AFLW Season 7: Round 2 Talking Points – Established sides flex muscles

SUNDAY’S action in Round 2 of Season 7 saw five entertaining matches, but a common thread.

Every side that won yesterday – Carlton, Collingwood, Brisbane, St Kilda and Gold Coast – were all more experienced than the opponents they defeated.

By: Michael Alvaro

Carlton escaped an almighty scare in the first competitive AFL Women’s fixture at ETU Stadium, scraping past Essendon by a single point to get on the board in Season 7. The Blues hardly looked troubled across the first half and held a 21-point buffer at the final break, before Essendon came to life early in the fourth quarter and very nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback.


Breann’s Mood’ far from Blue

Arguably both the catalyst and saviour of Carlton’s dramatic win was star ruck, Breann Moody. The athletic tall took full toll against second-gamer Stephanie Wales, dominating at the contest with 12 disposals, six tackles, nine clearances, and a whopping 30 hitouts. Her ability to clear from centre bounces proved pivotal in generating Carlton’s first half scores, and that same urgency at stoppages made for big moments in the clutch as she gained vital territory.

The great escape

It seemed the Blues were cruising at three-quarter time, sitting 21 points clear against a side which had only scrounged a single major to that point. Essendon turned the tide late in term three and if not for some desperate defence, would have cut that margin further. The momentum carried on into term four as the Bombers bagged three goals in five minutes, but two minor scores from former-Blue Joanne Doonan were not enough to edge them ahead. Cue Carlton’s sigh of relief.

‘Welcome to the AFLW, have you met Darcy Vescio?’

As a debutant, no less an injury replacement player at an expansion club, you’d be hard pressed to find a more daunting job than marking Darcy Vescio. That’s exactly the task Essendon handed Alex Morcom, a consistent VFLW promotee who is internally lauded for her reliability down back. That was tested in full, given Vescio evokes panic among the coolest defenders, and it showed with two of the forward’s three goals coming directly from free kicks. With seven touches and two majors to quarter time, the tone had been set.

Quarter time controversy

Much of the build-up to Sunday’s clash surrounded Essendon expansion coups Madison Prespakis and Georgia Gee, who would come up against their former side for the first time. In the thick of the action as always, Prespakis starred with 21 disposals and seven clearances, but was also the centre of attention at quarter time. Having marked just inside attacking 50, the midfielder stepped off her line as the siren sounded, denying her the chance to kick at goal. Through red and black tinted glasses, that moment was result-defining.

Win at the contest, win the game

Want to win a game of footy? Win it at the source. Carlton set up its victory with five centre clearances to one in the first half, and 17 to 12 overall, before being pegged back massively. The Blues’ defensive pressure was also an early highlight, as they laid 13 tackles to four inside 50. That all changed as the Bombers clicked into gear, turning the tide to win out in the clearance stakes, 30-27. It allowed them to make use of the territory gained, laying 16 tackles inside 50 to Carlton’s three after half time. It’s no wonder Kerryn Peterson‘s venture to the wing was cut short.

  • Team
  • Collingwood
  • Sydney

By: Michael Alvaro

Collingwood weathered an early Sydney storm on Sunday to run out 31-point victors, maintaining its perfect start to Season 7 in the process. The Magpies trailed at quarter time but kept their opponents goalless thereafter, kicking away with four of their six goals coming at one end of Victoria Park.


Swans raise the pressure gauge

Sydney shot out of the gates and looked up to the task of taking on one of the competition’s most established sides, with much of its early success coming down to both effort and pressure. The Swans snared a major within the opening minute through former-Magpie Aliesha Newman, and set up a quarter time lead after Rebecca Privitelli marked and goaled. To that point, their urgency translated to four shots from just three inside 50s, as they split contests aplenty and blanketed Collingwood’s ball movement.

Slick Magpies swoop… eventually

While Collingwood’s mettle was tested throughout a tight first half, one thing became evident as the game wore on – the Magpies were simply too slick for Sydney. The Swans proved effective once the ball entered attacking 50, but struggled to move it with fluency elsewhere. Meanwhile, the more polished victors finished with 136 uncontested possessions to 65, over double the amount of marks (64-30), and nearly 100 more disposals. Akin to the preseason hitout between these sides, Collingwood eventually found its rhythm and took control.

Out: Ham, In: Ham(ilton)

With fellow draftee Montana Ham suffering a knee injury in Round 1, an opportunity presented for Cynthia Hamilton to step up in midfield. She snared a goal playing mostly forward last week, but spent around three quarters of the game on-ball for 12 disposals, four tackles, and three clearances. She went blow-for-blow with star Magpie Ruby Schleicher in the early stages and set the tone for Sydney with her vigorous attack on the contest. Already, she looms as one of the Swans’ key players.

Membrey & Molloy magic

Good players only need a few moments to show their class, and that was the case for both Jordan Membrey and Chloe Molloy on Sunday. The former extended her remarkable run of accuracy with two goals, splitting the big sticks to make it 14-straight majors at the top level – a record run in both the men’s and women’s competitions. As for Molloy, she copped a big hit during term two and was clearly worse for wear, but bounced back quickly to take a gutsy contested mark and kick the goal to put Collingwood ahead moments later.

Cutthroat Barber arrives at the double

Sunday marked Olivia Barber‘s club debut for Collingwood, a terrific moment for the lifelong Magpies supporter. She was steady with six disposals in her first game donning the black and white stripes, but came to life in the opening stages of term four. Sabrina Frederick had cleared out of the forward 50, leaving the 20-year-old tall to showcase a dual threat of aerial and ground level effort. The reward? Her first two majors for Collingwood at the club’s historic home, both coming in a minute of madness.

  • Team
  • Brisbane

By: Alyce Collett

Brisbane remain undefeated in Season 7, after comfortably taking care of GWS to the tune of 47 points.

GWS got a far better start to the game, but once Brisbane did get a goal on the board it never looked back, putting the foot down and ultimately running away with the game.


GWS’ good start

Despite the final result, it was actually the Giants who were the ones to get off to the better start.

They kicked the only two goals of the first term, and almost kept the visitors scoreless for the first quarter if not for a kick after the quarter time siren that ultimately went through for a behind.

After quarter time though it was a different story. Brisbane really kicked into gear after that and got on top of the Giants and ran away with the match.

The usual suspects for Brisbane starred

Many of the usual suspects who normally star for Brisbane had great games again yesterday.

Emily Bates finished with 20 touches and kicked multiple goals for the first time in her career while Ally Anderson finished with 18 touches and Isabel Dawes, Natalie Grider and Breanna Koenen all finished with 14.

The quelling of Cora Staunton

One person that did not have such a good game was Cora Staunton, who finished with five touches and no goals to her name.

Brisbane’s defenders, particularly the skipper Koenen, did a stellar job in quelling her influence in the Giants’ forward line, which also goes to show how much they still rely on Staunton to kick their goals, and is a worrying sign.

The games of Tarni Evans and Chloe Dalton

Despite their side losing, both Tarni Evans and Chloe Dalton had stellar games.

Evans finished with only the 14 touches, but some of the work she was doing in defence was exceptional, and things could have been much worse for the Giants if she had not stepped up.

As for Dalton, she finished with 20 touches and created a lot of run for the Giants through the middle of the park.

By: Elly Kirlis

St Kilda were dominant from start to finish, with the Saints posting a 53-point victory over Hawthorn at Box Hill City Oval to move 2-0 to start their AFLW Season 7 campaign. The Saints kicked the first four goals of the match to set up the victory.


Injury curse for both teams

Unfortunately, the major talking point out of the game was the multiple injuries from both sides. The first ten seconds of the match saw Tamara Luke needing assistance after what looks to be a serious knee injury. The second injury for the Hawks was Louise Stephenson with an ankle after going down in the first quarter as well. The last injury concern was Jayde Van Dyk out for the Saints, who went down in the second quarter with a knee injury.  

Neither coach could confirm the severity of the injuries post game, so fans need to wait in nervous anticipation for scans this week.

Hawks young talent on the rise

Despite the loss, Hawks coach Bec Goddard praised her young talent for giving it their all. Some key players she mentioned was Charlotte Baskaran, who was lively in the last quarter in the centre, Lucy Wales, who played in the ruck and had plenty of touches of the footy, finishing the game with 12 disposals, six kicks, six handballs and 14 hit outs.

Tilly Lucas-Rodd is a work horse

Tilly Lucas-Rodd is no doubt an underrated player, continually working hard and her work ethic should not go unnoticed, especially in the defensive half. Lucas-Rodd finished the match with 21 disposals, 17 kicks, four handballs, three marks and 13 tackles.  

What can’t Matin and Greiser do?

Two forwards for the Saints that should be credited in their forward line is Jessica Matin and Caitlin Greiser. Matin finished the game with seven disposals, six kicks, two tackles and two goals, whilst Greiser finished with seven disposals, six kicks, one handball, two marks, seven hitouts and three goals. It was their work that they did the forward line that was impressive to watch and being a key target in the forward line.

McKinnon is a star on the rise

Erin McKinnon is no doubt a star of the future to watch.

Playing in the ruck, McKinnon had plenty of touches of the footy, including a game high 30 hit outs and will be a threat if she keeps playing how she has to start this season.

  • Team
  • West Coast
  • Gold Coast

By: Peter Williams

Gold Coast has bounced back from a disappointing Round 1 loss to win by 33 points over Round 1 winners West Coast at Metricon Stadium. In front of home fans, the Suns slammed home the first six goals of the match and kept the Eagles goalless until the final term, as they grabbed the four points they had to following their forgettable defeat to North Melbourne the week before.


Suns rise again as Jones provides the spark

There were undoubtedly concerns over the Gold Coast’s scoring ability after being held goalless in the first three quarters against North Melbourne in Round 1. A week is a long time in football as the saying goes, and it certainly was for the home team as they flipped the script in Round 2. The Suns booted six consecutive goals and lead by as much as 38 points at one stage, keeping the Eagles goalless to three quarter time themselves.

It was former Carlton goalsneak Courtney Jones who got on the board first for the Suns, slotting her first goal in the gold and red colours. Her club debut proved fruitful as she would kick another later in the game, finish with 2.1 from 12 disposals, two marks and six tackles. By contrast, West Coast’s first goal did not come until the seventh minute of the final term when a fortunate bounce landed in the arms of Kate Bartlett who ensured they would not remain goalless in the match.

Memorable goals all-round

It was a series of firsts at Metricon in front of goal as the Suns not only timed goals brilliantly – with three goals in the dying few seconds or after sirens – but had plenty of firsts. Jones kicked her first club goal for the Suns, as did ex-Eagle Ashlee Atkins. Meanwhile debutant Giselle Davies got on the end of one in the goalsquare, and on the verge of quarter time, Bess Keaney got her kick off in time running into goal to record her first AFL Women’s major.

Sides counting the cost of a brutal game

Two key players found themselves in trouble during the game, with a couple of innocuous injuries occurring within seconds of each other inside the Suns forward 50 with four minutes remaining in the first term. Unfortunately the fierceness of West Coast midfielder Jessica Sedunary proved a wrecking ball as she competed in an aerial contest with teammate and defender Belinda Smith and Suns’ second gamer Jasmyn Smith, with Sedunary coming across as a third to mark crashed into the side of the older Smith.

As she was gingerly getting up, Sedunary ran to the next play and bumped Suns’ midfielder Jamie Stanton to win a ground ball, and Stanton immediately clutched at her knee. Smith was helped off with a contact injury, while Stanton hobbled off in clear distress.

Drennan the star as Suns dominate clearances

Producing a best on ground performance, midfielder leader Alison Drennan was sublime, with the ex-Saint producing game-highs in disposals (24) and clearances (seven), as well as a team-high nine tackles. Overall the Suns won the clearance battle 31-17 off the back of a ridiculously lob-sided hitout count (45-18). The pairing of Lauren Bella (25 hitouts, three clearances) and Jacqui Dupuy (19 and one) were far too dominant, combining for 22 disposals against the younger duo of Sarah Lakay (14 hitouts) and Isabella Simmons (four).

From the onballers, Drennan’s seven clearances stood out, but former number one draft pick Charlie Rowbottom had five and Claudia Whitfort finished with four. Eagle star Aisling McCarthy lead her team with three, but it was a subdued effort from the midfield with the usual dominance of the likes of Dana Hooker, Emma Swanson and Isabella Lewis only able to combine for a total of six clearances.

Both teams bring the heat

Though the sides might not be considered premiership contenders, both the Gold Coast Suns and West Coast brought the tackling pressure that would worry opposition teams. The Eagles laid a massive 92 tackles – matching that of Port Adelaide’s season-high last weekend, while Gold Coast’s 84 put them at third overall.

They had 10 and 12 tackles inside 50 respectively, as McCarthy (11) and Swanson (10) both recorded ridiculous numbers, whilst Drennan (nine) was just ahead of the returning Annise Bradfield (eight) and new Eagles Atkins (seven) and Jones (six). Hooker (eight) and Lakay (seven) were also fierce at ground level.

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