THREE more sides have the bye this week as the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) competition heads toward the midway point of the season. With most sides playing teams at the opposite end of the ladder, matchups between the middle-ranked sides will set the scene for the competition come Round 7.
CARLTON v. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Round 6 – 15/06/19
Carlton have a tough slog on Saturday morning as they host top of the ladder Western Bulldogs to open Round 6. Sitting at zero from four after a bye in Round 1, Carlton’s start to the season has been far from ideal, scoring less than 20 points in each of their three away matches in Rounds 2, 3 and 4. However, the side put up a good fight last round when they hosted NT Thunder, kicking seven goals – more than their opening three rounds combined – and only going down by seven points. The Bulldogs have had an incomparable start to the season, starting on a high with a 47 point win over Williamstown in Round 2 before continuing their fine form, keeping all of their opposition to less than 15 points. The Blues will hope for Natalie Plane to have another big one, with an average of 20 touches and a score on the board in every match this season, while young-gun Maddy Prespakis will hope for another dominant performance after accruing 29 disposals and five tackles last week in her first match of the season. The Bulldogs’ success this season has largely been down to the dominant ruck work of Nicole McMahon, averaging 31 hitouts per game, while Bonnie Toogood (averaging 20 disposals) and Tayla Dinuccio (averaging nine tackles) have done a wealth of work around the ground.
ESSENDON v. HAWTHORN
Round 6 – 15/06/19
In the first of two closely matched games of the round, ninth placed Essendon and eighth placed Hawthorn will face off with the winner hoping to stay in touch with the top sides. Both teams had a bye last round, and while sitting close on the ladder, Hawthorn will come into this match as the favourites with two wins under their belt – one a dominant 42 point victory over Darebin. Essendon have only won one of their four matches but have no issue getting access to goal having kicked five goals in three of their four matches, but have struggled defensively with an average of 38 points kicked against. The Bombers will hope for another strong performance from Hayley Bullas, who has averaged eight tackles and 18 touches per game this season, while the likes of Jess Sibley and Emily Gilder have shared the brunt of the goalkicking load for the Hawks. It will be an interesting ruck battle between Abbey Tanner (Hawks) and Simone Nalder (Bombers), who are sitting on 95 and 94 hitouts from four matches, respectively. Hawthorn have done a good job sharing the load across the field, with no one player who can be targeted and tagged out.
DAREBIN v. COLLINGWOOD
Round 6 – 15/06/19
Preston City Oval
Collingwood will aim for their fifth win on the trot this round as they take on cellar dwellers, Darebin Falcons. The Falcons have struggled so far this season, unable to string along consistent performances. While Darebin’s points scored in the opening rounds would have been enough to beat a number of sides, the first five rounds saw Darebin face three of the current top five. A four point win over Casey has solidified Collingwood’s spot in the top four after five rounds, so the side will likely come in confident this week against the severely depleted Falcons side. Collingwood AFLW captain, Steph Chiocci took the field in Round 5 for the first time this season, kicking two goals and gathering 13 touches and three tackles in a solid day out. Meanwhile, Bri Davey will be a big one for the Falcs to watch out for if she returns this week, collecting 57 touches and 14 tackles from just two matches. Jamie Stanton has been one of the big performers for the Falcons this season with an average of 20 touches while Lauren Pearce has had a good run in the ruck with an average of 18 touches and 24 hitouts from three matches.
NT THUNDER v. RICHMOND
Round 6 – 15/06/19
NT Thunder face a massive challenge this round when they host an undefeated Richmond side on Saturday afternoon. A dominant first few rounds was cut short by a bye, with Thunder dropping their next match before sticking it out in a close match against Carlton in Round 5. Richmond have scored over 50 points in three of their four matches, with their closest coming down to three points against sixth place Melbourne Uni in Round 4. Thunder will need to bring their A-game against the Tigers, but will have the added bonus of a home ground advantage in Darwin. Richmond’s Tayla Stahl has been one of the big names this season, sitting atop the goal leaderboard despite a bye in Round 2. Stahl has kicked nine goals and 10 behinds for the season so far, so if she kicks on target she could be a massive threat when coupled with the dominant force of ex-Western Bulldogs pair, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti. If Thunder have Chelsea Randall back in the side she could give them a massive boost, having only played two games but sitting on 59 touches, while Angela Foley has been solid with an average of 23 disposals across three matches. Thunder have struggled with consistency so far this season, unable to click given only five players have taken the field for all four matches.
SOUTHERN SAINTS v. MELBOURNE UNI
Round 6 – 16/06/19
Trevor Barker Beach Oval
The final match of the round is set to be the best matchup, with the Saints (fourth) taking on Melbourne Uni (fifth) in a bid to stay among the top sides in the competition. The Saints have had a fairly good run this season sitting on three wins from four matches and come into this round fresh off the bye in Round 5. Melbourne Uni had a dominant first few rounds before falling to two of the top sides in consecutive weeks, and were challenged by winless Williamstown last week, so will want to bounce back to prove their position on the ladder. Alison Drennan has been one of the most consistent for the Saints this season, averaging 24 touches and 5.5 tackles across four matches, while Caitlin Greiser has kicked a goal in every game so far. Despite only taking the field for three games, Uni’s Jasmine Garner is sitting second in the competition for goals (eight) and has an average of 26 touches, while Holly Whitford managed a massive 10 tackles against Williamstown last week, taking her season tally to 31. Uni will hope to put out a similar performance to their Round 4 match against Richmond, coming back from an 18 point margin to only go down by three points in the nailbiter.
BYE: Williamstown, Casey, Geelong