Tough weekend sees ladder gaps tighten

ON a tough weekend where some teams found goals hard to come by, the VFLW marked the halfway point of its season with an interesting bunch of results.

With only one win separating first from sixth on the ladder, it is still all to play for heading into the second half of the year.

Sunday saw a topsy turvy clash between the Seagulls and Bulldogs, which ultimately saw the Seagulls prevail by five points.

Despite what the quarter time score ultimately was, it was the Bulldogs who did much of the attacking in the early passages but just could not make it count on the scoreboard.

In a game that began very congested, it was over five minutes into the quarter before either side got any kind of score, and frustratingly for the Bulldogs it was in fact the Seagulls that did it, but luckily for the Bulldogs it was only a behind.

Defensive pressure was clearly a focus for both teams as they both found it hard to get clean disposal across the ground.

It took 15 minutes for the first goal of the game to come and thanks to Lori Stepnell and her straight kicking it was the Seagulls who finally nailed one.

Aliesha Newman kicked Williamstown’s second on the strokes of quarter time to see her side take a 16 point lead into the first break and the Bulldogs kept scoreless in the first term.

Sharnie Whiting booted Williamstown’s third inside the opening two minutes of the second term to extend the Seagulls’ lead even further, but then things started to turn around for the Bulldogs.

Momentum switched and a run of four unanswered goals to the Bulldogs then followed, with goals to Dominique Carbone, Imahra Cameron, Jaimi Tabb and Erica Greet helping to flip the game in the Bulldog’s favour.

After Whiting’s goal, the Seagulls went on to have very little time in their forward 50 and only managed one more behind, so as the teams went into the rooms for the main break it was a one point lead to the Bulldogs.

As conditions started to improve, things started to swing back in Williamstown’s favour.

Whiting booted the only two majors either side kicked for the term as well as a behind in a dominant display in front of goal to take her side’s lead out to 19 points.

Just when you could be forgiven for thinking the twists and turns of the clash were done, the Bulldogs had one last surprise up their sleeve.

Williamstown failed to score a goal in the last quarter as Cameron and Kiera Whiley kicked one each at either end of the quarter for the Bulldogs.

Things became brutal for the Seagulls as more than one player had to come off after coming off second best in a collision.

In the end despite being the better team for much of the last term, the Bulldogs could not get the scoreboard recognition necessary to completely close the gap, which ultimately saw the Seagulls take the win.

In other results:

  • Box Hill continued on its winning ways, downing Darebin by 27 points.

Things were tight in the first quarter but after that, Box Hill capitalised and kept scoring, despite being rather inaccurate.

No one on the ground kicked more than one goal, but Matilda Van Berkel lead the game for disposals with 21. In fact the top seven ball getters on the field were all Hawks.

  • Collingwood has inflicted Geelong only its second loss of the 2023, downing the Cats by only three points.

In a game which saw no goals kicked in the last term, a two goal to one third term in favour of the Pies was what ultimately determined the match.

Nyakoat Dojiok made her presence felt on her return to the Collingwood side kicking two majors, while Jessica Bates again led her side for disposals, this time with 18.

Bates was not the leading ball winner on the ground, with that honour going to Charlotte Simpson and her 24 touches.

  • Speaking of a lack of goals, ETU Stadium was a hard place to score goals for Port Melbourne again as it went goalless against North.

However, North also went goalless but scored more behinds to pinch the win by two points.

Audrey Rhodes (29 disposals), Reni Hicks (25 touches) and Jessie Williams (22 touches) were among the main ball winners for the game though.

  • Goals were also hard to come by at the Hangar, but unlike at ETU Stadium the night before, the majors did eventually come in a result that saw Essendon defeat the Southern Saints by two goals.

In a tough tussle, it really wasn’t until the last quarter where the match was decided, when the Saints pegged one goal back but were then unable to peg back a second.

Some of the players to see plenty of the ball were Amelia Radford, Steph Wales and Tessa Boyd.

  • Casey’s poor run continued, this time going down to Carlton by 20 points.

The third quarter was what really let the Dees down, as Carlton kicked four goals to one to put the game ultimately out of reach for its opponents.

Mia Cowan starred in front of goal for Carlton with three majors to her name, while Keeley Sherar and Ashlee Thorneycroft led the way in the middle with 24 and 23 touches respectively.

Meanwhile for the Dees youngster Jemma Rigoni led their disposal count with 16 to her name.

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