Tag: Kerryn Harrington

AFL Women’s Round 2 review: Magpies break arch rivals curse as Dees, Lions and Dockers remain unbeaten

COLLINGWOOD has beaten arch-rival Carlton for the first time in its AFL Women’s history, while Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle remained undefeated with the Pies at the conclusion of Round 2.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.0 (12)
MELBOURNE 2.3 | 2.6 | 4.8 | 4.8 (32)

Peter Williams

Melbourne has remained undefeated in season four of the AFL Women’s competition, claiming a 20-point victory over traditional rivals the Western Bulldogs under lights at Whitten Oval. The Dees were too strong, particularly in the second half where they booted two goals to one, but primarily controlled things in the first and third terms where they were able to build a lead and never let it up. Their overall disposal eficiency was better with 58 per cent to 45, while having an additional 35 more disposals, with a predominant kick-first approach. A telling stat for the Dees was their five marks inside 50 – leading to scoring opportunities – because once the ball hit the ground the Dogs showed some fierce attack on the ball. Melbourne was more prolific in the ruck, winning 31 hitouts to 18, but dominated the inside 50s with 34 for the match compared to just 15. By limiting the flow to the Dogs’ attacking end they never really gave them a chance, coming out deserving winners in the end.

Shelley Scott was the Dees’ top disposals winner with 16 touches, as well as six marks, three inside 50s and one tackle, while Daisy Pearce continued to remarked everyone of what she was capable of, working hard between the arcs with 15 touches, two marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Kate Hore was busy in the forward half with 14 disposals, four marks, four tackles and four inside 50s, while former Dog, Libby Birch got one-up over her former team and assisted strongly with 13 disposals, two marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Karen Paxman (16 disposals, two marks, five inside 50s, five tackles and a goal) and Maddison Gay (13 disposals, six tackles and two inside 50s) both his the scoreboard, while Casey Sherriff booted her first AFL Women’s goal in her second game.

The young pups showed some promising signs for the future, but were beaten in the ruck and had 11 more turnovers across the contest, unable to really impact the scoreboard often enough. The two goals came from Deanna Berry in the first quarter and Bonnie Toogood in the last, with the latter providing a good target inside 50 with 10 touches, two marks and a tackle to go with a goal. Aisling McCarthy was the Dogs’ top disposal winner with 15 touches, two marks, three rebounds and eight tackles, while Ellie Blackburn was strong without being her dominant self, finishing with 13 disposals, two marks, six tackles, two rebounds and one inside 50. Kirsty Lamb had 11 disposals – all kicks – as well as three marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while 2019 AFL Women’s Draft number one pick, Gabby Newton continued to show great defensive pressure with 11 touches and six tackles.

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: D. Berry, B. Toogood.
Melbourne: K. Paxman, M. Gay, C. Sherriff.

ADC BEST:

Western Bulldogs: A. McCarthy, E. Blackburn, K. Lamb, N. Ferres, G. Newton
Melbourne: K. Paxman, D. Pearce, K. Hore, M. Gay, L Birch

NORTH MELBOURNE: 1.0 | 3.0 | 5.1 | 6.1 (37)
GWS GIANTS 1.0 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 2.7 (19)

Michael Alvaro

Pre-season premiership favourite North Melbourne bounced back from a shock Round 1 loss, maintaining its undefeated record on Tasmanian soil with an 18-point win over GWS. While they looked scratchy early, the Kangaroos’ class through midfield shone through and helped the hosts break through for the 6.1 (37) to 2.7 (19) result.

In somewhat of a feeling out process throughout the opening term where both sides had a crack, Jasmine Garner found space inside forward 50 to boot the game’s first goal. Playing more of a midfield-first role, the former Magpie used her improved endurance to break into dangerous positions on the spread and still have an impact forward of centre. But her opening major was levelled by Haneen Zreika’s 50-metre penalty conversion, with the those the only two scores of a tight term.

But as the duo of Ashleigh Riddell – who suffered a season-ending injury against the GIANTS in 2019 – and skipper Emma Kearney started to take over, the ‘Roos began to take ascendancy. The home side’s stoppage superiority and willingness to attack through the corridor was rewarded with Garner’s second goal, while Zreika and Erin McKinnon were unable to capitalise on golden opportunities up the other end to remain in the contest. An Emma King goal with her first touch for the game came between those chances to rub salt in the wounds of GWS as North Melbourne took a nine-point lead into the main break. But North’s success in that term was somewhat soured as game-breaking forward Kaitlyn Ashmore was taken out of the contest following a clash of heads with GIANTS’ Irishwoman, Yvonne Bonner.

Despite the unfortunate and late injury to Ashmore, it was the GIANTS who were put on the ropes in the third quarter as Elisha King nailed a goal immediately after her own set shot attempt fell short. The luck simply seemed to be falling North Melbourne’s way in front of goal, but a coach killer of a free kick gifted Brittany Tully a six-pointer to keep GWS within touch. The GIANTS were organised well behind the ball and began to level the midfield battle as Alicia Eva went to war with Kearney, while Alyce Parker did her best to drive the visitors forward. It was to no avail though as Sophie Abbatangelo converted a tricky set shot from the pocket to make an unlikely comeback even tougher for the GIANTS, who kept kicking themselves out of the game.

Having put just about all their cards on the table during the third term, it seemed the GIANTS had little more to give in the run home. North Melbourne began to take complete control as the contest fizzed out, with Garner dominant at each stoppage and the improvised forward combination of Abbatangelo and Kate Gillespie-Jones too hot to handle. With the game played out on their terms, the ‘Roos ran out comfortable winners and got their season back on track.

North’s ball-winners in Kearney (21 disposals), Garner (20, two goals), Riddell (18 disposals), and Jenna Bruton (20) went a long way to ensuring they bossed the match, with Tahlia Randall’s sweeping efforts in defence massive in protecting the lead. Gillespie-Jones and Abbatangelo’s ability to hit the scoreboard in the absence of Ashmore and quiet form of Emma King was also handy, with contributors coming from across the board.

Eva (21 disposals) and Parker (16) were again at the core of GWS’ effort, while the debut of Lisa Steane (13 disposals) caught plenty of eyes. Zreika’s pressure and knack of finding the ball in advanced areas could have proven gamechanging if it weren’t for inaccuracy, with Pepa Randall and Elle Bennetts holding up the fort down back under immense pressure. Now 1-1, the GIANTS will hope to return to the winners list in Round 3 when they host West Coast, while the Kangaroos do battle with another winless newcomer, Richmond at Ikon Park.

GOALS:

North Melbourne: J. Garner 2, Em. King, El. King, S. Abbatangelo, K. Gillespie-Jones.
GWS: H. Zreika, B. Tully.

ADC BEST:

North Melbourne: J. Garner, E. Kearney, A. Riddell, J. Bruton, V. Saad, S. Abbatangelo
GWS: A. Parker, A. Eva, H. Zreika, L. Steane, P. Randall, E. Bennetts

WEST COAST 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.3 (15)
FREMANTLE 2.2 | 5.3 | 7.6 | 9.6 (60)

Peter Williams

Fremantle has made a mighty statement in the inaugural AFL Women’s Western Derby thanks to a massive 45-point smashing of competition newcomers, West Coast. The Dockers were far too experienced for the new Eagles, despite a number of players donning the gold and blue against their old side. From the get-go it was clear Fremantle was looking to back up its impressive win over Geelong a week earlier, booting two goals to zero in the opening quarter. The Eagles continued that dominance into the second term, booting three consecutive goals early to hand them a 32-point lead in the 14th minute of the term. It was not until former Brisbane talent, McKenzie Dowrick put one through that the Eagles fans had something to celebrate, though with Roxanne Roux’s second goal early in the third quarter and then Gabby O’Sullivan‘s major seven minutes later, the Dockers were home and hosted wit ha 34-point lead at the final break. Booting four goals last week, Sabreena Duffy got her name on the board in the final quarter, while Katie-Jane Grieve slotted a ninth goal for the purple side, pushing the margin out to a whopping 52 points. To their credit, the Eagles managed to get a consolation goal through Tarnee Tester 15 minutes into the last term, to bring the final deficit back to 45.

The Dockers easily won the inside 50 count 30-19, and looked better on the outside with 39 marks despite only having four more disposals. Kiara Bowers had a ridiculous 18 tackles to go with her 13 disposals, two mars, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Grieve was not far behind her with great forward pressure, laying 11 tackles with 11 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s and two goals. The two tackling machines were the standouts on the day, though Jasmin Stewart was also solid with 12 disposals, three inside 50s, four tackles and two goals, as was teenager Roux who booted two goals and took four marks from limited chances up forward. Kara Antonio tried hard all day with nine touches – all kicks – as well as three marks, three inside 50s and six tackles, while O’Sullivan booted a goal from 11 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s and two tackles.

The Eagles preferred method was winning the ball at the contest, but were well beaten on the outside and then on the scoreboard where it counted. Nonetheless there were still a number of impressive players backing up from their first round performance. Imahra Cameron was superb with 14 disposals, two inside 50s and four tackles, showing off her burst around the contest, joined by Emma Swanson as the equal team-high ball winner thanks to 14 touches, four inside 50s and two tackles. Former Docker, Dana Hooker led by example with 13 disposals, three tackles and three rebounds, while Niamh Kelly had 13 disposals, two marks and three inside 50s. Strong midfielder, Hayley Bullas had 10 disposals and five tackles, while first year talent, Mikayla Bowen finished with nine disposals and four tackles.

GOALS:

West Coast: M. Dowrick, T. Tester.
Fremantle: K. Grieve 2, R. Roux 2, J. Stewart 2, G. O’Sullivan, S. Duffy, G. Houghton.

ADC BEST:

West Coast: I. Cameron. E. Swanson, D. Hooker, N. Kelly, H. Bullas
Fremantle: K. Bowers, K. Grieve J. Stewart, K. Antonio, R. Roux

GEELONG 2.1 | 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 (20)
BRISBANE 1.0 | 1.2 | 4.3 | 6.3 (39)

By: Taylah Melki

After a scintillating first half, Geelong fell away in the latter stages of the game, with Brisbane proving too strong. The Cats opened up a 13 point lead at the start of the second term and seemed to have the ascendancy but the tables drastically turned in the third with the Lions piling on three goals to zip. The trip down south did not seem to bother the Lions who after a slow start, put their foot down in the second half only allowing Geelong to add one point to their total. Despite the Cats having a wealth of possession they simply could not capitalise on their opportunities with Brisbane’s intensity inside forward 50 giving them that attacking edge. They took eight marks inside the forward arc compared to their opponents nil and laid a whopping 11 more tackles inside 50 than Geelong which in turn correlated into more scoring chances.

In her first season back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, youngster Nina Morrison made her presence felt on the footy field with an equal team-high 18 disposals. Morrison threw her weight around from the get go using her clean hands to clear the pack while Olivia Purcell navigated her way around the ground with ease collecting 16 points and two goals. Rene Caris was strong in the ruck reading the flight of the ball well while Millie Brown found plenty of the ball with 18 disposals. Richelle Cranston was up to her usual tricks with her signature run and carry style of footy on display throughout the game but at times had limited options to kick to.

It was a game of two halves for the Lions with Emily Bates leading the way in the midfield brigade with her classy ball movement and go-get it attitude. Bates amassed a game high 22 disposals with 15 of them kicks and five marks to cap off her impressive performance. Ally Anderson was also amongst the best, often on the bottom of the pack or plying the ball out congestion with 16 touches and six tackles. Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw was the key target up forward for the Lions and she did not disappoint, kicking truly on all three occasions showcasing her impressive accuracy and goal sense.

GOALS

Geelong: O. Purcell 2, D. Higgins.
Brisbane: J. Tawhiao-Wardlaw 3, S. Conway, D. Davidson, G. Bodey.

ADC BESTS:

Geelong: N. Morrison, M. Brown, O. Purcell, R. Cranston, M. Brown
Brisbane: E. Bates, A. Anderson, S. Conway, J. Tawhiao-Wardlaw

CARLTON 1.0 | 2.1 | 2.4 | 3.6 (24)
COLLINGWOOD 2.2 | 4.2 | 4.3 | 6.3 (39)

By: Taylah Melki

For the first time in AFLW history, Collingwood downed old foe Carlton to make it a 2-0 start to the season. The girls in black and white got the jump early in enemy territory, nailing a goal in the first 25 seconds of the game, ultimately setting the tone for the match. The Pies showcased their intensity, slick ball movement and ability to lower the eyes going forward from the get go, establishing a slim lead in the opening quarter and building on it as the game went on. Both sides struggled in the third quarter unable to do any real scoreboard damage thanks to the footy pin-balling around the ground. Carlton will be ruing its missed opportunities, with three shots falling by the wayside. But when it came to crunch time Collingwood capitalised, slotting the first major of the fourth term and putting the nail in the coffin in the dying stages of the game.

Stacey Livingstone had a game to remember with the defender nullifying the influence of Carlton star forward Tayla Harris after her first quarter goal. Livingstone amassed 15 touches for the game, acting as a human wall in defence, not letting the ball pass her while Ash Brazill showed her defensive attributes. Former Diamond, Sharni Layton continued her hot form with some classy work out of the ruck and impressive work below her knees setting up two goals. Jordan Membrey did damage on the scoreboard with two goals while the likes of Chloe Molloy (17 touches, five tackles) and Jaimee Lambert (21 touches) proved to be a force to be reckoned with in the midfield.

The Blues were run by their young guns, with the likes of experienced stars Nicola Stevens and Darcy Vescio struggling to find the footy. Maddy Prespakis was a machine for the Blues powering through the constant physical pressure and using her quick hands to release the footy racking up 17 touches, 10 of which were kicks. Meanwhile 19-year-old Grace Egan was a real ball magnet notching up 18 disposals and laying a whopping game high 11 tackles, while Lauren Brazzale ended her eight-point streak with a well-deserved goal. Injuries to Katie Loynes and Kerryn Harrington further dampened Carlton’s performance with the two limping through the game.

GOALS:

Carlton: B. Walker, L. Brazzale, T. Harris.
Collingwood: J. Membrey 2, S. D’Arcy, S. Casey, J. Allen, A. Sheridan.

ADC BESTS:

Carlton: M. Prespakis, G. Egan, K. Harrington, G. Gee, J. Hosking
Collingwood: S. Livingstone, J. Lambert, C. Molloy, B. Bonnici, S. Layton

ADELAIDE 0.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 6.4 (40)
ST KILDA 1.1 | 3.2 | 4.2 | 4.3 (27)

Tom Cheesman

Reigning premiers Adelaide have defeated St Kilda by 13 points in a nail-biter at Hisense Stadium. The Crows were held goalless in the first term and trailed until late in the last quarter, but youngster Maddie Newman kicked truly with four minutes remaining to put them front and they did not look back. It was a heartbreaking result for the Saints, who were more efficient with ball-in-hand and appeared on-track for their first ever AFLW victory. Georgia Patrikios thought she extended her side’s lead with a set shot in the last term, but Crows defender Sarah Allan got her fingertips to it on the line. From there, Caitlin Gould levelled the scores after a contested mark in the goal square, then Newman’s goal and a sealer from forward Eloise Jones got Adelaide over the line.

Crows recruit Courtney Gum was outstanding, remaining calm under pressure when many of her teammates lacked composure. She finished with 19 disposals, five tackles and seven marks including a unique one-handed contested mark in the final term. Marijana Rajcic and Angela Foley were solid in defence and continually repelled St Kilda’s attacks, while Ebony Marinoff was dominant in the midfield with 26 disposals, five marks and four tackles.

For St Kilda, Caitlin Greiser provided a dominant presence up forward and kicked two goals. Tarni White was reliable in defence, while Kate McCarthy and Molly McDonald were dynamic up forward throughout the contest.

The Saints will look to reverse their fortunes on Friday night against Melbourne, while the Crows head to Geelong for a clash with the Cats on Sunday.

GOALS:

Adelaide: M. Newman, E. Jones, A. Considine, C. Biddell, S. Thompson, C. Gould.
St Kilda: C. Greiser 2, K. McCarthy, J. Sedunary.

ADC BEST:

Adelaide: C. Gum, M. Rajcic, A. Foley, S. Allan, E. Marinoff, S. Lee-Thompson
St Kilda: C. Greiser, T. White, K. McCarthy, G. Patrikios, K. Shierlaw, M. McDonald

2020 AFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Expansion sides to face off as inaugural sides do battle under lights tonight

ROUND 2 of the AFL Women’s is sure to bring plenty of big clashes and ignite old rivalries with Collingwood and Carlton set to do battle on Sunday while Fremantle and West Coast will take place in their inaugural Western Derby.

Friday, February 14

Western Bulldogs v. Melbourne at Whitten Oval, 7:40pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With one win on the board each expect a high intensity battle from the opening bounce in search of each teams’ respective second win. The Demons announced themselves to the rest of the competition last round, downing premiership favourites North Melbourne by two points and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into their Round 2 match-up. Similarly, the Dogs inflicted their fair share of pain on newcomers St Kilda with an impressive 25-point win. The Bulldogs were slick from the beginning, exploiting their oppositions’ inexperience and making them pay while the Dees fought hard to just get over the line and set up the makings of what could be a strong season.

After waiting 693 days the return of Daisy Pearce was exactly what the doctor ordered for Melbourne and their fans. The talented midfielder-turned-defender was right back in the mix, throwing her weight around and winning plenty of the pill around the contest, something that was sorely missed last season. Karen Paxman is as experienced as they come, able to sense the moment and have an impact while the likes of Elise O’Dea and Lily Mithen could prove a handful for the Dogs who lost a couple of key players during the off-season. Forward, Tegan Cunningham will be looking to have a big game after failing to trouble the scorers last round, only registering a point. But if Cunningham and Kate Hore get going the two could pose a dominant force inside forward 50, plus throw in the likes of Eden Zanker and the Dees have a lot to work with.

With Katie Brennan and Monique Conti both departing the kennel, the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb have taken their game to another level and will be hoping to have the same dominant impact as last round. Blackburn is a class act, able to read the play, apply strong tackles and consistently get involved while Hannah Scott has upped the ante. Number one draft pick Gabby Newton did not look out of place in Round 1 with her contested ball work and cleanliness, but will be keen to prove it was not a one-off with a strong showing against Melbourne. Up forward, Bonnie Toogood will have to deliver for the Dogs if they are to apply scoreboard pressure and get over the line.

Tip: Melbourne by 15.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 N.Callinan 10 H.Scott 22 A.Van Oosterwijck 28
Emerg: N.Morris-Dalton 25 H.Munyard 20

In: E.Brown, A.Van Oosterwijck
Out: I.Huntington (concussion), C.Moody (ankle)

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: S.Lampard 8 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: S.Heath 30 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 C.Sherriff 18 N.McEvoy 17 A.Kemp 36 E.O’Dea 5
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 M.Guerin 22

In: N.McEvoy
Out: M.Guerin

Saturday, February 15 

North Melbourne v. GWS GIANTS at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

North Melbourne will be looking to make good on a shock Round 1 loss when it hosts the GWS GIANTS in Launceston. Premiership points may soon become a premium for Scott Gowans‘ side as it looks to top a tricky Conference A, and the pre-season premiership fancies will expect to pick up their first set in this clash. But the GIANTS are one of the few sides which can match the ‘Roos for experience throughout their squad, and already ground out a win against league newcomer, Gold Coast in an opening round thriller. While North’s home ground advantage paid dividends in its inaugural season, the GIANTS were already made to endure tough conditions last time out, which should put them in good stead to tackle the often-windy Launceston afternoons. Last year’s result – which swung convincingly to the way of the ‘Roos – will also be in the back of players’ minds, but North knows it cannot take anything for granted.

The debut of Lisa Steane looms as one of the stories of the weekend, with the 24-year-old teacher surprised mid-week with news of her inclusion while working. Steane’s replacement of Ellie Brush in the side is the only change for GWS, with its strong and experienced core remaining for what should be a tough test. The midfield combination of skipper Alicia Eva and young gun Alyce Parker will again look to lead from the engine room, and their work will be cut out for them given the depth and strength of North’s midfield. The Kangaroos have made two changes as Daria Bannister (collarbone) and Bethany Lynch come out of the side for Jas Grierson and local girl, Abbey Green, whose inclusion could free up Emma King to play a more permanent key forward role. It makes the North Melbourne forward line one to behold, with a couple of capable tall targets and the likes of Daisy Bateman and Katlyn Ashmore at their feet.

Given how deep the hosts’ talent runs through midfield and around the ground, they are rightly fancied to bounce back to more typical form. The ‘Roos should also take solace in the feats of reigning premier Adelaide, as the Crows overcame a surprise first round loss in 2019 to go undefeated throughout the rest of the season. While last week’s outcome should drive North Melbourne to better results, the pressure will be on given not many would expect GWS to trouble them a whole lot. Nonetheless, the Kangaroos should fare much better in this clash against a side which looks like battling for mid-conference status, so do not be surprised if a statement is made.

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Trend 21 E.Kearney – C 9 A.Riddell 7
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 K.Ashmore 10
F: E.King 60 D.Bateman 11
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 J.Bruton 35
I/C: E.King 4 S.Wright 17 J.Grierson 19 E.Gavalas 22 A.Green 26
Emerg: M.King 23 B.Lynch 20

In: J.Grierson, A.Green
Out: D.Bannister (collarbone), B.Lynch

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: R.Beeson 6 L.Stephenson 12 A.Lister 14
C: E.Bennetts 22 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H.Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: R.Privitelli 19 I.Nielsen 25
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 J.Dal Pos 7 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 L.Steane 20 J.Allan 39 A.Schmidt 11 B.Tully 36
Emerg: T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: L.Steane
Out: E.Brush (unavailable)

Tip: North Melbourne by 20 points

Gold Coast v. Richmond at Metricon Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Taylah Melki

Two expansion teams are set to face off in an exciting clash at Metricon Stadium, the Suns’ first home game of the season. Both teams will be looking for their inaugural AFLW win, meaning there is plenty at stake for each side. The Suns were highly competitive over the weekend, narrowly edged out by the Giants by a mere one point while the Tigers simply had no answers for the rampaging Blues. Gold Coast went down in trying conditions with rain and wind impacting their ability to handle the ball cleanly and hit the scoreboard. On the other hand, Richmond were simply outclassed – unable to combat the torrential storm that was Carlton credit to their onslaught of pressure in the forward 50. But the girls in yellow and black know how to fight, not willing to be bullied across the field and will be hoping to assert themselves on a relatively young and inexperienced Gold Coast Suns outfit.

Richmond has a plethora of star power across the footy field, none bigger than captain Katie Brennan who has showcased her ability to turn a game on its head. Brennan will have to push up through the midfield, more to give players a chop out and provide added support despite her best work being done inside forward 50 with her leading patterns and strong hands. Full forward Sabrina Frederick could prove to be a handful for the Suns given her strength around the contest and ability to gobble up anything that comes her way while the nifty Monique Conti has shown she is all class with ball in hand, able to hit a target from a mile away. Phoebe Monahan was a ball magnet last round along with Christina Bernardi. The two will have to combine once again if they are to trouble the Suns.

Despite not being top-loaded in a-list class the Suns have a wealth of young up and coming stars that can do damage anywhere on the field. Youngsters in Serene Watson and Ellie Hampson offer plenty of excitement for the Suns’ line-up which could give them that upper hand thanks to their raw talent and unpredictability. Lauren Aherns led from the front last round, recording an equal team-high 15 touches running around ragged and burrowing in hard while Jamie Stanton was strong across the ground for the Suns. Captain Leah Kaslar will have her work cut out for her up against a strong Tigers side.

Tip: Richmond by 5.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 S.Watson 14
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 C.Hammond 29
HF: P.Parker 1 K.Surman 26 L.Kaslar – C 11
F: E.Hampson 21 B.Perry 16
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: J.Hewett 20 M.Ritson 12 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 T.Groves-Little 3

In: E.Hampson
Out: A.Hamilton

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: K.Jacques 10 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Wakefield 8 T.Stahl 24
F: L.McClelland 16 C.Bernardi 6
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 M.Brancatisano 5 G.Campbell 43
Emerg: E.Wood 17 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: G.Campbell
Out: H.Whitford (injured)

West Coast Eagles v. Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium 7:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Western Derby is the pride of Western Australia and for the first time ever at AFL Women’s level, the two sides can continue the tradition. West Coast and Fremantle go head-to-head in a Saturday night blockbuster with both teams coming off varying form. Last week, West Coast looked strong up against Collingwood at Victoria Park, booting the first goal and holding the Magpies scoreless in the opening term, before Collingwood took control and ran away comfortable victors in the end. Fremantle on the other hand did finish the job, knocking over fellow finalist Geelong in Western Australia in an effort that saw youngster, Sabreena Duffy win Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the week with four of her side’s six goals in the win. Both in Conference B – the more competitive conference – every win is absolutely crucial and neither side will want to relent against its biggest rival.

West Coast is the new kid on the block and they showed last week that they will be competitive, it will just be for how long. Dana Hooker plays her former side this week and it will unlikely faze the star who booted the club’s inaugural – and in the end, only – goal last week with a clever snap out of the pack. She was simply sensational across the four quarters, while Emma Swanson was also impressive with the pair leading from the front as vice-captain and captain respectively. Mikayla Bowen brought her tackling pressure from the Under 18s up to the elite level, while Imahra Cameron showed she has a nice set of wheels to burst away from stoppages and cause headaches for the opposition. Add in the smooth skills of McKenzie Dowrick coming off half-back and the reliability of Chantella Perera and Talia Radan on the last line and the Eagles are strong defensively. The Eagles have made just the one change for the this game, with the club’s social media coordinator Kate Orme making her debut for the injured Ashton Hill.

The expansion side will need to be strong defensively against a forward line that has plenty of excitement and X-factor, including Roxanne Roux, who showed exactly why she was the first West Australian taken last year with her high leaping and booming kick. She is a franchise player at centre half-forward, and with fellow teenage talent Mim Strom, the Dockers have a couple of gems they can build a side around through the ruck and key forward spots. Also up forward is Duffy who was simply sensational, and Ebony Antonio, who with partner and captain Kara and tackling machine Kiara Bowers rotating inside 50, there is no shortage of scoring options. The Dockers have made two changes for the team in Round 2 with Leah Mascall and debutant Bianca Webb coming in for Steph Cain – who unfortunately did her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – and Mia-Rae Clifford. The question this season will be around the Dockers’ defence given the young rucks have already earned their stripes, but against an Eagles side still looking to gel, they should be able to contain their yellow and blue state-based rivals. In order to win they will want to shut down Hooker and restrict the flow forward while putting plenty of pressure on the opposition defence. Given many of the Eagles have come from the Dockers, the remaining Fremantle players would love nothing more than to get one-up on them early in the season and it will likely happen.

Tip: Fremantle by 35.

WEST COAST

B: C.Perera 27 T.Radan 26
HB: B.Smith 14 S.McDonald 35 M.Dowrick 5
C: M.Collier 8 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: A.Atkins 9 K.Gibson 2 M.Bowen 1
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 K.Orme 32
Emerg: E.Bonser 6 C.Davidson 33

In: K.Orme
Out: A.Hill (knee)

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 L.Mascall 14
C: L.Rohde 11 H.Miller 19 J.Stewart 7
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 S.Duffy 6
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 G.Houghton 27
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: K.Flood 44 B.Webb 26 P.Seth 18 K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1
Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: L.Mascall, B.Webb
Out: S.Cain (knee), M.Clifford

Sunday, February 16

Geelong Cats v. Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium, 1:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This Conference A clash on Sunday looms as one of the more intriguing contests of the weekend. The teams head into the match with differing results from Round 1, as Brisbane toppled the Crows at home while the Cats fell to a Duffy-inspired Dockers outfit in the west. Heading into the clash, Geelong will start favourites against the current conference leaders, playing at home and with more experience in the line-up. For the Lions, they have youthful excitement about them and will worry a few teams. They will not win every game in the manner they did in Round 1, but you get the feeling they will push most teams and show that they are building something special for the future.

The Cats have not had to make any major changes to its line-up that fell to the Dockers last Sunday evening, bringing in Rene Caris and Maddy Boyd to their extended squad. Last week it was the developing midfield of Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster, teaming with fellow 19-year-olds, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Nina Morrison, while Julia Crockett-Grills found plenty of the ball as well. They are still missing All Australian defender, Meg McDonald from their back five, but the Cats have the reliable Mel Hickey and Maddy McMahon helping youngsters Millie Brown and Denby Taylor. Geelong is growing a great culture of youth all coming through together, and with Phoebe McWilliams and Richelle Cranston bringing experience to the forward half, there is a nice balance of talent that should get the job done in this match.

Brisbane does not necessarily have the names on paper that Geelong has, but some of the players will become household names sooner rather than later. Jess Wuetschner is a big loss for the Lions, having been rested after being struck by lightning on the eve of the season. While she got through the first game, the Lions have erred on the side of caution for a game-by-game basis. Coming into the side on an extended bench are Gabby Collingwood, Jordan Zanchetta and Jade Ellenger. Of the trio, Ellenger has played just the two games and is one of a number of teenagers who are in the Lions line-up alongside recent draftees, Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and second year players, Nat Grider and Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw. Sophie Conway made a successful return from a long term knee injury last round, and along with Ally Anderson and Emily Bates providing plenty of run and hardness through the midfield. Throw in the impenetrable Kate Lutkins at centre half-back and they have enough about them to worry the Cats.

Tip: Geelong by 15.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.Hickey – C 18 D.Taylor 28
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 M.Maguire 7 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Webster 21 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Goring 44 G.Clarke 17 R.Caris 1 M.Boyd 26

In: R.Caris, M.Boyd
Out: None

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 G.Bodey 15
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 M.Moloney 28 G.Collingwood 7 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 J.Zanchetta 2 J.Ellenger 5

In: G.Collingwood, J.Zanchetta, J.Ellenger
Out: J.Wuetschner (managed)

Carlton v. Collingwood at Ikon Park, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Traditional rivals and Conference B hopefuls Carlton and Collingwood are set to do battle at Ikon Park for a four time in their histories, in what promises to be a test of either sides’ true credentials. Both teams come in having feasted on competition newcomers in their opening fixtures, both running out on home turf in comfortable starts to the season. Bizarrely, last week’s season opener was an away match for Carlton, but the Blues once again hold home status against the ‘Pies in this match-up. While the extended history between these two powerhouse clubs is storied, their AFLW meetings have been much more one-sided – with Carlton taking out all three fixtures but the Magpies getting closer to a win every year. The Blues also fared much better in season 2019, embarking on a grand final run while Collingwood floundered and took out the Conference B wooden spoon. But with marked improvement already shown, Collingwood has the elite talent to take it to the Blues.

Much of the off-season talk and narrative coming in to the match surrounded ex-Carlton skipper and new Magpie, Bri Davey. Unfortunately for both neutrals and ‘Pies fans, the 2017 All Australian is set to miss this game after picking up a lower leg injury in Round 1. Davey’s sole omission opens the door for one of Kristy Stratton, Eliza Hynes, or Ebony O’Dea to enter the winning lineup, which has struggled at times to fill out depth outside of its formidable spine. With Davey out, the emphasis down back will be firmly placed on the pairing of Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill, while Brittany Bonnici and skipper Stephanie Chiocci will have to dig in hard to combat a powerhouse Carlton midfield. The ruck battle between Sharni Layton and Carlton’s pairing of Breann Moody and Alison Downie will also be one to watch, with Layton’s ability to provide use to her midfielders potentially key to shutting down a usually dominant Carlton engine room.

Twins Sarah and Jess Hosking will take the field together for the first time this year in navy blue, as the latter slots in on the wing while Jess Edwards and Abbie McKay help make up an extended bench. The Carlton core of Madison Prespakis, co-captain Katie Loynes, Grace Egan, and Georgia Gee remains, while the forward targets of Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio, and Nicola Stevens should also work to stretch the aerial capabilities of Collingwood’s back five. Round 1 Rising Star nominee Lucy McEvoy is also primed to back up an eye-catching debut performance as part of the midfield-forward rotation, only adding to the hardness of Carlton’s overall unit. The only potential concern for the Blues may come down back as Jayde Van Dyk exits the side through injury, but the half back line of Kerryn Harrington, Lauren Brazzale, and popular mature-age draftee Vaomua Laloifi has already proven solid and will have to be as much against the likes of Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan. While this fixture has been somewhat of a mismatch in previous years, the increasing number of intriguing match-ups on across the field suggests this one should be a corker, with the Pies looking to elevate their game against the better-established Blues.

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 L.Brazzale 12
C: C.Dalton 15 G.Gee 19 J.Hosking 11
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 L.McEvoy 13
F: A.Downie 30 J.Doonan 26
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: S.Hosking 10 N.Plane 32 B.Walker 14 K.Loynes 2 D.Vescio 3 J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

In: J.Hosking, J.Edwards, A.McKay
Out: J.Van Dyk (injured)

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 E.Fowler 15
C: S.Rowe 7 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Casey 22 K.Stratton 41 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 M.Shevlin 35 E.Hynes 11 E.O’Dea 50

In: K.Stratton, E.Hynes, E.O’Dea
Out: B.Davey (shin)

Adelaide Crows v. St Kilda at Hisense Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This is expected to be an exciting show of talent for the future, with one side having been there and done it all – twice – while the other is still looking to find its feet in the new league as part of the expansion. A wounded Adelaide Crows side welcomes back some troops for the Round 2 clash against St Kilda with this match considered a must-win contest for the reigning premiers. The Crows were well beaten by a hungry Brisbane Lions side in Queensland, showing how tight the competition has become. Not even a record-breaking disposal count from Anne Hatchard (35) was enough to help the Crows get up in Round 1, and they will want to get a win on the board before the top sides in their conference get too far away. The benefit for the Crows was that fellow premiership contender, North Melbourne also lost, while last year’s finalist Geelong went down too. For the Saints, there are no expectations on their season with such a young list, but being competitive is the bare minimum expected, and after a nervous first quarter last week, the Saints settled and seemed to match it with the Western Bulldogs for large parts of the second half.

The Crows are still missing a host of names heading into this game led by Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall – the latter of whom will play no further part in the season – but have brought in a couple of debutants in Caitlin Gould and Montana McKinnon. Gould hails from Glenelg and provides a tall presence up either end, while McKinnon is a dual All-Australian at Under 18s level, and could genuinely start ruck if they required her to. Expect her to spend time as a forward however, a role she played in South Adelaide’s premiership side, while rotating through the ruck and providing some strong contested marking ability around the ground. Ebony Marinoff, Hatchard and SANFL Women’s best and fairest winner Najwa Allen form a strong onball brigade and with former MVP, Courtney Gum in the team up forward alongside Danielle Ponter and Stevie-Lee Thompson, they still have the firepower to get the job done. Sophie Li has also come into the side for the Crows, as the only omission was Rachelle Martin – a top-up player who was brought on due to Adelaide’s expansive injury list.

The Saints have made three confirmed changes, with South Australian Nadia Von Bertouch – missing a return to the state where she captained North Adelaide last season – while Kelly O’Neill and Emma Mackie have been omitted. Coming into the side is a mix of youth and experience with former Collingwood talent, Darcy Guttridge and ex-North Melbourne players Alison Drennan and Courteney Munn named in the extended side. Also in to potentially make their debuts are ruck, Poppy Kelly and tall utility, Isabella Shannon who continue the trend of youth at the club. Georgia Patrikios starred in Round 1 with a Rising Star nomination, and expect her to show just as much excitement out on Hisense Stadium. Teaming up with the likes of Molly McDonald, Nicola Xenos and Tarni White, the youth of the Saints will come good in time. They still have experience on the list, with former Crow Jess Sedunary set to make her return to the AFL Women’s having kicked one of the Saints’ two goals last week. While the Saints have plenty to like, expect the Crows to do enough to win in a tight one, even with a few still out. They are desperate, hungry and at home, so a win is non-negotiable when it comes to their premiership aspirations.

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 C.Biddell 12
HB: A.Foley 3 S.Allan 39 M.Rajcic 32
C: S.Li 19 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: E.Jones 2 C.Gum 5 R.Forth 27
F: D.Ponter 15 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: C.Gould 1 A.Considine 16 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 N.Gore 7 M.McKinnon 21 J.Tabb 28

In: S.Li, C.Gould, M.McKinnon
Out: R.Martin (ineligible)

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: D.Guttridge 5 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 R.Dillon 25
I/C: I.Shannon 11 A.Brown 2 C.Munn 13 N.Xenos 27 C.Whitfort 4 A.Drennan 8 P.Kelly 16

In: D.Guttridge, I.Shannon, C.Munn, A.Drennan, P.Kelly
Out: K.O’Neill, N.Von Bertouch (knee), E.Mackie

ROUND 2 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Collingwood / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Carlton / Adelaide
Peter Williams [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide

AFL Women’s Round 1 preview: Four new teams begin elite journey

AFTER nine months of waiting, AFL Women’s 4.0 is here and four more teams enter the fray in a bid to take home the 2020 premiership. Adelaide won its second title in three years last season, with the Western Bulldogs the only other premiership winner in the competition. With the Crows wounded and plenty of movement over the off-season for the four news side – Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast – this round is set to answer quite a few questions.

Friday, February 7

Richmond v Carlton at Ikon Park, 7.45pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The opening night of AFL Women’s 4.0 is under lights at Ikon Park with a familiar feel, but a bit of a twist. Yet again, Carlton opens the season, but instead of Collingwood (as it was in the first two seasons), it will now be Richmond – mirroring the AFL Men’s competition season opener. A lot can change in 12 months, and this time last year Carlton was coming off a wooden spoon with a new coach in charge looking for some respect in the competition. Now looking ahead to 2020, the Blues are fresh off a Grand Final appearance and hungry to go one better.

The big question mark for the Blues in this match will be how they go without their inaugural captain in Brianna Davey who switched to Collingwood for a war chest of draft picks. They should not have to look too far for a replacement with Geelong Falcons premiership skipper, Lucy McEvoy immediately entering the fray for her debut alongside Richmond VFLW and former Murray Bushrangers’ utility, Grace Egan. Both provide a hard edge to the side and crack into a team that is hard to find a spot. Their defence is still relatively inexperienced compared to others, so Kerryn Harrington will be crucial in settling them down back there. Interestingly, exciting forward Darcy Vescio has been named in the centre, which makes for a dynamic contest against fellow traditional forward, Katie Brennan.

The Tigers have a tonne of debutants which does not come as a surprise considering it is Richmond’s inaugural match. First year draftees, Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels), Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights) and Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges) headline the young talent, but the depth of the midfield from the likes of Kodi Jacques (Bendigo Pioneers) and Maddy Brancatisano (Northern Knights via Melbourne AFLW) will be great to see. Monique Conti and Christina Bernardi are the class players, and Carlton will need to find a way to limit their influence. In saying that, with Madison Prespakis and Sarah Hosking in midfield, expect the Blues to get on top through the middle with that extra hard edge. Carlton should win this game based on experience and more readymade players, but Richmond should show some fight and give their fans something to smile about for 2020.

Tip: Carlton by 15.

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: S.Molan 1 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Bernardi 6 T.Stahl 24
F: C.Wakefield 8 L.McClelland 16
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 K.Jacques 10 M.Brancatisano 5 H.Whitford 20
Emerg: C.Fitzgerald 26 E.Wood 17

CARLTON

B: N.Plane 32 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 J.Van Dyk 36
C: S.Hosking 10 D.Vescio 3 C.Dalton 15
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 J.Doonan 26
F: A.Downie 30 B.Walker 14
Foll: B.Moody 16 K.Loynes 2 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: L.Brazzale 12 G.Pound 6 G.Egan 1 L.McEvoy 13 G.Gee 19
Emerg: J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

Saturday, February 8

Greater Western Sydney v Gold Coast, Blacktown International Sportspark, 1.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

While these two sides are the newest teams in AFL Men’s, GWS GIANTS are the far more experienced team in AFL Women’s. One of eight inaugural sides in the competition, they welcome the Gold Coast SUNS to the league at Blacktown in a Saturday afternoon blockbuster. While most Victorian fans might be more focused on games either side of his match, the game is expected to answer a lot of questions, particularly about Gold Coast and where they might be at in their preparation for their inaugural season.

The SUNS on paper have talent, it is just trying to piece it all together and gel, which might take some time for it to work. Jamie Stanton remarkably plays in her third inaugural game for a side, having previously represented Brisbane (2017) and North Melbourne (2019). She will need to use all of her experience to lead a young team into battle, with essentially Tiarna Ernst in midfield, Leah Kaslar down forward and Sam Virgo in defence as the others who can provide that extra experience. Former Crows, Sally Riley and Jasmyn Hewett will no doubt give insight into their last club’s success, but the ones to watch are more so the young talent. Alexia Hamilton is a high-flying tall who can take a grab, Lauren Bella is a developing tap ruck, and both Serene Watson and Dee Heslop are talented young defenders who will only get better with more exposure. You cannot discount Hannah Dunn either, with the former Norwood ball winner thrown straight into the midfield.

Bella will have her work cut out for her against arguably the best pure ruck in the competition – Erin McKinnon. She leads a loaded midfield of Rebecca Beeson, new captain Alicia Eva, young gun Alyce Parker, Jes Dal Pos and Nicola Barr. Despite the last minute retirement of Amanda Farrugia, the GIANTS look as strong as ever on paper, with just the question marks coming over whether they can continue their form from last season on a more consistent basis. Pepa Randall is a great asset to have off half-back, and their experienced defence should be able to contain the SUNS like it did against Brisbane in the practice match not long ago. Cora Staunton continues to be a dangerous option wherever she plays, while Haneen Zreika showed promising signs in her games last year. You would imagine the GIANTS will kick their season off with a strong win here, as the SUNS are young and while they will get there, are not quite in the same window as the GIANTS – but watch out when they are fully developed.

Tip: GWS by 35.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: L.Stephenson 12 T. Hetherington 9
HB: P.Randall 21 E.Brush 10 E.Bennetts 22
C: J.Dal Pos 7 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H. Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 A.Schmidt 11
F: J.Hicks 5 R. Privitelli 19
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 R. Beeson 6 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 I.Nielsen 25 J.Allan 39 A.Lister 14 B.Tully 36
Emerg: L. Steane 20 T. Mackrill 32

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 C.Hammond 29
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 M.Ritson 12
HF: B.Perry 16 A.Hamilton 30 P.Parker 1
F: L.Kaslar – C 11 K.Surman 26
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: S.Watson 14 J.Hewett 20 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 M.Roberts 10

Melbourne v North Melbourne, Casey Fields, 3.10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Two of last season’s most unlucky finals absentees meet in a cross-conference grudge match, as Melbourne and North Melbourne go head-to-head at Casey Fields. One of the inaugural AFLW sides, the Demons will be seeking to add ultimate glory to an already storied history this year, but an opening fixture against one of the flag favourites makes for a tough initiation. While the Dees’ four wins were only good enough for fourth place in Conference A, the Roos’ can count themselves even more unfortunate as two losses at the end of their maiden campaign saw them heartbreakingly miss finals. Still, with a stacked squad and added depth, North Melbourne have a great opportunity to bounce back in 2020 – starting here.

Scott Gowans‘ side fared well in the off-season to bare no major changes, losing only three players to newly-established clubs and bringing in some mature-aged depth come draft time to hint at a real flag tilt. Sarah Wright and Ellie Gavalas are two VFL Women’s standouts who landed on the Roos’ list and are set to debut off the bench on Saturday, adding some grunt to the already hardened North Melbourne midfield led by skipper, Emma Kearney. There may be some goals to make up inside attacking 50 given 2019 equal-leading goalkicker Mo Hope was unceremoniously delisted, but ruck-forward Emma King has shown her worth in front of the big sticks, while Kate Gillespie-Jones is a capable tall foil and Kaitlyn Ashmore could rotate through the forward line from midfield alongside Jasmine Garner. With the midfield battle a relative stalemate, depth across the ground will be key to the cause of either side.

The Dees will be buoyed by the long-awaited return of captain and women’s football pioneer, Daisy Pearce, who is set to be eased in off half-back given her side’s strength through the middle. Her presence in the back five alongside boom recruit, Libby Birch will be important given the danger North’s forward flankers present, with her trademark ball use sure to make a difference. Further afield, and Melbourne is one of the few sides which boasts an engine room to match the grunt of North’s, with Karen Paxman set to lead the line next to Elise O’Dea and young gun, Tyla Hanks while further depth lies on the bench. The forward half was seldom an issue for the Dees last year too, so their even spread points toward a cracking contest. While Melbourne will come in as a slight underdog, the Demons’ experienced movers and the fact they managed just one fewer win than North during last campaign without Pearce means they stand a real chance here, and could become an instant frontrunner in Conference B with a win. But North Melbourne has proven had to look past despite struggling against the top sides, so should come up trumps.

Tip: North Melbourne by 7.

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: G.Colvin 32 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: C.Sherriff 18 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 E.O’Dea 5
I/C: S.Heath 30 M.Gay 3 M.Guerin 22 A.Kemp 36 S.Lampard 8
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 K.Petrevski 31

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 B.Lynch 20
C: J.Trend 21 A.Riddell 7 J.Bruton 35
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 El.King 4
F: Em.King 60 K.Ashmore 10
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 E.Kearney – C 9
I/C: D.Bannister 2 A.Gilroy 8 D.Bateman 11 S.Wright 17 E.Gavalas 22
Emerg: N.Bresnehan 12 J.Grierson 19

Brisbane v Adelaide, Hickey Park, 4.10pm AEST

Michael Alvaro

Inaugural AFLW sides and Conference A rivals, Brisbane and Adelaide are primed to kick off their seasons in the Sunshine State, with the visiting reigning premiers out to defend their 2019 flag in 2020. The Crows were nothing short of dominant during last year’s campaign, going down only in the first regular season round before deservedly being crowned premiers in front of an adoring Adelaide Oval crowd – packed to the brim, no less. Adelaide has only added to its already deep squad over the off-season, despite being dealt a cruel blow weeks out with star defender Chelsea Randall ruled out for the year, but will come as the clear competition benchmark. On the other hand, Brisbane struggled throughout 2019 to notch just two wins having been repeatedly depleted throughout the off-season, but can lean on a reliable spine despite another 15-player coming out of its squad.

The Lions will field eight debutants in its Round 1 side, with top draftees and Academy graduates Lily Postlethwaite and Belle Dawes set to make theirs off the interchange bench. The 2018 best and fairest, Kate Lutkins leads the back six alongside mature-age recruit, Cathy Svarc, while skipper and stalwart Emma Zielke lines up on the wing outside of midfield jets, Ally Anderson and Emily Bates. Recent lightning strike survivor Jess Wuetschner will lead the forward line with Sophie Conway bringing some youthful exuberance and Lauren Arnell, the hard-edged experience. The Lions’ inability to put massive scores on the board will need to be rectified given Adelaide’s strength in that area, with added midfield strength – albeit through draftees – key to ensuring the forwards are given enough opportunity.

The Crows have had to adjust heavily, naming five debutants of their own with further injuries seeing the magnets shuffled before Round 1. Angela Foley and Marijana Rajcic will hold up the defence as Ebony Marinoff moves into midfield to replace recovering reigning MVP Erin Phillips, with Randall’s absence leaving a gaping hole in the back five. Stand-in skipper Jessica Foley is set to ruck with Montana McKinnon also unavailable, while a couple of late changes see emergencies Jaimi Tabb and Caitlin Gould slot in as Sophie Li and Courtney Cramey come out. It is a lot to make good for and while if any side has the depth to cover such losses, it is the Crows, Adelaide proved slow starters against a team it would normally beat last year – making for a bad omen. But even so, the Crows’ depth seems enough to overcome the changes, with a wealth of experience and the confidence of a premiership side holding up their chances. The Lions may struggle this season, but expect them to give it a red hot crack early on.

Tip: Adelaide by 30

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 J.Wuetschner 23
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: G.Bodey 15 M.Moloney 28 I.Dawes 17 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6
Emerg: J.Zanchetta 2 G.Collingwood 7

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39
HB: A.Foley 3 M.Rajcic 32 N.Campbell 20
C: R.Forth 27 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: D.Ponter 15 C.Gum 5 C.Gould 1
F: S.Thompson 14 E.Jones 2
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: 22 M.Newman 17 A.Considine 16 C.Biddell 12 N.Gore 7 J.Tabb
Emerg: R. Martin, C. Cavouras

Sunday, February 9

Collingwood v West Coast, Victoria Park, 1.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

Heading back to Collingwood’s traditional home, the Magpies will no doubt give one of the AFL Women’s newest sides a hostile environment from which to make their debut in the competition. Fresh in supporters minds will be the Eagles’ men’s side triumph a couple of years ago in the AFL Grand Final, and with the new kids on the block entering the Magpies nest, it will certainly be a match to watch. Collingwood has been far from successful so far in its short history, failing to make finals and picking up a wooden spoon each year, leading to a coach change in Steve Symonds. West Coast join Fremantle in the west and picked up a host of recycled players to try and get them off to the best possible start.

For the first time in some time, the Magpies head into a match as favourites, having finished the year on a high last year following a victory over Brisbane. They came close against a number of sides, but showed they were gradually working as a cohesive unit following a massive upheaval over the previous off-season. After targeting youth the year before, the Magpies picked up the recruit of the off-season in Davey, who immediately adds grunt and class to an onball group that lacked a bit of pizazz. Sharni Layton‘s improvement in the ruck has been phenomenal, and along with VFL Women’s leading goal kicker and disposal winner, Jaimee Lambert, the Magpies will back themselves to win against most midfields. The only possibly bigger name to don the black and white this round is Chloe Molloy who returns after missing the entire 2019 season due to injury. The 2018 AFL Women’s Rising Star has been named in attack after making her name in defence during that season. With Ash Brazill‘s stunning transformation from netballer to footballer, it has allowed Molloy to play in attack and along with Sarah D’Arcy create some scoring opportunities. Oakleigh Chargers’ speedster Alana Porter makes her debut in the side, so watch for her set of wheels as along with the likes of Sarah Rowe and captain Steph Chiocci, give the Magpies some outside run.

While the Magpies will start favourites, the Eagles have gone about recruiting some important players to their line-up. Former Fremantle star Dana Hooker is every bit an equal to the Magpies’ Davey, while former GIANTS’ onballer Emma Swanson and Lambert will have an equally important head-to-head. Kellie Gibson and Ashlee Atkins will be looked upon to provide some goals, while Talia Radan will try to hold down the defence, with the former Adelaide and Melbourne player amongst a host of young stars. McKenzie Dowrick will be better for last year crossing back to her home state from Queensland, while Mikayla Bowen is as talented as any other player entering the AFL Women’s from the Under 18s last year. Former hockey player, Sophie McDonald has been thrown in the deep end to hold down centre half-back, while former Hawthorn VFL Women’s premiership player and best on ground in the premiership, Chantella Perera also has been named on an extended interchange to make her potential debut. The Eagles will give the Magpies a run for their money, and it would not be a complete shock to see the new side get a win, but the Magpies have built more depth, have more experience and are at home, so expect them to get up in a close one.

Tip: Collingwood by 12.

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 S.Casey 22
C: M.Shevlin 35 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 B.Davey 3 J.Lambert 13
I/C: E.O’Dea 50 E.Fowler 15 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 S.Rowe 7 E.Hynes 11 A.Sheridan 14

WEST COAST

B: B.Smith 14 T.Radan 26
HB: M.Dowrick 5 S.McDonald 35 A.Hill 16
C: M.Bowen 1 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: K.Gibson 2 A.Atkins 9 M.Collier 8
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 C.Perera 27 E.Bonser 6 K.Orme 32

St Kilda v Western Bulldogs, RSEA Park, 3.10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

St Kilda is set to become the fourth of the expansion clubs to take centre stage in Round 1, facing a tough Conference B initiation against inaugural AFLW club, Western Bulldogs. Fielding a side which combines plenty of experience and a blooding of exciting youth, the Saints will have to work for their maiden elite-level win with the Bulldogs a potential season 2020 climber. Under the guidance of new coach, Nathan Burke and with a number one pick in tow, the Bulldogs are primed to rectify the two-win season which saw them finish last in Conference A.

There could be as many as six Western Bulldogs debutants with draftees Gemma Lagioia and Hannah Munyard among seven players named on an extended bench. Confirmed in the starting line-up are star draftee Gabby Newton and internally-hyped Western product Elizabeth Georgostathis; both primed to initially make an impact up forward, with the potential to move further afield – somewhat in the place or mould of now-Tigers, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti. The pair will join stalwarts Bonnie Toogood and Deanna Berry inside forward 50, with Ellie Blackburn and Isabel Huntington making up the remainder of a very strong spine. The Dogs will lean on those experienced movers to keep themselves in games, but a much-welcomed injection of youth will make them a team which proves easy on the eye.

For the Saints, all three co-captains in Cat PhillipsKate Shierlaw and Rhiannon Watt have been named to lead out the new team, with plenty of recognisable names to keep an eye on among each line. Top five draftee Georgia Patrikios has been named up forward, but will likely drift up to a wing or into the midfield given her undeniable class on the ball, while pre-listed draftee Molly McDonald takes up one of those starting wing spots. With an extended bench of seven also set to be narrowed down, there could be even more pace and young stars to come into the fold immediately. An unknown entity, the Saints should come in with nothing to lose and throw caution to the wind with most expecting the Bulldogs to salute in this fixture. We are in that boat.

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: K.O’Neill 20 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 E.Mackie 3
I/C: N.Von Bertouch 28 P.Kelly 16 R.Dillon 25 A.Drennan 8 C.Whitfort 4 N.Xenos 27 A.Brown 2

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: E.Gamble 14 I.Huntington 4 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 N.Callinan 10
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: C.Moody 13 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: D.Marshall 26 K.Rennie 24 G.Lagioia 12 H.Scott 22 K.Herron 31 E.Brown 9 H.Munyard 20

Tip: Western Bulldogs by 20.

Fremantle v Geelong, Fremantle Oval, 2.10pm AWST

Peter Williams

In the final game of the AFL Women’s Round 1, last year’s preliminary final losers go head-to-head at Fremantle Oval. The Dockers host Geelong with a renewed optimism that they can match it with the top sides in the competition, and it will be a good test to see how they have recovered after being pillaged by West Coast in the off-season. The Cats were up and down last season, but have remained relatively untouched, and should go in as favourites based on the list changes. In a quirk, Mia-Rae Clifford will run out in the purple against her former side following her delisting and then free agency acquirement.

The home side will thrive on running out in front of a home crowd, and have named a number of young stars in the team who will drive the team forward over the next few years. Kara Antonio (nee Donnellan) will captain the side, and alongside partner, Ebony Antonio will try and maintain some balance to a team that has lost a number of quality players, led by the departure of star talent, Hooker. Tackling machine, Kiara Bowers and goal sneak Ashlee Sharp still remain as dangers to any opposition, while Gemma Houghton will have big shoes to fill with Parris Laurie leaving for the Eagles among a number of rucks departing the club. Sabreena Duffy got used to the level by season’s end in 2019, and is a future leader of the club, and now she is joined by a number of talented Under 18s stars. Roxanne Roux is a high-flying forward who will provide plenty of highlights over the next few years, while Mim Strom is an athletic ruck who has developed rapidly. While the Dockers side might have lost some star talent, they have also headed to the draft to pick up some more, and you can imagine they will be competitive in 2020.

Geelong might have stayed relatively untouched over the off-season, but have welcomed back a rising star in Nina Morrison. The number one pick in the 2018 AFL Women’s Draft was unbelievable on debut against Collingwood 12 months ago, but then injured her knee and missed the next 12 months. She returns to the Round 1 side and has been named on a wing, hoping to repeat the effort from 2019. She is joined in the midfield by fellow 2018 draftees, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Olivia Purcell. Denby Taylor, Rebecca Webster and debutant, Millie Brown are all in the back five, held down by experienced skipper, Mel Hickey. Richelle Cranston has that X-factor about her in midfield, and Georgia Clarke looks set for a role change up forward with the former GWV Rebels’ defender named there with goalkicking machine, Phoebe McWilliams. The Cats will be confident heading into this match, with coach Paul Hood no doubt having them ripe and ready to go after a finals appearance in their inaugural season last year. The road trip can be a challenge, but if you are going to do it, at least they have it first up off a long break.

Tip: Geelong by 2 points.

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 E.Antonio 12
C: S.Cain 20 L.Rohde 11 K.Flood 44
HF: K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1 H.Miller 19
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 S.Duffy 6
Foll: G.Houghton 27 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: P.Seth 18 L.Mascall 14 B.Webb 26 R.Roux 17 J.Stewart 7 M.Strom 21 M.Clifford 4

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: D.Taylor 28 M.Hickey – C 18 R.Webster 21
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: D.Higgins 2 G.Clarke 17 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 J.Crockett-Grills 6 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 G.Rankin 10 A.Teague 40 R.Goring 44 R.Caris 1 M.Maguire 7 M.Keryk 45

ROUND 1 TIPS:

Michael Alvaro [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Fremantle
Taylah Melki [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Fremantle
Sophie Taylor [0]: Richmond / GWS / Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / St Kilda / Fremantle
Peter Williams [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Geelong

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Carlton

CARLTON might have had the most talked about departure of the off-season, but as a whole, the Blues retained the majority of their list, whilst heading to the AFL Women’s Draft in a really strong position to pick up a heap of youth prospects for the future. The Blues lost captain Brianna Davey to Collingwood, but in doing so received a bounty full of picks to position themselves in a great spot to pick up natural-born leader Lucy McEvoy from the Geelong Falcons with their first selection at Pick 2.

They also picked up fellow NAB League Girls’ players Brooke Vernon and Serena Gibbs, while selecting a trio of players just a year out of the Under 18s pathway following strong seasons at VFL Women’s level. Grace Egan, Sharnie Whiting and Courtney Jones all earned places on the Blues’ list, with Vaomua Laloifi the exception as the once listed Collingwood defender gained a second chance at the elite level following an impressive year for a Western Bulldogs VFLW side that reached the grand final. Aside from six delistings, Amelia Mullane retired, proving even further the Blues’ need for an inside midfield replacement – and Rhiannon Watt headed back to her roots at St Kilda. Carlton was savvy enough to pick up players with a hard edge and uncompromising ability to win the football, while Gibbs will be that ruck depth replacement who can also play forward.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Joanne Doonan (Gaelic football), Katie Harrison (Rugby sevens), Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons), Grace Egan (Richmond VFLW), Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays), Sharnie Whiting (Williamstown VFLW), Serena Gibbs (Eastern Ranges), Vaomua Laloifi (Western Bulldogs VFLW), Courtney Jones (Southern Saints VFLW)
OUT: Rhiannon Watt (St Kilda), Brianna Davey (Collingwood), Shae Audley, Kirby Bentley, Reni Hicks, Bridie Kennedy, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Courtney Webb (delisted), Amelia Mullane (retired)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Lauren Brazzale
Chloe Dalton
Alison Downie
Jess Edwards
Grace Egan
Georgia Gee
Serena Gibbs
Kerryn Harrington
Tayla Harris
Jess Hosking
Sarah Hosking
Courtney Jones
Vaomua Laloifi
Katie Loynes
Lucy McEvoy
Abbie McKay
Breann Moody
Natalie Plane
Gabriella Pound
Madison Prespakis
Nicola Stevens
Jayde Van Dyk
Brooke Vernon
Darcy Vescio
Brooke Walker
Sharnie Whiting
Charlotte Wilson
Emerson Woods

Rookies: Joanne Doonan, Katie Harrison

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Jayde Van Dyk – Kerryn Harrington – Nicola Stevens
HB: Chloe Dalton – Charlotte Wilson – Gabriella Pound
C: Lucy McEvoy
HF: Lauren Brazzale – Breann Moody – Georgia Gee
F: Darcy Vescio – Tayla Harris – Brooke Walker
R: Alison Downie – Madison Prespakis – Sarah Hosking
INT: Jess Edwards – Jess Hosking – Katie Loynes – Grace Egan – Abbie McKay
EMG: Vaomua Laloifi – Natalie Plane – Emerson Woods

DEPTH: Serena Gibbs, Courtney Jones, Brooke Vernon, Sharnie Whiting, Joanne Doonan*, Katie Harrison*

After making a grand final last season, Carlton do not need to adjust too much to the side for it to be potent again in 2020. They have lost Davey and Mullane from the best 22, with McEvoy and Egan slotting into those roles with a shuffling of magnets around the board. Tilly Lucas-Rodd is the third player to be gone from the side that ran out in last year’s grand final, and expect the likes of Abbie McKay to step up and get more games in season 2020, as will Emerson Woods in that half-forward role which could free up Georgia Gee for her run and carry further up the ground.

Laloifi is a readymade option to add to the defensive half, but can play forward as well, while Natalie Plane showed she can come in and complete a role if required. The depth is filled with young talent in four of this year’s draftees, as Gibbs, Jones, Vernon and Whiting could add something across the ground if injury strikes. Overall, the Blues surprised many with their ability to step up despite being a relatively young side, and with Daniel Harford at the helm, anything is possible next year.

Weekend preview: AFL Women’s – Grand Final

SUNDAY will see the biggest game of the AFL Women’s calendar, with minor premiers of both Conference A and Conference B, Adelaide and Carlton making it to the 2019 AFLW Grand Final. A battle of conferences is a fitting way to end the 2019 season, with both sides hopeful for their best win of the season. Carlton showed a new side of their team in last week’s first preliminary final against Fremantle, convincingly outplaying the Dockers and beating them by 36 points to lock in an inaugural grand final appearance. Adelaide put up a stellar performance against Geelong in the second preliminary final, running over the Cats by a painful 66 point margin and locking in a home grand final on Sunday afternoon. This week will see Adelaide as strong contenders for their second AFLW Grand Final win, only the first club in a position to do so after the competition’s inception in 2017, while Carlton will hope to pull off a big upset similar to their performance last week in order to get the win in front of a hostile Adelaide home crowd.

Adelaide vs. Carlton
Sunday, March 31
1:00pm AEDT, Adelaide Oval

Carlton’s strong win against favourites, Fremantle last week sees the Blues make it into their inaugural Grand Final, while the Crows are the first side to take the field in a Grand Final with one trophy already under their belt, meaning this match will be a one to add to the record books regardless of the outcome. While the Conference system is the only reason Carlton were able to make finals, this match will be a big indicator of the difference between Conference A and Conference B, unless Carlton are able to pull off another shock victory to take out the 2019 AFLW Grand Final. That being said, Carlton have produced fighting scorelines in majority of their matches, winning five of their last six matches to make the Grand Final, so do have the potential to give Adelaide a run for their money. The Crows have won their last seven matches, the first of their run against Carlton in Round 2 2019, so will want to keep their fine form going with another win to add to their season tally.

From the two sides in the mix this week, Carlton’s Madison Prespakis, Lauren Brazzale and Brianna Davey stood out in the big win against the Dockers, with 57 touches, 11 tackles, nine marks and a goal between them. Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff, Jess Foley and Erin Phillips were among the best in the team effort against Geelong, with a combined 69 disposals, 21 tackles, 11 marks and three goals.

Last time they met saw Adelaide prevail as Carlton threw all they had at the Crows, going down by only 13 points in Round 2 at Ikon Park (Carlton 7.2 (44) to Adelaide 9.3 (57)). The Blues led for a good part of the game with a good run out of defence, but struggled with forward options after Tayla Harris was a late omission from the side, allowing turnovers by a clinical and offence-driven Crows side. The Blues’ relentless forward push did mean some goals were bound to break through the Crows’ backline, however a late push from the visitors saw the two sides combine for a competitive seven goal third term, effectively taking the Crows back into the lead ahead of the last quarter. A three goal to one burst in the final term saw Adelaide come away with their first win for the season, while Carlton came away with a lot to think about and build on for their next matchup.

Adelaide’s small forwards were at their best in Round 2, with Stevie-Lee Thompson (four goals, 17 disposals) and Eloise Jones (two goals, five tackles) putting on a show in front of goal and poking holes in Carlton’s defence. Anne Hatchard and Erin Phillips dominated around the ground with 43 touches and 10 marks between them, while Jess Foley had the 17 hitouts and Ebony Marinoff added eight tackles to her season tally. Carlton had a good game in front of the big sticks, only registering two behinds for the day with six individual goalkickers, but were unable to capitalise on opportunities credit to Adelaide’s pressure around the ground and the Blues’ forward 50. Natalie Plane had her best game for the season, kicking two goals and racking up 11 touches and three tackles, while Kerryn Harrington and Madison Prespakis were among Carlton’s best, racking up 20 disposals apiece, with Prespakis kicking her debut goal in AFLW and Harrington notching up six marks. Shae Audley and Amelia Mullane managed seven and six tackles, respectively.

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 5

ADELAIDE and Geelong make up a third of the Round 5 Draft Central Team of the Week for AFL Women’s, with several individual performances helping them to crucial wins in Conference A and B respectively. Fellow winners, Fremantle and Carlton have three representatives each after impressive displays over conference rivals, while Melbourne surprisingly only have two players featuring, despite owning the round’s biggest winning margin. The Dees join a pack of three others with two nominees, while Brisbane and GWS each have a sole player included after comprehensive losses.

Emma Kearney cracked the 30-disposal mark with an outstanding 31 possession, 10 clearance and eight mark game to headline the individual feats this week. Incredibly, her and Jess Duffin’s standout games came in a losing effort. That came at the hands of the Crows, with Erin Phillips (23 disposals, seven inside 50s, six clearances, two goals) again leading the way for a surging Adelaide side as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall followed suit in terms of ball-winning, and Danielle Ponter proved dangerous up forward to make it four Crows in the starting 18.

Geelong was another big winner, with the standout being Richelle Cranston’s 22 disposal game in the engine room, while Kate Darby impressed inside 50 for three goals. 2018 draftee, Olivia Purcell was unlucky to be relegated to the bench in this side, with her 20 disposal and 10 tackle performance another highlight. Jessy Keeffe was Brisbane’s sole representative from that game, shining in the ruck despite the Lions managing the lowest ever team score in AFLW history.
Carlton skipper, Brianna Davey had arguably the most influential game of the round, willing her side on to victory in an incredible all-round display that yielded a perfect 10 from the coaches. Fellow Blues midfielder, Madison Prespakis kept up her terrific form to also be named, with the much-improved Pies pair of Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill also named. Melbourne’s Maddison Gay was another to crack a perfect 10, with teammate Tegan Cunningham’s three goals crucial to their win, much like Kellie Gibson for Fremantle. The Dockers overcame the Dogs despite the best efforts of nominees, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti, with Dana Hooker and Kiara Bowers putting in monumental shifts.

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 4

AFTER a dominant Round 3 performance by Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne in our Draft Central AFL Women’s Team of the Week, it was a more even spread in Round 4 with those three sides still contributing 10 of the 24 players named in the side. The Crows had the most after their huge win over Fremantle with four, while the other two sides had three players, as did fellow winners, Geelong and North Melbourne. GWS GIANTS had the two players nominated in what was an even team performance by the GIANTS, while losing sides Carlton and Fremantle also had two, and disappointing performances by Collingwood and Western Bulldogs saw just the one player named each.

Erin Phillips was the standout performer across the round with another 20-plus disposals and two goals to be the first picked in the team, in a forward line with plenty of power. She is joined in the side by teammates, Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff who once again make the squad, as well as Jess Foley who was named as the starting ruck. She got the nod over Emma King who did her best work at full-forward for North Melbourne and was subsequently named there, while Team of the Week regular, Jess Duffin was terrific in defence, and Jamie Stanton also named after a standout game in the midfield.

Geelong’s low-scoring win over Carlton still saw them earn three players in the Team of the Week with Maddy McMahon holding down the full-back spot, while key forward, Phoebe McWilliams and the exciting Richelle Cranston sit beside each other in the forward line. Brisbane’s Ally Anderson racked up another Team of the Week nomination, while forwards, Nat Exon and Kate McCarthy caused headaches inside 50 for the Lions’ opposition. Melbourne might have lost in a heartbreaking defeat, but it did not stop unbelievable individual performances from Dees midfielders, Lily Mithen and Karen Paxman, while Kate Hore also played one of her best games.

GWS GIANTS had plenty of even contributors in their win, with Alicia Eva again tearing up her former side Collingwood, while Amanda Farrugia was a rock in defence. Collingwood had just the one nominee in Jaimee Lambert, as did the Western Bulldogs with pocket rocket, Monique Conti constantly busy through midfield. Carlton captain Brianna Davey was named on the bench, as key defender Kerryn Harrington slotted into the backline. Fremantle’s Evangeline Gooch joined her back there, while Team of the Week regular Kiara Bowers again found her way into the team after another strong tackling display.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 4

ROUND 4 was packed to the brim with exciting matches, with three teams winning by less than 10 points to close out the midway point of the season. North Melbourne got a shock this week when they took on a fighting Melbourne side at home, but are now the only team that has not dropped a game this season. Brisbane pulled a big win out in the final quarter against Bulldogs, while Collingwood has now lost four on the trot, essentially out of the running for finals with three rounds to go.

Geelong 2.7 (19) defeated Carlton 1.8 (14)
By: Michael Alvaro

A first half shut-out and Carlton’s blues in front of goal were the difference as Geelong pounced onto another win to climb into Conference B’s top two.

The Cats showed their typical guile in defence, keeping the star-studded Blues forward line to just two points at the main break, while opening up a 14-point buffer thanks to goals from Phoebe McWilliams and Sophie Van de Heuvel. While they kept the clamps on to see Carlton only manage one goal for the game’s entirety, it was not without unintended aid from the travelling side – encapsulated by two close-range misses from Tayla Harris in the third term that could have otherwise turned the tide of the game. Veteran Katie Loynes had no such trouble as she got Carlton on the board in the same stanza as the Blues pushed to snatch the lead. While Carlton managed to reverse the shut-out and restrict Geelong to three points in the second half, it was to no avail as the home side held on for its second win at GMHBA Stadium in as many tries.

Despite close attention from Blues skipper Bri Davey in the first half, McWilliams was one of the Cats’ best alongside the engine room prowess of Renee Garing and Maddy Keryk. Davey was thrown into the middle to combat their dominance after half time, and led the way from leading ball winners, Madison Prespakis and Kerryn Harrington – who stood up down back. Having leapfrogged their weekend opponents in Conference B, the Cats travel north in a top of the table clash against Brisbane, while the Blues host a winless Collingwood side on the same day.

Bulldogs 2.5 (17) defeated by Brisbane 7.7 (49)
By: Carly McClen

In the 2018 grand final rematch, it was Brisbane’s time for reckoning. With momentum, belief and energy, the Lions not only beat a Conference A side, they made it clear they’re in with a real shot at this year’s flag.

Playing at home with the breeze behind them, the Bulldogs set forth very differently to last year’s brand of footy. Though they had plenty of the ball and won clearances, they were kept goalless in the first and second terms due to inefficiency. They could not apply their characteristic short chip game under the Lions’ precise attack on the ball and the ball carrier.

The action was fierce, with bodies on the line, but it was scrappy from both teams until the second term when the Lions made good use of the breeze, broke out of the congestion and started to convert. Close to half time, and 21 points down, it got desperate for the Dogs. They put Katie Brennan deep down back and the whole side in defence to stop the haemorrhaging and reset in the main break.

First half goals went to Jordan Zanchetta in the first term, along with Jess Wuetschner and Breanna Koenen in the second.

The Dogs tried to rally early in the third and looked to have upped the intensity. Yet even with a strengthening wind behind them, they were unable to make a different statement or post scoreboard pressure.

Opportunities for the Dogs went by in the second half. Monique Conti missed an easy goal and there were multiple poor deliveries into key forward Katie Brennan. Just when those opportunities looked to have really sailed and Nat Exon celebrated a huge goal for the Lions, the Dogs got their first, with a clever intercept from Aisling McCarthy and and easy goal.

As Bulldogs’ prime midfield mover Ellie Blackburn was taken down the race with a knock to the head, Brisbane finished out the match as though being in front at three quarter time is a regular thing.

They take on the Cats at home next week.

Adelaide 9.11 (65) defeated Fremantle 3.5 (23)
By: Sophie Taylor

For the first time in 2019 a game was played at TIO Stadium in Darwin as Adelaide hosted Fremantle for the battle of Conference A. With a spectacular goal apiece for both teams in the first term and relatively even second and third quarters it looked like it was going to be a close match, however a final quarter onslaught from the Crows proved not only their strength in the competition, but their determination under pressure.

The Crows managed a convincing win over their fellow Conference A side, beating the Dockers 9.11 (65) to 3.5 (23), and delivering Fremantle’s first loss for the season.

Despite the loss, Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers and Dana Hooker put on a tackling show, picking up a combined 18 tackles of the Dockers’ 55. Bowers and Hooker were dominant for the Dockers, also picking up 19 and 16 touches respectively, while Evangeline Gooch picked up 17 touches and four marks.

Ashlee Atkins, Ebony Antonio and Kellie Gibson kicked a goal apiece, with Gibson kicking the opening goal of the match for the second week running.

Erin Phillips was dominant for the Crows, managing 25 touches, two goals and a behind to her name. Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were not far behind with 22 and 20 touches, respectively, while Eloise Jones, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Danielle Ponter each kicked another two goals to add to the tally. Thompson’s goal opened the scoring for the Crows, knocking down the goal umpire in what fortunately did not foreshadow the end result.

Adelaide dominated the hitouts, with Jessica Foley managing 24 of the 29 for her side alongside her five marks. Meanwhile teammate, Deni Varnhagen, and opposition, Stephanie Cain and Bowers also picked up five marks.

Collingwood 4.3 (27) defeated by GWS 5.6 (36)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Round 4 proved to be do-or-die for both the Giants and the Pies as they each were without a win all season. The GIANTS were able to hold Collingwood down for majority of the game, keeping them from scoring in both the first and third quarters. This very well means the end for the Pies’ 2019 campaign, whereas GWS just holds on in conference pool B.

In an almost fairytale start for the Giants, Tait Mackrill opened the scoring with her first career goal 30 seconds into the game, with a terrific goal that dribbled through Collingwood’s backline. The Giants continued to take advantage of the strong winds, kicking another two goals within the first 8 minutes of play.

GWS were more than able to out play Collingwood on the ball throughout the game, having far greater possession. Key players like Rebecca Beeson and Alicia Eva were most reflective of this, both players having equal highest disposals (22). Beeson’s dominance in the fourth quarter as well as early in the game proved to be a foil for Collingwood’s forwardline.

Collingwood tried in earnest to make a late-comeback in the fourth, leading to a 27-36 deficit and keeping GWS scoreless for the quarter. For Collingwood, key players like Jaimee Lambert and Sarah Dargan were able to stand out despite the loss. Lambert (21 disposals and 7 tackles) and Dargan (six tackles and 1 goal) were both influential in Collingwood’s final dig at a win, but nevertheless it proved too little too late.

Next Sunday, Giants will host the Dees in their second conference cross-over match back in their home stadium. Whereas Collingwood face their all-time rivals, Carlton at the historical Ikon Park on the Saturday.

Melbourne 5.4 (34) defeated by North Melbourne 6.2 (38)
By: Peter Williams

North Melbourne has survived its biggest threat yet in the AFL Women’s competition, to remain the only undefeated team from four rounds. The Kangaroos were challenged throughout the match, and were trailing as late as up until the seventh minute of the final term, before Emma King‘s third goal of the game put the visitors back in front to record a four-point win. Mo Hope converted the first goal of the game for North Melbourne, but the Dees through the unlikely goalkicker of Catherine Phillips, responded to trail by a point at quarter time. The second term belonged to the Roos as they piled on three goals, including two to King who was too tall at full-forward. After half-time, Melbourne booted the first two goals of the half including a running beauty to speedster, Aliesha Newman, and then a snap from former Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks to hit the front momentarily. Hope’s second goal handed the Roos back the lead and while Newman’s second major in the final term gave the Dees a huge sniff, it was fitting that King was to eventually boot the winning goal.

Melbourne could consider itself very unlucky not to walk away with the points, having 45 more disposals, seven more marks and broke even in the clearances. Karen Paxman was terrific with 25 disposals, two marks and three tackles to be the Demons’ best alongside Lily Mithen (22 disposals, five marks and four tackles). Newman’s two goals up forward, and Tegan Cunningham‘s work rate inside 50 early was a treat, while Kate Hore was also impressive with 18 touches, three marks and three tackles. For North Melbourne, King was the clear difference between the teams with 3.1 from eight disposals and three marks, while Hope was lively throughout with the two goals from 10 touches and three marks. Jess Duffin was superb in the back half with 20 disposals and seven marks, while Jamie Stanton stood up on a wing with 21 touches, two marks and two tackles.

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 2

AT the conclusion of Round 2 in the AFL Women’s season, clear ladder leaders have emerged. North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and Fremantle have all jumped clear to eight points, showing Conference A to be the stronger of the two conferences.

Round 2 of the AFL Women’s season was highlighted by many individual performances. Elise O’Dea, Ellie Blackburn – whose five rebounds and work in the defensive half allowed us to slot the midfield dynamo onto half-back – and Dana Hooker all polled 10 coaches’ votes for their dominant midfield displays, while Adelaide’s Stevie-Lee Thompson became the third Crow behind Erin Phillips and Sarah Perkins to kick four goals in a match.

North Melbourne’s commanding performance over GWS GIANTS on Friday night saw the Kangaroos rewarded with three players in the 24-player AFL Women’s Draft Central Team of the Week, as did other winners, Adelaide, Fremantle, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs in an even team performance across the board.

The GIANTS and Collingwood had just the one nominee each, while other losers Carlton and Geelong had two, and Brisbane’s defeat still yielded three nominees in our Team of the Week.

Players who earned back-to-back Team of the Week nominations were Adelaide’s Erin Phillips, Brisbane’s Jess Wuetschner and Ally Anderson, Collingwood’s Ash Brazill, Fremantle’s Dana Hooker and Kiara Bowers, Geelong’s Meg McDonald, GWS GIANTS’ Cora Staunton, Melbourne’s Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman, North Melbourne’s Jess Duffin and Emma King, and Western Bulldogs’ Ellie Blackburn. Among the first timers in our Team of the Week were Rising Star nominees, Madison Prespakis and Sabreena Duffy, as well as Geelong midfielder, Olivia Purcell.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 2

ROUND 2 of AFLW 2019 is done and dusted, with Melbourne and Adelaide entering the winners list for the first time this year. North Melbourne continued their dominant start to the season, while Collingwood struggled and Carlton were unlucky to come away with a loss to Adelaide. Three matches recorded high scores in Round 2, showing good signs for the rest of the season.

North Melbourne 7.6 (48) defeated GWS GIANTS 2.11 (23)
By: James Halley

North Melbourne continued its perfect start to the AFL Women’s, defeating GWS GIANTS by 25 points in treacherous conditions. Two weather delays could not stop the flag favourites from proving their worth. The midfield duo of Emma Kearney and Jess Duffin, alongside dominating ruck, Emma King led the way for the Kangaroos. The formidable trio will prove hard to beat deep into the season.

Alicia Eva kicked the opening goal of the match for the GIANTS, but once Jasmine Garner and Kate Gillespie-Jones found the big sticks for North Melbourne, the Roos maintained their lead for the rest of the match. A third quarter flurry from GIANT, Yvonne Bonner gave the Kangaroos a scare, however GWS did not capitalise on its opportunities, finishing the game with two goals and 11 behinds. At the final break, the GIANTS only trailed by eight points, giving them hope of snatching the match at the death. All hope was lost when Roos ruck, King was pushed forward early and kicked two quick goals proving too much for GWS defender, Louise Stephenson. Kangaroos’ captain, Kearney leads her team out in Tasmania against her former side, 2018 Premiers the Western Bulldogs next Friday night. GWS hosts Carlton in Blacktown next Saturday.

 

Collingwood 1.3 (9) defeated by Melbourne 3.8 (26)
By: Sophie Taylor

In gusty conditions Melbourne battled it out against traditional rivals, Collingwood at Victoria Park in Abbotsford, marking a historic day at the ground as it hosted a women’s game for the first time in park history. With over 7000 faithful turning up to see the two teams battle it out, the match was looking to be a big one.

Melbourne’s Harriet Cordner was the seventh Cordner and third-generation Melbourne player to take the field, marking the occasion with a win her family name is sure to be proud of. Ainsley Kemp was an exciting returnee to the Dees, having sat out the 2018 season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

An inaccurate first term from both sides saw the scores sit at 2-all at the end of the first change. Though Melbourne had opportunities on goal and options forward, the side was kicking into the wind and unlucky on the scoreboard.
Collingwood were unlucky early, unable to capitalise on their opportunities inside 50, and losing Emma Grant to a suspected AC-joint injury midway through the first term.

Melbourne’s tight defence was commendable, with a constant body-on-body making it hard for the Pies to get boot to ball. The Magpies struggled with their forward structure throughout the game, having difficulty making it through Melbourne’s strong backline. However, a shining light for the Pies was Mikala Cann, providing a constant blockade on the wing and preventing Melbourne’s run downfield. Cann picked up 11 tackles, highest on field. Cross-coder, Ash Brazill was dominant for the losing side, proving her ability on the field picking up 23 touches and three tackles to her name, one of which stopped an opportunity at goal for Demon, Tegan Cunningham (five tackles, four marks).

The Dees were around every contest, but were unable to capitalise on their midfield performance with a goal until late in the second quarter, courtesy of co-captain and best on ground, Elise O’Dea. O’Dea was dominant in the match, picking up 26 disposals for the game with 18 by half time. Melbourne draftee, Tyla Hanks was impressive in her second game for the red and blue with 11 touches and a goal to her name, as well as a perfectly placed kick to tall, Lauren Pearce, setting up Melbourne’s second goal of the game.

Collingwood remained scoreless through the second and third term, despite constant pressure preventing Melbourne’s attack from running away with an easy win. The third quarter was highly contested, with neither team managing to get a goal on the board. The wind was once again not in the Dees’ favour, kicking three behinds for the quarter.

Karen Paxman looked dangerous early for the Dees, however finished out the match with four behinds to her name to go with her 18 touches. Sarah Rowe (eight tackles), Jaimee Lambert (seven tackles) and captain, Steph Chiocci (11 disposals, five tackles) were also effective for the Pies, getting around the ball at pivotal points of the match and making it difficult for Melbourne to take advantage of the midfield.

The Pies looked like a different side in the final term, smothering the ball to get as many opportunities forward as possible. With a three quarter time score of 0.2 (2), the Pies needed a goal to ensure they didn’t come away with the lowest AFLW score in the league’s three year history, finally managing a goal midway through the final term, courtesy of Sarah Dargan. Melbourne’s clean game play through the second half paved the way for the 17 point win, marking a historic occasion at Victoria Park.

Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) defeated Geelong 2.4 (16)
By: Peter Williams

The night game between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, and newcomers, Geelong was expected to be a thrilling contest, and the final 18-point margin did not do the match justice. In a polar opposite to the earlier game at Victoria Park, both sides backed their running ability, while also winning one-on-ones in their defensive ends. Space opened up inside 50 at times for the likes of Phoebe McWilliams and Katie Brennan to run into and clunk marks for their respective sides. In fact it took just 110 seconds for McWilliams to get on the board much to the satisfaction of the visiting fans who an hour earlier witnessed the Bulldogs unfurling their 2018 premiership flag.

The Cats knew the Dogs would be a tougher challenge than the week before, especially under lights at Whitten Oval, and when Deanna Berry put on the after burners inside and open 50 to slam home the Dogs’ second right in front of the Footscray faithful, the crowd sensed the reigning premiers were starting to click. Bonnie Toogood put her hand up for a Goal of the Year nomination with a terrific snap under immense pressure, and then a longe-range conversion from co-captain, Ellie Blackburn had the Dogs up by 16 points at the main break.

Geelong debutant Georgia Clarke showed why she earned a spot in the team, playing strong in defence while drifting forward to be on the end of fellow draftees’ Denby Taylor and Olivia Purcell handballs to give the Cats a sniff early in the third. Less than two minutes later, Bulldogs debutant Aisling McCarthy kicked a goal and handed the Dogs a 16-point buffer again. McWilliams could have been the hero as she had two very gettable chances but squandered both, as did Bulldogs sharp shooter, Brennan. Neither team kicked a goal in the final term as the Dogs took out the game, ad the four points in a three-goal win.

Blackburn was unbelievable in leading her Bulldogs’ team through the midfield, bashing and crashing her way to 18 disposals, eight tackles and that crucial goal in the second term. Kirsty Lamb also had 18 touches, two marks and five tackles, while Monique Conti buzzed around for 19 disposals, two marks and five tackles. For the Cats, Meg McDonald had another inspired performance with 21 disposals and four marks, while Julia Crockett-Grills laid eight tackles to go with her 13 touches. Teenager, Purcell had 17 disposals, three marks and four tackles in the midfield, while VFL Women’s captain, Renee Garing led the way defensively with 12 tackles.

 

Carlton 7.2 (44) defeated by Adelaide 9.3 (57)
By: Sophie Taylor

After a less than perfect start to 2019, the Blues were looking to claim a position on the winners list in round two. Hosting interstaters, Adelaide at Ikon Park, the clash was looking to be an interesting one, with an intense start to the match setting the tone for the afternoon. The Blues certainly put up a fight on home turf, but unfortunately for the local fans, could not get the job done against the Crows’ ruthless forward line, going down by 13 points.

Though the Blues had a good run out of defence, there was no one forward to receive the ball allowing turnovers by a clinical and offence-driven Crows side. However, with the Blues relentlessly pressing forward, some goals were bound to break through the Crows’ backline, allowing for spurts of Carlton greatness up forward. Carlton took the lead midway through the second term, looking to be in control of the ball and maintaining a four-point lead come the main break. With an intense face off for the lead come half-time, the only score of the second term was a goal courtesy of Carlton’s Natalie Plane, who kicked two for the day.

A dominant third quarter effort by the Blues looked to seal the game, leading by 17 points midway through the third term. Seven goals were kicked in the third, with Adelaide forward and game breaker Stevie-Lee Thompson kicking two of her career-high four goals for the match in the third quarter. However 2017 premiers, Adelaide were not to be ruled out of the match, with late third quarter goals from captain Erin Philips and returnee, Sarah Perkins taking the Crows back into the lead ahead of the final quarter.

A three goals to one burst in the final quarter gave Adelaide their second win of the season, with Anne Hatchard and Philips steaming home to finish with 22 and 21 disposals respectively. Crows midfielder, Ebony Marinoff came away with a confidence-boosting eight tackles. Blues’ fan favourite, Tayla Harris was a shock late omission from the side, replaced by newbie Rhiannon Watt on her AFLW debut. Madison Prespakis showed off her footy smarts, picking up a casual 20 disposals and a goal in only her second game of AFLW, while Kerryn Harrington (20 disposals) and Shae Audley (eight tackles) were also impressive in the loss.

Despite Carlton’s hungry four quarter effort, they could not beat the efficient Crows side on a mission, losing by a margin much less telling than the intensity of the game itself.

 

Fremantle 10.7 (67) defeated Brisbane 6.4 (59)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Local fans were treated to a thriller on Sunday evening as Fremantle secured their first win against Brisbane since the league’s launch in 2017. The match opened in Brisbane’s favour as they outscored Fremantle three goals to one.

Fremantle found their footing in the second, keeping Brisbane scoreless and adding three majors to the board. They went into the main break with a 13-point lead and multiple goal kickers, dominating the overhead contest, disputed and firing hard off momentum.

Brisbane’s Jess Wuetschner opened the third with her second goal, but Fremantle quickly replied with a penetrating run into their forward 50 and a subsequent goal from Ashley Sharp. Ebony Antonio followed up with a second soon after and increased their lead to 14 as they opened the final quarter. Despite kicking multiple goals for the first time since the first quarter, Brisbane were greatly outscored by Fremantle in the closer, kicking two goals to four.

First year player, Sabreena Duffy added two more goals to her stat sheet in an outstanding performance for Fremantle. Teammates, Gabby O’Sullivan and Sharp were also among their multiple goal kickers, each having two apiece. Dana Hooker followed up a phenomenal Round 1 performance with a team-high 24 disposals and five tackles. Kiara Bowers also impressed (15 disposals, four marks and five tackles) alongside Kara Donnellan (14 disposals, three marks and three tackles).

Nat Exon (15 disposals, two marks and four tackles) and Wuetschner (nine disposals and three marks) also kicked two apiece for Brisbane. Alexandra Anderson (26 disposals, one goal, four marks and five tackles) dominated the midfield while Kate Lutkins (13 disposals and six marks) remained a pillar with excellent disposal efficiency (77 per cent).