Preview | VFLW 2023 Round 5: Nothing is for certain

IT is one month down in the VFL Women’s competition, and with 10 weeks left in the regular season nothing is for certain.

In a rare Friday night clash, Port Melbourne play host to Box Hill under the lights in Port Melbourne.

Box Hill come into this clash after having suffered its first loss of the year last weekend and dropped from first to fifth on the ladder in the process.

It faces a Port Melbourne side who are having a strong start to the year and actually currently sit third on the ladder.

However, recent history points to a Hawks victory, with the Borough having never beaten the Hawks.

There is a mixed bag of ins this week for the Borough but plenty of them, with six changes made, including the return of Federica Frew and Tilly Mottram in for her first game.

On the flipside Box Hill’s inclusions are full of experience, with the likes of Louise Stephenson and Kristy Stratton returning. The Hawks have also made plenty of changes, with the Hawks making seven changes.

Moving onto Saturday’s action and it is an early start out at Victoria Park in the usual Anzac Day weekend fixture as Collingwood clashes with the Bombers.

Both sides are coming off confidence boosting wins, but Collingwood will head into the clash knowing it is currently leading the head to head ledger and it is at home.

Both teams have made a number of changes, but both also lose a key player to concussion.

For Collingwood, the ins include the likes of Joanna Lin and Tricia Cowan, but skipper Caitlin Bunker headlines the outs. While over at Essendon debutants Lila Keck and Stephanie Wales are among the ins, while Paige Scott is forced to miss the clash because of concussion.

Next up on Saturday it’s a trip down the freeway for the Western Bulldogs as they travel to take on Geelong.

It was a comfortable win to the Cats the last time around and Geelong has won the two meetings before last season’s clash, but the Bulldogs are a much more improved side in 2023 so this may all change tomorrow afternoon.

Olivia Fuller and Georgie Rankin highlight a handful of ins for Geelong, while the Bulldogs will be missing key forward Mali McLeod with injury, which will make things a bit harder for them. Brianna McFarlane also is not back which will add to the degree of difficulty for the travelling side.

The third of four matches tomorrow sees Carlton take on Williamstown at Princess Park.

Both siders come into the clash off confidence boosting wins, but last time these teams met it was a draw so this may be a close encounter. However, Williamstown has also never beaten this week’s opponent, which helps sway favouritism towards the blue corner.

All of Carlton’s ins this week are club debutants, including recent AFLW draftee Marianna Anthony and the club’s two AFLW Keeleys Sherar and Skepper.

Meanwhile for the Seagulls Bridie Kennedy is out and being managed, which is a huge out as her midfield run has been crucial for the Seagulls so far this season.

The final match of a big day of action tomorrow is the Darebin Falcons taking on North Melbourne.

In a debut meeting between the clubs at Preston City Oval, this could be a more entertaining clash than it perhaps looks on paper.

Both teams will be frustrated with how last week went for them, particularly the Falcons who blew a perfect opportunity for a first win of the season.

Darebin also narrowly leads the head to head but both sides won a clash each last season.

The Falcons are also boosted by the return of Victoria Blackwood and captain Steph Simpson, while Taylah Gatt is one of three inclusions for the Roos.

The lone match on Sunday sees a repeat of last season’s Preliminary Final with the Saints travelling down the freeway to take on Casey.

With wind such a huge part of the playing experience at Casey Fields, the Southern Saints will certainly be hoping their goal kicking in the wind skills have improved since earlier in the season after some inaccurate performances in windy conditions. This is despite having a home ground like Trevor Barker Oval where wind is such a constant factor.

The Saints come up against a Casey side who are in a bit of a slump at the moment but will be keen to get out of it and bounce back at home.

Recently delisted Sun Shannon Danckert is one of four ins for Casey, while Maighan Fogas and Caitlin Matthews are among five ins for the Saints.

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