WAFLW Round 12 preview: Top four clashes await

TWO top four clashes take place in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition in what could be a finals preview for the league. Top of the table East Fremantle hosts fourth placed Peel Thunder who are coming off a bye, whilst third placed Swan Districts takes on second placed Claremont both today. In tomorrow’s standalone game, West Perth will look for its first win of the season when it clashes with South Fremantle.

  • Team
  • Swan Districts
  • Claremont

The selection table was certainly active for this game, with both Swan Districts and Claremont regaining, and losing, some talented names. The third placed Swans will be without youngsters Abbygail Bushby (AFLW Academy game), Tara Stribley (injury) and Jorgina Kean, regaining the likes of Emily McGuire, Taylor Pescud and Hope Ugle-Hayward. Claremont has quite the list of inclusions, as captain Ella Smith makes her return alongside some pretty crucial players such as Matilda Dyke, Sarah Garstone and Madeleine Scanlon. They do lose AFLW-experienced talents in Jasmin Stewart and Katherine Orme, as well as the dangerous Katherine Bennett.

The midfield battle will be key, with young gun Jaime Henry likely going head-to-head with Smith, whilst Jessica Cox and Sasha Goranova are among the other through the onball rotation. Mackenzie Webb will have a huge job trying to contain Ashley Sharp, whilst the wing battle between Demi Liddle and Mikayla Western will be fascinating to watch. Ella Slocombe who kicked three goals from three kicks in the last quarter two weeks ago to win them the game returns with the youngster looking for a four-quarter effort in the Round 12 game. Swannies defender Isabella Edgley is also in great form.

It should be a close one, with both sides missing a number of good talents, but Claremont look that touch more experienced.

  • Team
  • East Fremantle
  • Peel Thunder

Peel Thunder dropped back to fourth with Swan Districts having a win last week whilst the Mandurah-based side had another bye, and will now hope to get it back if they can take down East Fremantle and Swan Districts loses its clash. No one has managed to do it thus far, but the Thunder are going to regain some of their young stars, headlined by West Australian Under 18s captain Bella Mann, winger Kaitlyn Srhoj and defender Emily Gunton. State MVP Ella Roberts is still out of the picture with a match for the AFLW Academy tomorrow. For East Fremantle, they have lost some pretty important names with their ruck Laura Catherine who had been in great form going out, as was midfielders Madeline Ross and Beth Beckett, forward Mylee Leitch and ruck-forward Georgie Cleaver. The latter is also playing the in the AFLW Academy game. In return, the Sharks regain some players such as State defenders Anjelique Raison and Taya Chambers and Georgia Bett.

Peel Thunder has a really steady defender, balanced midfield and dangerous attack, it is just about all clicking at the same time. Gracie Fenton, Chloe Wrigley and Ebony Bilcich have been the onball group all year, with Srhoj and Jaide Britton on the wings,. They will take on an equally consistent group of Ashleigh Gomes, Sharon Wong and Amber Kinnane inside with Abbey Amaranti and Under 16s talent Zippy Fish on the wings. Up forward, Kate Bartlett and Kira Phillips are the keys to stop, with Alex Williams and Hayley O’Donnell having big jobs. Up the other end, Ebony Dowson and Cassie Davidson will hope to limit the influence of Larissa Versaci and Ashlee Atkins.

Given the outs for East Fremantle, this looms as a massive opportunity for Peel Thunder, and arguably the best chance a side has had to knock off the undefeated ladder leaders. Though the Sharks are at home, on paper the Thunder should win.

  • Team
  • West Perth
  • South Fremantle

The last placed West Perth will be searching for its first win of the season – and club history – when it takes on a South Fremantle side coming off a big defeat at the hands of Subiaco. The Bulldogs will be keen to keep in touch with the top four with a victory whilst keeping separation on the sixth placed Lions. Though West Perth are going to be locked to the bottom of the table this season – with the two sides above having notched up three wins – the Falcons can hope to improve on the effort from last time they faced the Bulldogs, and springboard into next season with a good finish to the season. Both sides have made only a few changes, with Grace Betti joining Falcons ruck Cameron Dawson and talented young defender Liliana Grassenis in the side, with Elissa Price and Chloe Smoker among those out of the team. For the Bulldogs, they lose key ruck Lauren Wakfer to the AFLW Academy game, whilst Ella Higgins and Tayla Hughes both return to the side and slot straight into the starting lineup.

After an outstanding game last week, Molly O’Hehir could well go head-to-head against fellow Under 16s State Academy teammate Megan Norbury who has moved from the wing to onball. Also making a new move is defender Jessica Roper who has landed on the wing, and could go up against Peel Thunder premiership player Shannon Whale. The midfield battles between youngsters Kayla Van Den Heever and Keely Byrne and more experienced duo Lauren Vecchio and Liusaidh Gilchrist will be one to watch.

South Fremantle is missing a number of quality youngsters from its side, but still should get the job done against the winless West Perth, though the Falcons might notch up their most competitive effort yet.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments