WAFLW Round 13 preview: Thunder and Bulldogs to clash in crunch game
A MATCH with huge finals ramifications takes place in Round 13 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, with the fourth placed Peel Thunder taking on the fifth placed South Fremantle with the winner to hold fourth after the round. In other matches, sixth placed Subiaco clashes with third placed Swan Districts, whilst in the more predictable head-to-head, the unbeaten East Fremantle take on the winless West Perth in a top-against-bottom battle.
East Fremantle Women's
West Perth Women's
Saturday, May 14 @ 12pm WST
East Fremantle Oval
A top-against bottom clash spells danger signs for the winless West Perth who will need to cause the upset of the season to defeat the red-hot East Fremantle. The Sharks were not even as their deadly best last week and still put Peel Thunder to the sword, with a number of changes taking place ahead of their Round 13 clash. Melissa Caulfield is a massive in named on a wing to take on Under 16s star talent Megan Norbury, whilst State Academy members Georgie Cleaver and Alli Nokes are joined in the side with Paisley Prentice and Elle Sanders. The Falcons have just named an extended bench, adding Leuk Nelson Marsden, Claire Norbury and Amber Rundle to the side that went down to South Fremantle last weekend.
The West Perth defence has been gaining more confidence each week, with intercept marking bottom-ager Liliana Grassenis, full-back Karla Stagg and the running and rebounding Roper sisters, Jess and Kaitlyn. They will come up against the toughest gig in the league, with Larissa Versaci, Ashlee Atkins, Julia Teakle and Clever in there. East Fremantle will be without Anjelique Raison and Alex Williams for the clash, but still have the impressive midfield of Ashleigh Gomes, Sharon Wong and Amber Kinnane going up against a younger group which features Kayla Van Den Heever and Keely Byrne.
Fairly easy call here, East Fremantle has answered every challenge, whilst West Perth will just be hoping to provide a big one here. Sharks pretty comfortably.
South Fremantle Women's
Peel Thunder Women's
Saturday, May 14 @ 2:10pm WST
The Match of the Round takes place at Fremantle Oval with the Bulldogs taking on the Thunder with massive finals ramifications potentially on the line. A win to Peel will just about guarantee its appearance in a third straight finals series, and not only that, the Thunder could leapfrog the Swans if Subiaco takes down the black and whites. With a game in hand, the Thunder are still dangerous, whilst the Bulldogs could leap into the four – and knock the Thunder back into the bottom three – if they cause an upset. South Fremantle has been able to recall Rosie Anderson and All-Australian ruck Lauren Wakfer for its clash with Peel, but have lost Under 16s talent Molly O’Hehir. The Thunder will still be without potential top AFLW Draft pick Ella Roberts due to Health and Safety Protocols, whilst Bailey Molloy is among three outs from the side. Megan Bain, Whitney Benson and Makinley Minchin all come into the team.
Peel Thunder had three players earn AFLW Draft Combine invites yesterday, with Roberts named alongside state captain and defender Bella Mann, and reigning state captain and winger Jaide Britton. Both have had strong seasons in the AFLW Under 18 Championships and WAFL Women’s respectively, with Mann playing greater defensive roles than her midfield stints with Western Australia, but will be looking to shut down Poppy Stockwell. Britton will provide run on the outside, with Kaitlyn Srhoj on the other wing, whilst the half-forward line on Aisha Wright, Kate Bartlett and Kaitlyn Srhoj is the Thunder’s most dangerous. Tanisha Anderson and Ebony Dowson have played some good footy out of the back 50, and will need to be on their game again with Stockwell, Wakfer, Hunter Cronin, Kahra Sprylan and Casey Byrne all playing well. The midfield of Lauren Vecchio and Liusaidh Gilchrist joined by Anderson has the potential to take control around the clearances if allowed.
Peel to get up in a tight one, but it would not be surprising to see South Fremantle cause and upset here.
Swan Districts Women's
Sunday, May 15 @ 2pm WST
Coming back from a bye in Round 12, Subiaco will be refreshed and ready to hit the last portion of the season, starting off against Swan Districts. The Lions have a serious top end amount of talent, with Abbey Dowrick continuing her frequent flyer miles back at Subi after her Eagles season in the SANFLW came to an end. She is on the other flank to Nyra Anderson, with Hanna Dethlefsen and Jessica Ritchie key forward targets in there. The Lions have named an extended bench for Round 13, with Swan Districts making one confirmed change, losing defender Lauren Osborne. It means the load will fall to youngsters Mel Hardy, Isabella Edgley and Kyah Chirichilli, guided by the two figureheads of the Swans defence in Aimee Ralph and Eliza Gelmi.
Though the Swans have lost Osborne, they do have a trio of key players returning. AFLW Draft Combine invite and midfielder-forward Abbygail Bushby is back in the side after representing the AFLW Academy last weekend. She is joined in the side by forward Taylah Edwards, and ruck Sophie Proudfoot. The latter will have a huge test up against Tess Lyons, whilst Bushby, fellow State Academy representative Jaime Henry, and captain Jessica Cox will face a strong Subiaco midfield in Tarnica Golisano, Madizen Wilkins and Jayme Harken. The Swans will need to win to keep holding third spot, but a loss for the Lions will pretty much put a line through their finals aspirations, so there is plenty on the line.
Swan Districts will be favourites given their balance across the ground, but the experienced Subiaco midfield could get the Lions on top if they can outwit their younger opponents.