story of Nina Morrison doing her ACL at training will dominate headlines, Geelong still has a huge core of youth including Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Sophie Van De Heuvel who will face established young talents in Monique Conti and Bonnie Toogood, and first round draftee, Eleanor Brown. Co-captain Ellie Blackburn is always a crucial player for the Dogs and will look to take control in the midfield, while the Dogs’ defence of Lauren Spark, Libby Birch and Hannah Scott will provide plenty of rebound.

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The Western Bulldogs lost three consecutive matches at VU Whitten Oval in 2017, but have since won all three games they have played there, and is the Dogs’ first home game since winning the 2018 AFL Women’s flag.
  • Aasta O’Connor will play against her old side for the first time, lining up in the ruck to face Kim Rennie, while sharing the ruck duties with Erin Hoare in the blue and white hoops.
  • Ellie Blackburn averaged 16.9 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.25 tackles and 3.25 clearances last season, the most of any current Western Bulldogs player.
  • With Brooke Lochland injured for the season, Phoebe McWilliams will be the leading goal kicker from last season in the match, booting seven goals for the GIANTS.

 

CARLTON vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, February 10, 4.05pm
Ikon Park

H2H: Carlton 0 | Adelaide 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Adelaide 0-0-0

For the first time in 2019, Ikon Park hosts a match with the Blues heading back home to welcome the Crows in a Sunday evening game. The ground has traditionally been the host of the opening game of the year between bitter rivals, Carlton and Collingwood but that has changed in 2019. These teams are both heading into the match off the back of a loss, with Carlton’s heavy defeat to North Melbourne not the ideal start to the season following a wooden spoon, while the Crows will rue missed opportunities in front of goal after booting 1.11 against the Bulldogs at Norwood Oval. Adelaide is yet to play at Ikon Park, while Carlton has made it somewhat of a fortress winning four and drawing a fifth game from its seven matches at the venue. Considering they have only won one match outside Ikon Park, it has been a comfort zone and the Crows cannot afford to take them lightly. With Adelaide in the tougher conference, they would not want to drop this game and go 0-2 to start the season, while Carlton will look for its first win under Daniel Harford who would have learnt plenty from the round one defeat.

Looking at the Round 1 matches, efficiency inside 50 looks to be key, with Adelaide having a 75 per cent scoring efficiency with 18 shots from 24 attempts, while Carlton had just 10 shots from 29 attempts – 35 per cent scoring efficiency. Both sides have impressive forward lines on paper, but they will need to convert their opportunities. Any forward 50 with Darcy Vescio, Tayla Harris and Brianna Davey – who has actually been named in defence – is going to worry opposition defenders, while Erin Phillips is as good as anyone one-on-one and is lining up at full-forward, while Chloe Scheer is a young star who will only get better. Speaking of young stars, Madison Prespakis carried the weight of the midfield on her shoulders last week and was ultra-impressive on debut, so the Crows will need to be aware of her presence. The Adelaide midfield has greater depth and the Blues should look to limit the influence of Ebony Marinoff who racked up 23 disposals and laid 11 tackles in Round 1. If Carlton can restrict her influence on the inside and win the contested ball – with the likes of Jess Hosking and Katie Loynes getting on top, it will go a long way to causing an upset. Chelsea Randall leads the defence, while the experience of Renee Forth through the midfield will be important. Carlton will need to control the ruck contest through Breann Moody, and break even in the middle, while the Crows will focus on clearance domination to give their forwards first opportunity and more importantly, those forwards need to convert.

Last time they met: Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20) at Norwood Oval, Round 5, 2018.

Adelaide flexed their muscles against the Blues when the sides were heading in opposite directions. The Crows at home booted six goals to one after quarter time to run away from the Blues, but counted the cost of the win with injuries to Erin Phillips and Courtney Cramey. Ruth Wallace booted three goals, while Eloise Jones finished with two, as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall shared 31 disposals. Breann Moody was dominant in the ruck for the Blues with 29 hitouts from 11 disposals and four clearances, while Tayla Harris had 11 disposals, three marks and booted a goal.

Fun facts:

  • Despite winning the wooden spoon last season, Carlton has a strong record at Ikon Park, having won four and drawn one from seven attempts.
  • If Carlton lose the match, it will mark more than a year since they won their last match.
  • While she picked up an injury in the second game, Erin Phillips was everywhere in the Crows’ first win over the Blues, racking up 21 disposals and eight clearances. In the same game, Ebony Marinoff laid 14 tackles from 16 disposals, her exact disposal average against Carlton.
  • Of the Carlton players to play against Adelaide in both games, the omitted Tilly Lucas-Rodd averages the most disposals with 13.5, while Darcy Vescio averages two goals per game against the Crows.

 

FREMANTLE vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, February 10, 3.05pm
Fremantle Oval

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Brisbane 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 2-3-0 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Both sides won against the odds in Round 1, with Fremantle toppling Melbourne in scorching weather at Casey Fields after being 14 points down at the final break, while Brisbane knocked off GWS GIANTS a fortnight after succumbing to the GIANTS in a heavy practice match loss. Both sides had plenty to be positive about last week, most importantly securing an early four points, while also having plenty to improve upon for this week. Fremantle are back at home in Western Australia, but at their only other clash at the venue, Brisbane took home the points, though it was two years ago. Both teams look to be very different to that clash, with the Lions having a host of youth coming through, as do the Dockers while also filtering in some experienced local talent. Brisbane will go in as favourites given their history in the competition, but Fremantle’s performance last week certainly raised eyebrows and showed that everyone could be underrating the Dockers.

Both sides play a different brand of football which is really exciting for this clash. In Round 1, Fremantle battered and bruised their way to an impressive contested ball style, getting the pull forward to record a huge 11 marks inside 50, while laying 10 tackles in the arc. They harassed and pressured the Demons into making uncharacteristic mistakes, laying 77 tackles in the process. The Lions have tall targets up forward, but opted for a balanced possession game and spread well around the ground. They intercepted the GIANTS 51 times and took the game on, trying to unsettle the defence with possession football, but going when required. This game could well be a combination of both styles and sets up for a huge clash. The Lions forward line is severely underrated with Sabrina Frederick-Traub the dominant key position player, while McKenzie Dowrick and Jess Wuetschner are incredibly clever and dangerous around goals. Throw in Jordan Zanchetta, Emma Zielke and the defensively-minded but strong, Lauren Arnell and the Lions front six is as good as any. Ebony Antonio and Tayla Bresland were strong in defence last week, while the midfield of Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan are not huge ball winners, but always effective. They tackle the biggest ball-winning duo of Emily Bates and Ally Anderson who had the ball on a string last week, while the potential match-up of Kiara Bowers and Sam Virgo could be entertaining based on Round 1 form. Both teams have immensely talented youth coming through, and both teams’ first round picks, Sabreena Duffy and Paige Parker, have been named in the side.

Last time they met: Brisbane 3.4 (22) defeated Fremantle 2.3 (15) at South Pine Sports Complex, Round 4, 2018.

In a low-scoring affair that saw just one goal kicked in the first half, Brisbane held on in a thriller to win by seven points and remain on track for a grand final berth. Dynamic forward, Jess Wuetschner booted two goals from 18 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s, while Kate Lutkins and Ally Anderson both had 18 touches in the win. For the Dockers, Lara Filocamo had 18 disposals and laid five tackles. Kara Donnellan laid a whopping 10 tackles and had five clearances and 15 disposals.

Fun facts:

  • In their only clash at the venue, Brisbane defeated Fremantle by 13 points in Round 2, 2017. Fremantle has a 100 per cent winning ratio at Fremantle Oval over Victorian sides, but a zero per cent winning ratio over non-Victorian sides.
  • Jess Wuetschner has been the dominant goal kicker in the matches between these sides, averaging two goals per game.
  • Lara Filocamo averages the most disposals between the sides, with 17.5 per match.
  • Both sides won their opening round matches by less than a kick, with Fremantle getting a dress rehearsal for the scorching West Australian heat, winning at Casey Fields in 38 degrees Celcius.

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

Eq. 1st : Sophie Taylor, Matthew Cocks [ 3 ]
Eq. 3rd : Peter Williams, Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 2 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

AFLW season previews: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers will come into 2019 hoping to go back-to-back for the first time in the AFLW competition, having picked up a wealth of experienced players to join their side this year. But with the loss of last year’s Best and Fairest, Emma Kearney to North Melbourne and leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland to injury for the majority of the season, their Bulldogs’ plans could be skewed.

Last season: 1st – five wins, two losses.

Changes:

In: Belinda Smith, Eleanor Brown, Aisling McCarthy, Kate Bartlett, Selena Karlson, Jessie Davies, Tessa Boyd, Celine Moody

Out: Daria Bannister, Jenna Bruton, Emma Kearney, Aasta O’Connor, Jess Anderson, Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey, Kim Ebb

With a lot of experience lost in the off-season, the Bulldogs opted to do a straight swap in the draft, opting for more experience over youth. Paul Groves and his assistants would’ve followed the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition closely, picking up four players who had experience in that league. Classy midfielder, Eleanor Brown had the honour of adding TAC Cup Girls and Vic Metro experience to her VFLW experience last year, proving she has what it takes to shine at AFLW level. Brown can play an inside or outside role in the midfield and can roll across to the half-back line, which she did successfully in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships in July. Brown came up against a clever forward in Kate Bartlett during those championships, who she will now play alongside at the Dogs. Bartlett played for Western Australia as a 19 year-old last year, working hard to earn a chance to play AFLW alongside another ‘KB’ in Katie Brennan.

Area of strength: Forward line

The Bulldogs have one of the most attractive forward lines in the competition. This is of course headlined by Brennan, who is a class above with her marking and goal kicking ability. If she can stay injury and suspension free this season, she will be a key part in taking the Bulldogs to the top again. She will also have Kate Bartlett inside 50 to complement her. The Western Australian forward is also strong overhead and has a great goal sense under pressure, playing as a deep or high forward. AFLW fans were starved of seeing Isabel Huntington reach her potential last season due to her heartbreaking Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. While she had another knee scare in the off-season, the 2016 number one draft pick will be ready to go in 2019, and she will certainly be one to watch with her prowess in the air and long kick. Add in the best on ground in the Grand Final, Monique Conti and the Bulldogs have a dangerous forward line that combines dominance in the air and speed on the field.

Area of weakness: Midfield

The Bulldogs lost a key midfield duo in the off-season to North Melbourne, waving goodbye to Kearney and Jenna Bruton. While Aasta O’Connor mainly plays in defence, she was often a key cog in the ruck for the Bulldogs in seasons gone by, meaning she is another loss in the middle of the ground for the reigning premiers. The Bulldogs are fortunate that Ellie Blackburn has still stuck around, as she and Kearney combined to be a lethal duo last season. Blackburn has been elevated to the club’s co-captain alongside Brennan this season, allowing her to relish her on-field leadership as well as her obvious talent. Sandringham Dragons product, Brown could be the one to combine with Blackburn this season, as Blackburn’s great hands and precise kicks have given opposition midfields headaches in past years.

Players to watch:

Isabel Huntington

Huntington’s debut game was cruelly halted in the first half when she ruptured her ACL against Brisbane, not even getting to complete a full game in her debut appearance for the side. Now having been cleared of another ACL rupture after an innocuous training incident, Huntington is on track to play her debut game for the Bulldogs in Round 1, and if last year’s glimpse is anything to go by, she will be a dominant force inside 50. Huntington’s overhead marking is elite and she is strong in the contests. Combine that with her long kick, and she is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Naomi Ferres

Ferres had a brilliant season in the VFLW for the Western Bulldogs, taking out the club’s Best and Fairest at the end of the season. Despite only playing seven matches, Ferres was named in the best in each game, averaging 17.4 disposals per game. This included finishing off her season with three consecutive games in which she racked up 20 disposals per game. Clearly, Ferres is one that knows how to find the football and is clever both by hand and by foot, which will make her a key cog in the Bulldogs’ 2019 midfield, given the loss of Bruton and Kearney.

Eleanor Brown

Brown was one of the most composed players in the TAC Cup Girls competition last year, winning the ball with ease in the midfield. She was often able to clear space with her long kick or create space with her outside running, making her one of Sandringham’s key players across the season. Brown was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year at half-forward for her efforts, highlighting her versatility across the field. In the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, she found herself at half-back on the last day of the Gold Coast tournament, and was a key playmaker, racking up plenty of disposals and acting as an anchor across the back line. She made the Under-18 All-Australian team because of this game and her efforts across the tournament for Vic Metro.

2019 prediction: 1st in Conference A

Despite some key losses in the off-season, the Bulldogs should still be the ones to watch when it comes to the premiership race. A forward line containing Brennan, Huntington, Conti and Bartlett, a defence containing the likes of Hannah Scott, Libby Birch and Lauren Spark and a midfield which consists of bona-fide stars in Blackburn, Brown and Ferres still makes the Bulldogs a highly talented team. Considering their success last season, they do have one of the harder draws in the 2019 season, facing off against Adelaide and the two new expansion teams in Geelong and North Melbourne, and hosting a Grand Final rematch against the Lions in the first four rounds of the season. If the Bulldogs can win at least two of those games, they will be well on track for another premiership berth, as they have an easy draw after that, facing off against Fremantle, Melbourne and Carlton in the last three rounds of the season.

2019 AFLW Western Bulldogs Fixture

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticleMatch Day
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Norwood OvalRound 1
Whitten OvalRound 2
University of Tasmania StadiumRound 3
Whitten OvalRound 4
Fremantle OvalRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Whitten OvalRound 7

AFLW season previews: Fremantle

PRIOR to the inaugural AFLW season, Fremantle was touted as a premiership favourite. But the Dockers have struggled in the competition, and will be hoping to improve with a new coach at the helm. They opted for experience over youth in the draft, hoping to fast-track their development and experience a taste of success.

Last season: 7th – three wins, four losses.

Changes:

In: Jasmin Stewart, Sabreena Duffy, Philipa Seth, Courtney Stubbs, Parris Laurie, Laura Pugh, Matila Sergeant, Ebony Dowson, Katie-Jayne Grieve

Out: Stacey Barr, Kirby Bentley, Jade de Melo, Beatrice Devlyn, Lara Filocamo, Tiah Haynes, Emily McGuire, Belinda Smith, Lisa Webb, Jodie White, Amy Lavell

Some tough calls were made by the Dockers at the end of the off-season, with a Rising Star-nominated player in Emily McGuire, consistent defender, Lara Filocamo and the experienced Kirby Bentley being shown the door. Fremantle also farewelled some experienced players with Amy Lavell and Lisa Webb departing for the coach’s box, after Lavell chose to hang up the boots and Webb was delisted. On the bright side, the Dockers have included two exciting young talents in Sabreena Duffy and Matilda Sergeant. Both players have represented Western Australia, with Duffy in particular making inroads as a five-time All-Australian.

Area of strength: Defence

Despite the loss of Kirby Bentley and Lara Filocamo, the Dockers still have a good enough defence that can challenge the opposition. Former Western Australian captain, Sabreena Duffy will slot straight into the backline, and as shown in the Under 18 Championships in 2018, she is able to do most of the kicking in and do it precisely as well. Expect her to be joined by Sergeant, as well as new draftee, Laura Pugh, who hails from the West Perth Falcons. Ebony Dowson will also slot into the backline after a consistent year for the Peel Thunderbirds, while the ever consistent Ebony Antonio will run around again in 2019, looking to punish forwards with her intercept marking and defensive pressure at the contest.

Area of weakness: Forward line

After delisting known goalkickers, Emily McGuire and Stacey Barr, as well as losing Amy Lavell, the Dockers did not really patch up these holes in the draft. They instead opted for midfield and defensive depth, which will hold teams in good stead, but will not win games. The delisting of Kira Phillips at the end of the 2017 season could come back and hurt the Dockers, as she was the leading goal scorer in the Western Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL). Ashley Sharp is a player that will need to stand up if she plays forward, as she has the potential to dominate, having shown that for Swan Districts.

Players to watch:

Sabreena Duffy

Duffy is a wonderful on-field leader who leads by example. She was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Western Australia in the 2018 Under 18 Championships, after having played a massive role through the midfield and the back line. A player with solid hands and composed under pressure, expect Duffy to control the back line with her finesse and precision with the ball in hand.

Matilda Sergeant

Matilda Sergeant is a hard nut who just knows how to find the football. Featuring prominently in the midfield for Western Australia, she attacked the ball hard and used her clean hands and smart kicks to get her teammates out of trouble. She can also play a support role in the defensive 50 if needed, adding versatility to the Fremantle line-up.

Dana Hooker

The club’s 2018 Best and Fairest winner will be raring to go again in 2019. She only just finished short of winning the league Best and Fairest, proving how important she is in the Dockers’ midfield. Her clean hands and precise kicking has been what has held Fremantle in good stead so far, and expect no different in 2019.

2019 prediction: 5th in Conference A  

The Dockers just do not have enough star-power to compete with the might of the other clubs in Conference A. In the first three rounds of the season, they will have to come up against two of last year’s top four teams, which will be a massive challenge. They may have a chance against the Pies in Round 3, but meet Adelaide the week after. The Dockers will also give themselves a chance at home, as they have been consistent over the past two seasons. They will play four home games this season in the hope that they can take home four wins, but the task will not be easy.

 

2019 Fremantle AFLW Fixture

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Casey FieldsRound 1
Fremantle OvalRound 2
Fremantle OvalRound 3
TIO StadiumRound 4
Fremantle OvalRound 5
GMHBA StadiumRound 6
Fremantle OvalRound 7

AFLW Draft review: Fremantle

THE Dockers were ruthless again this year with their delistings, deciding to throw all their hopes in this year’s draft. The Dockers seem to target midfielders and half-back flankers to give the team some much-wanted speed. However, some talented Western Australian players opted to travel interstate, and this lost talent would have been useful for the Fremantle rebuild.

 

What they needed

  • Forwards to replace Amy Lavell and Emily Mcguire
  • Midfielders to assist Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan
  • Half-back flankers to replace Belinda Smith and support Ebony Antonio

 

Players selected:

Jasmin Stewart – Claremont

There were many high-profile players from Western Australia who could have been Fremantle’s first pick, however, the honours went to Jasmin Stewart. The 19 year-old left-footer has had an outstanding year for Claremont with her elite ball use and hard work ethic. This year she claimed the Tigers’ Best and Fairest award for all her efforts in the West Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) . Stewart could be the tag-team partner that Dana Hooker has been looking for.

Sabreena Duffy – Peel Thunder

When Belinda Smith went to play for the Western Bulldogs, it left a huge hole in the Fremantle backline. Under-18 All Australian, Sabreena Duffy is the perfect candidate to fill the gap. Duffy can play half-back or midfield, and her skills shown in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships saw her become the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Western Australia. For most experts, Duffy was a no-brainer to be picked by Fremantle.

Phillipa Seth – East Fremantle

This year, the East Fremantle Sharks took home the WAWFL premiership with Phillipa Seth playing off halfback. Seth was the runner-up for the Sharks’ Best and Fairest this year and has been a heavy contributor to East Fremantle all year. Her premiership experience will be a valuable asset to the the Dockers as they bolster their defensive stocks.

Courtney Stubbs- Subiaco

The Subiaco Lions were the underdogs of the WAWFL competition but made it all the way to the Grand Final  Courtney Stubbs was part of that midfield that battled week after week. Stubbs has had the pleasure of playing with greats Hayley Miller, Lara Filocamo, and young gun, McKenzie Dowrick. Stubbs was an equal contributor among this elite midfield growing each week. Unfortunately, her teammate Filocamo was delisted by Fremantle earlier this year, and now Stubbs will be taking her place at Fremantle.

Parris Laurie – Claremont

After two years of WAWFL, Parris Laurie was promoted to captain of the Claremont Tiger in 2018. Laurie showed a lot early this season in the ruck but had to leave towards the end of the year. She is surprisingly mobile for her height and covers the ground well. Alicia Janz has been waiting for some assistance in the hit-outs, and Laurie will have no problem with that.

Laura Pugh – West Perth

After this year’s draft, Laura Pugh made history. She is the first player from the West Perth Falcons to be drafted in the AFL Women’s competition. One of the reasons for this is Pugh’s defensive intercept marking, which has been a shining light for the Falcons in a poor year. Fremantle will be eager to slot her into a back line that has been under immense pressure in previous years.

Matilda Sergeant – Claremont

Another Claremont player selected for Fremantle, and at this pick, Matilda Sergeant is a steal. Sergeant was selected in the Under 18 All Australian squad for this year. Her run and carry is similar to the likes of Sabreena Duffy. Sergeant mainly plays midfield but can play the role of flanker if she must. Her clean foot skills and strong hands could see her playing in Round 1 for the Dockers.

Ebony Dowson – Peel Thunderbirds

Ebony Downson has played well across half-back for the Thunderbirds and has shown enough talent to be drafted with Fremantle’s last pick. The Peel Thunderbirds finished minor Premieres this year in the WAWFL with Dowson an important cog in defense. Dowson could be another important cog in Fremantle’s defense.

 

How they went:

The Dockers have definitely boosted their defensive stocks and added more depth to their midfield. However, they were in desperate need of forwards, and they didn’t pick one. Under 18 representatives, Sonia Dorizzi and Kate Bartlett would have been perfect, but Bartlett was drafted to the Western Bulldogs and Dorizzi was overlooked. Another forward who was overlooked was Kira Phillips, who kicked 79 goals in the WAWFL season. With the retirement of Amy Lavell and the delisting of Emily McGuire, question marks loom as to who will kick Fremantle’s goals.

AFLW Draft Preview: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers have suffered some losses already, losing AFL Women’s Best and Fairest, Emma Kearney as well as Jenna Bruton and Aasta O’Connor ahead of their 2019 AFL Women’s campaign. However, the Bulldogs have signed three exciting players in Fremantle’s Belinda Smith, Tom Boyd’s sister, Tessa and Breann Moody’s sister and Carlton Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s player, Celine. If they can secure some up and coming stars to go along with this solid list, they could be a chance to defend their title.

 

Last season: 1st – Premiers

IN: Belinda Smith, Tessa Boyd (rookie), Celine Moody (rookie)
OUT: Daria Bannister, Jenna Bruton, Emma Kearney, Aasta O’Connor, Jess Anderson, Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey, Kim Ebb

WESTERN BULLDOGS AFLW LIST (25/30)

  • Deanna Berry
  • Libby Birch
  • Ellie Blackburn
  • Katie Brennan
  • Tessa Boyd
  • Nicole Callinan
  • Monique Conti
  • Tiarna Ernst
  • Naomi Ferres
  • Elise Gamble
  • Angelia Gogos
  • Bailey Hunt
  • Isabel Huntington
  • Kristy Lamb
  • Brooke Lochland
  • Emma Mackie
  • Kristen McLeod
  • Celine Moody
  • Kimberley Rennie
  • Hannah Scott
  • Belinda Smith
  • Lauren Spark
  • Bonnie Toogood
  • Aisling Utri
  • Hayley Wildes

 

DRAFT PICKS

10, 23, 26, 34, 45, 55

POSSIBLE DRAFT PROSPECTS

With the loss of Jenna Bruton and Emma Kearney in the midfield, the Bulldogs will be looking for some up and coming talent to fill the gap. The Bulldogs could land either Mikala Cann or Emerson Woods from the Eastern Ranges if any of them are still available after nine picks. Their TAC Cup Girls teammate, Charlotte Wilson is also a potential prospect for the Bulldogs. Wilson tested well in the AFL Women’s Draft Combine and is a great one-on-one defender who can go into the ruck when needed. With the loss of Aasta O’Connor in the ruck department, Wilson will be a big help, as will Vic Metro’s leading ruck, Carla RendelmannRendelmann dominated in the ruck for the Cannons this season in the TAC Cup Girls and has consistently been doing so over the years. She would be a very handy addition to the Bulldogs’ ruck stocks. If Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels star, Rene Caris nominates for all of Victoria or metropolitan Victoria, expect the Bulldogs to keep a close eye on her, as the AFL Women’s Academy member has the capacity to match up against bigger bodies and dominate at ground level. Eleanor Brown is another name who could come into the mix for the Bulldogs, with the Dragons midfielder proving to have an impact wherever she plays.

Weekly wrap: WAWFL – Grand Finals

EAST Fremantle, Claremont and Peel Thunderbirds have each added a premiership cup to their trophy cabinets after a wonderful day of Western Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) Grand Finals. The Sharks claimed the senior premiership, the Tigers got the better of Peel in the reserves before the Thunderbirds secured a 20-point win in the Rogers Cup.

 

WAWFL

East Fremantle claims 2018 WAWFL premiership in thrilling encounter

EAST FREMANTLE 2.2 | 5.3 | 5.4 | 6.5 (41)
SUBIACO 0.1 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:

East Fremantle: A. Atkins 2, K. Sprlyan 2, R. Roux, B. Smith.
Subiaco: A. Lavell 2, M. Dowrick 2, A. Renshaw.

East Fremantle has claimed the WAWFL premiership with a 6.5 (41) to 5.6 (36) win over Subiaco. Despite the loss, Subiaco ruck, Danika Pisconeri was awarded the Player of the Match for her tireless work in the contests and her ability to rove her own ball.

East Fremantle co-captain, Ashlee Atkins kicked off the scoring for the Sharks when she roved the footy off a forward 50 stoppage and kicked her 16th major of the year. West Australian Under-18 representative, Roxanne Roux then got involved quickly with her first major, applying immense forward pressure and earning a free kick straight in front of goal.

The Lions’ first goal came off the boot of Under-18 state representative, McKenzie Dowrick who continued her stellar start to the game. She was able to take an intercept mark just outside the goal square and kick truly from a generous angle.

It did not take long for the Sharks’ first quarter goal kicker, Ashlee Atkins to get her second. She read the kick inside 50 beautifully and took a strong one-on-one mark straight in front of goal from close range.

It was then Subiaco’s turn to hit back, with Courtney Stubbs getting a blistering centre clearance and delivering a pass to Amy Lavell inside 50. Lavell read the ball perfectly at the back of the pack and slotted through her first of the day to put some pressure on the Sharks.

East Fremantle was then gifted with a golden opportunity when a free kick was rewarded from close range inside 50. All the players had stopped except for Belinda Smith, who cleverly picked the ball up off the deck and streamed into an open goal.

Not long after, Subiaco’s Dowrick executed a great smother just outside 50, then picked the ball up, spun around her player and booted it inside 50. Ashlea Renshaw had her work cut out for her in the goal square, but was gifted with a goal when Steph Wills ran past the ball, allowing Renshaw to pick up the ball and kick the major.

East Fremantle’s Katrina Tinson was then bizarrely grabbed by the hair as she was attempting to evade a tackle. The Shark still got away from her opponent and kicked a long ball inside 50, where Kahra Sprlyan took a great contested mark and slotted through the major late in the quarter.

In the third quarter, Dowrick was able to get her second goal when she got the boot on the ball quickly after it was fed out to her from a stoppage. Dowrick quickly got the boot on the ball in a great front and centre position, bringing her side’s deficit to five points.

At this point, Stubbs started to lift her game with some great kicking and run and carry for the Lions. AFLW star, Lara Filocamo also lifted her intensity with some strong tackling pressure, giving the Sharks no chance to go forward.

From a boundary throw-in, Dowrick kicked the ball around the corner on her non-preferred right foot which allowed Lavell to take a remarkable diving mark. On a tight angle on the boundary line, Lavell booted through her second goal to give Subiaco its first lead of the day.

The ball soon travelled to the other end of the ground where state Under-18 representative, Roux launched a ball from outside 50 that got the distance but hit the post. This made scores level at 5.4.34 a piece at three quarter time after a frenetic third term.

It took the Sharks 13 minutes to get the first goal of the quarter when Sprlyan took a strong contested mark just outside the goal square to get her second major of the day. Subiaco was pressing hard to wrestle the lead back ever since then, but a diving mark in defence from Julie-Anne Norrish saved the day for the Sharks, giving them a winning margin of just five points in a thrilling Grand Final.

 

Reserves

CLAREMONT 3.3 | 6.6 | 10.9 | 12.15 (87)
PEEL THUNDERBIRDS 2.0 | 3.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 (24)

GOALS:

Claremont: A. Hayward 3, A. Ugle-Hayward 2, J. Andros 2, M. Trimboli, L. Viska, N. Phillips, H. Cattermole, A. Smeding
Peel: K. Bland, T. Blackburn, N. McIntyre, M. Bedford

Claremont has been crowned the champions of the WAWFL Reserves competition with a big win over Peel Thunderbirds. The Tigers got the upper hand early, outscoring the Thunderbirds three goals to two in the first term. Peel’s deficit was increased in the second, only managing one major while Claremont kicked three. A four goals to none third term effectively put the game away for the Tigers, holding a 51-point lead at the last break. Claremont’s scoring was minimised in the last term when it was restricted to two majors while the Thunderbirds completed their accurate day in front of goal with their fourth straight major.

There were goal kickers a plenty for the Tigers with Angel Hayward (three), Amber Ugle-Hayward (two) and Jasmina Andros (two) all kicking multiple goals. As reward for her hard work, Ugle-Hayward was awarded best on ground in the Grand Final. Hayward’s three goals took her tally to 19 goals from 14 games this year. Claremont leading goal kicker, Amy Smeding increased her goal kicking tally to 40 goals from 12 games, kicking one major. Holly Cattermole, Nikki Phillips, Lolita Viska and Misty Trimboli were the other single goal kickers for the Tigers. The competition’s leading goal kicker, Narelle McIntyre was restricted to one major for the game, completing her season with 43 goals from 16 games. She was complemented by Krystie Bland, Tess Blackburn and Maddie Bedford, who all chipped in with majors in the 63-point loss.

 

Rogers Cup

PEEL THUNDERBIRDS 1.0 | 2.3 | 4.6 | 5.8 (38)
EAST FREMANTLE 1.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 (18)

It was all square at the end of the first quarter, with both Peel and East Fremantle kicking a goal apiece. The tight contest continued into the second, as only three behinds separated the sides at the main break. Peel made amends of the ‘premiership quarter’ by kicking two goals to none, which ended up being the gamechanger in the Rogers Cup win. The scoring was even again in the fourth with both teams scoring one goal, but it was too late for the Sharks as the Thunderbirds claimed a 20-point Grand Final victory. Peel’s Jacklyn Atkinson was named Player of the Match.

WAWFL weekly wrap: Semi-finals

SUBIACO has knocked off the reigning premiers and sent them packing, while advancing to the preliminary final themselves to take on Peel Thunderbirds. Minor premiers, East Fremantle moved on to book a spot in the decider and await the winner of the preliminary final.

 

WAWFL:

SWAN DISTRICTS 1.2  | 1.2 | 4.3 | 4.8 (32)
SUBIACO 3.0 | 5.0 | 8.1 | 9.2 (56)

GOALS:

Swan Districts: A. Sharp 2, R. Williams, E. McGuire
Subiaco: A. Lavell 4, L. Filocamo, M. Dowrick, T. Lake, C. Stubbs, L. Jeffers.

Subiaco took it up to the third-placed Swan Districts side early and made a statement against its highly fancied opponents, booting 5.0 to 1.2 in the opening half to hold a 22-point advantage at the main break. Swan Districts hit back in the third term with three goals, including a clever couple of pieces of play from Rhonda Williams and Emily McGuire to keep the home side in it, but it was still a 22-point deficit at the final change after another late goal to the Lions. Subiaco then booted the only goal of the final term, with Swan Districts ruing missed opportunities – booting five behinds for the game to go down by 24 points. Amy Lavell booted four majors for the winners, while Lara Filocamo and McKenzie Dowrick each got on the scoreboard and were among the best on the day. Ashley Sharp finished with two majors for the losing side. Now Subiaco heads to the preliminary final to face Peel Thunderbirds, while last year’s premiers are now out of the flag race.

 

EAST FREMANTLE 4.4 | 7.5 | 9.9 | 12.11 (83)
PEEL THUNDERBIRDS 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

East Fremantle: J. de Melo 4, B. Smith 2, K. Sprlyan 2, R. Roux, A. Atkins, C. Edwards, G. O”Sullivan.
Peel Thunderbirds: K. Phillips, E. Hardie, B. Molloy

East Fremantle advanced to the 2018 WAWFL Grand Final after a stunning win over Peel Thunderbirds in the semi-final. Despite the Thunderbirds holding the X-factor goalscoring machine in Kira Phillips, it took until late in the second term for Phillips to nail her first, and by then, the Sharks had piled on seven majors and led by 40 points. Their dominance continued after half-time, booting five goals to two – both of which came in the last term. Jade de Melo booted four goals to be the dominant goal kicker on the ground, while Belinda Smith and Kahra Sprlyan managed two majors each. Teenager, Roxanne Roux and former Collingwood AFL Women’s player Caitlyn Edwards both hit the scoreboard in the big win. For Peel. Ebonee Hardie and Bailey Molloy booted late goals to join Phillips as the only goal kickers on the day for the Thunderbirds. Now Peel heads into a do-or-die preliminary final with Subiaco.

 

Reserves:

Swan Districts 3.3 (21) defeated by East Fremantle 7.6 (48)
Peel Thunderbirds 2.1 (13) defeated by Claremont 9.15 (69)

A six-goal haul to Stephanie Sparke has handed East Fremantle a fantastic 27-point win to keep its premiership hopes alive. The Sharks defeated Swan Districts after a three goals to one final term meant that the visitors were too good for the third-placed side, led by Sparke’s fantastic effort up forward. Claremont peppered the goals, but proved too strong for minor premiers Peel Thunderbirds, booting nine goals from 24 scoring shots on their way to a 56-point win. Amber Ugle-Hagan booted three goals for the winners, while Holly Cattermole finished with two majors to see Claremont advance through to the Grand Final.

 

Rogers Cup:

East Fremantle 3.4 (22) defeated Swan Districts 3.3 (21)
Peel Thunderbirds 6.9 (45) defeated South Fremantle 0.2 (2)

East Fremantle has survived a huge scare to remain alive in the 2018 finals series, defeating Swan Districts by a solitary point in the do-or-die semi-final clash. Trailing at half-time, the Sharks booted two of the three second half goals to get over the top of Swan Districts to face South Fremantle next week. In the other game, Peel Thunderbirds overcame a tight first half to boot four second half goals and record a 43-point win and book a spot in the Rogers Cup Grand Final. Leading by just 14 points at half-time and 20 at the final break, the Thunderbirds showed why they were the premiership favourites, booting three goals in the last stanza to win comfortably.

WAWFL weekly wrap: Round 16

IN the last round of the Western Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL), controversy ensued as the Peel Thunderbirds lost top spot on the ladder after a loss against the third-placed Swan Districts. The Sharks’ 129-point thrashing of South Fremantle meant that they were able to swoop right in and snatch top spot at the last minute.

 

2018 League

SUBIACO 11.16 (82)
PERTH ANGELS 0.2 (2)

GOALS:

Subiaco: M. Dowrick 4, S. Lewis 2, A. Renshaw, H. Miller, K. Rogers, T. Lake, T. Haynes.
Perth Angels: Nil.

It was a one-way street in this game, as the fourth-placed Subiaco took care of the seventh-placed Perth Angels. AFL Women’s Academy member, McKenzie Dowrick starred in this match, kicking four goals for the Titans on Saturday. She was complemented by two majors from Sara Lewis, which took her goal kicking tally to 17 goals from 16 games in what has been a consistent year from her. Fremantle AFLW players, Hayley Miller and Tiah Haynes also got on the board with singles. The win gave the Titans a percentage boost, jumping from 139.69 in Round 15 to 154.75 at the end of Round 16.

 

CLAREMONT 7.8 (50)
WEST PERTH 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Claremont: L. Kenyon 2, C. Lewis, A. Hayward, I. Zadnik, C. Colegate, P. Laurie
West Perth: C. Metcalf 2, L. Pugh

In a fifth versus sixth clash, sixth was able to get over the line as Claremont convincingly defeated West Perth by 27 points. Lindsey Alana Kenyon booted two goals on the day, while Caitlin Lewis, Angel Hayward, Isabella Zadnik, Chloe Colegate and Parris Laurie all kicked singles. Western Australia Under-18 representatives, Matilda Sergeant and Sarah Garstone also featured in the win. They came up against fellow state representative, Jacinta Valentini, who was on the loser’s side. Chloe Metcalf was the shining light up forward for West Perth with two goals while Laura Pugh contributed with one. Metcalf’s two goals meant she finished third in the goal kicking tally for the home and away season and led the way in terms of West Perth players. She ended up kicking 26 goals from 14 games.

 

SOUTH FREMANTLE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 (1)
EAST FREMANTLE 6.5 | 8.8 | 15.9 | 20.10 (130)

GOALS:

South Fremantle: Nil
East Fremantle: B. Smith 5, K. Tinson 4, S. Sparke 4, M. Caulfield 3, A. Atkins 2, R. Roux, T. Doumanis

East Fremantle ended its season on a massive high, defeating cellar-dwellers, South Fremantle by 129 points. Everything seemed to go right for the Sharks, as the top-of-the-table Peel Thunderbirds suffered a shock loss against Swan Districts while they piled on 130 points to give themselves a huge win and percentage boost to take top spot ahead of finals. Former Fremantle AFLW player and now Western Bulldogs player, Belinda Smith starred inside 50, kicking five goals on the day. She finished the season leading the goal kicking for the Sharks after booting through 25 goals in 15 games this season. Against South Fremantle, she was complemented inside 50 by fellow AFLW players, Melissa Caulfield (three goals) and Ashlee Atkins (two goals). Western Australia Under-18 representative, Roxanne Roux also pitched in with a major.

 

SWAN DISTRICTS 2.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 8.4 (52)
PEEL THUNDERBIRDS 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

Swan Districts: G. Houghton 3, E. McGuire 2, R. Williams , A. Sharp, E. Bonser
Peel Thunderbirds: K. Phillips 2, K. Bartlett 2

This was the biggest upset of the round as ladder-leaders, Peel Thunderbirds were defeated by third-placed Swan Districts, who played magnificently. The Swans were behind at quarter time but regained the lead by half-time, thanks to a two goals to one quarter. After that, they did not look back and put the foot down in the last term especially, kicking three goals and keeping the Thunderbirds scoreless to record a memorable 25-point win. Fremantle AFLW duo, Gemma Houghton and Emily McGuire did all the damage up forward, combining for five goals between them. Dockers teammate, Ashley Sharp also contributed to the scoring with one major. There was also no shortage of Western Australian Under 18 stars with Rikkiesha Carling, Mikayla Bowen, Taylor Pescud and Emma O’Driscoll all featuring in the win. They came up against fellow state representative, Kate Bartlett, who kicked two of her side’s four goals on the day. WAWFL leading goal kicker, Kira Phillips kicked the other two majors, bringing her season tally to a remarkable 78 goals from 16 games. Western Australia Under 18s captain, Sabreena Duffy and ruck, Sonia Dorizzi also featured in the loss.

 

2018 Reserves

Claremont’s 129-point thrashing of West Perth was headlined by a remarkable performance up forward from Amy Smeding. Smeding kicked 14 of her team’s 20 goals and ended up finishing second on the goal kicking tally for the season with 39 goals from 10 games. She finished just one goal short of leader, Narelle McIntyre with 40 goals from 13 games. At Fremantle Community Bank Oval, East Fremantle was able to get the job done over South Fremantle by 63 points. Kymberley Lavell and Katelyn Catalano each kicked three majors for the Sharks. In a close encounter, Subiaco just got over the line against the Perth Angels, winning by 15 points. Kaley Cornell and Vanessa Letts each kicked two goals for the Titans. In the final game of the round, Swan Districts recorded a comfortable win over East Perth. Shannon Matthews kicked two majors while Emily Stott, Tayah Reed, Renee Holwill, Elizabeth Tuohy and Mackenzie Huggins all contributed with singles.

 

2018 Rogers Cup

In the first match of the round, Claremont got a convincing victory over West Perth, winning by 73 points. An accurate 12.4 meant that the Tigers were hard to tame at Claremont Oval. At Fremantle Oval, second and third went head-to-head, and it was the third-placed East Fremantle who came out on top, defeating South Fremantle by a goal. Jenna Bantick kicked a major in the loss, but equaled the leading goal kicker with that major, taking her home and away tally to 24 goals from 14 games. East Fremantle’s Gabriella Radojkovich was the only multiple goal kicker for the game in a tight battle. Over at Grenville Reserve, accurate kicking kept the Perth Angels in the hunt against the eighth-placed Subiaco, kicking six straight goals for the match. However, the cellar-dwellers went down by 22 points in the end. Shakira and Madelyn Kickett each kicked two majors for the Angels. In Swan Districts’ match-up against East Perth, Western Australia Under-18 representative, Mikayla Hyde got on the board with a major in her side’s 29-point win. She was complemented by two goals from equal leading goal kicker, Aimee Hiscock. Hyde came up against fellow state representative, Tanisha Anderson, who continued her goal kicking streak with a major for East Perth in the loss. Anderson finished the season with 22 goals from 10 games.

WA Women’s Football League: The run home

WITH the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships done, the West Australian contingent of talented players return to the Western Australia Women’s Football League (WAWFL) where we take a look at how the eight teams are shaping up heading into the last few weeks of the season, including how some of the youngsters are faring. We also take a quick look at the Reserves and Rogers Cup and see which other players are impressing for their respective clubs.

League:

1 East Fremantle (12 wins, 1 loss | 351.08% | 48 points)

East Fremantle lead the competition after 13 rounds, with just a Round 11 loss to Peel Thunderbirds, the only blemish. The four-point defeat in a low-scoring contest was a thriller to watch, especially after just a week earlier, the Sharks had smashed Perth Angels by 151 points. Of the leading goal kickers, Belinda Smith has booted 19 goals in 12 games, while Ashlee Atkins (11 in 11) and Kahra Sprlyan (11 in 13) are next in line. Teenager Roxanne Roux impressed at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships for Western Australia, and built on her great form of eight goals in seven appearances. The Sharks head into the last month of the season as premiership favourites alongside Peel Thunderbirds, with experience that will prove invaluable come season’s end.

 

2 Peel Thunderbirds (12 wins, 1 loss | 342.63% | 48 points)

The other top two side in the WAWFL is Peel Thunderbirds, who like the Sharks, have only lost the one game. They went down to East Fremantle by 27 points in Round 4, but have since won nine on the trot, including atonement against the ladder leaders with a thrilling four-point victory away. Far and away the X-factor at the Thunderbirds is Kira Phillips who has dominated the season with 60 goals in 13 matches – 36 goals more than any other player. Phillips has booted a goal in every game, and her hauls include nine and 10 goals against South Fremantle, and eight majors against Perth Angels. Others who have been prominent are Bailey Molloy and overager Kate Bartlett who have booted 18 and 16 goals apiece. The team has a high contingent of talented youth prospects including Western Australia captain Sabreena Duffy, the now-injured Courtney Hodder, Bartlett and ruck Sonia Dorizzi.

 

3 Swan Districts (9 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw | 196.02% | 38 points)

Swan Districts had back-to-back losses in rounds two and three to the top two sides, and then went down to East Fremantle in Round 8. They have a tough run home with the other top three sides in the final three weeks, but have done enough to secure third, even with three losses. They had a great win against West Perth in Round 10, winning by 29 points. Ashley Sharp and Rhonda Williams share the leading goal kicking stakes with 14 goals apiece, while AFL Women’s Rising Star nominee Emily McGuire has been impressive with eight goals from 10 appearances. They also have a high contingent of talented youngsters with Rikki Ryan-Carling, Mikayla Bowen, Emma O’Driscoll and Caitlin Hill in the team. They will need to be at their best to topple the bet two sides in the finals.

 

4 West Perth (6 wins, 7 losses | 124.58%  | 24 points)

After the top three, the middle ladder log-jam is clear and makes things interesting. After being smashed in the opening round by Peel Thunderbirds, the Falcons won the next three games by a combined 284 points. A second loss to the Thunderbirds and then-unbeaten East Fremantle was followed by two wins and then and then three consecutive losses – including two to Subiaco. They knocked off South Fremantle before a third loss to the Thunderbirds, and face Swan Districts, South Fremantle and Claremont in the final three rounds. Chloe Metcalf leads all-comers with 24 goals this season ahead of Tyhara Garlett (17) and Ellie Hansen (15). Jacinta Valentini – the sole West Australian Under 18s state member in the side – has been one of the top contributors in her seven games, booting four goals.

 

5 Subiaco (5 wins, 8 losses | 108.83% | 20 points)

Sitting just one win clear of Claremont is Subiaco having five wins from 13 rounds, having defeated Claremont and West Perth twice, and South Fremantle once. In a quirk to the feature, the Lions face Perth Angels twice in the final three rounds, which should see them make finals, while also facing Claremont for a third time. They could well overtake West Perth in fourth spot. Amy Lavell has been impressive up forward, booting 20 goals in nine games, while Sara Lewis has averaged a goal a game so far this season. Of the young stars in the side, AFL Women’s academy member McKenzie Dowrick is the top prospect, booting six goals in her seven games.

 

6 Claremont (4 wins, 8 losses, 1 draw | 93.08% | 18 points)

Claremont has a solid percentage despite winning just four games this season, which has helped due to big wins to open the season against Perth Angels and South Fremantle. They had a fantastic draw with Swan Districts at home in Round 11 and will look to upset the Lions in Round 15, in between of top four teams East Fremantle and West Perth. Amanda Robertson leads the goal kickers with 10 goals in 11 games, while Emily Johnston has booted six majors in four matches. Overager Sarah Garstone and the talented Matilda Sergeant are the two young prospects who made the West Australian state side after impressive starts to the season.

 

7 Perth Angels (2 wins, 11 losses | 17.15% | 8 points)

The bottom two sides have had tough starts to the season, but a highlight for the Angels was a nine-goal performance against South Fremantle to win by 19 points in Round 11. They also toppled the cellar dwellers in round six with a 23-point victory for their two wins of the season. In other solid defensive efforts, they kept South Fremantle to just seven goals in round eight and West Perth to nine goals a week earlier. The goal kickers have been shared around, with Heidi Thompson, Imahra Cameron and Tamika Watterston booting four goals each. They have also had four players play every game and will be looking to finish off the season strongly in the final three rounds.

 

8 South Fremantle (1 win, 11 losses | 25.69% | 4 points)

The sole win for the bottom of the ladder team came against Perth Angels in Round 8, winning by 19 points away. They have been fairly strong defensively, keeping their opposition to less than 100 points on all bar three occasions – hence the stronger percentage. Tough losses against Perth in Round 6 and Round 11 will hurt, but they have shown good signs throughout the year. Tarnee Tester has booted eight goals from nine matches, while Olivia Hunt is the other major goal kicker with six majors. Of the West Australian state side, Shannon Whale is the sole member, having polayed the one game so far this season in the League competition.

##

Reserves:

In the Reserves competition, all nine teams are represented, with Peel Thunderbirds having won 11 of the 12 games played, one win ahead of Claremont in second. East Fremantle and Swan Districts are strong in the top four, while East Perth – its highest competitive side – and Subiaco are battling it out for fifth spot. West Perth, Perth Angels and South Fremantle are the three sides in the bottom of the table with four wins between them. In terms of the leading goal kickers, Peel Thunderbirds’ Narelle McIntyre has booted 29 goals in 11 games, 10 goals clear of Claremont’s Amy Smeding (19 goals in eight games), and Swan Districts’ Contessa Finlay (18 goals in nine games).

Rogers Cup:

The Peel Thunderbirds are dominant once again in this competition, unbeaten in 12 games with a mammoth percentage of 1060.27. It dwarfs a normally mind-boggling percentage of 398.56 from South Fremantle who have plenty of talented youngsters coming through, while Swan Districts and East Fremantle round out the clear top four. East Perth and Claremont are battling it out for fifth, while West Perth, Perth Angels and Subiaco are the bottom three sides. In terms of the leading goal kickers, South Fremantle’s Jenna Bantick has booted 22 goals from 11 games, while Aimee Hiscock has nailed 21 majors from 12 games. The Thunderbirds prefer and even approach, with eight of the top 26 goal kickers hailing from the club. Among the top youngsters who stood out at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Tanisha Anderson (East Perth, 10 goals from seven games), Mikayla Hyde (Swan Districts, nine from eight) and Abbey Dowrick (Subiaco, six from eight) and Savannah Ahearn (six from eight) are all in the top 25.

Scouting notes: AFLW – Round 5

ROUND five’s matches made it even harder to predict who the 2018 AFLW premiers will be. The Crows got their season back on track with a huge win against Carlton, thanks to Ruth Wallace’s magic in the forward line. Despite Sabrina Frederick-Traub’s three goals, Brisbane suffered a loss against the Dees, who fought back after handing Collingwood its first win of the season last week. The Western Bulldogs were given a scare by the Magpies at Moe, but were able to hold on to keep their spot on the top of the ladder. Unfortunately for Carlton, the losses just keep coming, and they will have to do everything they can to finish off their season on a high note. 

 

Melbourne vs. Brisbane

By Connor Ferris 

#1: Elise O’Dea- Melbourne

One of the best players on the ground who made an impact whenever she got the ball. Tallied 26 possessions as well as a game-high 12 tackles to continue her terrific form. 

#2: Daisy Pearce- Melbourne

Bounced back like a true champion after being held in check last week. Kicked Melbourne’s first two goals, and kicked her first major of the season in the process. Ended with 24 possessions in what was a true captain’s effort.

#3: Kate Lutkins- Brisbane

A standout in what was a disappointing affair for the rest of her team. Was the leading possession-getter on the ground with 26 off the half-back flank and through the middle of the ground.

#4: Kaitlyn Ashmore- Brisbane

Got off to a great start. Presented a strong target all game, taking eight marks. Was able to set Brisbane up inside 50, however she was unable to convert any majors herself, with only two minor scores.

#5: Sabrina Frederick-Traub- Brisbane

Able to show off her strength throughout the game and looked unstoppable at times. Kicked three of Brisbane’s four goals and helped keep them within striking distance.

#6: Ally Anderson- Brisbane

One of the better players for Brisbane. Had 19 possessions, three marks and five tackles in what was an excellent all-round game.

#7: Lauren Pearce- Melbourne

Back into the side this week and played a good game. Competed well in the ruck contest and was able to impact the game around the ground.

#8: Karen Paxman- Melbourne

Fantastic once again. An absolute ball-magnet with 25 possessions, and was able to kick-start several forward drives for Melbourne.

#9: Richelle Cranston- Melbourne

Excellent passage of play with several running bounces, which led to a scoring opportunity for Melbourne. Continued what has been a good start to the season for her. 

#10: Shelley Scott- Melbourne

Solid game with 12 possessions. Had several opportunities to score but she couldn’t convert, ending with only a behind.

#11: Katherine Smith- Melbourne

Held up well under constant pressure in the third quarter from Brisbane’s attack. Also applied great pressure of her own with five tackles, and earning free kicks for holding the ball.

#12: Kate Hore- Melbourne

Looked very dangerous in the early stages, helping Melbourne get off to a fast start. Continued to be impactful late, kicking the crucial goal at the beginning of the last quarter, which gave Melbourne some breathing space when Brisbane looked threatening.

#13: Emily Bates- Brisbane

Played very well through the middle of the ground. Tallied 15 possessions at an efficient rate and applied relentless pressure, laying four tackles.

#14: Emma Zielke- Brisbane

One of Brisbane’s better players. Got a fair bit of the ball off the wing and the forward-flank. Laid four tackles to complete a good all-round performance.

#15: Anna Teague- Melbourne

Non-stop effort all day. Fought so hard down in defence to prevent Brisbane from scoring, and made good use of the footy when she got possession of it.

#16: Lily Mithen- Melbourne

Really impactful in the middle of the ground. Played an in-and-under style game that proved effective, as she was able to evade the Brisbane midfielders at important times throughout the contest. 

#17: Jess Wuetschner- Brisbane

Opportunistic in the forward line without troubling the scores. Provided good forward pressure, laying three tackles.

#18: Nat Exon- Brisbane

Possession-wise was quiet, however she laid six tackles and provided a terrific contest with Melbourne’s midfielders throughout the match.

#19: Melissa Hickey- Melbourne

Ran well around the ground and battled hard in the contest. Gained a lot of the ball in the first half and kept quiet late. However, she laid a massive tackle in the goal square to prevent Brisbane from levelling the scores with a little over a minute to go.

#20: Jamie Stanton- Brisbane

Proactive with the ball in hand, and laid some aggressive tackles throughout the evening. 

 

Fremantle vs. GWS

By Taylah Melki

#1: Courtney Gum- GWS

Gum has clean hands, worked hard, and starred all over the ground. Used her footy smarts to create overlap run and slot an important goal for the Giants. Made her physical presence felt, laying big tackles and imposing herself on the contest.

#2: Kara Donnellan- Fremantle

Used the footy efficiently, capitalised on her impressive kicking ability with 10 of her 15 touches being kicks. Helped to surge the Dockers forward and applied immense tackling pressure all over the ground. Showed great on-field leadership, standing up again for the Dockers. 

#3: Alicia Eva- GWS

Starred yet again for the Giants with her long kick, and got plenty of touches. Ran hard to create space for her teammates and imposed herself on the contest. Pushed forward in the fourth quarter, creating another target in the forward 50.

#4: Dana Hooker- Fremantle

Applied plenty of pressure and hunted the footy. Was a ball magnet particularly in the first quarter and used the footy effectively. Was lively and used the footy effectively throughout the match.

#5: Amanda Farrugia- GWS

Impressed with her excellent awareness. The captain hit targets and worked hard to create space, allowing her teammates to flow forward. She was in everything and fought hard to win every contest.

#6: Britt Tully-  GWS

Contested and scrapped hard to win the footy. Put her body on the line and applied plenty of crunching tackles. Good long, penetrating and clearing kick.

#7: Jacinda Barclay- GWS

Fought hard and imposed herself on the contest. Took a huge contested mark and had clean hands throughout the game. Read the play well.

#8: Stephanie Cain- Fremantle

Worked hard to get herself into damaging scoring positions. Took good intercept grabs and got plenty of the footy.

#9: Ebony Antonio- Fremantle

Got plenty of the footy and used the ball well, showing off her extreme class and football knowledge. Set her teammates up by creating space. Showed great athleticism to manoeuvre her body and run away from her opponent.

#10: Erin McKinnon- GWS

Fought well in the ruck and competed hard to win the contest. Tapped the ball down to her teammates’ advantage and got plenty of touches.

#11: Phoebe McWilliams- GWS

Was a key target for the Giants up forward and scored a goal early in the match to set up GWS’ day. Had strong hands and contested hard to win the footy in the air and on the ground. Used her speed and footy smarts to dominate her opponents.

#12: Cassie Davidson- Fremantle

Showed great courage and commitment to win the footy. Worked hard in the contest to get in and under and win the footy. Showed her physical prowess with her tackling ability.

#13: Lara Filocamo- Fremantle

Got plenty touches of the footy and dominated across the ground. Showed her class and competed hard to win the footy in packs. Took big grabs and was influential for the Dockers in helping to set up structures.

#14: Elle Bennetts- GWS

Got plenty of touches in the opening quarter of the game, contested hard for the footy and tried to help set teammates up. Had good speed to open up space and had clean hands.

#15: Evangeline Gooch- Fremantle  

Competed hard for the footy, going in hard at the contests. She was a tackling machine and applied a heap of pressure on the ball carrier.

#16: Belinda Smith- Fremantle

Got plenty of disposals and had clean hands in and around the contest. Tackled well and put pressure on her opponents.

#17: Rebecca Beeson- GWS

Never far from the contest. Had strong hands and took clean grabs. Was also able to capitalise on scoring opportunity. Showed her footy smarts and class setting teammates up in front of goal.

#18: Ellie Brush- GWS

Good defensive pressure, got herself into good positions to take intercept marks and propel the Giants forward. Had plenty of possessions, and used her clean hands to open up play.

#19: Nicola Barr- GWS

Good defensive pressure and was a ball magnet, racking up 15 touches for the game. Was never far from the contest and imposed herself on the game.

#20: Hayley Miller- Fremantle

Long, penetrating kick and used the footy well. Showed great speed and power to burst through packs and congestion. Clean pick up of the footy.

Adelaide vs. Carlton

By James Halley 

#1: Chelsea Randall- Adelaide

With Foley playing in the backline against Vescio, it allowed Randall to play up forward as she is dangerous across both ends of the ground. She was then forced to play against Harris after she was dominating in the air. She was one of the most influential players on the ground with 15 disposals.

#2: Ebony Marinoff- Adelaide

Was really strong throughout the contest all night. In one instance, she still managed to get her hands onto the ball, despite two opposition players tackling her. Backed up last week’s tackling efforts with another six on Saturday night. Got plenty of the ball, racking up 16 disposals. 

#3: Ruth Wallace- Adelaide

Early in the first quarter she managed to gather the ball from a spillage and finish nicely with a snap around the corner. Then about 10 minutes later, she snapped another goal from the opposite pocket, showing her versatility across the forward line. She has fancy footwork that allows her to sidestep her opponents. She kicked her third goal for the game in the last quarter that was an impressive long kick into an open goal.

#4: Katie Loynes- Carlton

She displayed an impressive mindset throughout the game, and was able to execute the one percenters. Went in hard at the contest, and did the little things, like when she smothered a kick to send it out of bounds. She also tackled very well. 

#5: Breann Moody- Carlton

Was in a good battle throughout the match against Metcalfe and probably got the better of her on the day. She finished with 11 disposals for the match.

#6: Courtney Cramey- Adelaide

Good intercepting and distributing of the ball throughout the evening. Has one of the longest kicks in AFLW, and was able to penetrate the ball forward multiple times thanks to her kicking ability.

#7: Marijana Rajcic- Adelaide

Kicked one behind for the day and finished with 14 possessions for the game. Good sweeping across the back-line. 

#8: Shae Audley- Carlton

Played a great shut-down role on Erin Phillips before she went off with an injury. Tackling pressure was high as usual, and played well in a rare outing for her in the midfield. 

#9: Deni Varnhagen- Adelaide

Always put her head over the footy but sometimes gave away high free kicks as a result of going too low for the ball. Intent was there, just needed to polish off her good work. 

#10: Kerryn Harrington- Carlton

Her best game in navy blue. The former basketballer dug in deep for her side all day and mopped up what she could in the back-line. A tough player who laid nine tackles for the evening. 

#11: Tayla Harris- Carlton

With her superior height and leap she managed to take plenty of impressive contested marks. In the dying seconds of the first quarter, she was able to finish off a goal from 45m out. She was the Blues’ only real target up forward, kicking one of their two goals for the match. 

#12: Jess Sedunary- Adelaide

She managed to kick the last goal of the night in the last minute, from a routine set-shot. Not a known goal-kicker but deserved to get on the scoreboard. She finished with seven disposals, and work-rate was high all night. 

#13: Sarah Hosking- Carlton

Has the class to evade tackles, and even evaded the game’s best tackler in Ebony Marinoff! Not afraid to go in hard for the footy, and was always at the bottom of the contest at the stoppages. 

#14: Tilly Lucas-Rodd- Carlton

She is very good in one-on-one scenarios, preventing her opponent from winning the ball, and often turning her inside-out. 

#15: Angela Foley- Adelaide

Played a new role this week in the back-line, matching up on Vescio. Kept her quiet and intercepted the ball really well in the process. 

#16: Jenna McCormick- Adelaide

She has good hands on the lead, but could not convert from a short distance on the run. Finished off a set-shot in the second term for the Crows’ sixth goal, which was Adelaide’s most impressive play of the match.

#17: Rhiannon Metcalfe- Adelaide

Was engaged in a tough ruck battle all day, but she lost the battle to Moody. She didn’t have any major impact in the forward-line or back-line, but gave her midfielders the opportunity to get their hands on the ball first at times. 

#18: Justine Mules- Adelaide

She was quite creative in the last play of the match with some handy footwork to get away from some opponents. Her centering kick from the boundary line to Sedunary in the goal square was exquisite. 

#19: Anne Hatchard- Adelaide

Intent was evident throughout the game, but she needs to be more aware of tacklers around her and not just take her time, as she isn’t the fastest player. 

#20: Maddison Gay- Carlton

Tried hard for the Blues in the middle of the ground. Clearance intent was good, but just couldn’t break through the elite Adelaide midfielders. 

 

Collingwood vs. Western Bulldogs

By Peter Williams 

#1: Ellie Blackburn- Western Bulldogs

Unbelievable effort on the weekend, she just stood up and led from the front after taking bump after bump from opposition players. Missed a goal tight on the boundary late in the game, but her work rate throughout the match saw her rack up 17 disposals, two marks and a major. She seems to be so underrated compared to other leaders in the game, but she is a champion.

#2: Caitlyn Edwards- Collingwood

Edwards was a tough nut in the forward 50, even without her trademark plaits which she was told were no longer acceptable as a hairstyle in the AFLW. Donning a ponytail as her hairstyle of choice, Edwards booted two goals and laid six crucial tackles to be the Pies’ top player and most dangerous forward. She plays that defensive forward role well, where she can nullify an attacking defender, while hurting the opposition team on the scoreboard. Had 11 disposals as well.

#3: Emma Kearney- Western Bulldogs

The skilful Bulldogs midfielder would have seen it as a privilege when Pies tagger Brittany Bonnici stepped up beside her at the opening bounce. After quelling Daisy Pearce the week before, Kearney knew she was in for a tough slog at the office. To her credit, she worked hard and ended up the winner in that battle, having 13 disposals – all kicks – as well as two marks and a tackle. She might not have had the free space she can be accustomed to at times, but showed she can win tough and she did just that.

#4: Kirsty Lamb- Western Bulldogs

An equal game-high seven tackles for Lamb, who also won her fair share of the football. While all eyes were on the prime Bulldogs movers, Lamb just continued to be an option and won 10 disposals, linking up well throughout the match and putting in a good four-quarter performance. Another underrated player on the Bulldogs list.

#5: Jasmine Garner- Collingwood

After being a prolific forward last season, Garner has relished her role in the defensive 50. She is a strong overhead mark, reads the play well and positions herself in the right spots. She was really impressive working with Chloe Molloy back there, and was the reason why the Dogs did not have it all their own way early on when the Dogs were dominating the clearances.

#6: Nicole Callinan- Western Bulldogs

A really solid performance from Callinan who effectively sealed the contest with her last quarter goal. She is a smart player who stands up in big moments and she did just that on Sunday, pushing the margin out to 23 points which was a bridge too far for the Pies, and turned out to be the difference. Callinan had 10 disposals, four marks and laid three tackles as well, so a good all-round game.

#7: Jaimee Lambert- Collingwood

The former Bulldog would have undoubtedly been a little nervous heading into the game, having transferred from the now top-of-the-table Dogs, to the cellar-dwelling Pies. But she shook off any nerves to play a vital role for the Magpies laying eight bone-crunching tackles and making her former teammates earn every touch. Just the eight disposals for Lambert, but her defensive work was impressive.

#8: Monique Conti- Western Bulldogs

It must have been a tad strange for the pocket rocket Conti to shake hands with former teammate and fellow dual-sport athlete Chloe Molloy. Both were so athletically similar, with Conti having that extra spring in her step, while Molloy was so good at reading the play. I thought they broke even in their one-on-one battles, with Conti even cracking a few smiles when she realised she was being tackled by Molloy. Nonetheless, Conti’s work when up the ground or opposing others just got her the nod overall, having 12 disposals for the game.

#9: Chloe Molloy- Collingwood

Molloy was her usual reliable self, getting down in the forward line to kick her first AFLW goal – something she became accustomed to in the TAC Cup Girls and VFL Women’s seasons last year. Her battle with Conti was intriguing, but when she got free she roamed through the defensive 50 and was a steady hand, directing traffic and switching play when required.

#10: Brooke Lochland- Western Bulldogs

After breaking the AFLW most goals record last week, Lochland knew she would not be flying under the radar at Moe. The Pies made their presence felt early, and Lochland was the subject of some pretty tough love. It must have felt good when she was the recipient in the best position for a goal-square goal to ease the pressure, and she finished the game with two majors from seven disposals and three marks.

#11: Jess Duffin- Collingwood

A key cog in the Collingwood defence, Jess Duffin was one of the best defenders on the day. She had her work cut out for her from the beginning but weathered the storm and finished with 11 disposals, seven marks and two tackles. She provided crucial rebound and often stopped Dogs’ attacks with strong marks inside the defensive 50.

#12: Brittany Bonnici- Collingwood

After a successful job on Pearce last week, Bonnici was given the role on Bulldogs star Emma Kearney. While Kearney took the points, Bonnici did manage to keep her from completely having the game on her own terms and played a tough inside role, winning 10 disposals herself and laying seven tackles.

#13: Jenna Bruton- Western Bulldogs

Another cog in the Bulldogs’ machine who just played her role to perfection. Bruton had eight disposals, three marks and laid five tackles in a strong offensive and defensive game. She has continued to improve week by week and is building up to have a big grand final, should the Dogs make it.

#14: Bonnie Toogood- Western Bulldogs

Kicked the opening goal of the game and presented well throughout the match. The exciting forward finished with eight disposals, two tackles and 1.1, but was constantly a danger in the forward 50.

#15: Emma King- Collingwood

Clearly won the hit-outs but the Dogs’ midfield was too strong. They began to read her taps and dominate around the stoppages, but you could not fault King’s efforts as she covered the ground well and asserted herself as the number one ruck on the ground. A whopping 29 hitouts, King could not be stopped in that area.

#16: Stephanie Chiocci- Collingwood

A passionate leader who unfortunately had a brain fade. The moment I saw her elbow lift, the signs were not good and she now will miss the remainder of the season. She has stepped it up this season compared to last and it took her a little while to shake off the nervous signs knowing she was in trouble – and the opponents’ wrath – but the Collingwood captain finished with 12 disposals and two tackles.

#17: Aasta O’Connor- Western Bulldogs

Was serviceable in the ruck against the league’s top ruck in Emma King. She had eight disposals and six hitouts, just playing her part through the midfield. Lost her battle to King, but was not disgraced and she presented around the ground as well.

#18: Christina Bernardi- Collingwood

Another Collingwood forward who continued to present and always looked dangerous around goals. Just the one major for Bernardi this week, but she laid four tackles and had nine disposals to be one of the Pies’ best.

#19: Kim Rennie- Western Bulldogs

Battled hard in the ruck and across the ground, finishing with just the four disposals. But Rennie had nine hit-outs and five tackles to work in tandem with O’Connor through the middle as they tried to combat King’s influence.

#20: Meg Hutchins- Collingwood

The Collingwood leader was strong in attack, booting the Magpies’ first goal and just went in hard for the four quarters. She was inspirational, willed herself to every contest and never took a backwards step. She had 14 hit-outs as well so was the second most dominant ruck on the field.