COVID-19 chaos and injuries cannot stop AFLW Round 2 action

TONIGHT sees the start of Round 2 of the AFL Women’s season, and this round’s fixture is a clear demonstration that COVID-19 is ever-present.

With Covid wrecking havoc at several clubs, the fixture has had to be changed around a bit. Geelong is now playing Carlton and the Bulldogs and Lions will play each other at a later date.

Despite all of that chaos, there are still six matches going ahead this weekend, and it all kicks off tonight.

Richmond vs Melbourne

Friday at 7:10pm AEDT
Swinburne Centre (Punt Road Oval)

Many might see tonight’s match going very differently than what they might have expected pre-Round 1.

Both sides are coming off solid wins in Round 1, with Richmond beating St Kilda and Melbourne overcoming the Western Bulldogs.

For Richmond, how the Tigers perform tonight will determine if last week’s performance was a sign of things to come or if it was more a sign of the level of the opponent they were facing. Melbourne is a stronger side than St Kilda, so tonight’s match will certainly be more of a challenge.

Melbourne on the other hand has to improve its scoring accuracy from last week. Richmond kicked 6.1, while Melbourne kicked 6.10. There were plenty of changes at the selection table for the Dees, with Covid again having impact on the match.

Monique Conti was on fire in the midfield, whilst Katie Brennan, Christina Bernardi and Courtney Wakefield all provided strong marking targets up forward. The Dees shared it around with Eden Zanker, Libby Birch and Tyla Hanks dominating for the red and blue.

Collingwood vs St Kilda

Saturday at 3:10pm AEDT
Victoria Park

After a good win last week, Collingwood return to their home ground to take on a St Kilda who will be desperately looking to bounce back from last week’s result.

Collingwood do have a huge out this week with Brianna Davey injuring her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the win over Carlton last week. Although this may be a huge out, the Magpies have enough depth and experience to be able to cover her loss. The likes of Jaimee Lambert and Brittany Bonnici are bonfide stars, whilst Chloe Molloy booted three behinds and could have done more damage up forward.

St Kilda on the other hand should get Kate Shierlaw back this week who will be a huge help, but this week’s game will not be easy regardless. The Saints got outclassed across the ground last week and Collingwood are a tougher opponent than Richmond were. One thing they will have to improve this week is their ball use inside forward 50. That really let them down last week.

Tarni White was a shining light for the Saints last week, whilst Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Olivia Vesely found plenty of the ball in the loss to the Tigers.

Geelong vs Carlton

Saturday at 7:10pm AEDT
GMHBA Stadium

Geelong and Carlton were originally supposed to play different opponents this week, but only found out yesterday that they were playing each other this weekend.

Geelong came close to beating North Melbourne last week but ultimately fell short. Carlton on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from a loss last weekend to Collingwood.

This match sees the Prespakis sisters – Madison and Georgie – come up against each other for the first time in the AFLW. This will certainly be a fascinating battle between the pair.

Geelong will be looking to build on their improved performance from last week, while Carlton will need to clean up their ill-discipline from last week, where they gave away several costly 50m penalties.

Amy McDonald was outstanding with her defensive work against the Roos in Round 1, whilst Nina Morrison got through the game unscathed. Abbie McKay and Lucy McEvoy were among the better Blues with Prespakis, whilst Breann Moody could really capitalise against the Cats’ ruck stocks.

West Coast vs Gold Coast

Sunday at 12:40pm AEDT
Whitten Oval

Covid-induced border closures sees two non Victorian sides come together in Melbourne’s western suburbs to battle it out. It is a sign of the times we live in

This match could go either way. Both sides were not able to get the win in Round 1, but come up against an opponent that is more at their level.

The fact that it is at a neutral ground also makes this clash interesting. It takes away the advantage of a home deck, and with neither side having played at the venue before, this match is probably the most even of the entire weekend’s fixture.

Captain Emma Swanson had a day out against the Dockers, whilst Mikayla Bowen, Belinda Smith and ex-Docker Evie Gooch caught the eye. Charlie Rowbottom will back up for her second game after a memorable debut, whilst Jamie Stanton and Alison Drennan also impressed in the loss to the GIANTS.

Adelaide vs North Melbourne
Sunday at 2:40pm ACDT
Norwood Oval

A battle of two of the premiership contenders sees Adelaide hosting North back at it’s fortress of Norwood Oval.

Last week Adelaide comfortably beat reigning premiers Brisbane. Meanwhile, North had quite the battle on its hands against Geelong but still managed to get the win.

Travelling over to Adelaide is always hard for any side, but the fact that this match is at Adelaide’s fortress of Norwood Oval makes North’s task that much more difficult.

Ashleigh Woodland was the star of the Crows’ win with four majors against the Lions, whilst Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff dominated the midfield, and Sarah Allan was rock solid in defence. For the Roos, Ash Riddell equalled the all-time disposal record against the Cats, while Jenna Bruton, Jasmine Garner and Kaitlyn Ashmore stepped up in the absence of captain Emma Kearney.

Fremantle vs GWS
Sunday at 5:10pm AEDT
Whitten Oval

Another victim of Covid-induced border closure sees the second half of a Whitten Oval double header feature two more non Victorian sides.

Both sides are coming off round 1 wins, but this is another match that could go either way. Fremantle on paper are the stronger side, but playing this game at a neutral ground evens things out. It removes the advantage of Fremantle at home, and with neither side having much experience at the venue, it makes things unpredictable.

Ebony Antonio and Kiara Bowers were outstanding in their win against the Eagles, whilst Gabby O’Sullivan and Hayley Miller were damaging forward of centre. Alyce Parker and Alicia Eva will ensure Bowers and the Dockers midfield do not have an easy time of it, with Rebecca Beeson and Haneen Zreika others to standout in Round 1.

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