AFLW practice match wraps: Clubs have final preseason hitouts

ALL 18 AFL Women’s clubs had one last preseason hitout ahead of Season 7 at the end of August. Many of the favourites got up with a number of close games keeping fans interested as players got their first chances in their new colours.

St Kilda 2.4 (16) lost to Brisbane 6.6 (42)

By Alyce Collett

Brisbane took out a comfortable win over St Kilda that left the Saints with a few things to iron out ahead of Round 1. It was a pretty free flowing opening quarter, but Brisbane’s ball movement and defensive pressure were both excellent. St Kilda couldn’t find the space up forward so the ball was getting intercepted far too easily. However in the second term it was all Brisbane. The visitors were much cleaner with the ball as St Kilda’s forward 50 delivery really let them down.

The third term was a low scoring affair, and even though the ball spent the majority of the quarter in the Brisbane forward line, the Lions only managed one goal from that. The Saints got one back late but the margin was still 29 in favour of Brisbane at the final change. The last quarter was a lot more even in terms of time spent in each team’s forward 50. St Kilda seemed to have fixed their forward 50 entry issues from earlier in the piece, but could not kick straight. The only goal of the quarter was to the Lions.

Among the goal kickers for Brisbane were Dakota Davidson (2), Luka Yoshida-Martin, Greta Bodey, Cathy Svarc and Emily Bates. Meanwhile for St Kilda their goal kickers were Kate Shierlaw and Nicola Stevens. Lions fans would have been pleased with the work from the likes of Courtney Hodder, Bates and Ally Anderson, while for St Kilda Erin McKinnon, Darcy Guttridge and Shierlaw all impressed.

Adelaide 2.6 (18) defeated by North Melbourne 3.2 (20)

By Alyce Collett

In a low-scoring affair out at West Lakes, it was the Kangaroos who pipped the Crows at the post.

Adelaide’s defence held up really well early as North were kept scoreless in the opening quarter. The Roos were able to get out of the blocks quickly and get repeat inside 50s, and had a strong wind behind them, but just could not score.

As teams swapped ends and had to contend the other set of conditions, it was Adelaide who were kept goalless as North bridged the gap to only two points. The third quarter was the telling one on the scoreboard as North kicked two goals to Adelaide’s one, which was enough as neither side kicked a goal in the last.

North Melbourne’s goal scorers were Bella Eddey, Jenna Bruton and Tahlia Randall, while Lisa Whiteley and Eloise Jones were the goal scorers for the reigning premiers.

Many players impressed for both sides. For the Kangaroos, new Irish recruit Erika O’Shea was again impressive, as was fellow new Irish recruit Vikki Wall, who was playing her first game of Aussie Rules after only landing in the country less than a week earlier. Others that were impressive were Nicole Bresnehan and Tess Craven.

Meanwhile for the Crows, Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall both unsurprisingly had great games, while Jones and Zoe Prowse were also both impressive.

Western Bulldogs 7.8 (50) defeated by GWS GIANTS 8.3 (51)

By Peter Williams

GWS GIANTS have snatched a one-point thriller over the Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval despite a slow start. The Western Bulldogs flew out of the blocks to boot three goals to nil in the first term, and still held narrow leads at each break. But a costly inaccurate final term saw the Bulldogs kick 0.5 to the GIANTS’ 2.0 for the visitors to run over the top of the them and record a memorable victory, 8.3 (51) to 7.8 (50).

It was a promising start from the Bulldogs as Nell Morris-Dalton, Celine Moody and Richelle Cranston all slotted majors. The second term saw the GIANTS wrestle back some momentum as first-year talent Zarlie Goldsworthy kicked her first major in orange and charcoal, as Georgia Garnett and Cora Staunton also added their names to the goalkickers list, though a couple of goals from Britney Gutknecht and Deanna Berry saw the Bulldogs still up by a goal.

That margin was retained by the final break as both sides kicked two more goals, courtesy of Berry and Katie Lynch for the Dogs, and Chloe Dalton and Georgie Fowler for the GIANTS. Despite the home side having plenty of chances in the last term, the Dogs could only muster five behinds, as Haneen Zreika kicked both last quarter goals for the GIANTS to drag her side over the line. The visitors had always been thereabouts, but had not quite hit the front until the last goal of the day snuck them home by a solitary point.

Essendon 8.8 (56) defeated Port Adelaide 5.6 (36)

By Alyce Collett

In an impressive first outing for both sides, Essendon turned on the afterburners in the last quarter to run away with the win over Port Adelaide. The first quarter saw the Power dominate possession, and the Bombers struggled to get the ball out of their defensive 50. They did manage to get a few forward 50 opportunities but just couldn’t put the goals on the board.

The second quarter was a lot more even, but one thing that really let Essendon down was their ability to hit up targets. The third quarter was a much better performance from the Bombers. They fixed their hitting target issues from earlier to a large extent, and were able to capitalise on the scoreboard.

The final quarter was all Essendon. Port ran out of legs as Essendon were really able to run out the game well and come away with a good win. One thing that did help Essendon was that Port rested a number of their key players at half-time, which would explain the Power’s second half drop off.

Overall it was an impressive first hit out from both sides, but both sides have plenty to think about before round one comes around. Port’s goal kickers were Gemma Houghton (2), Maggie MacLachlan, Olivia Levicki and Tessa Doumanis. Essendon’s goal scorers were Bonnie Toogood (3), Federica Frew (2), Amber Clarke, Daria Bannister and Paige Scott.

Port fans would have been particularly impressed by the likes of Houghton, Abbey Dowrick, Kate Surman and Levicki, while Bomber fans would have been particularly impressed by Clarke, Renee Tierney and Scott.

Gold Coast 2.4 (16) defeated by Geelong 8.4 (52)

By Elly Kirlis

Geelong has kicked off the preseason on a winning note, with a comprehensive 36-point win, 8.4 (52) to 2.4 (16). The Cats kicked the first seven goals to set up the victory, going into quarter time with a 12-point lead, with Darcy Moloney and Julia Crockett-Grills kicking the first two majors for the Cats.

The contested quick pace footy suited the Cats style of play in the first half, with the Suns having no answers getting the footy out from the defensive 50 to the forward 50. With Geelong kicking five goals for the quarter, the Cats had a 43 point lead at half time. Moloney was the leading goal kicker going into the half-time break, already kicking four goals, with Chloe Scheer also a spark for the Cats.

Whilst the Suns were looking to find positives in the second half, they increased their defensive pressure, challenged the Cats forwards and kept Geelong to no goals in the third quarter. The Suns’ major scorers were Kalinda Howarth and Jamie Stanton, whilst Annise Bradfield showing some positive signs leading up to the start of the proper season.

The Cats found some answers on the score board, with Georgia Clarke keeping the score going for her side. Whilst the Suns were resilient in the second half, the Cats were victorious in the end, with both sides turning to round one.

Fremantle 2.7 (19) defeated West Coast 2.1 (13)

By Hayden Narducci

It was horrific conditions for footy at Fremantle oval, as strong winds, torrential rain and hail kept this game to a low scoring affair. Fremantle ran out winners by just a goal, scoring 2.7 (19) to West Coast’s 2.1 (13), getting a good start in the first quarter with a 7-0 lead as new mature age draftee Megan Kauffman calmly converted from a free kick 40 metres out.

The Eagles showed a lot of promise in the second quarter, with first year player Ella Roberts beating her opponent on the deck and setting up a point blank finish for Kate Bartlett. The first half came to an early end due to lightning with the Eagles up by five points at the break 1.2 (8) to 2.1 (13) after Kellie Gibson sold some candy and kicked true from 45 out for their second.

The Dockers missed a lot of tough opportunities, in a heavily contested game that played against their preferred run and carry style. Dana East impressed through the midfield, and the backline remained strong and settled throughout the game. Kauffman kicked her and her sides second in the last quarter to cap off a strong display.

There was a lot of promising signs for both sides who were without many senior players, with Sasha Goranova, Roberts, Mikayla Western and Bartlett looking good pick-ups early for West Coast. Many Fremantle players looking improved from last season, bolstered by the inclusion of new recruit Kauffman.

Sydney 4.2 (26) defeated by Collingwood 8.8 (56)

By Peter Williams

Collingwood flexed its muscles over a new Sydney side to run out 30-point winners at Blacktown International Sportspark. After challenging the Pies in the first quarter, the Swans were on the back foot, though held up strongly in defence throughout the second to remain in touch, then slotted two goals from three inside 50s to leave the visitors shellshocked and head into half-time in front. Collingwood stepped up in the second half to click into gear – and after missing multiple chances in that second term – slotted six goals to two and record an 8.8 (56) to 4.2 (26).

On unofficial debut in Sydney colours, number one pick Montana Ham was dominant through the midfield, but often up against it with Chloe Molloy and Aishling Sheridan roaming through there and star defender Ruby Schleicher continuing her transition onball. Goal sneak Eliza James created the spark slotting two goals, with ex-Cat Olivia Barber taking a couple of big grabs and slotting multiple majors too. Abbi Moloney stepped up with a couple of goals herself in the Pies’ second half rout with Ham rested and the Pies taking full advantage of the midfield.

Ham combined with Cynthia Hamilton in the opening term to get the fellow first-year player on the board after missing another chance moments earlier, with Rebecca Privitelli also slotting one from the goalsquare after a 50m penalty. Misses from Sabrina Frederick and Molloy proved costly for the Pies in the second term as the Swans went forward three times late in the quarter and had goals off Lisa Steane and Ally Morphett. The ex-GWS ruck was one of the Swans’ best, while the likes of Lauren Szigeti and Brooke Lochland also tried hard.

Melbourne 13.8 (86) defeated Carlton 2.4 (16)

By Alyce Collett

The short way to sum up this match is that Melbourne made a statement but it was not a battle between two even teams. The Dees really turned it on in the first and fourth quarters. Melbourne’s credentials were clear from the outset in both quarters, and their ability to run and carry and open up the ground was seriously impressive.

The second quarter saw a much better quarter from the Blues. Their intensity lifted and they did better at locking it in their fifty. They were still down at half time, but they scored the only goal of the term. The third term was a very even affair, with both sides only scoring one goal each for the term, but in the last quarter the Dees really turned it on again, and ran away with the match in a similar performance to the first term.

Melbourne was certainly not short on goalkickers, with Kate Hore (3), Tyla Hanks (2), Casey Sherriff (2), Alyssa Bannan (2), Eden Zanker (2), Karen Paxman and Blaithin Mackin all got on the board. Meanwhile Carlton’s goals came from Darcy Vescio and Keeley Sherar.

Apart from the usual suspects Melbourne fans would have been pleased with what they saw from new Irish recruit Mackin, who was playing her first game of Australian rules after only arriving in Australia at the beginning of the week. Meanwhile for the Blues, Vescio was impressive at times, while Jess Good held her own as the second ruck against arguably the best in the competition in Lauren Pearce.

Hawthorn 1.2 (8) defeated by Richmond 8.4 (52)

By Alyce Collett

Richmond was able to make the most of a raw Hawthorn outfit, running out 44-point victors on the MCG. The performance was clinical, but also in perspective given the Hawks took time to adjust not just to the big surrounds of the ‘G’ but also playing as a unit for just the second time in an unofficial practice match. It was clear Hawthorn are in their first season and certainly have some things to iron out ahead of round 1.

Much like Melbourne the night before, the Tigers really put the foot down in both the first and last quarter, which saw the margin really blow out to the eventual 44 points. Hawthorn certainly had their chances early in the match, but were unable to convert them into a score on the board.

Richmond’s ability to quickly get a centre clearance early in the match and the ball into their 50 was particularly noticeable and impressive. The middle two quarters were a lot more even, but Hawthorn’s ability to get it into their 50 and actually make something was sub par.  

Another issue for Hawthorn was their communication issues. There were several times during the quarter where Hawks players sold a teammate into trouble in a contest, which just shows how new they are as a side.  Richmond’s goals came off the boot of Emelia Yassir (3), Meagan Kiely, (2), Sarah Hosking, Monique Conti and Stephanie Williams, while Hawthorn’s lone goalkicker was Dominique Carbone.

Richmond fans would have been impressed with the performances of Kiely, Yassir and Ellie McKenzie, while Hawks fan would have enjoyed the performances of Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Louise Stephenson and Jenna Richardson.

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