2022 AFLW debut season focus: Round 5
TEAM selection is getting tight, but another couple of debutants were rolled out across Round 5 of the 2022 AFL Women’s season. We take a look at how those in their debut campaigns performed this past weekend – either first-year players, or those who were yet to make their AFL Women’s debut despite being on a club’s list.
Geelong’s thrilling win over West Coast on Friday meant the Cats finally got on the board in 2022, leaving the Eagles winless after five rounds. In a surprise to no one, prized draftee Georgie Prespakis was quickly back to her best, registering 15 disposals, seven tackles and four clearances as one of the more impressive first-year players afield.
VFLW coup Annabel Johnson was solid for her 12 touches and five marks, again joined by fellow first rounders Zali Friswell and Gabbi Featherston in the side, along with mature-agers Rachel Kearns and Olivia Fuller. For the Eagles, second-game tall Sarah Lakay impressed with a game-high 21 hitouts, while Charlotte Thomas managed a career-high for disposals (13) to go with three clearances in her promising maiden campaign.
Brisbane won out convincingly in a battle of two finals contenders on Saturday, restricting Collingwood to just 1.5 (11) in the 24-point triumph. Exciting 19-year-old forward Zimmorlei Farquharson was back on the scoresheet this time out, as the sole player to snare multiple goals (two) – the best haul of her three-game career.
Collingwood again called upon two of its 2021 draftees, with Eliza James continuing her uninterrupted run in the side but being kept to just four touches this time out. Fellow former NAB Leaguer Eloise Chaston made her return, with the forward’s second senior goal ending up as her side’s only major for the match.
Melbourne bounced back onto the winners list on Saturday, holding off a fast finishing Gold Coast to break the Suns’ two-game win streak. A real feature of those wins, Tara Bohanna was kept goalless this time out, but got her hands dirty with eight tackles in the Suns forwardline.
Elsewhere, Charlie Rowbottom‘s duel with Eden Zanker was a memorable one, as the mammoth midfielders locked horns around the ball. The number one pick ended up with 10 disposals and six tackles and five clearances, while mature-age debutant Shannon Danckert laid five tackles in her first senior experience.
Melbourne tall Maggie Caris returned to the fold and knocked down 12 hitouts in support of Lauren Pearce, while first year midfielder Eliza West thrived under some quality ruck craft to register 13 disposals (six clearances) and 10 tackles in the Dees’ win.
The Western Bulldogs have been through a lot in 2022, and finally broke through to beat Richmond by 17 points at Whitten Oval on Sunday. Among a relatively green Doggies lineup, first-year gem Elizabeth Snell worked hard for her nine touches and four marks, while recent addition Jemima Woods again notched a single touch in her second outing.
In yellow and black, Emelia Yassir kept her spot and kept busy with a handful of touches, while other first-year Tigers were managed. Meanwhile, Meg Macdonald turned out for her second senior game and laid four tackles to go with her new career-high of seven disposals.
Adelaide might not have pulled its weight in terms of first-year representation on Sunday, but showed a ton of strength in a 39-point win over Carlton at Princes Park. The Blues fielded four players who have debuted this year, as others came out of the side through injury and omission, again showing some green shoots.
SANFLW coup Jess Good was one of the returnees, handed the big job of filling Breann Moody‘s boots in a team void of many tall options. Speaking of, Paige Trudgeon‘s solid form continued as she had 11 disposals and five marks, while Courtney Jones could not quite scrounge a goal up forward and Brooke Vickers had three touches in her third game.
North Melbourne rounded out the weekend’s results with a 10-point win over Fremantle, stamping the Roos’ credentials as a genuine contender this season. North had two relatively fresh faces take the field, as second-year Amy Smith joined VFLW recruit Jasmine Ferguson in the side. They had seven and six disposals respectively, with the latter playing every game so far this season.
The Dockers have been served well by their first-year brigade and that was no different on the weekend. Irishwoman Aine Tighe (14 disposals, three marks) was again strong, while youngster Dana East (nine disposals, eight tackles) again got her hands dirty around the ball.
Airlie Runnalls and Jess Low were others who continue to prove the state league system’s strength, while second and third year players Mikayla Morrison and Ann McMahon also turned out in purple once more along with speedster, Makaela Tuhakaraina.