Tag: Tegan Cunningham

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 Lauren 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).

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

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

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

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

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 1

WITH a new look 10 team competition, Round 1 of AFL Women’s 2019 was set to be a cracker. Two new sides in North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos and Geelong Cats took the field for the first time in AFLW history, both nabbing a historic win to start the season. Four of the five games were down to the wire, with less than five points margin at the final siren. Only the Kangaroos managed to pull away for a dominant win, with resilient Geelong and Fremantle sides coming from behind to win their respective matches.

 

Geelong 3.6 (24) defeated Collingwood 3.5 (23)
By: Taylah Melki

In a Round 1 thriller it came down to the wire with Geelong sealing the deal with a one-point victory over Collingwood, who are yet to win a first round match in the AFLW. The Magpies dominated the first quarter of play but Geelong fought back hard to take ascendancy going into the half time break. But the fight did not stop there with Collingwood coming back hard to fall agonisingly short come the final siren.

In their inaugural match, Geelong showed they have plenty of stars with the likes of number one draft pick, Nina Morrison tearing up the field. The youngster left her mark on the game with her silky skills, brute force to shrug off tackles and clean hands in traffic to hit up teammates. Other draftees such as Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor and Sophie Van De Heuvel also showed their worth getting involved in the play. Darebin VFLW star, Meghan McDonald dominated down back taking a heap of marks and stopping the attacking flow of Collingwood with her clever positioning, strong overhead marks and quick recovery making her an integral player in the Cats lineup. Up the other end in the absence of Phoebe McWilliams, Madeleine Boyd made history nailing Geelong’s first goal. The former Melbourne and GWS GIANTS player made her presence felt up forward scoring two goals and getting her hands to plenty of the ball, giving Geelong fans plenty to cheer about.

With a host of stars gone, Collingwood proved they have plenty of depth and are versatile when it comes to positioning with the likes of Cecilia McIntosh moving into a more attacking forward role. But it was the likes of Ash Brazill and Jaimee Lambert that dominated across the field for the Pies. Brazill showed her extreme athleticism with her impressive vertical leap and good sidestep to work her way through traffic and deliver the ball to a teammate. Lambert sent scares through the Collingwood camp after going down with what seemed to be a leg injury, to only return and score an impressive dribble goal to keep the Pies in the game. Youngsters, Jordyn Allen and Mikala Cann also did their part, while the likes of code-crosser Sharni Layton worked well in the ruck. Sophie Alexander looked ominous up forward scoring 1.2 in the opening quarter but suffered a concussion later in the match.

 

Adelaide 1.11 (17) defeated by Western Bulldogs 2.6 (18)
By: Taylah Melki

In another close encounter it was the Western Bulldogs that came away with a one point victory over Adelaide. It is the first time two premiers have gone head-to-head in AFLW history and the match up did not disappoint with it all coming down to the final minutes of the game. The Crows had plenty of the play, but inaccuracy ultimately cost them game, with players unable to capitalise on their opportunities.

Bulldogs captain, Katie Brennan made her presence felt up forward slotting the only two majors for her side. While the likes of Ellie Blackburn starred once again getting her hands on the ball and using her elite skill to move the ball cleanly and quickly through traffic. Blackburn proved she is a real force to be reckoned with, highlighting her dash and general football smarts to hit Brennan up in the goal square with a perfectly weighted kick. Hannah Scott also dominated across the field for the Dogs racking up plenty of marks and using her clever kicks to try and alleviate pressure.

Tackling machine, Ebony Marinoff once again starred for Adelaide going in hard and laying a whopping 11 tackles for the match. Marinoff also accumulated plenty of touches thanks to her clean hands and hard work to go in and win the footy at the contest. Youngster, Eloise Jones showed plenty of courage going back with flight of the ball and taking an impressive mark while also highlighting her footy smarts trying to set up a chance at goal for her teammate.  In her debut match, Chloe Scheer also had her moments of brilliance nailing the Crows only major and showed she has good goal sense attacking the goal face on multiple occasions and taking some impressive marks in the forward 50. Veteran, Erin Phillips also starred thanks to her good hands in close and ability to open up space.

 

North Melbourne 7.10 (52) defeated Carlton 2.4 (16)
By: Carly McClen

The Kangaroos introduced themselves into the competition head on and with force, prevailing to start the second half of round 1 on Sunday, with a dominating 36-point win over the Carlton Blues. It was an ominous memo for every club in the competition, stating that the Roos are a gelled and composed outfit and have made capital of their pre season.

The great start by the Roos was a skilled show of star-studded players who came together, showed mutual respect, made the most of opportunities and played their individual roles. They followed process without dropping off throughout the four quarters and they got results. To win games, you have to kick goals. For Carlton, having Brianna Davey in the forward line meant that she wasn’t around the ball, getting it into the forward line and assisting her team to more inside 50 possessions. Carlton’s star players appeared to go missing throughout the game, reappearing for solid patches but unable to cement any scoring opportunities.

Although the Blues won the hit-outs, the North Melbourne midfielders were winning the possessions, providing the run and carry while haggling and stopping the Blues from penetrating and playing their game. The Blues got pushed under the ball, lacked structure and didn’t appear to have time to lower their eyes to hit targets, largely due to the relentless pressure from the Kangaroos. Ex-Collingwood player Emma King dominated in the Kangaroos colours and was likely the best on ground in her role as a versatile ruck playing forward, kicking two goals, tackling and taking marks. Another ex-Pie, Jasmine Garner also had a great day out, collecting 17 disposals and a goal in her first outing as a Kangaroo. 

Though Roos captain, Emma Kearney was tagged for the game, she collected a solid 18 disposals for her first game out of Bulldogs colours. The evenness and the spread of the side without reliance on their captain to dominate makes them a real threat to the competition in 2019. North Melbourne coach, Scott Gowans appears to be admired and well respected by his newly formed playing group. He was happy to enjoy some celebration post debut, but keen to get back to business and focus on the next encounter, the GWS GIANTS, for the quick turnaround Friday night match.

 

Melbourne 8.7 (55) defeated by Fremantle 9.5 (59)
By: Peter Williams

Fremantle claimed its first AFL Women’s interstate win over Melbourne in scorching temperatures at Casey Fields yesterday. With the maximum heat reaching more than 38 degrees, both sides took advantage of their respective change rooms at each break. The Demons kicked the first two goals of the game, before Fremantle – led by teenager Sabreena Duffy, booted the last three goals of the quarter to take the lead at quarter time. Just to show it was not a once-off, Fremantle piled on another three goals to one, opening up a 20-point lead by the main break.

It did not take long for a different, more direct Melbourne side to come out in the second half, as they banged home five goals to zero – including three in two minutes. Tegan Cunningham was rewarded for her hard running inside 50 with a perfect snap from the tightest of angles, Eden Zanker also snapped truly off a step, while Maddison Gay ran into an open goal for the easiest of six-pointers. By that stage they lead by eight, and when Bianca Jakobsson slotted home the side’s final major of the term, Melbourne fans found themselves 14 points in front.

Against the odds, the West Australian side showed they had plenty of fight left, with tackling machine, Kiara Bowers booting a goal on debut in the sixth minute to draw within eight points. When Ashley Sharp found the big sticks for the second time, Fremantle were just two points adrift midway through the final term. A minute later, Gemma Houghton booted what would be the match winning goal as Melbourne struggled with the breeze to get it out of the defensive 50 in the dying stages, allowing the Dockers to hold on to a terrific four-point win.

Despite the loss, Melbourne had plenty of big ball winners in the absence of Daisy Pearce, as Karen Paxman (21 disposals), Lily Mithen (18) and Elise O’Dea (17) all got amongst it. Zanker and Cunningham were dangerous up forward, but it was the speed and dare of the Dockers that got them over the line. Dana Hooker (15 disposals and 12 tackles) was a standout, as was Bowers who had 13 disposals and 12 tackles, as well as a goal. Ebony Antonio (14 disposals and a goal) and Melissa Caulfield (12 disposals, three marks and a goal).

 

Brisbane Lions 4.5 (29) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Capping off Round 1 of the AFL Women’s third season, fans bared witness to another tight finish with the Lions winning over the GIANTS at home. In the first half, however the Lions were a different side. They struggled to capitalise on their opportunities and failed to penetrate the GIANTS’ defence. Come the third term, the game flipped as Brisbane kicked three consecutive goals with Jess Wuetschner at the helm. The GIANTS attempted a comeback in the fourth, but could not free the ball in the dying minutes.

Lions star, Emily Bates impressed with a strong 22 disposals, two marks and four tackles. She showed great awareness and delivered effectively (77 per cent). Alexandra Anderson also picked up 22 possessions, exhibiting her talents more in her contested work, earning four marks and a game-high seven tackles. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Wuetschner led the charge. Frederick-Traub’s goal in the third secured the lead which won them the game, while Wuetschner kicked the remaining three with unmatched goal sense.

The GIANTS had stars in Cora Staunton, Alyce Parker and Rebecca Beeson. Parker and Beeson both picked up 18 disposals at 72 and 78 per cent efficiency respectively, with Parker also taking four marks and landing three tackles. Staunton remained a pillar up forward, kicking two goals with 14 disposals, two marks and two tackles. She did her best to keep her team in it, but alone could not withstand Brisbane’s pressure.

Scoreboard Sweep: AFLW

FOR those just wanting the basics, we bring you a new piece at the end of each round of football, Scoreboard Sweep which recaps the scores and key dot points in each game ahead of our weekly weekend wash-up tomorrow.

AFL Women’s:

Geelong 3.6 (24) defeated Collingwood 3.5 (23)
Adelaide 1.11 (17) defeated by Western Bulldogs 2.6 (18)
North Melbourne 7.10 (52) defeated Carlton 2.4 (16)
Melbourne 8.7 (55) defeated by Fremantle 9.5 (59)
Brisbane 4.5 (29) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)

  • Cats celebrate inaugural victory in a one-point thriller in front of home fans at GMHBA Stadium.
  • Nina Morrison the biggest ball-winner with 22 disposals and eight tackles, leading a number of young stars who turned it on under lights.
  • Pies’ highlights included a run-down tackle by draftee, Jordyn Allen, and a terrific dribbling goal from Jaimee Lambert.
  • Crows’ inaccuracy hurts as quick goals before half-time see Dogs’ home.
  • Katie Brennan‘s intercept mark and goal in second quarter, and Eloise Jones‘ back-with-the-flight mark among the highlights.
  • Ebony Marinoff puts in a vintage defensive display with 11 tackles to go with her 24 touches, in the loss.
  • North far too good in competitions statement win over Blues in first AFL Women’s game, in Hobart.
  • Emma King plays a blinder with two goals and more than 200 AFL Fantasy points.
  • Tayla Harris takes a huge hanger to give Blues fans something to smiles about.
  • Melbourne boot 5.4 to 0.0 in the third term to come from 20 points down at half-time to lead by 14 points at the final break, only for the Dockers to boot the last three goals of the game to celebrate their first interstate win.
  • Eden Zanker and Tegan Cunningham look to be an ominous key forward duo, while Ashley Sharp and Sabreena Duffy looked dangerous up forward.
  • Kiara Bowers has a round-high 12 tackles on debut, also collecting 13 disposals and two marks and the match-winning goal.
  • Both GIANTS and Lions struggled to take charge of the game, with both sides only managing to get seven points ahead in the tight contest.
  • Jess Wuetschner starred kicking three goals, while Emily Bates and Alexandra Anderson finished with 21 disposals apiece.
  • Cora Staunton and Emma Swanson were dominant for the visitors, collecting a combined 30 disposals and five marks in the tough slog, while debutant Alyce Parker also had 18 touches.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

FOOTY is back and for the first time, 10 AFL Women’s clubs are preparing to achieve the ultimate glory. Each week we will preview and review the games, provide a Team of the Week, Draftee Watch piece and analyse the week’s statistics, as well as plenty more for the third season of the competition. Stay tuned on Draft Central for all the coverage.

GEELONG vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, February 2, 6.40pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The opening game of the AFL Women’s season has a massive question mark for both sides. On one side of the head-to-head is a brand new team with no historical data at the elite level, aside from some of the players who have crossed from other clubs. On the other side is a team that has been gutted in terms of experience, especially in the forward half, but has picked up a number of elite young kids as well as players who can have an impact in the short-term. Playing in front of a home crowd will help the Cats in their inaugural clash,  while the Magpies will be keen to finally get a good start to their season after two losses in opening round games. Both teams are deemed to be in the “weaker” conference – by means of avoiding both past premiers and the heavily stacked North Melbourne – and a win against a conference rival is vitally important in the stakes for securing a top four place. The advantage both these teams have is the fact much of their core group played VFL Women’s together, and therefore in terms of team chemistry over a 12-month period are well adjusted.

Both teams head into the clash with key personnel out, as Collingwood’s Best and Fairest and 2018 AFLW Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy unavailable for the season, while Richelle Cranston will miss the first two rounds through suspension.  When talking about key youth, it is hard to look past some of the talent both clubs picked up in the draft. Geelong looked to its TAC Cup affiliate to select number one pick, Nina Morrison, as well as premiership teammates, Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor. Add in talented GWV Rebels, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Georgia Clarke, as well as Murray Bushrangers’ inside midfielder and defender, Rebecca Webster, and the future is very bright at the Cats. The Magpies also heavily invested in the draft, picking up two first rounders in Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch. Expected to play up opposite ends, they are well complemented by Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann who 12 months ago was yet to play a competitive match of football. Versatile youngster, Lauren Butler is also expected to become a key feature in the Magpies’ side. With Geelong having the likes of Bec Goring, Madeline Keryk, Julia Crockett-Grills and Meghan McDonald among their contingent of impressive VFLW performers last season, they have a cohesive unit. The Magpies will look to the experience of captain Stephanie Chiocchi, Emma Grant, Sarah D’Arcy and Jaimee Lambert to lead the young side this season.

H2H: Geelong 0 | Collingwood 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Geelong 0-0-0 | Collingwood 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The game marks the first ever AFL Women’s game at GMHBA Stadium, the first time Geelong’s AFL Women’s side will play a match for premiership points, but the third consecutive year Collingwood will be involved in the opening match of the season.
  • Unfortunately for the Magpies, the opening match of the season has not been kind for them, losing both games to Carlton at Ikon Park, albeit in a much closer game in 2018.
  • The last time these two teams played in any form was the VFL Women’s Preliminary Final, which saw the Cats upset the minor premiers to bundle the Magpies out in straight sets and head into the decider against Hawthorn. Collingwood’s loss was compounded by an injury to 2018 Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy that would keep her out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season.
  • Collingwood booted 42 goals in season 2018. Players that contributed 36 of them are now either no longer on the Magpies’ list, or injured (Chloe Molloy – one).

 

ADELAIDE vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, February 2, 8.10pm
Norwood Oval, Adelaide

The game of the round is surely the match between the two AFL Women’s premiers. The 2017 champions, Adelaide take on the reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs in an evening game at Norwood Oval. Last season was a remarkable story for the Bulldogs, who overcame some key injuries, and the suspension of captain, Katie Brennan to topple Brisbane in the 2018 AFL Women’s decider. Adelaide would have been disappointed to not make the decider, but considering their injuries at different times, it was worth applauding their never-say-die attitude. A loss to Collingwood in the final round knocked them out of the race to go back-to-back, but they are now hungry as ever and keen to make amends in this match.

Both teams lost key players to long-term injuries in practice games a fortnight ago, with Adelaide’s number one ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Western Bulldogs’ league leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland both out. While the Crows will look to try and fill the void in the ruck, the Dogs certainly showed they have no shortage of forwards who can step up, and could turn to the likes of West Australian, Kate Bartlett who comes into the team with great forward nous at Under 18s level. Adelaide do have some serious firepower returning to the team with a fully fit Erin Phillips, and a dangerous youngster by the name of Chloe Scheer causing headaches inside 50. Adelaide could have the edge in the midfield given its depth with Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall all running through there, but the Dogs’ key position players could stretch the Crows’ defence. If the Crows can keep it from the Dogs talls getting supply, then it will go a long way to deciding the match, but if the Dogs get on top of the Crows’ highly rated midfield, then they will be able to put on some serious scoreboard pressure. In saying that, the Dogs’ midfield is far from shabby itself with Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti among the most talented in the competition. It all adds up to being a cracker of a match.

H2H: Adelaide 2 | Western Bulldogs 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 2-2-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-1-0

Last time they met: Adelaide 6.5 (41) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) at Norwood Oval, Round 3, 2018

Trailing the entire game, the Crows found something special in the final term to overrun the Bulldogs at home by just seven points. Chelsea Randall picked up 24 disposals (15 contested), had five rebounds and laid six tackles, while Ebony Marinoff laid a whopping 15 tackles on her way to 21 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebounds. But the inspiration was inaugural league best and fairest winner, Erin Phillips. The star played exclusively forward and had 15 disposals, but booted four of the Crows’ six goals to single-handedly dominate up forward and show Crows fans that there was going to be no second year blues – until injury unfortunately struck. Jenna McCormick booted the other two goals for the Crows, while for the Bulldogs, Katie Brennan was the multiple goalkicker with two from nine touches and three marks. Emma Kearney (20 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three inside 50s, five rebounds and six tackles) was everywhere, as was Ellie Blackburn (17 disposals, five clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s).

Fun facts:

  • Ebony Marinoff averages 19.5 disposals, four clearances, 10.5 tackles and four inside 50s against the Western Bulldogs from two clashes, the most of any Crow.
  • Now North Melbourne skipper, Emma Kearney averaged the most touches against the Crows in both meetings, with Ellie Blackburn set to take over the mantle, averaging 18 touches, four clearances, four tackles and five inside 50s from two games.
  • It is the first time two AFL Women’s Premiers have met in the history of the competition.
  • Western Bulldogs are yet to lose an opening round match in the AFL Women’s season.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. CARLTON
Sunday, February 3, 1.05pm
North Hobart Oval, Hobart

The second history making match for Round 1 sees one of the premiership favourites, North Melbourne take on last year’s wooden spooners, Carlton. Both head into the game with relative different looking sides. The Kangaroos strategically targeted experience, picking up players from other AFL Women’s sides as part of the free agency and expansion period, while Carlton headed to the draft. As such, the Kangaroos head into the game as strong favourites in the clash, and their pre-season victory over Melbourne did nothing to sway opinions from the fact they will be a contender this season. Carlton took it up to Geelong at times in the practice game, but much like at times last season, it is just finding some four quarter consistency. The strong football state of Tasmania will get around the clash which is the first of the AFL Women’s competition, and with a number of local talents wearing blue and white, expect there to be a strong contingent of home support.

With no past head-to-head clashes to go by, there are plenty of questions leading into this clash. The biggest question mark is that of the Kangaroos and how they will gel with so many players from other teams. They brought over key Magpies, Emma King, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope to supply their forward line and ruck division with power, while securing the biggest name from the 2018 season in Emma Kearney – the league best and fairest winner – to come across from the Dogs. Carlton has the potential to have the best one-two forward combination in the league with Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris, but it is just getting the talented duo to click. With the midfield and forward half boosted by young guns, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay and Emerson Woods, and the defence sured up by Collingwood VFLW captain, Jess Edwards, as well as Charlotte Wilson and Jayde Van Dyk, Carlton’s future is looking bright. Realistically, it will take an unbelievable effort to knock off North Melbourne, but Blues fans will be keen to see what new coach, Daniel Harford can do to create more scoring opportunities – something the Blues lacked last season. A four-goal practice game by returning captain, Brianna Davey gave fans a hint of what to expect, creating all sorts of headaches for opposing teams.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Carlton 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Carlton 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The match marks the first official match to be played in Tasmania, with the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos opening their season in the Apple Isle, and of course marking their first match in the competition.
  • Carlton’s Brianna Davey has averaged 21 disposals, five rebounds and 2.5 inside 50s in her two opening round clashes, as Carlton beat arch-rivals Collingwood under lights on both occasions.
  • Darcy Vescio booted four goals in the inaugural AFL Women’s match in 2017, before being held goalless by debutant, Chloe Molloy last year, who would go on to win the Rising Star Award.
  • North Melbourne captain, Emma Kearney has averaged 22 disposals, six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s in her two matches against Carlton.

 

MELBOURNE vs. FREMANTLE
Sunday, February 3, 3.05pm
Casey Fields, Cranbourne

With predicted temperatures around the south-eastern suburbs predicted to be mid-to-late thirties, fans heading to the clash between Demons and Fremantle are recommended to stay hydrated. The game at Melbourne’s spiritual home, has become a fortress of late, winning five of a possible six games, including a thrashing victory over their Round 1 opponents back in 2017. Last year the Dockers got the better of Melbourne over in the west, using straight goalkicking to get the job done early in the season and chalk up a win against a premiership contender. The Demons have always been thereabouts, just missing out on the deciders, while Fremantle has had disappointing starts to the seasons which have ultimately cost them. With a new coaching panel and new-look side, Fremantle will be keen to topple the Demons at their home ground, especially a Demons side minus Daisy PearceMel Hickey and Richelle Cranston, among others.

Both teams are bringing in some serious young talent this season, with the Demons looking to the likes of Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks and Northern Knights captain, Maddy Brancatisano. Both have incredible work ethics and a desire to just hunt the footballer and play their role, potentially being future leaders at the club. Throw in Dandenong Stingrays’ speedster, Shelley Heath and Casey Demons slick ball user, Casey Sherriff and the Dees have added some speed and skills to their inside grunt and contested ball-winning ability. The Dockers have also added some great local talent to their stocks, led by West Australian Under 18s state captain, Sabreena Duffy as well as overagers, Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart. The big question mark regarding Fremantle is how they will line-up as the off-season seemed to be a clean-out of sorts through their own choosing, whereas Melbourne lost players due to free agency and expansion. The difference in this game could well be the top-end star factor of the Demons, with Karen Paxman, Lily Mithen, Bianca Jakobsson and Elise O’Dea all roaming through the midfield at times. With Eden Zanker providing a target up forward, they have good depth across the ground, The Dockers have Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker amongst their arsenal, but with a relatively new-looking side, it will be fascinating to see how they perform.

H2H: Melbourne 1 | Fremantle 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Melbourne 5-1-0 | Fremantle 0-0-0

Last time they met: Fremantle 6.0 (36) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31) at Fremantle Oval, Round 3, 2018

Fremantle had to come from behind twice as they held Melbourne to a combined one behind in the second and fourth quarters, kicking the only two goals of the final term. In a display of precision accuracy, the Dockers did not kick a behind all game, and after not scoring in the opening term, booted six straight goals to secure a win at Fremantle Oval. Kara Donnellan and Lisa Webb both picked up 17 disposals, while Emily McGuire booted two goals. For the Dees, Daisy Pearce had another day out with 24 disposals, three marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Tegan Cunningham booted two majors in the loss.

Fun facts:

  • Since losing their inaugural AFL Women’s Round 1 clash to Brisbane at Casey Fields, Melbourne has not lost a game, winning five consecutive matches at the venue, including a nine-goal win over Fremantle in 2017.
  • Both sides are likely to head into the clash very different to the previous encounter with a maximum of 13 players each from their sides of 21 just 12 months ago, still on their respective lists.
  • Dana Hooker averaged 17 disposals (11 contested) and 5.5 tackles in her two matches for the Dockers against the Demons, and was Fremantle’s best player in the disastrous 54-point belting back in 2017.
  • Melbourne will need to find a way to replace the influence of Daisy Pearce, who has been a headache for the Dockers in the past, averaging 25 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and 3.5 inside 50s.

 

BRISBANE vs. GWS GIANTS
Sunday, February 3, 4.05pm
Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, Moreton Bay

The final game of the round pits back-to-back grand finalist, Brisbane against the team they knocked out of the decider contention in the final round last year, GWS GIANTS. The quirky fact between these teams is they have played each other four times – twice in the pre-season and twice in the regular season. On both occasions, GWS has triumphed in the pre-season practice matches, while Brisbane has got the job done – and convincingly so – when playing for premiership points. The GIANTS average just two goals per game against the Lions during the season, and they will be keen to repeat the effort of a fortnight ago when they were too good for the young Lions. Brisbane has played just the one game at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex – the Lions new home for 2019 – which was a disappointing and almost season-defining loss to Collingwood, whereas the GIANTS are yet to run out at the venue.

Both teams have young line-ups coming through with the teams losing players such as Kaitlyn Ashmore, Jamie Stanton and Tahlia Randall (Brisbane), and Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth (GIANTS). They have also picked up some experience with Brisbane scooping up Lauren Arnell from Carlton and the GIANTS adding Magpie, Christina Bernardi to its forward mix. Heading to the draft, the GIANTS picked up one of the most decorated and talented juniors in Alyce Parker who will slot straight into the midfield and undoubtedly be a key cog in that onball division. Former netballer, Taylah Davies is already looking like a valuable pick-up for the GIANTS, while Haneen Zreika hit the scoreboard in the practice match as well. Any team with Alicia Eva, Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia has to be respected. Brisbane’s forward power with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner is always going to be a key consideration for opposition coaches, while Lions coach Craig Starcevich has the luxury of bringing up his Queensland Under 18 young guns into the senior team at draft time. All Australian ruck Lauren Bella, state captain Natalie Grider and key Queensland players Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw, Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little and Jacqui Yorston join West Australian, McKenzie Dowrick as the future of the Lions.

H2H: Brisbane 2 | GWS 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 0-1-0 | GWS 0-0-0

Last time they met: Brisbane 10.4 (64) defeated GWS GIANTS 3.6 (24) at Blacktown ISP, Round 7, 2018.

With an AFL Women’s Grand Final spot on the line, it was the Brisbane Lions who were all over the GIANTS, running out 40-point winners to keep their premiership dreams alive – albeit with their fate in Collingwood’s hands. The GIANTS had improved remarkably from the inaugural season, but fell short of a grand final place, and will have rued that final game over the summer. Ally Anderson and Emily Bates had days out against the GIANTS, collecting a combined 46 disposals, seven marks and eight clearances. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub was unstoppable with four goals to go with 18 disposals, five marks and five hitouts. Jess Wuetschner was equally as impressive with three majors from 11 touches, doing all the damage at ground level. For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva tried her best with a team-high 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five inside 50s, while Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia were the next highest ball winners with 14 apiece.

Fun facts:

  • Brisbane has played just the one match at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, and unfortunately it was one to forget, losing to Collingwood in Round 6, 2018. It put their premiership aspirations in serious doubt, before ironically the Magpies knocked off the Crows in the final round to hand the Lions a second consecutive Grand Final berth.
  • The Lions bounced back from the above loss with that 40-point win over GWS in the last round, knocking out the GIANTS from Grand Final contention, and replacing them in the decider.
  • In the two games against the GIANTS, Sabrina Frederick-Traub has booted five goals, whereas the entire GIANTS team have booted just the four.
  • Emma Swanson averages the most disposals for a GIANT against the Lions, at 15, while Jessica Dal Pos averages 13 touches per game.

AFLW season previews: Melbourne

THE Demons have been one of the stronger sides in the AFLW during the past two seasons. But with a big loss of players in the off-season, we will see a new-look Melbourne outfit on the park in 2019. Perhaps the biggest loss of the season was losing star midfielder, Daisy Pearce, which will undoubtedly challenge Mick Stinear to change his game plan heading into 2019.

Last season: 3rd – four wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Maddison Gay, Talia Radan, Tyla Hanks, Madeline Brancatisano, Jordann Hickey, Shelley Heath, Chantel Emonson, Shae Sloane, Casey Sherriff, Ashleigh Woodland

Out: Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare, Anna Teague, Jasmine Grierson, Emma Humphries, Laura Duryea, Maddie Shevlin, Alyssa Mifsud

Melbourne’s list changes have seem to go under the radar compared to the likes of the Collingwood and Brisbane lists. Geelong caused the most havoc to the Melbourne line-up, taking Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare and Anna Teague to Kardinia Park. The other expansion team, North Melbourne took two Tasmanian natives in Jasmine Grierson and Emma Humphries, leaving a gap in Melbourne’s defence. However, the Dees have covered this quite well with the recruitment of Talia Radan and Shelley Heath, who are handy defenders who can run or play on a key player. They have also boosted their midfield stocks with the loss of Pearce and Cranston, recruiting Under-18 representatives, Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano, who are two midfielders with great agility.

Area of strength: Midfield

Melbourne’s midfield has always been one of the strongest in the competition, but they will be without Daisy Pearce and Richelle Cranston this season. A recruit who has not been talked about much is Maddison Gay from the Blues. Gay was voted the Best First Year player when she was Carlton, and is a smart midfielder who is clever with the ball in hand. She should help to assist Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman, who have always been consistent in the middle of the ground for the Dees. Add in Brancatisano and Hanks, and Melbourne has a good core group of midfielders. Katherine Smith and Kate Hore are also set for a good season after finding some consistency for the Casey Demons in the VFLW season.

Area of weakness: Forward line

The Demons are lacking some numbers in the forward line. While they boast the likes of Tegan Cunningham and Aliesha Newman, the list does not go much further than that. Jordann Hickey is a crucial pick-up for the Dees to rectify this issue. She will be a key target up forward thanks to her solid hands and accurate kick. Eden Zanker should be set for a good year as well, finding some form in the Casey Demons VFLW side, but she was starved of opportunity last year, so she will also be pretty new to the AFLW environment.

Players to watch:

Tyla Hanks

Tyla Hanks has made the All-Australian Under 18s side two years in a row and is a force to be reckoned with in the midfield. On the inside, she is sharp with her hands and can clear congestion with her forceful kicking. She co-captained the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup Girls competition, so is no stranger to being an on-field leader. Hanks can also float up forward and make an impact to steady the ship for her team, highlighting her ability to be versatile in a Melbourne line-up that lacks forward depth.

Jordann Hickey

Originally from Alice Springs, Hickey made her mark on the 2018 VFLW season with 14 goals for the NT Thunder. From her 14 games, she also averaged 8.25 disposals per game, with her season-high coming against Richmond, where she racked up 16 disposals and also kicked two goals. Hickey managed to kick goals in seven of her games for the Thunder, showing great consistency across the season. She fought hard inside 50 and provides a tall target, which will be pivotal for the Demons.

Eden Zanker

Zanker got to play some consistent football again for the Casey Demons in the VFLW, after only playing three games for the Demons in the AFLW last year. She kicked nine goals from her 14 games with Casey and was named in the best four times. Zanker has a calm run-up and a precise kick, and is also great at winning the ball inside 50. She was the Demons’ first selection in the 2017 draft so Melbourne will have high hopes for her to show why she was selected so high in the draft.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference A

Despite a strong midfield, the Demons could struggle in their 50s, making for a difficult run in a difficult conference. However, they could get off to a good start with Fremantle and Collingwood looming as their first opponents of the season. It then gets a whole lot harder with Brisbane, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) to come. When the Demons’ defence comes up against a powerful forward line like North Melbourne’s, and their forwards go head-to-head against Brisbane’s A-grade defenders, it could spell trouble for them.

2019 Melbourne AFLW Fixture

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Casey FieldsRound 1
Victoria ParkRound 2
Hickey ParkRound 3
Casey FieldsRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Casey FieldsRound 7

AFLW Draft review: Melbourne

MELBOURNE will field a new-look line-up in 2019, suffering a loss of players to expansion clubs, North Melbourne and Geelong. With only five spots (they passed one pick) in the draft, the Demons had to pick their players carefully.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce (inactive) and Richelle Cranston
  • Rucks to replace Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud
  • Defenders to support Talia Radan and cover the loss of Laura Duryea and Anna Teague

 

Players selected:

Tyla Hanks – Gippsland Power

Hanks was one of the hardest and most skillful midfielders in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She plays very similarly to Madison Prespakis through her clean ball-use and long kicking. She can also head up forward when her side is in trouble, making her a very valuable asset for the Demons. Hanks was awarded with a place in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side, after being a co-captain of the Gippsland Power this year. She will be a key player in helping to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce.

Madeline Brancatisano – Northern Knights

Like Hanks, Brancatisano also had a leadership role this year, leading her Northern Knights to a TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. Brancatisano is a smart inside midfielder who has clean hands and a consistent desire to win the ball in congestion. She can also add valuable defensive pressure in the middle, proving how much of a role player she is. Brancatisano earned a spot in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and also spent some time with Carlton in the VFLW, adding some valuable experience to her game ahead of her AFL Women’s debut in 2019.

Jordann Hickey – NT Thunder

Jordann Hickey covers the loss of Alyssa Mifsud, who was delisted by the Demons in the AFL Women’s off-season. Hickey was consistent up forward for the NT Thunder this season, kicking 14 goals from 14 games. She played 14 matches and was named in the best three times. Hickey’s overhead marking and accurate kicking will be quite valuable in the Demons’ line-up, and she can also act as a back-up ruck.

Shelley Heath – Dandenong Stingrays

Shelley Heath is a great addition to the Melbourne line-up, thanks to her exciting run and carry out of the back pocket. She will inject some speed into the defensive 50, and could burn off a lot of players with that pace. Heath is also clever with the ball in hand, thanks to her clean hands and long kicks. She should do well to cover the losses of Anna Teague and Laura Duryea in the back line.

 

How they went:

Melbourne definitely needed midfielders in this draft and the Demons took two great ones in Hanks and Brancatisano. The duo will be great additions to a potent midfield that contains the likes of Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea. Up forward, Tegan Cunningham will combine with Jordann Hickey, giving the Demons a powerful line-up inside 50. The Demons might struggle in defence, as the loss of bigger bodies such as Anna Teague could hurt them. It will be interesting to see how Melbourne approaches its ruck situation after losing Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud. The Demons could have picked up a designated ruck in the draft but elected not to.

AFLW Previews: Grand Final

THE big day is finally here, where the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions will face off in the AFLW Grand Final. However it has come with much controversy, as Bulldogs captain, Katie Brennan is set to miss the match through suspension. Despite this, the game will undoubtedly by a high-pressure, high-intensity hit-out with both clubs searching for their first AFLW premiership. 

Western Bulldogs vs. Brisbane

Saturday March 23, 12:35pm at Ikon Park

The second season of AFLW comes to a close on Saturday afternoon as the top-of-the-table Western Bulldogs square off against last year’s runners-up in the Brisbane Lions for the ultimate prize. Despite finishing on top of the ladder, the Bulldogs will not host the game at VU Whitten Oval, with the contest being played at Ikon Park to accommodate a larger crowd.

The Bulldogs come off an incredibly hard-fought win last week against Melbourne, thanks to late game heroics from Brooke Lochland earning them the right to host the grand final. They enter the game without their captain Katie Brennan, who will miss the game due to suspension, as a result of a dangerous tackle in the last quarter against Melbourne. Whilst this will be a big obstacle to overcome for the Dogs, Brennan did miss three rounds earlier in the season, and the Dogs still managed to win two of those three games. Their midfield will once again be key for victory and they will be hoping for a big contribution from Emma Kearney and Ellie Blackburn. With the Lions possessing a forward line which contains the likes of Sabrina Frederick- Traub and Jess Wuetschner, the Bulldogs defence will have their hands full. The game last week against Melbourne saw Lauren Spark announce herself on the scene, keeping Tegan Cunningham possession-less and limiting her impact on the game, and she will be significant once again on Saturday.

Brisbane entered the final round in fifth place and were in desperate need of a number of results to go their way. The Lions took care of their own business, defeating the Giants by such a large margin that they surpassed Melbourne on percentage. They were then assisted by their opponents on Saturday, with the Bulldogs defeating Melbourne and Collingwood defeating Adelaide. This provides them an opportunity for redemption, having lost the inaugural AFLW grand final to the Crows. Sabrina Frederick-Traub was unbelievable again last week and looked unstoppable in her four-goal effort to take the game away from the Giants, and she will no doubt look to do the same again. A key part of their success all year has been the play of Emily Bates through the midfield and she will be needed to counteract the star power that the Bulldogs possess.

The stage is set for what should be a fantastic game. The Bulldogs look to complete an incredible turnaround from where they were 12 months ago, whilst the Lions look to bounce back from last year’s disappointing loss in the big game.

Weekend Wash-up: AFLW – Round 7

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

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

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

Key moment:

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

Impressers:

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

 

Fremantle 9.5 (59) defeated Carlton 6.12 (48)

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

Key moment:

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

Impressers:

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

 

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

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

Key moment:

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

Impressers:

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

 

Collingwood 8.5 (53) defeated Adelaide 4.8 (32) 

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

Key moment:

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

Impressers:

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

Crunching the numbers: AFLW – Round 6

THE completion of the penultimate round of the season sees five teams statistically in contention to qualify for the grand final. The Crows have a shot at going back-to-back after a four-point win over Fremantle on Friday night. On Saturday, the Pies put a major dent in Brisbane’s campaign, while the Giants’ win over the Bulldogs opened up their chances of sneaking into the grand final. At Ikon Park, the Dees punished the Blues to set up a huge clash against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night. 

Adelaide vs Fremantle

The heat was turned up on Friday night’s clash in Darwin and not just in the contest, as 32-degree temperatures saw the implementation of the heat policy. The sweltering conditions were not enough to deter Adelaide’s fight, with a three-goal opening term setting up an incredible fightback into grand-final contention. Adelaide’s back-line looked rock-solid and reigning AFLW MVP, Erin Phillips looked good up forward despite her lingering injury, booting three goals. The Dockers dominated in the numbers game, leading the stats in disposals (205-162), kicks (131-125) and handballs (74-36), but were shut down on their attack by the Adelaide defenders. Fremantle captain, Kara Donnellan had another commendable performance (16 disposals) and Dana Hooker was arguably best on ground, with 20 disposals and two goals.

Brisbane vs Collingwood

Collingwood set up its huge upset win over Brisbane with a four-goal opening term. Despite it being statistically impossible for the Pies to make the grand final, the rising stars dominated in their victory over the Lions. The wet conditions were not enough to deter forwards, Christina Bernardi (16 disposals, seven marks and three goals) and Moana Hope (three goals), who were able to capitalise on the clean ball movement of their midfielders, finishing with a 62 per cent conversion rate compared to Brisbane’s 36 per cent. It was a high-possession game (215-201) with 16 players recording double-figure disposals. The Pies dominated on the rebound from defensive 50 (26-12) with credit going to their defenders, including young gun, Chloe Molloy (16 touches), who was strong off half-back. She was complemented by East Fremantle product, Caitlyn Edwards (12 touches and 10 tackles) who was also a solid presence in defence. 

Greater Western Sydney vs Western Bulldogs

GWS put on a stunning 18-point upset against the top-of-the-table Bulldogs, which keeps its slim finals chances alive. The Western Bulldogs looked strong out of the gates with three of the first four goals of the match, but the Giants were able to fight their way back into the contest. This was thanks to a dominant forward display in the second quarter, entering the forward 50 13 times, compared to the Bulldogs’ mere two entries. The disposal count was high (211-200) in an exhibition of the on-ballers, with 21 players racking up double-figure disposals. GWS’ Courtney Gum put on a best-on-ground performance with a game-high 23 possessions, 10 clearances and a goal. Gum and fellow midfielder, Alicia Eva (18 disposals) were able to capitalise off Erin McKinnon’s commendable ruck performance (34 hit-outs), which troubled the Bulldogs midfield. Despite this, superstar duo, Emma Kearney (22 disposals, eight tackles) and Ellie Blackburn (18 disposals) had valiant performances, and were the standouts for the away side on the night.

Carlton vs Melbourne

Melbourne opened up the game with a record-breaking six goal first term. The Demons piled on 39 points to Carlton’s one point, putting themselves in pole position to secure a grand final position. The Dees dominated across the ground, leading in almost every stat category, including a superior 222 disposals to Carlton’s 157, with 12 players getting double-figure possessions. Their forward-line looked elite with Elise O’Dea and Tegan Cunningham kicking three goals apiece, along with two from Kate Hore. Along with her three goals, O’dea added 19 disposals along with seven tackles, and without a doubt, was the best player on the ground. Despite the huge win, the Demons also suffered a tremendous loss, with marquee player Melissa Hickey going down with a season-ending knee injury. Melbourne will now battle it out against the Bulldogs in a top-of-the-table clash for a spot in the grand final.