AFLW Season 7: Round 7 Talking Points – Not all goes as expected
SATURDAY’s action in the AFL Women’s saw things largely go as expected, but not completely. Gold Coast, Brisbane and Adelaide all won as expected, but Hawthorn caused a minor upset, winning their third match in a row by downing Port Adelaide.
By Alyce Collet
Gold Coast has won its fourth game of the season, after downing Sydney by 34 points. In very wet conditions, the Suns comfortably took care of the Suns to be mere percentage outside the top 8.
Are Gold Coast on the road to finals?
After making finals in Season 4, it has been a rough few years for the Suns, and it was unclear how they would go this season after losing so many key, experienced players. But as things stand, their percentage is the only reason they are not currently in the top 8, and with two winnable games out of their last three, finals are certainly a possibility for the Suns this season. The question is how far can they go this season?
A lot of free kicks given away
The wet weather certainly made the conditions much trickier, but also saw both sides give away a considerable number of free kicks that would not have been given away if the conditions were different. There were 39 free kicks given away in the match, with Sydney conceding only one more free than the Suns did.
Rowbottom is a machine
One particular Sun that was a star in the win was Charlie Rowbottom. The young midfielder was a machine, finishing with 22 touches and creating a lot of run and drive for her team out of the middle.
Another Sun that had a good game was Courtney Jones. Finishing with the 12 touches, Jones proved very lively up forward and booted the two majors to top score for her side too.
Sydney needs multiple Hams and Privitellis
On another frustrating day for the Swans, two shining lights were Montana Ham and Rebecca Privitelli. Ham provided good composure and run out of the middle, while Privitelli booted the two majors and was a strong target up forward and booted two majors. However, one thing that was evident was that they need to find a way to clone the pair, and fast.
By Elly Kirlis
In a a see-sawing match that provided clutch moments when it mattered, Adelaide overcame a resilient Fremantle Dockers, winning by three goals. After being kept scoreless at quarter time, the Dockers challenged the Crows. Trailing by nine at three quarter time, some key moments in the last quarter sealed the victory for Adelaide.
Up and down pace of game
The Dockers should be credited for their defensive efforts in this match, with the likes of Emma O’Driscoll, Laura Pugh, Janelle Cuthbertson, Angela Stannett and Jess Low adding that pressure around the Crows forward 50.
As the Crows adjusted quicker and more found in their ball movement in the second quarter, the Dockers then battled hard in the third quarter, dominating five minutes of the quarter to hit the lead and forcing costly skill errors to the Crows.
Dockers resilience should be credited
Whilst the Dockers lost both Gabby O’Sullivan and Cuthbertson to injury, the Dockers stuck their course and kept applying that tight pressure for majority of the match. Whilst the Dockers may not have got the victory, they did win the tackle count 84-77.
Two players that should be credited are Mikayla Hyde for her efforts in the forward, especially giving the Dockers the lead in the third quarter and Mim Strom, including her 11 hitouts and kicked her first AFLW goal to maintain the Dockers lead.
Fiery Midfield Battle between Marinoff and Bowers
Whilst the battle between the two midfields was a classic to watch throughout the game, the battle between Marinoff and Kiara Bowers was a particular treat in this match. The tackle count combined between the two was 30, plus Marinoff had 32 disposals and Bowers had 29.
By Elly Kirlis
The Brisbane Lions showed why they are a potential top two side, defeating North Melbourne by seven points at Arden Street.
While North Melbourne dominating majority of the first quarter, the Lions were able to control the tempo and possession of the footy in the second half, winning 5.3 (33) to 3.8 (26).
Inaccuracy hurt North Melbourne
To North’s credit, the Roos did not allow Brisbane to have any flow from their defensive 50 in the first quarter, dominating the contested possession category at half time, 59-46. However they did kick 3.1 from 11 inside 50s, so some costly kicking conversions hurt the Kangaroos in the second half.
Lions dangerous in forward 50, lifted in second half
With the Lions needing to lift their pressure and be strong in the contest, key players such as Bre Koenen was instrumental in the backline. As the game got on the Lions terms at the start of the third quarter and the Lions lifted their energy, the likes of Dakota Davidson kicking a crucial goal to extend the margin, and ultimately kicked the first two goals of the quarter.
As a unit, Brisbane were more composed at the later stages of the match and forcing the Kangaroos to turn the footy over at costly times. Greta Bodey also lifted in the third quarter, using her speed and kicking in front of goal to maintain the Lions lead. Whilst the Lions were outnumbered in the hitouts, they were able to dominate the tackle count, 64-55 and clearances, 26-19.
Hickie work rate in backline for Lions
Tahlia Hickie’s work rate was underrated in this match, especially the later stages of the game. Hickie was instrumental and disrupted the Kangaroos forwards, putting her body on the line, including 11 disposals, four marks and 21 hitouts.
By Peter Williams
Hawthorn’s winning run continued down in Frankston, picking up its third straight win, this time over another expansion side in Port Adelaide. Nail-biting until the end, the game was within a kick the difference until a behind to Charlotte Baskaran and goal to captain Tilly Lucas-Rodd blew the game out to a final margin of 13 points, 4.5 (29) to 1.10 (16).
O Captain! My Captain!
She might be atrocious at winning coin tosses – her previous 0-7 now 0-8 record this season highlighted by coach Bec Goddard at training – by Lucas-Rodd certainly knows how to win games when needed. Her final goal was the icing on the cake for the Hawthorn skipper, with the late major from close range finishing off a 19-disposal, two-mark, three-clearance and nine-tackle performance – five of those tackles coming inside 50. In her 50th game, Lucas-Rodd might not have the polish of some of her teammates, but she is the heart and soul of the brown and gold and was again superb.
Inaccuracy shuts down Power
There is no doubting the elephant in the room, which was the fact that if Port Adelaide had kicked straight, the Power would have come away with the four points. They booted 1.10 for the game – and while there were a few rushed behinds in that match, the Power had nine more inside 50s (32-23) and three more marks inside 50s (7-4) off a clearance dominance (27-20). Skipper Erin Phillips was outstanding but kicked three behinds in what could have been the difference, and while it is a ‘What If?’ the Power fans will certainly be asking themselves that question.
Hawks run hurts Port on transition
Hawthorn’s ability to get back and help out the defence then quickly burst away down the ground was key to the Hawks picking up the four points. The brown and gold had four players with 250-plus metres gained, as Mackenzie Eardley, Catherine Brown, Lucas-Rodd and Aileen Gilroy all looked to gain plenty of grass or distance to get their side out of danger. Gilroy had another four clearances, the most of any Hawk
Usual suspects stand tall for Port
Despite the loss, it was no surprise to see Phillips and fellow experienced AFLW midfielder Maria Moloney leading the way at the stoppages, combining for nine clearances and 17 disposals. Rising Star young guns Hannah Ewings and Abbey Dowrick again had moments that transcended the stats sheet, while Ella Boag was impactful and Olivia Levicki impressive through the ruck.