WAFLW Round 14 preview: Thunder load up for crunch match with Swans
PEEL Thunder has loaded up for its massive finals-defining clash with Swan Districts, as last years grand finalists do battle for the second time this season in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Round 14. Along with some massive inclusions for Peel Thunder, Swan Districts has lost its captain, in a game that could be crucial in getting a home final. Meanwhile in other matches, Claremont takes on South Fremantle in a must-win game for the Bulldogs if they are going to be a serious finals contender, especially with Subiaco taking on West Perth and poised to grab fifth spot on the table.
Saturday, May 21 @ 2:30pm
Lane Group Stadium
It is coming to the pointy end of the season, and Peel Thunder mean business, putting out their strongest side of the season with some massive inclusions. Top AFLW Draft hope Ella Roberts and Fremantle star Sabreena Duffy return, with tall Ebonee Hardie and dynamic forward Krystal Carter also back in what would be some tough reading for Swan Districts fans. Along with the return of those important players for the Thunder, the Swans will be without their captain Jessica Cox, as well as dangerous goalkicker Hope Ugle-Hayward. They have brought back experienced defender Lauren Osborne, and Renee Holwill for the big game.
The forward line has some serious punch now with Roberts and Carter to rotate alongside competition leading goalkicker Kate Bartlett, as well as Kira Phillips, Aisha Wright and Jade Briggs. The Swans defence is normally strong, but will have its work cut out, with Osborne joining Isabella Edgley, Aimee Ralph, Mel Hardy and Eliza Gelmi back there. On the wings, Jaide Britton and Kaitlyn Srhoj will provide run for the Thunder, whilst the Swans onball brigade of Jaime Henry, Tyla Fitzgerald and Abbygail Bushby will be key to success through the midfield.
With the inclusions, Peel Thunder should have no reason not to win this game and further secure third spot this year as they hope to build towards a third straight flag.
Sunday, May 22 @ 12pm
Revo Fitness Stadium
In a huge clash for both sides, Claremont needs to win in order to keep its hopes of finishing top alive, as East Fremantle have the bye in Round 14. However the stakes are even higher for South Fremantle, with a loss likely to make it very difficult for finals from here, and the almost-certainty of dropping below Subiaco who will beat West Perth. The teams for the game are yet to be made public, with a full preview to come when they are.
Sunday, May 22 @ 2pm
Subiaco will be looking to leapfrog South Fremantle with a win here, taking on the last placed West Perth. The Lions are at home again at Leederville Oval to close out Round 14, with a number of key players out of the side. Tess Lyons, Maggie Maclachlan, Jamie Rust and Helen Taylor are among those out, whilst the Lions have recalled the likes of Dahna Lee and Tylor McIntosh who return up their respective forward and defensive ends. West Perth will also be without in-form defender Jessica Roper as well as Grace Betti, whilst the likes of Chloe Shearing and Claire Norbury have returned to the side.
Subiaco’s midfield is fit and firing on all cylinders of late, and have looked a much more damaging team. Lead by skipper Tarnica Golisano, the likes of Jayme Harken, Madizen Wilkins and Amy Mulholland have all been impressive performers. It will be a big test for the West Perth midfield, with the likes of Kayla Van Den Heever, Keely Byrne and Megan Norbury up against more experienced opponents. The defence will be under pressure as well, with Karla Stagg, Kaitlyn Roper and Liliana Grassenis battling against the likes of Abbey Dowrick, Hanna Dethlefsen and Nyra Anderson.
Subiaco should have no problem here with the extra experience and playing at home.