AFLW Season 7: Round 7 Talking Points – Blues bounce back, Tigers’ high five

TWO powerhouse Victorian clubs took out wins to kick off Round 7 of the ongoing AFLW season, in a double-header from East to West. First, Carlton shot back onto the winners list with a 27-point defeat of St Kilda, before Richmond raided Perth to secure a 19-point victory over West Coast and keep its top four hopes roaring on.

  • Team
  • St Kilda
  • Carlton

Carlton drew back to within a game of the top eight with its 27-point victory over St Kilda at RSEA Park. With a point to prove on the back of a disappointing loss to GWS, the Blues were in control from the outset and kept St Kilda goalless for over three quarters en route to the rebound 6.8 (44) to 2.5 (17) win.


“Oh dear we are in trouble” – St Kilda’s ruck division

While there’s no proof to suggest St Kilda’s talls actually uttered the famous words of Argus Filch, it’s more than likely that’s how they felt. Primary ruck Erin McKinnon was ruled out of the match, and the Saints lost Simone Nalder to a head knock in the first quarter, leaving Lucy Burke to bear most of the brunt of what Carlton’s Breann Moody produced. Continuing to stamp her All Australian claims, the best afield Blue took full toll with 22 hitouts, while also providing a chop-out inside 50 to convert two handy goals. For all her dominance, St Kilda still won the clearance count 30-23, but was beaten everywhere else.

Controlled aggression

Carlton looked noticeably different to the side which went down to GWS last week, controlling the game with quick and precise ball movement. Having often proven timid under pressure this season, the Blues were super effective by foot in the first half and went end-to-end with relative ease. To compliment that, they pressured aggressively with 25 tackles inside forward 50 as St Kilda struggled to maintain any sort of territory. The Saints won the inside 50 count in term one (8-6), but lost out on the scoreboard and were smashed in that area throughout the second and third quarters.

Carlton’s new-look defence

Though the mainstays were ever-present, a couple of exciting additions were made to Carlton’s backline. Star forward Darcy Vescio was the evening’s surprise magnet shuffle, but took up their new role with aplomb en route to 15 disposals and four marks – almost beating their collective output from the previous three weeks. Much like Vescio’s clean hands and running ability stood out on the rebound, Brooke Walker proved a handy inclusion after fulfilling her NRLW duties. She settled in nicely for 12 touches as Carlton’s defence proved impenetrable for three quarters.

Dal Pos dagger

Holding a four-goal lead at the main break, it was time for Carlton to shut up shop. The Blues hardly looked like conceding and owned over 90 per cent of time in their forward half during term three, continuing to control proceedings without too much fuss. The only thing missing was additional scoreboard pressure, though that changed as Jessica Dal Pos dug one final dagger into the Saints’ faint hopes. With seconds remaining until the final break, she snapped home the goal of the day with a left-foot effort from the pocket – and her teammates absolutely loved it.

Matin’s moment

She had only managed a single touch to that point, but Jessica Matin stood up to sink St Kilda’s first major of the day. It took over nine minutes into the fourth quarter for her side to claim a six-pointer, and one brought two as Matin again popped up to snare a consolation goal just minutes later. The skilful small forward has only been held goalless once this season, and wasn’t about to let that happen again. He scores proved reward for the Saints’ final quarter efforts, as the wrestled back some respectability at the death.

  • Team
  • West Coast
  • Richmond

Richmond’s top four hopes are well and truly alive after the Tigers came away from their Perth road trip with a club record fifth-straight victory. While a relatively young West Coast side proved plucky throughout, the visitors kicked clear in the final five minutes to win 6.7 (43) to 3.6 (24).


By the Grace of Greg

Though Richmond had been in control of the game from the first goal, West Coast bridged a 19-point half time deficit back to six with plenty of time left to play in the final term. Enter Tigers midfielder Grace Egan, who had endured a seemingly frustrating night to that point, but put it behind her to boot the two game-sealing goals. Her clutch conversions were the cherry on top of a combative effort typical of her side’s last month of footy.

Top four Tigers?

Dare to dream, Tigers fans. With a fifth consecutive victory, Richmond has drawn level with the top four clubs on 20 points, albeit with an extra game under its belt, and will have sights set on earning a finals double chance. Boasting arguably the competition’s best player, Monique Conti and the top recruit of the season in Eilish Sheerin, there is plenty to like about how the Tigers have turned their fortunes around – even while missing 213 games of experience on Friday night. This season has already produced a team-best effort, and there promises to be plenty more to come.

Sheerin gets off the Hook’

One of the great finds of Season 7, Sheerin’s remarkable maiden campaign rolled on with another near-best afield performance. The dashing defender collected a team-high 22 touches and booted her first AFLW goal, after Stella Reid shared the love inside 50. Her major gave the Tigers an ultimately unassailable half time lead, with Sheerin’s timing on overlap runs and strength to power forward proving game-breaking traits. It was a wonder the likes of Dana Hooker didn’t go to her in a defensive role. At the other end, emerging Eagle Charlotte Thomas was just as resolute for her 23 disposals and seven marks.

Stone Cold Swanson

It came as no surprise to see Eagles skipper Emma Swanson leading the charge for her side on Friday night, as she continues to hit new heights in Season 7. The reliable midfielder cracked in for 19 disposals and nine tackles, but arguably her greatest contribution came when resting forward in the final term. Retrieving a forward 50 entry from Hooker which looked certain to dribble over the boundary line, Swanson outfoxed Kodi Jacques and made her look a fool, snatching the ball before breaking towards goal and finishing with a crafty checkside. It gave her side a real sniff.

Eagles three-quarters of the way there

Having fielded a historically young side last time out, West Coast again gave itself a chance of winning but could not quite pull off the four-quarter performance required. The Eagles showed fight but were beaten in the territory battle to half time, until a third term fightback got them back into the contest. Winning seven clearances to one in that time, with Courtney Rowley converting the quarter’s only goal, the hosts were within touching distance but just fell short of making the effort count after Swanson’s exploits. It follows back-to-back three-point losses – they’re close.

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