Preview | 2022 AFL Women’s – Round 10

THE FINAL AFL Women’s home-and-away round for season 2022 is set to get underway on Friday night, as the competition’s minor premiership, top two, and top six are finally settled. Along with the five regularly scheduled fixtures, there will also be a pair of make-up games shuffled into the pack on Sunday. We preview all seven games.

  • Team
  • Geelong

Geelong and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) kick off the Round 10 proceedings in what is effectively one of a few dead rubbers to see out the season. Under Friday night lights at GMHBA Stadium, the home side could end up leapfrogging its opponent with a win, as the sides sit 11th and 12th respectively with GWS on three wins and Geelong on two.

Both clubs are coming off admittedly sub-par performances in Round 9; the Cats scrounged only nine behinds in a loss to St Kilda, while GWS was beaten to the punch by Richmond. Speaking of blows, the Giants will be without star midfielder Alyce Parker due to concussion protocols, leaving much of the ball winning responsibility to the likes of Rebecca Beeson and Alicia Eva.

Carlton coup Chloe Dalton will also miss through suspension, with Katherine Smith and Cassidhe Simmons returning to the side. For Geelong, promising tall Olivia Barber is back after missing last week’s game through concussion protocols, with mature-age recruit Claudia Gunjaca making way. If football math is correct, Geelong has a good chance here having beaten Richmond a week before GWS went down to the Tigers.

  • Team
  • Collingwood
  • Richmond

Collingwood can put its top six status beyond all doubt on Saturday afternoon as it hosts traditional men’s rival Richmond at Victoria Park. The Magpies currently occupy the last finals spot, but a loss would see them dislodged from postseason honours should the Western Bulldogs get up over Brisbane. Richmond, on the other hand, will purely look to play spoiler after nabbing four points last time out.

Despite being heavily depleted, Collingwood got within two points of Adelaide last time out. Missing the likes of Brianna Davey, Brittany Bonnici, and potentially Jaimee Lambert is nothing short of a massacre to the Pies’ midfield, but their slingshot style from defence is still effective should the engine room battle not be consistently won.

On the other hand, Richmond will rely on its ability to win the ball at the source to create opportunities in attack. The Tigers will likely do so without Sarah Hosking after her cheek blew up last week, and hers is among a raft of injuries. Still, Richmond pulled some major positives from its bounce-back performance in Round 9, and should push the Pies all the way here.

  • Team
  • North Melbourne
  • West Coast

North Melbourne will look for a confidence boost ahead of finals when it takes on likely wooden spooner West Coast at Arden Street Oval on Saturday evening. The Roos suffered another frustrating loss to a finals-bound opponent in Round 9, but is safe within the top six and could potentially rise to third. Meanwhile, the Eagles need a sizeable win and for St Kilda to lose to avoid the dreaded last place status.

Likely to come out hungry, the Roos often have little trouble dispatching teams they should beat. Suffice to say, West Coast is in that category. With enormous class on each line, North’s controlled kick-mark style has brought a reasonable amount of success, though the hosts may want to try a few things out before finals.

In a true contrast of styles, West Coast has won the least amount of ball of any team this season and needs to make an absolute scrap of this game. The Roos thrive when able to possess the ball at will and move it in an uncontested manner, so the Eagles’ pressure gauge, ground ball efforts, and defensive set up need to be on point if they are any chance to be competitive.

  • Team
  • Melbourne
  • Carlton

With top spot still up for grabs, Melbourne will be out to continue its record-breaking form when it hosts Carlton on Saturday night. The Dees were irresistible last time out, but come up against a Carlton side which is enjoying a late-season purple patch in the form of three consecutive wins. That could all come to an abrupt end at the hands of the rampant Demons, at their Casey Fields fortress.

It is no secret that Melbourne’s contested game is as good as, if not better than any other side. Titan rucks Lauren Pearce and Breann Moody will do battle in a matchup which could decide the starting All Australian spot, servicing midfields which may look very different depending on the state of the game. Carlton has set up for speed of late, but may revert back to a more strength-based mix given Melbourne’s advantage there.

Kicking a winning score is something Carlton had slight trouble with before its recent run of form, but the Blues’ lift in forward 50 pressure has paid off in full. Of course, up the other end of the ground, Carlton’s defence will have to stop rampant former-Blue Tayla Harris if it is any chance of preventing a runaway Demons victory.

  • Team
  • St Kilda
  • Adelaide

Adelaide has one hand on the 2022 minor premiership, but can seal the deal with a big win over St Kilda on Sunday afternoon. The Crows currently hold top spot with a four per cent advantage over Melbourne, but will be wary of the Dees’ recent scoring form. Their next opponent, St Kilda, is also riding a high having broken through for its first two wins of the season back-to-back.

Those consecutive wins were the first in the Saints’ history, though they do not have many fond memories of meeting Adelaide. Last time out, the Crows earned a crushing 53-point victory and will look to put the foot down once again here with momentum key heading into the postseason. While away at RSEA Park this time out, the prospect of earning a home grand final will be Adelaide’s big motivator.

The Crows are best at bossing the territory and not only do they hold the ball inside their attacking half, but they take full toll too. At the other end of the ground, they have conceded the least points of any team this season and with plenty still to play for in the last home-and-away round, they look primed to deliver the upward-trending Saints a stark reality check.

  • Team
  • Western Bulldogs
  • Brisbane

The Western Bulldogs’ fate rests somewhat in their hands, but they will know if they are any chance of snatching a finals spot before their clash with Brisbane on Sunday afternoon. Playing host at Mars Stadium, the Dogs must win, and need Collingwood to lose to claim sixth spot. On the other hand, Brisbane’s top two hopes are still alive and if both Adelaide and Melbourne lose, the Lions could even finish first.

Despite all the challenged they have faced, the reigning premiers have stood up to just about each task thrown their way this season. They stamped their premiership credentials with a win over North Melbourne in Round 9, a win which came a week after making shortlived history with the highest score and winning margin. There is no questioning the Lions’ hunger and class, it is up to the Bulldogs to step up to the plate.

The Bulldogs are strong around the ball and can starve Brisbane’s potent tall attacking trio of opportunity if they can be clean in their control of possession. The Lions will look to surge the footy forward at any cost, so the Dogs can either fight fire with fire, or look to maintain a more uncontested style and remove chaos from the equation. Either way, it is a game with potentially massive stakes.

  • Team
  • Fremantle
  • Gold Coast

After being dismantled in a record breaking way last time out, Fremantle will be eager to atone for its Round 9 loss when it hosts Gold Coast at Fremantle Oval on Sunday afternoon. Having looked a real threat in the first half of the season, the Dockers’ momentum has been halted and their confidence knocked after challenges in the last fortnight. They can regain some belief on the eve of finals, though the Suns will have other ideas.

Gold Coast’s own postseason plans were dashed last week in a loss to Carlton, but the Suns’ marked improvement in 2022 is a testament to everyone at the club. The Suns will look to match Fremantle’s fabled ferocity at the contest with their clearance nous, but maintaining that vigour around the ground is another challenge entirely.

The Dockers pride themselves on being the number one tackle team in the competition and if nothing else goes right, that factor will keep them in many a game. Against Gold Coast, Fremantle will hope it’s something which helps it dominate, with a spurt of momentum key to ensuring that early-season promise does not go to waste come finals time.

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