AFLW Season 7: Round 3 Talking Points – A smorgasbord of varying results

YESTERDAY’S action in the AFLW produced a smorgasbord of results.

The first draw of the season came at Ikon Park between the Blues and Power, Melbourne lost the ability to kick goals after quarter time but still beat the Saints, Richmond got their first win of the year after defeating Hawthorn, while Essendon made a statement against West Coast.

  • Team
  • Carlton
  • Port Adelaide

By: Michael Alvaro

Port Adelaide has been denied its maiden AFLW win, but gained two premiership points in a 4.3 (27) apiece draw with Carlton. After the home side shot out to a quarter time lead at Ikon Park, the Power poured on four majors during a decisive second term, but were kept goalless thereafter. Carlton clawed back to parity in the meantime, and first-gamer Lily Goss could not quite find the range on a set shot on the full time siren.


Captain Kez’s adventures

Carlton’s defensive stocks have freed up captain Kerryn Peterson to venture up to the wing with greater frequency this season, as she did on Sunday. Accompanied by debutant Yasmin Duursma in the opening stages, she took toll with a first quarter goal in collaboration with Keeley Skepper, proving a key catalyst for the Blues’ hot start. She went on to rack up 21 disposals as one of the best afield.

Hannah grows her (E)wings

Generation next is quickly making its mark on the competition, and marquee Port Adelaide draftee Hannah Ewings is among those at the forefront. The 18-year-old had her breakout game on Sunday, more than doubling her previous best disposal tally with 21, including five clearances. She ended as the Power’s top ball winner and was right in the thick of things as her side turned the tide in term two.

The 50-game, one-goal club

A trio of Blues ran out for their 50th AFLW games in Round 3, and all three troubled the scorers. First it was Elise O’Dea with the game’s first goal, laying the base for her fellow 50-gamers to follow suit. Ruck Breann Moody continued her inspired form to hit back with her own major in the third term, before Jessica Dal Pos prized six points from one of her 10 tackles and drew Carlton within a kick of the win.

De Melo magic

Kicking a winning score has been somewhat of a sore point for Port across two rounds, and that only looked to be compounded by the loss of Gemma Houghton to injury. But once SANFLW recruit Jade De Melo clicked into gear on Sunday, the Houghton-sized hole suddenly began to bridge. De Melo levelled the scores eight minutes into term two and put Port ahead shortly after, marking a magic half-dozen minutes for the 29-year-old forward. Heck of a way and time to kick your first AFLW goals.

Port’s prime movers

Two goals adrift at the first change, Port Adelaide needed a big lift from its leaders. With greater supply, Erin Phillips began to make Carlton defenders sweat inside 50, while Angela Foley lit up the wing, and Abbey Dowrick showcased her booming boot to set Port on the front foot. Ewings was also there to lead a clearance shift, with the added output of the Power’s prime movers allowing the likes of De Melo and Olivia Levicki to reap high reward in front of goal.

  • Team
  • St Kilda
  • Melbourne

By: Alyce Collett

In the second Battle of the Undefeateds for this week, Naarm (Melbourne)’s fast start was enough to take care of St Kilda by 26 points.

Naarm came out of the blocks firing, kicking six goals to none in the opening term, but thanks to an increase in St Kilda’s pressure, did not kick a major in the next three.


That first quarter… and what happened after

The first quarter was certainly a delightful one for Dees fans, and quite the opposite for St Kilda fans.

Then, things started to flip.

As previously mentioned, St Kilda’s pressure rose after quarter time and Naarm really struggled to make to much of an impact on the scoreboard.

The only problem with that for St Kilda was that it struggled to make the most of that on the scoreboard, only putting on one goal a quarter.

Naarm’s scoring issues

Not only did Naarm have issues putting any score on the board at times after quarter time, it once again struggled with accuracy so things could have been much more dire for St Kilda if the Dees had in fact kicked straight.

Naarm’s inaccuracy is a lagging issue that has been dragging on for a few weeks now, so will need to be looked at further as the season progresses.

Melbourne just keep finding ways to win

For the third week in a row, when it looked like Naarm had its backs against the wall and things were against it, the Dees still managed to never give up until the final siren and still pull out a way to win.

This will give them confidence leading into particularly next week against Brisbane, but also the rest of the season, knowing that no matter what is thrown their way, they will still be able to find a way to win.

Reality check for St Kilda?

After a promising start to the season, St Kilda were brought down a few pegs, particularly in the first quarter.

They will take confidence from the fact that minus the first quarter they did win the game, but will not be happy with how they started the game.

However, the game was a really good benchmark setter for the Saints, who are looking to rise up the ladder this season and after playing two of the expansion sides, now know how they sit against the competition’s best.

The game of Megan Fitzsimon

Although many of Melbourne’s usual suspects had good games, one player in particular who stood out was Megan Fitzsimon.

She may have only had the 10 touches, but presented really well, clunked three marks, laid three tackles and kicked a major too.

  • Team
  • Richmond
  • Hawthorn

By: Alyce Collett

Richmond have made a statement at Punt Road Oval, defeating Hawthorn by 35 points.

Hawthorn was competitive in the first term, but after the quarter time break it was all Richmond as the Tigers got their first win for season 7.


The stats tell a two part story

When looking at the stats from this match, they tell an interesting two part story.

On the one hand, the hit outs, clearances and inside 50s were all fairly even, with the Tigers winning them by two, five and six respectively.

However, where the Tigers really won the game was what happened once it got inside 50.

They dominated the marks inside 50 count eight to one, and also had roughly 60 more touches than their opponents did.

Mon Conti just unstoppable

One player the Hawks just had no answers for was Monique Conti.

She was unstoppable in the midfield for the Tigers, finishing with 23 touches and three goals.

The other thorn in Hawthorn’s side

The other half of the dynamic duo in Richmond’s midfield causing the Hawks a lot of trouble was Grace Egan.

She too got on the scoreboard and had 23 touches, and created a lot of run and carry through the midfield. The partnership that she and Conti are creating is one to savour for Tigers fans and one to cause headaches for Richmond’s opponents for sure.

The game of Aileen Gilroy

Despite her side losing the match, someone who was very impressive for the Hawks was Aileen Gilroy.

Creating a lot of run off half back, she finished with the 17 touches and a whopping 12 tackles.

The return of Ainslie Kemp

While she may not have seen too much of the ball at Punt Road, the game of Ainslie Kemp was about more than the disposal count or her impact on the ball.

Coming back from a third ACL injury and visibly vomiting during the game from nerves, the fact she even made it out there at all is such a positive sign for the game and how far you can go with determination and motivation.

  • Team
  • West Coast
  • Essendon

By: Michael Alvaro

A powerhouse start has helped Essendon pick up its second AFLW win on its first away trip, downing West Coast by 52 points at Mineral Resources Park. The Bombers flexed their scoring muscle with nine unanswered first-half goals, making for the highest-ever half time score, before ending up with 13.6 (84) in a brilliant attacking effort.


Bomber blitz

The first two rounds taught us that Essendon can score both heavily and quickly, only the Bombers didn’t leave their blitz late this time around. With the first nine goals of the game, split five and four in the opening two terms, it was nothing short of a goal fest for the visitors. They were challenged to start fast and certainly delivered, proving near-impossible to stop with such polish and potency in the forward half.

The Steph Wales redemption arc

Year one was always going to be one of significant learning for the expansion sides. Having been taught a lesson by one of the league’s premier rucks last week, Essendon youngster Stephanie Wales was out to put her new knowledge into practice this time out. She drifted forward to snare the game’s first goal with a 40m set shot and added another in the opening term, before making it three before half time with a tremendous pack mark. Well played.

Snap happy goalkickers

With 17 goals kicked throughout a whirlwind four quarters, there was bound to be a few rippers among them. A seemingly favoured modus operandi for players of both teams was the snap, coming from both typical and unlikely sources. Whether it was a wondrous Jess Wuetschner finish, Jacqui Vogt proving her class, or clever efforts from Eagles pair Imahra Cameron and Aisling McCarthy, the around-the-body kick was in vogue on Sunday.

Emma leads Eagles Swanson(g)

In a surprise to very few, Emma Swanson was at the forefront of West Coast’s second half response. The Eagles not only nullified Essendon’s free-flowing scoring in term three, but they won the quarter with a good deal of grunt work at the contest. As one of a few key players to step up and show fight, Swanson ended up with a game-high 25 disposals, six marks, and eight clearances.

Ella’va first three games for Roberts

It is no secret that Ella Roberts is regarded by many as the best player out of the 2022 draft crop, and she is beginning to prove those ‘yaysayers’ right. Alongside her skipper, she got her hands dirty in the face of rampant opposition to showcase truly high-level attributes. Whether it was as a marking powerhouse or dynamic midfielder, Roberts was up there with the best afield on Sunday, finishing with 17 disposals, four marks, and five clearances.

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