AFLW Season 7: Round 6 Talking Points – This season just keeps on giving
THERE were some huge results across Round 6 of the AFL Women’s on Saturday, as the top eight sides gained separation on the rest, and just four points separating those teams.
GWS bounced back from last week in the perfect way with a win over Carlton, while Geelong resigned the Bulldogs to their second straight loss. A late goal saw Collingwood narrowly defeat St Kilda while Richmond defeated Gold Coast to win their fourth match in a row.
By: Michael Alvaro
Greater Western Sydney completed a remarkable turnaround from last week’s 96-point drubbing at the hands of Adelaide, defeating Carlton by 17 points on home turf. The Giants looked both hungry and in control for the entire match, leading by at least a goal at every break in the 4.5 (29) to 1.6 (12) victory – their second for the season.
Both sides came in off heavy defeats at the hands of premiership contenders, but it’s fair to say GWS’ 97-1 loss to Adelaide was worthy of a greater response. Putting the embarrassment behind them with fierce contested effort and defensive pressure around the ground, the Giants came to compete and the result took care of itself. Donning the ‘never surrender’ charcoal strip, the tone was set early as GWS won the first centre clearance, forced repeat entries, before Emily Pease slammed home a goal within two minutes of the opening bounce. At the core of the overall response was Alyce Parker, putting on a clinic with 18 touches and five clearances.
Clash of styles
It is no secret that Carlton’s strength lies at the contest, and though the Blues dominated that area of the game, they were comprehensively beaten just about everywhere else. In typical fashion, the visitors took advantage of Breann Moody‘s ruck advantage with 40-5 overall hitouts, winning the stoppage clearance count 25-13 and contested possessions 90-79. The Giants’ outside ball movement proved hard to stop though, with their 113-93 uncontested possessions and 60-39 marks highlighting an ability to flow forward with fluency. It was a case of scores from stoppage against scores from turnover.
Cora, Mua go blow-for-blow
Carlton defender Mua Laloifi would likely have come away from Henson Park with glowing praise from the Blues’ faithful and coaching staff alike. On the other hand, direct opponent Cora Staunton snared half of her side’s four goals amid a battle of the titans. Laloifi, arguably her side’s best player this season, shut down Staunton for large periods of the game, but the experienced Irishwoman kept at it and eventually broke through for two important majors – including a fourth-term sealer. In an entertaining battle, perhaps the best sequence was Laloifi’s holding the ball effort being matched by Staunton as neither player was prepared to give an inch to their opponent. Heck of a matchup.
Two goals is all Carlton has scrounged across its last eight quarters of footy, proving a glaring problem area given the Blues’ usual clearance strength. Though opportunity was hard to come by for much of the match, in large part due to poor ball movement, a quartet of golden chances presented in term three. There was Keeley Skepper‘s set shot which failed to register a score, then an errant inboard kick from Serena Gibbs which turned over, and behinds from Mimi Hill and Gab Pound. Had one or two of those plays yielded six-pointers, the result could have been different.
By: Alyce Collett
Geelong has beaten the Western Bulldogs for the first time in their history, downing the Dogs by the smallest of margins to resign the Dogs to their second loss in a row. The Bulldogs dominated the territory early and had the late surge to almost snatch the win, but the Cats ultimately held on.
How far can this Geelong side go this year?
Geelong is one of a couple of sides really on the rise this season, and this win was just another step on that journey. Although it was not their biggest win of the season to date, it was certainly the biggest scalp they have taken thus far this season.
The question is, how far will this Cats side go this season? Was this win a sign of their true capabilities this season? They have the Bombers next week, and they will go into that contest in a world of confidence knowing they can beat someone like the Dogs.
Western Bulldogs don’t make the most of early dominance
In the first quarter the Western Bulldogs absolutely dominated the territory game, and the ball lived in the Dogs’ front half for much of the quarter. However, they really did not make the most of that dominance, only kicking one major and only winning the quarter by two points. If they had made more of that dominance the result may have been very different.
If only Coyne’s kick had gone slightly further left, perhaps things could have been more different…
There was one particular moment in the final quarter which if it had gone differently could have spelled a very different final result. Keely Coyne had a shot for goal that ultimately missed everything, but if it had gone through for even a behind, Elle Bennetts‘ goal on the siren would have at least meant a draw for the Dogs, if not a win.
Great Scott! Shell stars in more familiar surrounds
After starting her time at the Cats in a defensive role, Shelley Scott returned to her more natural role as a forward and really starred for the Cats in the win. She created plenty of lead for the Cats in the forward line and ultimately finished with two majors.
Captain stars again
Despite her team losing, someone who really led from the front and had a stellar game was Ellie Blackburn. She created a lot of run through the midfield, finishing with the 25 touches and even booting a major.
By: Peter Williams
A last ditch Eliza James goal has saved Collingwood from a shock loss to St Kilda following a tense battle at Moorabbin. Despite the Magpies threatening to take the game away at different stages, the Saints stuck with them, and even had a seven-point lead midway through the final term thanks to a Kate Shierlaw goal. It was not to be though, as the Magpies won, 4.12 (36) to 5.4 (34).
EJ’s big day becomes even bigger
Playing AFL Women’s on your 19th birthday is a pretty special celebration, but few could have scripted just how good it could have been for teenager, Eliza James. The forward had looked lively at times, but had more influential games before when she entered the final few minutes of the match. Showing her footy smarts, she ran to the outside of a forward stoppage with a handball flicked over to her, and the young gun picked it up with just over a minute on the clock to snap off her right and get a favourable bounce to send the black and white fans into a frenzy.
Saint Nic drops bundle
It was hard watching if you were a Saints fan, having endured some pretty tough games in the past and now you were one goal away from icing the match against a genuine premiership contender. Working hard to get forward of the ball, Nicola Stevens had plenty of space inside forward 50 to herself, running onto it and all the way to the goalsquare with a few minutes left ready to slam the ball through the sticks and make the margin double-digits. Unfortunately for the usually reliable Stevens, the worst possible outcome occurred as she rushed despite having all the time in the world, and it hit the side of the boot and missed to make it a five-point games. Collingwood rushed it up the other end and James kicked the sealer a few minutes later.
Patched up Pies pull through
There is no secret St Kilda is missing some quality players too, but Collingwood without skipper Stephanie Chiocci and speedster Aishling Sheridan in this game, as well as starting midfielders Brianna Davey and Brittany Bonnici for the season, had to make do. Since returning to the side, Mikala Cann has been brilliant and racked up another 21 touches, five tackles and three clearances, while Jaimee Lambert (21 disposals, five clearances) is getting better by the week recovering from a pesky ankle injury. Chloe Molloy and Ash Brazill were also superb.
Stuart stuns Pies defence with huge game
It was quite a remarkable performance from an unsung Saint in just her sixth game of AFL Women’s football. Having picked up no more than 13 disposals – with all her matches being between 11 and 13 touches – in her first five games, Hannah Stuart played the game of her life. Almost winning the match off her own boot, the previously listed Southern Saint slammed home two goals – including an absolute ripper – and helped herself to five tackles, four clearances and 2.1. The behind only just missed too, and though the Saints lost, do not be surprised to see her walk away with the three vote.
Where to from here?
Had St Kilda won that match, then all of a sudden finals could be more than a dream. But unfortunately for the red, white and black, their percentage of 95.7 is far below those outside the eight. Providing North Melbourne beat cellar dwellers Sydney today, it means the Saints will be eight points and percentage outside finals. The only option is St Kilda winning all four matches – which includes a last round clash with reigning premiers Adelaide. For the Magpies, there is no surprise they will make finals, but the double chance will be on their minds. Brisbane and Melbourne should win today which bumps them back to fourth, but they just have to keep winning. The last three rounds of Brisbane, North Melbourne and Fremantle (away) is not ideal, making next week’s home clash against GWS a must-win.
By: Michael Alvaro
Richmond secured its fourth win on the trot, overcoming a deficit and the final break to edge past Gold Coast by four points at Punt Road Oval. The strong and bold Tigers were tested, but snatched the lead via Emelia Yassir with under 10 minutes left to play, and held on amid a stoppage slugfest to come away 3.5 (23) to 3.1 (19) victors.
Tigers break new ground
While the men’s team has delivered a slew of success in recent times, Richmond’s women’s side is beginning to come into its own and broke new ground on Saturday. The Tigers have now won four consecutive games, beating their previous best win tally with a quartet of fixtures still to play. With three of their victories coming by four points or less, there is plenty of fight in the Tigers who look destined for a finals berth in their fourth season. The number four numerology doesn’t end there, given the exceptional feats of Monique Conti who strung together another 23 touches and eight tackles.
Both sides bring the heat
In a game where the combined tackle count tallied a whopping 153, both sides copped and dished out their fair share of hard knocks. Not only were they frequent, but many were heavy and ended up playing a key role in the result. An unfair tackle on Grace Egan allowed Yassir to take the advantage and boot the winning goal, while Richmond’s ability to lock up the ball ad nauseam in the dying stages helped them hold on. There was also a report, with Richmond’s Kodi Jacques booked for her high hit on Lauren Ahrens in the first quarter, while Jess Hosking came off worse for ware from friendly fire.
Maddie’s monster goal – or was it?
With time ticking away in the third term, the trailing Tigers found themselves nine points adrift in a low-scoring slog. The hosts would need something special to spark a fightback, and Maddie Shevlin was the one to deliver it. Her set shot effort from beyond the arc looked an absolute peach off the boot, and just had enough on it to creep over the back of a densely populated goalsquare. Suns players claimed it was touched, but the goal umpire signalled six points – of course, score reviews have proven costly for Richmond of late. Unfortunately for Shevlin, her night ended early as she was stretchered off with what looked like a lower leg injury.
The final two minutes
Repeat stoppages were the name of the game in the closing couple of minutes, and it is fair to say it played into Richmond’s hands. The Tigers were happy to flood players around the ball, with all bar two Suns occupying Gold Coast’s forward 50 in the final passages of play, as the combative victors were able to get numbers to the ball and keep it locked in-tight to see out the result. The Tigers have experience in those close contests, but the Suns will perhaps learn from how it panned out.