2022 AFLW: Round 1 Talking Points – Expansion sides make history
THE first Saturday of Season 7 of AFLW was a historic one, with all four of the competition’s newest sides taking to the field for the first time. Unfortunately for three of the newest sides they were unable to get the win, with North, West Coast and St Kilda winning meaning that Essendon were the only one of the new sides to register a win first up.
By Liam Badkin
Kicking off the action on Saturday was a big win by the North Melbourne Kangaroos over the Gold Coast Suns at Blundstone Arena. The Kangaroos burst out the gates and took a massive lead at the first change, and continued to extend it from there. The Suns fought back bravely in the final term, but the damage was already done as North Melbourne cruised home to a blowout triumph.
How far can the Kangas go this year?
It was a powerful way to start the year for the North Melbourne Kangaroos on Saturday afternoon, dominating the Suns from the opening bounce and jumping out to a massive 34-point win. The home side looked to push the ball with pace whenever they could, and often exposed Gold Coast out the back of the play. With fellow contenders Collingwood and Melbourne also getting off to fast starts in Season 7, there is no doubt the Kangaroos have added themselves to the list of contenders for the year.
Promising final quarter from the Suns
Despite getting off to a slower start than they would have liked, there will be plenty Gold Coast can take out of the match, particularly in the final quarter. The Suns outscored their opponents in the final 15 minutes of play, looking much more determined and daring as the game closed out. Although the deficit was far too much heading into the fourth, the Suns looked a different side and if they can produce more of that, they won’t be too far away from their first win of the season.
Garner’s great season opener
In her first game of Season 7, Jasmine Garner delivered a best afield performance, and was an integral part of the Kangaroos’ engine room that dominated all day. She finished the day with 27 touches, four marks, a couple of tackles and a nice goal to cap it all off. It was a terrific outing from one of the competition’s premier talents.
By Liam Badkin
Saturday afternoon’s second contest saw West Coast storm home in the final 15 minutes to steal the lead and eventual win over Port Adelaide. It was a see-sawing opening three quarters, with the Power taking the lead into the final change, but the Eagles turned it around in the end and managed to steal their first win of the season.
Final quarter Eagles cause Power outage
Last year’s wooden spooners managed to start the seventh AFLW season in ideal fashion, with the West Coast Eagles storming home in the final quarter to claim a terrific 12-point triumph against Port Adelaide at Mineral Resources Park. In the Power’s first game in the Australia’s premier football competition, they looked a genuine chance of claiming an impressive maiden win when leading at three-quarter time. However, the Eagles pushed forward with force in the fourth term, and booted four unanswered goals to get home.
Fears for Gibson after knee injury
It was a case of pleasure to pain for experienced West Coast gun Kellie Gibson, who suffered a worrying knee injury after going down innocuously. Gibson was the star of the show in the first term, booting the first goal for the match and West Coast’s opening major for season seven. However, in the very next play, she went down clutching her leg and had to be helped off the ground. The Eagles will be hoping the news is less serious than it potentially looks.
Houghton makes Power history
After the Eagles booted the opening two snags of the game in the first quarter, the Power managed to steady the ship, with spearhead Gemma Houghton nailing the first goal in the club’s short history. The former Docker looked dangerous in the air all day, and converted a set shot from the top of the goalsquare after taking a nice mark out the back of the pack. She looms as a key figure for the Power in their debut season, and showed exactly why on Saturday, finishing with 10 touches, five marks and five tackles.
By Elly Kirlis
In a season where it needed to start off strong, St Kilda wrote the perfect script in Round 1, defeating Sydney by 29 points, 8.8 (56) to 4.3 (27). From the opening bounce the Saints had control of the game, and while the Swans were outplayed, they will look to take positives from the performance for the rest of the season.
Saints can build from here
With the game tight in the first quarter, the Saints should take plenty of confidence if they can pull together four consistent quarters. For a new team like Sydney with plenty of unknowns, the Saints competitiveness is something they can continue to build on and take it to the top teams.
Saints pressure exceptional
With the Saints applying the pressure and putting together four quarters is something they should be proud about after this match, winning the disposal count, 195 to 155, winning the tackle count, 79-52, as well as the ability to move the ball quickly down the field. This is something no doubt the Saints can build on and continue to add the layers if they can not drop off in games.
Saints stars impressive
There were a number of stars that had impressive games, including Georgia Patrikios, coming back into the side and having an efficient game, 18 disposals, 14 kicks and getting plenty of touches of the footy. Nicola Stevens debuting for her new side and celebrating her 50th game in style. One last name to mention is Kate Shierlaw, who kicked two goals, helping her side break open a 21-point lead but her work rate is something to keep an eye on throughout the season if she can keep playing consistently every week, especially up forward.
Swans resilience building, should be proud of efforts
The Swans faithful should be proud of their side and what the team were able to deliver in their first match as a franchise/team, in front of 8,264 fans. Despite the loss, fans should stick behind the teams as the Swans showed glimpses of what they can do. If the Swans can continue that fight every week, no doubt that first win will be around the corner. With the injury concern to Ham, no doubt the Swans can step up and hope the injury is nothing serious.
By Alyce Collett
Essendon was the only expansion side to taste success this weekend after they took care of Hawthorn by 26 points under the lights at Marvel Stadium. In a match full of memorable moments and plenty of emotions, the Hawks stuck with the more highly fancied Bombers for three quarters, but got overrun in the last quarter as Essendon kicked away.
Hawthorn look much better already then they did in the practice match
Hawthorn’s performance in their practice match against Richmond left many concerned about how they would go this season. Hawthorn fans will be relieved to know that that performance did not tell the full story, as they were a lot more competitive last night. While they were playing lower touted opposition, their ball movement and their forward 50 entry work was also much better than a fortnight ago.
Bonnie is Too-good
It has been said before, but it needs to be said again, Bonnie Toogood is an underrated star of the competition. She flew under the radar while at the Western Bulldogs, but now she is at Essendon her star is really shining bright. She was stellar up forward for the Bombers, providing a very strong marking target up forward, and kicked two majors as well. Moving forward opposing clubs really need to quell her influence if they want any chance of beating Essendon.
The result could have been very different if Essendon had kicked straight
Essendon was very inaccurate in front of goal last night, and certainly could have put the result to bed much earlier than they did. The Bombers ultimately kicked 11 behinds for the match, and very few were either touched or rushed.
Special moment for a Hawk on debut
On a night full of firsts and plenty of emotions, there was one particularly special moment for young Hawk on debut Sophie Locke. After an emotionally charged few weeks for the young forward, including losing her mum to cancer, she was the one to kick Hawthorn’s first ever goal, and after she kissed the black arm bands on her arm, everyone could tell how much the moment meant to her.
History made for a much loved Bomber
Locke’s goal was not the only historic first goal. With two new teams playing in the match, Essendon needed a historic first goal kicker, and it was some what fitting that that honour goes to Jess Wuetschner, who has had quite the emotional past few months before finding herself at Essendon.