Tag: Katie Loynes

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: Carlton

THE Blues did not see much success last season, finishing on the bottom of the ladder for the first time in their AFLW history. However, this result gave them some high-end picks in the draft, and they recruited quite well to fix the gaps of players lost. With new coach, Daniel Harford at the helm, Carlton is set for a big year, testing out its new-look line-up and coaching panel.

Last season: 8th – two wins, five losses.

Changes:

In: Amelia Mullane (nee Barden), Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay, Jayde Van Dyk, Charlotte Wilson, Emerson Woods, Rhiannon Watt, Jess Edwards, Kirby Bentley, Brooke Walker, Chloe Dalton

Out: Maddison Gay, Lauren Arnell, Danielle Hardiman, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Maddy Keryk, Sarah Last, Laura Attard, Kate Shierlaw, Tiahna Cochrane, Katie Jayne-Grieve

Carlton’s defence was dealt a big blow with experienced trio, Lauren Arnell, Danielle Hardiman and Kate Gillespie-Jones all departing the Blues. They also made the interesting decision to let go of talented midfielder, Madeline Keryk, which could come back to bite them. Inaugural Best First Year player, Maddison Gay has also left a hole in the midfield with her departure to Melbourne. But Carlton has seemed to sew up those gaps in its midfield, picking up Vic Metro gun duo, Madison Prespakis and Abbie McKay. Prespakis was the equal winner of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP) and TAC Cup Girls’ Best and Fairest, while McKay was pre-selected by the Blues due to a interest from other clubs. In defence, Charlotte Wilson and Jayde Van Dyk help fill the void of Gillespie-Jones, Hardiman and Arnell. Wilson was the co-captain of the Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup Girls competition while Van Dyk won the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Rising Star award and Hawthorn’s Best and Fairest after a stellar 2018 campaign.

Area of strength: Midfield

Carlton’s midfield depth is quite threatening, as at any given time, it could contain the likes of Prespakis, McKay, Amelia Mullane, Sarah Hosking, Jess Hosking, Katie Loynes, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Georgia Gee, Shae Audley and Natalie Plane. Not only does it contain plenty of talent, but the Blues have also managed to combine its experience and youth quite well. Coming across from Collingwood, Mullane should be a great addition as she has already worked under Daniel Harford, and adds valuable experience. Loynes will be raring to go after her Best and Fairest year last year, while Jess Hosking and Lucas-Rodd both enjoyed some key minutes in the Blues’ VFLW midfield.

Area of weakness: Forward line

It is hard to imagine that a forward line containing Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris could be an area of weakness for the Blues, but it certainly was last season. Carlton finished miles below any other team in percentage, racking up just 54.1 per cent, with the next worst being Fremantle with 89.8. While Vescio and Harris are dangerous, they will require more support in the 2019 season if Carlton is to surge up the ladder. Emerson Woods is one player who could provide assistance, as she floated up forward and through the midfield for both the Eastern Ranges and the Hawks in the VFLW season. Being a member of the AFLW Academy, Woods has had plenty of experience at a high level, and is also an athletic machine. Carlton may also utilise Alison Downie up forward, as she can take a big mark and is an accurate kick. Thanks to the ruck support of Breann Moody and Rhiannon Watt, she may not be required in the middle as much, and can make herself a target inside 50.

Players to watch:

Madison Prespakis

If players were not able to select which region they wanted to go to, Prespakis would have seriously contended Nina Morrison for the number one pick. Prespakis led the Calder Cannons this year and also had a stint captaining Vic Metro in its rotating captaincy during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. She is a fantastic on-field leader, as she demonstrates ferocity and a desire to win the ball. Prespakis has one of the most damaging kicks from the Under-18 draftees and is a genuine ball magnet. Carlton supporters should be excited to see her in the navy blue.

Jayde Van Dyk

Van Dyk had an outstanding year for Hawthorn in 2018. Not only did she take out Hawthorn’s Best and Fairest and the VFLW Rising Star award, she was also named in the VFLW Team of the Year and played in the Hawks’ historic premiership. She was a mainstay in the Hawks’ backline, often taking the most dangerous opposition forward. Her run and carry is something to be excited by and her football smarts are second to none. Strong in the air and on foot, Van Dyk should provide some serious presence in the Blues’ defensive 50.

Natalie Plane

A player who has gone under the radar in the last two seasons, Plane is a pretty consistent player and can play a team role when required. She had a solid year for Carlton in the 2018 VFLW season, coming fourth in Carlton’s Best and Fairest. Plane achieved this feat on the back of just eight games out of a possible 14. She averaged 13.4 disposals and six tackles from those games, demonstrating her ability to make an impact in the middle of the ground.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference B

Improving from last to a finals berth in a year is a hard feat for any team, and it is hard to see Carlton storm into the finals in its conference, considering only the top two teams go through. The Blues will certainly improve with a potent midfield and defence, but their forward line will continue to come into question if Vescio and Harris are left to do all the work inside 50. It will be interesting to see the Blues in Round 1, as they face the Kangaroos, who seem to have one of the most dangerous line-ups in the competition. If they can get the win over in Hobart, they could be set for a big turnaround from 2018. But if they don’t get the win that game, they could be in for a losing streak to start their season, with their next three games coming against Adelaide, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and Geelong. A good start will be crucial if Carlton is any chance to surge up the ladder in 2019.

2019 AFLW Carlton Fixture

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticleMatch Day
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North Hobart OvalRound 1
Ikon ParkRound 2
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Blacktown International SportsparkRound 3
GMHBA StadiumRound 4
Ikon ParkRound 5
Ikon ParkRound 6
Whitten OvalRound 7

 

Scouting notes: AFLW – Round 7

ROUND seven determined the fortunate grand finalists who will battle it out at Ikon Park on Saturday. The Bulldogs controlled their own destiny at VU Whitten Oval, when they secured a thrilling two-point win over Melbourne. The Brisbane players on the other hand were nervously watching the Pies face the Crows, praying for the first – and probably last time for a Collingwood win. Once the Pies upset the Crows, there was a feeling of jubilation among the Lions players, who had to battle hard for their grand final spot throughout the season. It is very rare to see a season being determined by the last game of the home and away season, but in the AFLW, anything can happen.

GWS vs. Brisbane

 By James Halley

#1: Sabrina Frederick-Traub- Brisbane

She managed to snap the Lions’ first goal in congestion, which set up a big game for her. Two minutes later she took a massive contested mark close to goal and slotted the goal straight through the middle. She kicked a miraculous goal form the boundary, a check-side kick with opponents coming for her from every angle. It was amazing stuff and great football to watch. She then set up Wuetschner for her second goal with a good pass 30 seconds later. She was able to assist McCarthy in her first goal of the season by using her large frame to her advantage by putting shepherds on the two oncoming opponents. Due to her dominance she often makes a second defender assist in the contest, which in cases ended with a free kick to her, which is really valuable for the Lions. She kicked her fourth goal of the match in the dying minutes of the game from a relatively easy set shot but nonetheless, she still racked up impressive numbers against the Giants.

#2: Ally Anderson- Brisbane

She was everywhere for the Lions as she amassed the most disposals on the ground with 25, and 19 of those were kicks.

#3: Emma Zielke- Brisbane

She was able to keep the ball alive in the dying seconds of the last quarter with a lunging tackle to be awarded a holding-the-ball free kick, which gave the Lions another chance to attack before the quarter ended. She has a long, penetrating kick.

#4: Emily Bates- Brisbane

She is an important midfielder and accumulator for Brisbane. Her 21 disposals was impressive and her 62 per cent kicking efficiency was a feature in another great game.

#5: Jess Wuetschner- Brisbane

Her creativity creates panic in the forward 50 for the defenders. She missed an easy set shot early in the first quarter, which was disappointing. But she then snapped a wonderful goal from the boundary in a showcase of class and skill for her first goal of the game. Wuetschner was able to goal from a set shot once again after beating her opponent to the ball on a lead for her second goal of the game. With 15 seconds left in the game, she was able to slot through another impressive major from a snap to cap off a terrific all-round game for the Lions.

#6: Alicia Eva- GWS

She has great kicking skills and that was shown against Brisbane as she hardly missed a target. She also has great chase-down speed as she was able to chase down the Kate McCarthy, who has been dubbed as one of the fastest players in the game.

#7: Kate Lutkins- Brisbane

The defender was one of Brisbane’s best once again against GWS, as she was a rock in the back-line. Many of her 16 disposals came from creating the forward attack for the Lions.

#8: Tahlia Randall- Brisbane

Contested extremely well with Erin McKinnon in the ruck. Was aggressive around the ground as well, laying six tackles.

#9: Sophie Conway- Brisbane

Conway’s speed was on show late in the first term when she burnt her opponent, burst into the 50 and goaled on the run to kick the fourth Brisbane major in a row. She was able to deliver a perfect tackle on the GWS captain and was awarded a free kick as a result in the last quarter.

#10: Brittany Gibson- Brisbane

She seems to have the answers every time she is one-on-one in the back-line, and constantly beats her opponent.

#11: Britt Tully- GWS

She gained a shot on goal early with a supremely good tackle and then slotted the major to kick the Giants’ first goal of the game. Kept the ball rolling from there with another impressive outing for the season.

#12: Jamie Stanton- Brisbane

She was influential for Brisbane in the midfield as she finished with 14 disposals for the match.

#13: Pepa Randall- GWS

She was left one-out most of the day and her effort could not be questioned, as the tall defender held her own in a defence that was being threatened constantly.

#14: Amanda Farrugia- GWS

The GWS captain tried her hardest all day on the ball. She finished with 14 disposals for the match.

#15: Jessica Dal Pos- GWS

Dal Pos finished with 14 disposals and showed why she is the reigning GWS best and fairest, with her class on show for all.

#16: Sharni Webb- Brisbane

When presented with the task of converting a straight-forward kick 25 metres out after receiving a 50-metre penalty, she goaled with no worries. Saved her best game until last for the Lions.

#17: Emma Swanson- GWS

She has good precision kicking under pressure, especially concerning the 45-metre kicks.

#18: Jacinda Barclay- GWS

After hunting down her Brisbane opponent and winning a free kick as result for holding the ball in the third quarter, she won a set shot on goal and missed as the ball hit the woodwork. However, she had very sticky hands throughout the night and racked up 10 disposals to go with her efforts around the ground.

#19: Breanna Koenen- Brisbane

She is a very good reader of the ball and is a dangerous interceptor.

#20: Cora Staunton- GWS

She is good in play-on situations where she can turn and kick around the corner. She was able to mark on the lead but could not convert, as she went for her snap shot at goal straight in front and missed to the near side. She was able to run on and kick her first goal of the game from the goal-square to cut Brisbane’s lead down to under 30 points.

 

Fremantle vs. Carlton

#1: Dana Hooker- Fremantle

Dana Hooker could do no wrong against the Blues. Was a ball magnet throughout the match and never stopped trying. Used the ball well both by hand and by foot. Kicked a well-deserved goal in the fourth quarter to extend Fremantle’s lead.

#2: Kara Donnellan- Fremantle

Definitely the favourite to win Fremantle’s best and fairest this year. Another solid effort by the captain, and worked in tandem with Hooker to cause some headaches for the Blues. Was the most aggressive game I have seen her play this season, laying nine tackles.

#3: Ebony Antonio- Fremantle

A really impressive day out for the defender. Laid the most tackles of the afternoon with 10. Was a crucial presence on the ground when Fremantle began to take the game away from the Blues. Even managed to kick a goal to top off another great day for her.

#4: Sarah Hosking- Carlton

Her leadership was inspirational for the Blues, never giving up all day. Tackling pressure was insane once again, laying nine tackles for the day. Seemed bulletproof in the midfield, and was the one player that seemed to get under the skin of the Fremantle players.

#5: Tayla Harris- Carlton

Harris saved her best until last for the Blues, kicking two goals and racking up 15 disposals. She was able to work up the ground really well, and get back inside 50 when she was needed. Displayed her incredible endurance and footy smarts. Has great spatial awareness, and always knows where to go when the ball is making its way up the ground.

#6: Lisa Webb- Fremantle

Amazing debut season for her. Capped it off with a 16-disposal performance against the Blues. Worked well with players like Donnellan, and provided a great link in the chain for the Dockers. Never over-used the footy. Got the Dockers within a point with a goal to start the third quarter.

#7: Hayley Miller- Fremantle

Zipped around the footy all afternoon. Has improved her kicking each game and Saturday was no different. Out of her 13 disposals, 10 of them were kicks, showing how comfortable she is to put the ball on her boot and penetrate it forward for her side. Went back with the flight of the ball courageously at the start of the third quarter, highlighting her ability to always put her body on the line for her teammates. Unfortunately it has resulted in a collapsed lung but she is one tough cookie and will use the off-season to come back more courageous than ever.

#8: Amy Lavell- Fremantle

Lavell has shown signs of her best footy all season but on Saturday, she turned those signs into a reality. She had a great day out in the forward 50, and got plenty of the ball to go with it. If she works hard in the off-season, she could double up and play as that midfield/ forward type role rather than just being a forward.

#9: Alison Downie- Carlton

Another consistent performance from Downie. Good to see her have an impact in the forward line, rather than just act as a back-up ruckman to Breann Moody. Could and should play a role as a key forward for the Blues. Combining with Tayla Harris inside 50 would be a lethal combination for the Blues.

#10: Stephanie Cain- Fremantle

One of the feel-good stories of the AFLW season, Cain produced a wonderful performance to send the Dockers off on a high note. Used the ball well both by hand and by foot, and running game was strong all day.

#11: Kellie Gibson- Fremantle

Amazing to see her out on the field after being told she had to sit out the 2018 season. A fit off-season for her should send shivers through the competition, as she was able to make an impact in her first game in Fremantle colours. The former Crow was able to boot through a heart-warming goal that gave the Dockers their biggest lead of the game, plus she racked up 11 disposals.

#12: Katie Loynes- Carlton

Has had a brilliant season for the Blues and Saturday was no different. 14 disposals with 13 of them being kicks, and rightly so, she is a wonderful kick of the footy and should always back herself to penetrate the ball forward. Her and Hosking were two of the hardest players on the field.

#13: Tiah Haynes- Fremantle

Tiah Haynes was another Docker who was able to use the ball well both by hand and by foot. Showed great intent throughout the whole game, and has a great footy IQ.

#14: Melissa Caulfield- Fremantle

Solid performance from Caulfield. Got plenty of the ball and used it well. Always around to lend a helping hand to her teammates.

#15: Breann Moody- Carlton

Moody dominated the ruck once again, contesting well with Alicia Janz. Was not able to work up the ground as effectively as she usually does, but she still produced a commendable performance given the pressure that the Blues were under.

#16: Maddison Gay- Carlton

Really nice foot skills and footy smarts from Gay. She played a fierce game, laying six tackles, showing her consistent hunger to find the ball.

#17: Ashley Sharp- Fremantle

Really even performance across the board from Sharp. Six kicks, six handballs, one goal and one behind. Did everything she could to play her part in a memorable Fremantle victory.

#18: Tilly Lucas-Rodd- Carlton

Mopped the ball up well in the back-line as usual. Did not get a heap of the footy but her impact was felt in defence, thanks to her on-field leadership and footy smarts.

#19: Lauren Arnell- Carlton

Always puts her best foot forward for the Blues and she did just that on Saturday. Dug in deep for Carlton when Fremantle started to get on a roll. Uses her footy smarts to her advantage wherever she is on the ground.

#20: Cassie Davidson- Fremantle

Nine disposals with seven of them being kicks. Davidson was able to move the ball quickly with each possession, and was composed when she needed to be. Great game awareness.

 

Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne

By Connor Ferris 

#1: Emma Kearney- Western Bulldogs

Another spectacular outing, and was the best player on the ground for the Dogs. Kearney racked up a team-high 20 possessions, hit the target on almost all her kicks and polished off her great work with a goal.

#2: Karen Paxman- Melbourne

Her usual fantastic self. Led the Dees midfield with 22 possessions, was in and around the contest all game and even drifted forward in the second quarter, scoring a much-needed goal for Melbourne against the breeze. Kicked another two behinds on top of that.

#3: Jenna Bruton- Western Bulldogs

Unbelievable game. Was involved in a number of key passages of play, most notably the clearance and ultimately game-winning assist to Brooke Lochland for the game-wining goal. 18 touches and a game-high 10 tackles.

#4: Ellie Blackburn- Western Bulldogs

Not her usual high number of possessions but was sent down back in the first and third quarter to provide a numbers advantage as Melbourne had the breeze. Her defensive work shut down a number of scoring opportunities for the Demons, helping nullify their advantage of kicking with the breeze.

#5: Hannah Scott- Western Bulldogs

Another good effort on the half-back flank. Gave the Bulldogs a bit of everything with nine possessions, two marks and three tackles. When it looked like Aliesha Newman was running into an open goal in the third quarter, Scott’s desperate chase-down led to Newman missing, in what was a telling moment in the game.

#6: Daisy Pearce- Melbourne

Was heavily targeted by the Dogs midfielders but was able to break free and still have a nice impact. Had 17 possessions, showed good defensive pressure and added a minor score.

#7: Elise O’Dea- Melbourne

Great game once again, fought so hard all game alongside fellow midfielders, Pearce and Paxman. Had 15 touches, many of which were contested.

#8: Lauren Pearce- Melbourne

 Continued a great stretch of form after being recalled three games ago. Got the better of the ruck contest and was great around the ground.

#9: Katherine Smith- Melbourne

One of the best for Melbourne. Stood up, providing whatever help was needed. Had 11 possessions and six tackles.

#10: Monique Conti- Western Bulldogs

Continues to grow in leaps and bounds each week. Conti was able to read the play extremely well and was using her speed to her advantage more often. Drew a free kick and converted a set shot early in the last quarter as the Dogs edged in front.

#11: Kirsty Lamb- Western Bulldogs

Ran with Daisy Pearce and displayed high levels of physicality to disrupt her game. Played quite well herself with nine touches.

#12: Aisling Utri- Western Bulldogs

Very nice game. Looked dangerous moving further down the ground, and had four marks from her 10 possessions. Had a chance to kick a goal in the second quarter but was unable to convert, registering a minor score.

#13: Brooke Lochland- Western Bulldogs

CLUTCH! Held in check for most of the game with just seven possessions but kicked the biggest goal of her career to send the Dogs through to the grand final. Forward 50 pressure was fantastic throughout the contest.

#14: Kate Hore- Melbourne

Had a nice game up forward. Moved very well and lead to space, resulting in four marks. Kicked the crucial goal for Melbourne to put them in front with under 10 minutes to go.

#15: Harriet Cordner- Melbourne

A very steady hand down in defence. Stopped a number of the Dogs attacks going forward. Ended up with 11 touches and applied good pressure, adding two tackles.

#16: Libby Birch- Western Bulldogs

Impressive game deep in defence, ensured Melbourne’s forwards were not able to have the impact they would have liked.

#17: Bianca Jakobsson- Melbourne

Intercept marking was off the charts. Looked the hero for the Dees with two crucial grabs in the final five minutes but unfortunately it was not enough.

#18: Hayley Wildes- Western Bulldogs

Played well when she was up in the midfield, 10 possessions and much like her other midfielders, her defensive effort stood out with three tackles.

#19: Meg Downie- Melbourne

Had herself a nice game. Among the best on ground for Melbourne, ended with 12 possessions and really moved the ball well.

#20: Lauren Spark- Western Bulldogs

Played on Tegan Cunningham and kept her to no touches for the night. Was key in slowing down Melbourne’s forward-line.

Collingwood vs. Adelaide

 By Taylah Melki 

#1: Jasmine Garner- Collingwood

She had a stellar game and starred in the forward-line, bagging three goals. Looked lively from the beginning of the game, getting involved in the contest and fighting hard to win the footy. Garner showed great skill and awareness throughout the match to get herself into dominant scoring positions.

#2: Jaimee Lambert- Collingwood

Lambert was a ball magnet for the Magpies gathering plenty of touches. She used the footy cleanly and was a tackling machine. She was by far one of Collingwood’s best players on the day showcasing her composure with ball in hand, and skill to hit targets and set up play.

#3: Jess Duffin- Collingwood

Dominated for the Pies, winning plenty of touches. Duffin racked up 18 disposals with 16 of them being kicks showcasing her impressive kicking skills and ability to hit targets.

#4: Ebony Marinoff- Adelaide

Marinoff got plenty of possessions and used the footy efficiently. She had clean hands around the contest and imposed herself on the game with crunching tackles. She was a beast in the middle of the ground, breaking away from the play to open up space.

#5: Erin Phillips- Adelaide

Was at her devastating best, winning the ball in close and using the footy cleanly. Racked up the touches and used her accurate kick to help propel her team forward and out of trouble.

#6: Moana Hope- Collingwood

Got plenty of the footy and made herself a key target up forward. Did a lot of hard running to get on the lead and was rewarded for her effort. She took good contested grabs and slotted an impressive snap around the body.

#7: Christina Bernardi- Collingwood

Impressed all over the field and was in everything. Bernardi competed hard for the footy and got herself into damaging positions. She scored two goals for the match and racked up plenty of touches.

#8: Ruth Wallace- Adelaide

Had excellent hands and took big contested marks. Went back with the flight of the footy and put her body on the line. Contested hard for the footy and used her booming kick. Slotted an important goal for the Crows and complemented the forwards.

#9: Chloe Molloy- Collingwood

Was steady down back, won plenty of the footy and controlled the Crows forward movement. Had good positioning and applied heaps of pressure. She used her long and penetrating kick to surge the Pies forward.

#10: Chelsea Randall- Adelaide

Had clean hands and saved a certain goal, getting back to help her teammates out. Took heaps of huge intercept grabs in the second quarter and helped to propel her team forward. Showcased her impressive leap and strong hands above her head.

#11: Emma King- Collingwood

Dominated in the ruck, winning heaps of the hit outs. Placed the ball in damaging positions, allowing her teammates first hands at the footy.

#12: Ash Brazill- Collingwood

In her second game for the season she was lively. She went in hard for the footy and took a heap of contested marks. Brazill showed great awareness and tackling pressure throughout the game and got plenty of disposals. She played a huge role on Erin Phillips and used her physicality to try and pressure Phillips off the ball.

#13: Amelia Barden- Collingwood

Had a few shots on goal and was proficient with ball in hand. Burst through the packs and worked hard to create space.

#14: Sarah Allan- Adelaide

Competed hard for the footy and gathered plenty of the footy. Showcased her impressive kicking ability and had clean hands taking plenty of marks.

#15: Caitlyn Edwards- Collingwood

Showed some great run and carry, breaking the lines to get into space. Competed hard for the ball and tackled well.

#16: Marijana Rajcic- Adelaide

She had plenty of the footy and used her speed to help stream forward in the third term. Rajcic played a huge role in the back-line, taking big marks.

#17: Melissa Kuys- Collingwood

Scored an important goal for the Pies and used her experience to help control the tempo of the game. Kuys used the footy efficiently, hitting all her targets.

#18: Justine Mules- Adelaide

Kept her feet in the contest, standing up in the tackles. Mules gathered plenty of touches and used her booming kick with 11 of her 13 disposals being kicks.

#19: Stevie-Lee Thompson- Adelaide

Bagged a goal and looked dangerous throughout the game. Showed her kicking ability with eight of her nine touches being kicks.

#20: Brittany Bonnici- Collingwood

Was influential across the ground. Showed great on-field leadership and used the footy cleanly. Bonnici stood up in tackles and showed great strength to fend off players while fighting hard to win the contested footy at ground level.

Weekend Wash-up: AFLW – Round 7

AFTER a huge round with five teams fighting for a position in the grand final, the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions secured their spot. In a tight tussle with highly contested matches throughout the round it all came down to the contest between Collingwood and Adelaide. With the Crows losing to a dominant Magpies outfit, the Lions clawed their way into back-to-back grand finals. Adelaide just fell marginally short of its premiership defence while the Blues finished on the bottom of the ladder after losing against the Dockers.  The Pies showed glimpses of their football prowess, impressing against the Crows and after a stellar season, the Demons missed out on making it to their first grand final.

GWS 3.6 (24) defeated by Brisbane 10. 4 (64)

With a spot in the grand final up for grabs, the Lions brought their A-game. The quick-starting Brisbane jumped the Giants, belting them by a whopping 40 points. In what was tipped to be a close encounter, the Lions piled on six goals to one in the opening term and kept their foot on the pedal until the final siren. GWS struggled to compete with the skill and class of Brisbane, only scoring three goals for the match.

Key moment:

In a must-win match for both teams, it was the Lions who showed great composure and footy smarts to control the game from the outset. Their superstars and leaders in Sabrina Frederick-Traub, the ever-reliable Kate Lutkins, Emily Bates and captain Emma Zielke were pivotal players in Brisbane’s impressive win. They used the footy efficiently, controlled the tempo of the game, hit targets and were damaging across the field. The class and experience of each of these players proved to be the difference between the two teams, as Brisbane maintained their structures and competed hard for the footy in each contest.

Impressers:

Star Brisbane forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub, put on a masterclass in front of goal, bagging four majors and amassing 18 touches. The South Fremantle recruit was in devastating form, taking huge grabs and showing she is a force to be reckoned with. Fellow forward, Jess Wuetschner showed how deadly she can be in the forward 50, slotting three majors in Brisbane’s huge win over the Giants. Ally Anderson had a stellar game for the Lions, racking up 25 disposals and displaying her class and skill across the field. In a lacklustre game for the Giants, Alicia Eva stood up, gathering 18 possessions and applying the pressure, laying six tackles for the match. GWS forward, Cora Staunton also impressed, scoring a goal and getting plenty of the footy. The likes of Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia were influential for the Giants, amassing plenty of touches between them and using the footy efficiently, but it was not enough to secure their first grand final appearance.

 

Fremantle 9.5 (59) defeated Carlton 6.12 (48)

In a fight for the wooden spoon the Blues were plagued by inaccuracy, while the Dockers came to play. Both teams fell away throughout the season after positive starts to the year, but Fremantle finished the season well securing an 11-point victory. The lead chopped and changed throughout the game with both Fremantle and Carlton amassing a similar amount of contested marks and turnovers. But it was the Dockers’ accuracy in the last quarter and efficiency with ball in hand that proved to be the difference between the two teams.

Key moment:

Carlton’s inaccuracy in front of goal was costly, scoring 12 behinds compared to Fremantle’s five points. The Blues had six shots at goal in the last quarter to claim the lead and their first win since round two, but failed to capitalise. Both teams shared a similar number of inside 50 entries but the Blues struggled to make the most of their scoring opportunities. But the Dockers made the most of their shots at goal, bagging nine majors for the game and going at 82 per cent efficiency in front of goal. The Dockers scored from 18 of their 22 forward 50 entries as opposed to the Blues’ 22 shots from their 30 entries.

Impressers:

Darcy Vescio showed her X-factor quality with a skilful goal and her fancy footwork. Meanwhile teammate, Tayla Harris impressed with two majors and was the leading disposal-getter for the Blues. Harris threw her weight around taking big contested marks and hitting the packs hard. Seaford Tigerettes recruit, Sarah Hosking also starred with 15 touches and nine tackles, imposing herself in and around the contest. Katie Loynes also proved her worth for Carlton, bagging a goal and racking up 14 touches for the game. Reigning Fremantle best and fairest, Dana Hooker backed up her impressive form with another stellar game, amassing 25 possessions and a goal. Hooker was in a class of her own, showing her skill, accuracy and clean hands to help keep her team off the bottom of the ladder. Veteran 33 year-old Lisa Webb shone for Fremantle racking up plenty of touches, while Amy Lavell slotted two important goals to help clench the all-important victory.

 

Western Bulldogs 5.3 (33) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31)

In a top-of-the-table clash, the Dogs and Dees had everything to play for with a spot in the grand final up for grabs. In a game filled with multiple lead changes and heart-stopping kicks, it was the Western Bulldogs who came away with a two-point win. The Demons put on an impressive display leading at different stages throughout the match, but fell agonisingly short in the final seconds of the match. The Dogs showed great fight and desperation, stamping their authority on the competition as contenders to win their inaugural grand final.

Key moment:

In trying conditions with the wind swirling, Melbourne piled on a goal and six points in the third term to gain the lead, but it was the Western Bulldogs ability to stand up under pressure that paid dividends. With a third quarter onslaught, the Demons looked to have control over the tempo and flow of the game, holding the Dogs scoreless in the term. The Dogs back-line was under all sorts of pressure with plenty of repeat entries and shots at goal, but last quarter efforts from Monique Conti, Katie Brennan and Hannah Scott helped to push the Dogs over the line.

Impressers:

Lauren Spark had a stellar game for the Western Bulldogs, shutting down Melbourne star forward Tegan Cunningham, who was held scoreless and failed to register a touch for the match. The Melbourne University recruit controlled the back-line, showing great composure and taking plenty of impressive goal-saving marks. Up the other end, Brooke Lochland’s heroics helped to seal the deal for the Dogs in the dying seconds of the game with a phenomenal goal. Superstar midfielder, Emma Kearney was in everything in the opening half and put on an absolute clinic, amassing 20 possessions and bagging a goal. Young gun, Jenna Bruton also shone for the Bulldogs with her explosive speed and ability to get in and under in the contest to win the footy. Melbourne star, Karen Paxman impressed with a goal and 22 disposals for the game, while captain Daisy Pearce played her role, gathering 17 possessions. Geelong Magpies player, Richelle Cranston starred for the Dees, imposing herself on the contest and showcasing her booming kick when she slotted an impressive goal.

 

Collingwood 8.5 (53) defeated Adelaide 4.8 (32) 

In a last quarter thriller, the Pies crushed any chances of the Crows defending their grand final title, piling on three goals to Adelaide’s zero. After finding form late in the season, the Magpies fought hard against the reigning premiers who were in ominous form. Collingwood claimed a 21-point victory over Adelaide who impressed early but could not keep up with the Collingwood forwards who showed great desperation for the footy. The Crows flexed their muscles in the opening half of the game but the Magpies came out hungry after the half-time break.

Key moment:

The Pies dominated in the ruck contest with Emma King showcasing her athleticism and footy smarts. Collingwood won the hit-outs 21 to 13, and dominated in and around the stoppages. The ability of the Pies players to win the hard contested footy proved to be the key between the two teams, as Collingwood went on to win its third game for the season. The Magpies showed class and skill with ball in hand, using the footy accurately and cleanly going at 64 per cent disposal efficiency thanks to their ability to get the ball straight out of the ruck.

Impressers:

Jasmine Garner starred for the Pies up forward bagging three goals. The talented St Kilda Shark recruit showed her footy class with ball in hand, going at 66 per cent efficiency. Superstar midfielder, Christina Bernardi once again dominated for the Pies, slotting two goals and racking up 12 touches for the game. Jaimee Lambert played a pivotal role in Collingwood’s win, gathering 19 disposals. Lambert was in everything, competing hard for the footy and laying bone-crunching tackles. For the Crows, cult hero Erin Phillips was up and about amassing 17 possessions and showing her excellent on-field leadership. Ebony Marinoff was never far from the footy, racking up the touches and imposing herself on the contest with her hard tackling. Adelaide University recruit, Ruth Wallace also impressed for the Crows, taking the most marks of the game and scoring an important goal to go with her 11 touches.

Scouting notes: AFLW – Round 6

ROUND six has left us doing the maths for many teams who have the possibility to make finals. Adelaide continued its late resurgence, as did the Dees, while the Lions lost control of their own destiny when they went down to the Pies. The Western Bulldogs also stumbled against the Giants, thanks to another wonderful performance from Courtney Gum, who is a sneaky chance to win the AFLW MVP award this year. This round proved how even the competition is and entertained fans with its unpredictability. There is no definitive flag favourite coming into the last round of the AFLW season, making for compelling contests across the weekend. 

Adelaide vs. Fremantle

By James Halley

#1: Dana Hooker- Fremantle

Needs to work on discipline as within seconds before the quarter time siren she gave away a 50m penalty, which resulted in a goal that put the Dockers behind. But she quickly learnt her lesson, as she was able to kick a goal from a 50m penalty in the third term, which put Fremantle ahead on the scoreboard. Once again, she hit the scoreboard late in the last quarter with a beautiful goal on the run. She ended up being Fremantle’s best player of the game with 20 disposals and two goals.

#2: Angela Foley- Adelaide

Foley is a very enthusiastic tackler. Also, her pressure on the ball-carrier was intense. She is a great on-field leader for the Crows. 

#3: Chelsea Randall- Adelaide

She played in the middle of the ground for most of the game and was instrumental. She was at her usual best in the air, taking numerous intercept marks. Once again her courage was on show, showcasing that she has no fear in the contest. 

#4: Ebony Marinoff- Adelaide

She needs to work on her game-sense, as she gave away a 50 metre penalty by simply running through the mark, which could be easily avoided. Apart from that, she played a courageous game and is an on-field warrior. She still soldiered on after needing stitches on her face, laying 16 tackles for the match.

#5: Kara Donnellan- Fremantle

She was instrumental for the Dockers all day in the midfield with 16 disposals. Lead from the front as usual. 

#6: Lisa Webb- Fremantle

She was amongst the best with 16 disposals, and tried hard all day in the four-point defeat.

#7: Erin Phillips- Adelaide

Luck fell her way to start the game when a kind bounce gifted her the first goal of the game. Phillips kicked her second goal in the first quarter when she displayed her class one-on-one against Alex Williams. She had the opportunity to kick for her third goal early in the second quarter but she did the team thing and tried to help get Sarah Perkins into the game, setting her up for her first goal for the season. 

#8: Ebony Antonio- Fremantle

Her rebounding skills were once again on show against the Crows, and her damaging kick hurt them on numerous occasions. She started the third term perfectly, kicking a goal in the first 20 seconds. In this instance, she used her defensive smarts to beat her opponent and gift herself a set-shot on goal. 

#9: Evangeline Gooch- Fremantle

She has great courage, and is not afraid to go back with the flight of the ball. She seems to be improving in defence each game. Has been a really consistent contributor all season for the Dockers. 

#10: Lara Filocamo- Fremantle

Gained a free kick and a 50-metre penalty from a high hit which put her in range of goal. She acted swiftly to even up the scores, and played a huge part in Fremantle’s fight-back.

#11: Hayley Miller- Fremantle

Had a great burst out of the middle to start the second half and set up Antonio’s first goal of the game. She was really busy in the third term, it felt like she was everywhere.

#12: Rhiannon Metcalfe- Adelaide

Her tap power was instrumental in giving the Crows first touch off the contest, and this gave them the upper hand in the midfield.

#13: Courtney Cramey- Adelaide

Thirteen disposals with 12 of them being kicks. Knows she has a good kick and used it to advantage on Friday night. 

#14: Ashlee Atkins- Fremantle

Converted a set-shot after being awarded a free kick inside her scoring range in the second term. Also contributed eight disposals in another solid game for her. 

#15: Sarah Allan- Adelaide

Allan is a very good one-on-one player deep in defence, and is hardly beaten. She was able to take the match-saving mark in the dying seconds, showing her composure and safe hands.

#16: Cassie Davidson- Fremantle

She didn’t really have any big moments within in the game but still contributed well with 12 disposals.

#17: Eloise Jones- Adelaide

She had the game-sense to play on when there was nobody on the mark in the last quarter, which gifted Erin Phillips yet another goal, as she kicked to her perfectly on a platter to her advantage.

#18: Jess Sedunary- Adelaide

She has some impressive pace and fancy footwork to get away from opponents. She showed this in the second term when she got around two Fremantle opponents.  

#19: Alicia Janz- Fremantle

Probably played her best game in the ruck for Fremantle this year. Contested well with Metcalfe and was able to contribute eight disposals herself. Has quick hands for a tall player. 

#20: Gabby O’Sullivan- Fremantle

Her intent was great all night. Did not get a lot of the footy but was particularly active inside 50. 

 

Brisbane vs. Collingwood

By Taylah Melki 

#1: Christina Bernardi- Collingwood

Stellar performance. She was in everything, and contested hard for the footy. Accurate in front of goal, slotting three majors. Applied heaps of physical pressure and had clean hands when dishing the footy off. Displayed excellent awareness throughout the whole game.

#2: Chloe Molloy- Collingwood

Another dominant display showing her clean hands and footy smarts. Used her speed to propel the Pies forward in a huge win for the black and white. Excellent composure. 

#3: Jasmine Garner- Collingwood

Was important for the Pies, she contested hard for the footy and provided a target up forward. Bagged a good goal and lead up at the footy.

#4: Jamie Stanton- Brisbane

Ran hard to get herself into good positions. Opened up space for her teammates and got plenty of touches.

#5: Emily Bates- Brisbane

She was a ball-magnet and used the footy cleanly. Had good speed and a penetrating kick. Stood up in the contest and fought hard to win the footy for her team.

#6: Jess Duffin- Collingwood

Good intercept mark, helped to control the backline. Showed good on-field leadership

#7: Caitlyn Edwards- Collingwood

Clean hands and great awareness to help set up scoring opportunities for her team mates. Was a tackling machine, laying 10 tackles and imposing herself on the contest.

#8: Kate Lutkins- Brisbane

She was in everything and contested hard for the footy. She dominated across the ground and made sure her presence was felt. Had clean hands and used the footy well

#9: Amelia Barden- Collingwood

Racked up the touches and used the footy well. Showed her class and footy smarts with ball in hand.

#10: Brittany Gibson- Brisbane

Booming kick and helped to propel the Lions forward. She got plenty of touches and showed good decision-making with ball in hand. Used the footy cleanly. 

#11: Moana Hope- Collingwood

Impressive in front of goal, provided a spark up forward for the pies. Contested for the footy well at ground level and used her body well to get into a good position.

#12: Ally Anderson- Brisbane

Good speed and helped to propel the Lions forward. Had plenty of the footy and scrapped hard to win the contested ball.

#13: Kaitlyn Ashmore- Brisbane

Had strong hands and took good contested marks. Competed hard for the footy both in the air and on the ground. Showed her skill and class with an impressive last-quarter goal.

#14: Breanna Koenen- Brisbane

Hands were clean and she was able to find targets. Racked up the possessions and used the footy well. Had strong hands, taking big grabs for the Lions.

#15: Jaimee Lambert- Collingwood

Clean hands and an accurate kick. Used her pinpoint precision to hit targets. Threw herself in the contest and took plenty of contested grabs.

#16: Lauren Tesoriero- Collingwood

Applied heaps of pressure and imposed herself on the contest laying six tackles. Used the footy really well and hit her targets.

#17: Sophie Conway- Brisbane

Had a slow start to the game but worked her way into the contest. Applied good forward-pressure and competed hard for the footy.  

#18: Tahlia Randall- Brisbane

Good leap in the ruck. Went down with an injury but came back out. Height difference didn’t seem to bother her, as she competed well in the ruck and won a few hit-outs.  

#19: Cecilia Mcintosh- Collingwood

Laid a few tackles and used the footy well. Got plenty of disposals and applied heaps of pressure for the Pies.

#20: Nat Exon- Brisbane

Took good contested marks and scrummed well for the footy. Slotted a stellar goal and fought hard throughout the match. 


GWS vs. Western Bulldogs

By Connor Ferris 

#1: Courtney Gum- GWS

Fantastic performance once again, battled well in the contest all night with 23 touches and a much-deserved goal.

#2: Emma Kearney- Western Bulldogs

Among the best for the Bulldogs as she continued to rack up the possessions. Got off to a flyer with nine touches in the first quarter, and ended up with 22 overall. Added eight tackles in a great all-round performance. 

#3: Alicia Eva- GWS

Terrific game. Able to create separation from her opponent and kick-start a number of passages of play for the Giants. Racked up 19 possessions and a goal.

#4: Jessica Dal Pos- GWS

After struggling to get into the game early, she played extremely well from midway through the second quarter, and kicked the goal to put the Giants in front. Ended up with 15 possessions and was a constant presence for the Giants going forward.

#5: Amanda Farrugia- GWS

Once again amongst the Giants’ best, and was great in all aspects of the game, 13 possessions, two marks, four tackles and a goal to polish off her work and secure victory for the Giants.

#6: Ellie Blackburn- Western Bulldogs

Great game again in Bulldogs colours. She was able to complement her fellow midfielders, while racking up 18 possessions herself. Blackburn made it tough on the Giants midfielders all night, laying four tackles to go along with her high-possession game.

#7: Monique Conti- Western Bulldogs

Another breakout performance from the young star. Clean ball-use all game, showed off her elite speed moving around the forward-flank, and set up plenty of forward 50 entries. Kicked a goal (first of her career) from 14 possessions and was involved in several Bulldog scores.

#8: Rebecca Beeson- GWS

Had a good game in the forward line with 11 possessions. Was unable to convert a major herself but was instrumental in setting the Bulldogs up with scoring chances, including Jodie Hicks’ goal.

#9: Kirsty Lamb- Western Bulldogs

Played very well through the middle of the ground. Got plenty of the ball with 16 touches, and displayed high levels of pressure with five tackles.

#10: Jodie Hicks- GWS

Was able to convert a goal in the second quarter off a great passage of play from the Giants. Provided relentless pressure to the Bulldogs defence with six tackles.

#11: Brooke Lochland- Western Bulldogs

A strong target up forward all game, and found space extremely well, resulting in eight marks. Wasteful in front of goal with just two behinds, but she will undoubtedly bounce back next round in a big game against the Dees.

#12: Angelica Gogos- Western Bulldogs

Good all-round game. Got plenty of the footy, marked the ball well and was relentless with her pressure around the contest.

#13: Britt Tully- GWS

Got a lot of the ball through the middle of the ground. Racked up 10 possessions with nine of them being kicks, which were mostly effective.

#14: Jenna Bruton- Western Bulldogs

Kicked a crucial goal in the third quarter to bring the Bulldogs back to within a goal. Was a constant presence for them inside 50.

#15: Libby Birch- Western Bulldogs

Great game down in defence. Her pressure was unbelievable, laying a game-high nine tackles. Her overall effort was fantastic.

#16: Hannah Scott- Western Bulldogs

Another nice game off the half-back flank and up towards the wing. Had the 15 possessions and a number of intercept marks.

#17: Bonnie Toogood- Western Bulldogs

Played well up forward without troubling the scores. Led at the ball very well with four marks.

#18: Erin McKinnon- GWS

After a record-breaking performance last week, McKinnon was once again dominant in the ruck with an astounding 34 hit-outs. Also added a mark to her great performance.

#19: Nicola Barr- GWS

Solid game down back. Had the 10 possessions with eight of them being kicks. A number of these resulted in rebound 50s to shut down the Bulldogs’ attack.

#20: Jacinda Barclay- GWS

Looked dangerous inside 50, but unfortunately wasn’t able to convert a goal. Continued her consistency in Giants colours. 

 

Carlton vs. Melbourne 

#1: Elise O’Dea- Melbourne 

O’Dea moved up forward for this game but was all over the ground. She kicked two early goals and finished with three for the day. Really good goalkicking action. She was on the end of every centering kick, and found space inside 50 with ease. 

#2: Tegan Cunningham- Melbourne 

Her attack on the footy in the first five minutes was electric, you just knew she was in for a good day. Kicked three goals and presented a great target for the Demons midfielders. 

#3: Shelley Scott- Melbourne 

Another all-round performance from Scott. She is a fantastic on-field leader and should be a part of Melbourne’s leadership group next year. A solid 19 disposals from her, many of which helped the Demons penetrate the ball forward. 

#4: Richelle Cranston- Melbourne 

Was able to use her power in the middle of the ground, as she played in the ruck a lot. She displayed good energy all over the ground, and made good use of the footy every time she touched it. Her contested marking is almost a spitting image of Sabrina Frederick-Traub’s. 

#5: Kate Hore- Melbourne 

Hore was lively in the forward-line and got on the end of a couple of kicks inside 50. Was able to convert two goals. Her goalkicking action is relaxed and she always stops and looks for an option with the ball in hand. Never in a rush. 

#6: Daisy Pearce- Melbourne 

Got a lot of the ball but turned it over a bit, which is unusual for her. Still, she was able to break her way into the game by laying some great tackles in the second half. Played one of her most aggressive games yet. 

#7: Katie Loynes- Carlton

Stood up for her side once again. Knows how to handle a pressure situation. She took everything the Melbourne players gave her, and excelled. Really smart kicking and clean hands. She was calm and composed with the ball in one instance then in the next she would be laying a fierce tackle. 

#8: Lily Mithen- Melbourne

Mithen played her best game for Melbourne on Sunday. She played that in-and-under style game that made her burst onto the scene last year. She was always at the bottom of the contest, showing how hard she went in for the ball. Was involved in some fierce tackles, and was able to challenge the Carlton midfielders. 

#9: Lauren Pearce- Melbourne 

Displayed incredible ball use for a ruckman. Made an impact in other areas of the ground, not just in the middle. A whopping 17 disposals for her in her second outstanding game in a matter of weeks. 

#10: Katherine Smith- Melbourne 

Continued her good run of form late in the season. Seems to be improving week-by-week. Laid six tackles in defence to ensure that the Blues forwards did not have any of the ball. 

#11: Kate Gillespie-Jones- Carlton 

Probably played her best game in the navy blue. A very underrated defender. One of the best runners in the competition, and was able to use her endurance to run through the corridor multiple times. Also has immense strength, she’s an extremely hard worker behind the scenes, and you can tell on the field. Wants to go at the footy all the time. 

#12: Sarah Hosking- Carlton 

Another handy contribution from her in the midfield. One of Carlton’s best on the day. 

#13: Georgia Gee- Carlton 

I was so happy to see her do well. She plays with great spirit and is a hard worker. She is one of the players who has benefited from the TAC Cup pathway and it is evident in her style of footy. She is a very mature player and once she puts some size on, she will be unstoppable. I was sitting behind her family when she kicked her first goal, and that cheer was very special. 

#14: Aliesha Newman- Melbourne 

Her acceleration was so impressive. Was able to move the ball forward really effectively. Had some quiet patches but was electric when she got the footy. 

#15: Madeline Keryk- Carlton

I thought she put in a really good effort for the Blues. She dug in deep all day. Keryk covered ground in defence and stood tall when Melbourne was surging forward. She displayed great aggression and got a lot of the footy. A very mature player. 

#16: Nicola Stevens- Carlton 

Played on Daisy Pearce for most of the day and was able to minimise her impact. Could become a renowned tagger because she’s a great tackler and can stop players in their tracks.

#17: Claudia Whitfort- Melbourne 

I thought Whitfort showed she has what it takes to be a consistent player in Melbourne’s line-up. Gets the ball all over the ground and is able to control it. She is settling into AFLW really well.

#18: Jess Hosking- Carlton 

Carlton would’ve missed her aggression last week. Hosking laid six tackles and was a pest in the midfield. She came out raring to go after being rested last week. You can tell she’s a player that hates sitting on the sidelines. Passion for footy is evident in her game style.

#19: Darcy Vescio- Carlton 

Vescio got a lot of the ball on the wing and used it exceptionally well. Could be a potential position change for her since Carlton’s midfield is struggling against the elite midfield groups of the competition. Was able to showcase her good speed and ball-use, something that we haven’t seen as of late because of Carlton’s lack of scoring. 

#20: Breann Moody- Carlton

Won plenty of taps in the middle of the ground, but her midfielders couldn’t run onto them. Continues to be a valuable player for the Blues. 

Crunching the numbers: AFLW – Round 5

WITH only three more rounds of the home and away season to go, wins are like gold in the race for finals positions. The Demons defeated the Lions with a thrilling one-goal victory on Friday, while the Giants reigned victorious against the Dockers on the road. On Saturday night, the Crows dominated the struggling Blues, and in Moe, the Bulldogs continued their red-hot form with a win against the Pies.
 
Melbourne vs. Brisbane
 
The Demons have upped their finals chances with a win against premiership favourites, Brisbane. As the final siren sounded, the Lions players pleaded with the umpire for a tentative free kick, but it was to little avail, going down by six points at Casey Fields. Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce was back to her best after an off week, kicking the opening two goals and racking up 24 disposals. On-ball guns Karen Paxman (25 disposals) and Elise O’Dea (23 disposals, 12 tackles) also played a big part in the win. Meanwhile, a valiant effort by Kate Lutkins (26 disposals) in defence kept Brisbane in the hunt for victory. The Lions almost fought their way back into the game, thanks to Sabrina Frederick-Traub’s three goals, but in the end they just fell short. A commendable performance by the Brisbane defence, lead by Kaitlyn Ashmore (16 disposals), held Melbourne to a total of 4.10 and a conversion rate of just 29 per cent.
 
Fremantle vs. GWS
 
An assertive 18-point win on the road keeps the Giants’ finals hopes alive in 2018. Six different goal scorers and a dominant ruck performance by Erin Mckinnon (39 hitouts) were key elements to the victory. Despite the Dockers winning the clearances 28-15, they were unable to capitalise when it came to attacking, and struggled inside 50. The Dockers only took one mark in their attacking half of the ground, while GWS took six. Courtney Gum was often responsible for kicking the ball onto a teammate’s chest, and got plenty of the footy herself, gathering 16 disposals. Gum also laid eight tackles, highlighting that her defensive work is just as good as her offensive work. For Fremantle, it was captain Kara Donnellan who stood up once again for her side, laying 10 impressive tackles to keep the Dockers in the hunt.
 
Adelaide vs. Carlton
 
Despite losing AFLW MVP, Erin Phillips to injury in the second quarter, the 2017 premiers put on a dominant display with a 35-point win against Carlton. The Crows outplayed their opponents in almost every aspect, with their on-ballers doubling Carlton’s clearances (30-15). Chelsea Randall lead from the front once again for Adelaide, dominating in all areas of the ground. Randall was able to rack up 15 disposals and seven tackles to complete another all-round performance this season. Partner-in-crime, Ebony Marinoff also had another impressive performance, gathering 16 disposals, and laying six tackles. It may not be a 21-tackle performance, but Marinoff proved that she could apply pressure in many different ways besides tackling, intimidating the Carlton midfielders with her strength and speed. For the Blues, it was up to Katie Loynes to get her side back on track after Adelaide kicked away. Loynes stood up when nobody else could, laying 10 tackles and putting her body on the line numerous times throughout the game. 
 
 
Collingwood vs. Western Bulldogs
 
The Bulldogs have consolidated their spot on top of the ladder with a win against the Pies. With only two rounds to go, a finals berth seems almost in the books for daughters of the west. Collingwood dominated in the ruck contest (43-16), thanks to another great performance from Emma King, but that did not worry the Dogs. Their star midfielders were able to read the taps, and penetrate the ball into their forward half. The likes of Ellie Blackburn, Emma Kearney and Kirsty Lamb combined to outplay the Pies in the middle of the ground, with 33 clearances to 13. This was the highest team clearance total of the round, showing how formidable the Dogs are in the midfield. Blackburn in particular continues to dominate, kicking a goal to go with her 17 disposals for the day. 

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 5

ROUND five was the round of high-possession games. The impressive Melbourne trio of Daisy Pearce, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea combined for 72 disposals, while Brisbane’s Kate Lutkins had her fair share of the ball with 26 possessions out of the backline. At Moe, Western Bulldogs star midfielder, Ellie Blackburn was able to gather 17 possessions in a best-on-ground performance, helping out Emma Kearney, who battled against Collingwood’s Brittany Bonnici during the match. Over in the west, GWS’ Courtney Gum continued to prove that age is no barrier, playing a great game in the midfield and racking up 16 disposals. 

Daisy Pearce was instrumental in Melbourne’s thrilling win over Brisbane on Friday night, gathering 24 disposals and kicking two goals. As always, she was complemented by fellow midfielders, Paxman and O’Dea, who each racked up more than 20 disposals. This elite Melbourne trio continues to make waves in the competition, and in our Team of the Week, with all three making their way into our best 21 yet again.

On Saturday night, the Crows put on a brilliant performance against Carlton and won comfortably by 35 points. In the process, they earned the most representatives in this week’s best 21, with four players making it into the side. But their opponents did not fare as well, as the Blues only have one representative. They are joined by the Dockers in only having one player in the Team of the Week, after they lost to GWS at home.

This round was dominated by the midfielders. Daisy Pearce, Courtney Gum and Ellie Blackburn all put on flawless displays, which assisted in getting their teams over the line. All three players polled a perfect 10 coaches’ votes. This assured that Pearce, Gum and Blackburn were automatic selections into this week’s best 21.

Picking the rucks was a hard decision to make, with many players playing well in round five. Coastal Titans recruit, Emma King was a standout in Collingwood’s loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday, and got the nod in our Team in the Week. However, GWS’s Erin McKinnon almost nabbed the ruck position from King, after equalling the highest number of hit-outs in an AFLW match (39). Carlton’s Breann Moody was also a sneaky chance, after racking 29 disposals and 11 hit-outs against the Crows, earning her a round five Rising Star nomination.

FB: Chelsea Randall (Adel), Kate Lutkins (Bris), Chloe Molloy (Coll)

HB: Ebony Antonio (Frem), Jasmine Garner (Coll), Ellie Brush (GWS)

C: Daisy Pearce (Melb)

HF: Eloise Jones (Adel), Phoebe McWilliams (GWS), Jacinda Barclay (GWS)

FF: Ruth Wallace (Adel), Sabrina Frederick-Traub (Bris), Brooke Lochland (WB)

R: Emma King (Coll), Ellie Blackburn (WB), Courtney Gum (GWS)

I/C: Katie Loynes (Carl), Ebony Marinoff (Adel), Karen Paxman (Melb), Elise O’Dea (Melb), Monique Conti (WB)

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.

Weekend Wash-up: AFLW – Round 5

WITH the finals at the forefront of everyone’s mind, the clubs pulled out all the stops to put their hand up for grand final contention. The Bulldogs once again put the rest of the competition on notice, now sitting a game clear at the top of the ladder and just about securing their position in the grand final. Saturday’s clash at Norwood Oval showed that Adelaide still had plenty of fight left in them, with a strong win against the struggling Blues. Melbourne also secured an important win over the Brisbane Lions, who were in ominous form.

Melbourne 4.10 (34) defeated Brisbane 4.4 (28)

In a close encounter, Melbourne came away with the four points, winning by a goal in the end after a late Brisbane fightback. After two weeks on the road and consecutive losses, the Demons hit their straps against an in-form Brisbane Lions outfit at home. Though the Demons struggled with inaccuracy in front of goal, they did enough to secure the win. The huge victory for Melbourne put them back in grand final contention, now sitting on equal points with the Lions at the top of the ladder.

Key moment:

The Dees were right at home at Casey Fields with captain Daisy Pearce showing her dominance. After a disappointing outing last week, with a mere nine disposals, the Demons captain came out firing. The Darebin Falcons recruit proved to be the difference for Melbourne this week with her strong on-field leadership and class. The inspirational leader dominated against the Lions, scrumming hard and imposing herself on the contest. Pearce slotted two impressive goals while racking up 24 touches for the night. Brisbane struggled to contain the superstar, who impressed across the field and lead her team to a much-needed victory.   

Impressers:

After failing to hit the scoreboard in the past few weeks, Brisbane forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub had a stellar game, bagging three important goals. The South Fremantle recruit starred, taking huge grabs and hitting the contest hard to get herself into dominant scoring positions. Teammate Kate Lutkins was inspirational, amassing 26 touches for the Lions with 21 of those being kicks. Melbourne University player, Kaitlyn Ashmore also stood tall for the Lions, taking a whopping eight marks for the match. Elite Melbourne duo, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea racked up the possessions with 25 and 23 disposals respectively. O’Dea’s tackling pressure was immense, with her 12 tackles ensuring that her physical presence was felt. Meanwhile, Tegan Cunningham hit the scoreboard for the Dees after missing out last week in the Northern Territory.

 

Fremantle 3.3 (21) defeated by GWS 6.3 (39)

The Giants were off to a flyer, dominating for the majority of the match against the Dockers. GWS put its foot down in the second quarter, keeping Fremantle to one goal for the first half and skipping away to a handy lead. The Giants won the contested marks and marks inside 50, while Fremantle struggled in both areas. The contested marks seemed to be the point of difference, as the Dockers were unable to compete with GWS’ marking and scoring ability.

Key moment:

GWS showcased their running game and tackling ability throughout the match. The Giants impressed with their ability to break lines and transition from defence to attack with ease. Meanwhile, their tackling pressure was immense, applying 77 tackles in comparison to Fremantle’s 69. They also laid six more tackles inside their attacking 50 than Fremantle, creating more forward pressure and showcasing their ability to trap the footy inside their half of the ground. Their hunger for the footy allowed them to create more scoring opportunities and set up strong structures.

Impressers:

In a team effort, the likes of captain Amanda Farrugia impressed for the Giants, bagging a goal and amassing 10 touches. Giants’ forward Phoebe McWilliams also starred once again, scoring a goal and making herself a physical presence up forward. The ever reliable 36 year-old, Courtney Gum stood tall for the Giants, bagging a goal and racking up 16 touches for the game, proving age is no issue. Meanwhile, Irishwoman Cora Staunton also impressed with her clean hands and commitment to the footy, working hard to slot a well- deserved goal. Dana Hooker starred for the Dockers, leading the way with 19 touches for the game, while the likes of Ebony Antonio also contributed with 19 possessions in a disappointing outing for Fremantle. Swan Districts recruit, Stephanie Cain was influential for the Dockers, slotting a goal and amassing 15 touches.

 

Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20)

In an unexpected draw last week, the Crows came out with a point to prove, dominating against the lacklustre Blues, who struggled to apply any scoreboard pressure. The Crows showed why they are still finals contenders, smashing the Blues by 35 points. Though Carlton showed glimpses of control particularly in the first few minutes of the third quarter, they were unable to match it with the reigning premiers who outclassed the Blues across the ground. Carlton were plagued by inaccuracy in front of goal while the Crows capitalised on their own scoring opportunities.

Key moment:

Though the Blues made all the running in the third quarter with plenty of repeat entries into their forward 50, they were unable to capitalise on their scoring opportunities. The Crows’ back-line stood up under pressure, keeping Carlton to two goals for the game with their impressive team defence. Adelaide weathered the storm in the third term to keep the Blues at bay, getting plenty of numbers around the footy and tackling hard to keep its finals hopes alive.

Impressers:

Ruth Wallace impressed for the Crows slotting three majors and showcasing her extreme agility. She was complemented by teammate, Chelsea Randall who was in everything, amassing 15 touches. Randall imposed herself on the contest and really flexed her muscles in the third quarter. Morphettville Park recruit, Eloise Jones was also a multiple goal-scorer, bagging two goals for the game in quick succession. Jones showed her class and skill, slotting a stellar goal from the boundary line and putting her in the running for goal of the year. Down the other end, the return of star forward ,Tayla Harris bolstered the Blues’ forward line but it was to no avail, as the Blues finished with a mere two goals by full time. The Zillmere Eagle recruit slotted one goal and racked up 11 disposals, doing what she could for her side. Katie Loynes also starred in the navy blue, laying 10 tackles and ensuring that her physical presence was felt around the ground. Loynes put her body on the line and contested hard for the footy.

Adelaide will be sweating on the fitness of superstar Erin Phillips, who once again succumbed to her ongoing quad injury.

 

Collingwood 6.5 (41) defeated by Western Bulldogs 7.7(49)

With the Pies searching for their second win, they fell marginally short against the in-form Western Bulldogs, who continued to shine. The Dogs led at every break, putting their hand up for grand final contention. The Magpies fought back to be within 12 points at the main break but could not do enough to over-run the skilful Western Bulldogs team. The Bulldogs now sit a game clear at the top of the ladder and look unlikely to miss out on the grand final.

Key moment:

The Western Bulldogs’ ability to capitalise on scoring opportunities proved to be the point of difference between the two teams, with the Pies dominating uncontested possessions, marks and tackles. Going at 63 percent efficiency inside the forward 50, the Dogs showed their ability to convert in front of goal, while Collingwood struggled to make the most of their forward 50 entries. Collingwood entered their 50 22 times, but only scored 11 times in comparison to the Western Bulldogs, who had 30 inside 50s and scored from 19 of them. This ultimately allowed the Dogs to control the flow of the game and dictate the terms in which the match was played on.

Impressers:

Christina Bernardi continued her hot form, having another stellar game for the Pies. She racked up nine disposals and slotted a major in the last quarter to bring Collingwood back into the contest. Teammate Caitlyn Edwards dominated up forward, bagging two goals and amassing 11 touches while Jasmine Garner impressed in defence, being the Pies leading disposal-getter, with 13 touches. The St Kilda Sharks recruit starred with her clean hands and good use of the footy, going at 60 percent efficiency. The efforts of Steph Chiocci with 12 possessions, and first-year player, Chloe Molloy who scored her first AFLW goal, also didn’t go unnoticed. After her seven goal-haul last week, Brooke Lochland backed it up, scoring another two goals in the Dogs’ win. Continuing her stellar season, Ellie Blackburn dominated across the ground with a goal and 17 touches. Rising star nominee, Monique Conti impressed again, contributing to the Western Bulldogs victory with 12 touches. Darebin Falcons player, Nicole Callinan showed her class with an important goal and 10 disposals for the Dogs.

Collingwood captain, Steph Chiocci may be in doubt for next week’s game after being reported for a high bump on Bulldogs defender, Libby Birch.

AFLW Previews: Round 5

IF the multiple record breaking round four sets the tone for the rest of the season then we are in for another explosive round of footy this weekend.  At this point in the season we move into the round having a better idea of the sides who can win the premiership and just how crucial percentage can be.

With a 73-point win and Brooke Lochland’s seven goal haul when three of their forwards are out, the Bulldogs made it official. They have their paws in the door for a spot in the grand final.  As do the Brisbane Lions, after flying somewhat under the radar so far and seemingly sneaking into second spot on the ladder.  Brisbane will take their shared team effort to the Demons’ home ground where the Dees will be aiming to bring out their early round form and flow after a fruitless couple of weeks on the road. 

The Bulldogs take on the Pies who celebrated a well overdue win against Melbourne in the extreme heat having waited almost a year to sing the song.   

Round five on paper looks the most crucial this season, with each side still within reach of a top two spot on the ladder.  But that will all be over come Monday.  The ability to respond will be the difference this weekend. 

Melbourne v Brisbane Lions

Friday, March 2, 7.05pm ACDT at Casey Fields

The Brisbane Lions have showed they can adapt to whatever conditions may come, with their ability to play as a group and stick to their structures. They were triumphant over Melbourne in severe weather last time they met. After being on the road since round three the Dees are set to play at their home ground against the strong moving pride of the Lions and get some much needed relief from the extreme weather they’ve had to contend with. This is an opportunity for Melbourne to take back control of their final prospects, get the game on their terms and bring back the Demon style of football.  They will be looking to keep Jess Wuetschner under control and limit the effectiveness of Sabrina Frederick- Traub.

The Demons have named Eden Zanker, who will bring some great strength to the forward line with her excellent marking ability and good kick on goal. First gamer Claudia Whitfort also comes in, who has great speed and will likely be an excitement factor for the Dees. Lauren Pearce will be back in the ruck while defender Brooke Patterson also returns for Melbourne.  The backline will be without experienced defender Meg Downie after suffering a shoulder injury against the Pies. 

For the Brisbane Lions, Shannon Campbell is back into the side in defence replacing Emma Pittman, the only change from their round four side. 

Fremantle v GWS

Saturday, March 3, 2.05pm WST at Fremantle Oval

On the back of a painful draw against Adelaide, GWS desperately need a win to stay in touch with the competition ladder leaders. They will be keen to lay the memory of the 2017 draw with Fremantle to rest with both teams scoring 43 points a piece on that day.

Fremantle sits in fourth position and is in good contention for a top two position with impressive wins over Melbourne and Collingwood.  The Dockers will have to keep an eye out for star GWS recruit Alicia Eva to limit the amount of damage the midfielder can do. Eva has been dominant with ball in hand and the Fremantle midfield will need to have the ability to respond to her impressive form. Fremantle may look to the likes of Lisa Webb, Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker to take up the task of stopping Eva. Fremantle has included ruck, Tayla McAuliffe along with forward Jade De Melo into the side.  Meanwhile, GWS has omitted midfielder Renee Forth and Pippa Smyth.

GWS’ Cora Staunton is a strong presence and an under-the-radar forward who has had eight scoring shots in 2018. Staunton has impressed in front of goal and has cemented her spot in the GWS line-up with her accuracy in front of goal and ability to take strong grabs.

For both sides, a loss will end any Grand Final hopes for the 2018 season. 

Adelaide v Carlton

Saturday, March 3, 6.40pm CDT at Norwood Oval

After a big loss to the Western Bulldogs, the Blues have made a heap of changes to this weeks line-up in hope to find some much needed form. In last year’s match against Adelaide, the Blues were competitive but fell away in the last quarter and no doubt realise this will be a great one to win if they bring their best to Norwood Oval, this Saturday.  The return of star forward Tayla Harris from her one week suspension may help to spark Carlton’s revival with her agility, accurate kicking and marking ability second to none. Harris is a true Blues’ game-changer and will be looking to get some early goals and momentum in the forward line.  Georgia Gee is a big factor too, she’s exciting to watch and back in the side this week for the clash in Adelaide. Katie Loynes is also in, the on-baller is hard to stop from playing her ‘tough’ style of footy.

After last weeks draw, the Crows have made some changes to the side with Rhianne Lugg and Sophie Armistead added to the midfield and Dayna Cox and Anne Hatchard in defence.  The Adelaide Crows are sitting seventh on the ladder on percentage below Fremantle and two points below Carlton.  The Crows are not out of the race just yet.  This is a must-win for both sides if they want to have a crack at making the grand final.

Collingwood v Western Bulldogs

Sunday, March 4, 2.35pm EDT at Ted Summerton Reserve

Both teams are coming off huge wins. Things went well for Collingwood in Alice Springs against Melbourne and if the momentum continues this will be a game of two in-form sides.  It makes sense that the same 21 Pies players are being named to travel to Moe for the clash against the ladder leaders with Kristy Stratton and Bree White on board.  Pies are on the bottom and have nothing to lose.  Last week their errors were low and Jasmine Garner and Christina Bernadi were pivotal.  Moana Hope was able to find some space and be a dominant figure for Collingwood in their forward. The Pies game plan seemed to fall into place with the fierce midfield pressure on the usual off-the-chain Melbourne midfield dynamic. The likes of experienced defender, Meg Hutchins, lead by example for the Pies scoring her first AFLW goal.

The Dogs launched an attack of their own against the Blues in round four.  They broke records with superstar Brooke Lochland slotting herself into the history books scoring a whopping seven goals for the game. The Western Bulldogs had a great day out, dominating across the ground and will be hard to beat coming off this form with the likes of Emma Kearney and Ellie Blackburn continuing to impress.  They’ve also included Emma Mackie and Deanna Berry up forward. 

A takeaway from round four is, anything is possible.