AFTER a pre finals break, the VFLW is back this weekend for week one of the finals, with three exciting games in store.
The VFLW Finals system is unique and can get a bit confusing, but there are two Elimination Finals this weekend, and one Qualifying Final between the top two ranked teams. We preview all three fixtures.
Qualifying Final – Essendon vs Hawthorn
Tomorrow at 11:05am
The top two sides will do battle tomorrow morning at Essendon’s spiritual home for the right to play off next week for a Grand Final spot. The loser of this match will also advance, but they have to go the long way around if they want to make the Grand Final.
Last time these two sides met, it was one of the most entertaining matches of the season, but was ultimately a draw. They only played each other once during the home and away season, so there is not a whole lot of history to go off between the sides of late.
Both sides are full of exceptional talent with a long list of potential goal kicking options.
If you take a look at the Bombers, they have the likes of Rohenna Young Medalist Federica Frew, plus the likes of Mia-Rae Clifford and Renee Tierney who have both kicked bags on multiple occasions this season, plus they gain back goal sneak Cecilia McIntosh this week.
Moving across to Hawthorn, and practically everyone who is starting in the Hawks’ forward line this weekend has proven prolific in 2022. Jessie Williams and Kristy Stratton in particular are very dangerous targets, so they are ones to watch out for. The Hawks also gain Abbey Holmes back this week, so she will only add to the firepower that Williams and Stratton already provide.
Geelong vs Southern Saints
Tomorrow at 1:05pm
Deakin Uni, Geelong
Another very interesting clash, but this one is more do or die. The loser goes home, and winner stays on to play either Hawthorn or Essendon next week – depending on who wins that clash, and who wins out of Casey and Collingwood.
Much like Hawthorn and Essendon, these two sides do not have too much history this season as the only time they met was back in Round 4, and a lot has happened since early March.
However, that game was also at Deakin University and the Saints handed the Cats their first loss of the season that day, so it goes to show that anything can happen in tomorrow’s clash.
Geelong has had a patchy season at times, but has a talented line up and the players with which to make things happen tomorrow.
For one thing, Chloe Scheer will be out there, so that not only gives the Cats run through the middle, but a target up forward.
They also have a number of other players that have played at AFLW level in their side tomorrow, which gives them a lot of experienced heads. That includes the likes of Madeleine Boyd, Mia Skinner and Carly Remmos.
The Saints on the other hand do not necessarily have the AFLW talent, but still have a very experienced side that has played together for a while, which will always count for something. They have the level heads of Grace Buchan and Deanna Jolliffe in defence, plus a stacked forward line with Olivia Flanagan, Tayla Kearns, Kayla Ripari, Gabriella De Angelis and Chanelle Slater.
Casey vs Collingwood
Sunday at 11:35am
The other Elimination Final is slated for Sunday morning, and the future of the winner here is less reliant on the other results. If Casey wins, it will go on to play the winner of the Qualifying Final, while if Collingwood wins, it will go on to play the loser of the Qualifying Final.
Last time these two sides met it was on a very rainy and wet Mother’s Day, and it was the Pies who emerged victorious that particular morning.
That game was also played at Casey Fields, so the Dees will certainly be hoping history does not repeat itself in that sense.
After starting the year very strongly, the Dees had a bit of a wobble mid season, which caused them to ultimately slip to third. Collingwood on the other hand were definitely not the all conquering side of years gone by this season, and took until their very final game to secure their place in the finals.
A lot of Casey’s AFLW listed talent that played back in Round 14 will not be playing on Sunday, so that will give a huge boost to the Pies, who really have not had much of their AFLW talent come play this season.
The Collingwood forward line is full of plenty of forward attacking options, including the likes of Tricia Cowan, Monique DeMatteo and Nyakoat Dojiok, so that will be exciting to watch. They come up against a strong Casey backline that features the likes of Tahlia Gillard and Rebecca Grant.