Preview | VFLW 2023 Round 8: Halfway point passed

ROUND 8 of the VFLW season may signal the official start to the second half of the season, but there are certainly enough mouthwatering clashes to make people forget how quickly time is ticking away.

The weekend begins with a clash nice and early tomorrow morning at Princes Park, where Carlton hosts the Bulldogs.

The head to head numbers do not paint a pretty picture for the Bulldogs. Recent struggles have seen Carlton take a four to one lead, and the Blues have won the last two clashes between the sides.

Both sides have brought in some big guns for this clash. Mia Austin and Gabriella Pound are among Carlton’s inclusions, as are Kate McCarthy and Mali McLeod for the Bulldogs.

Perhaps the match of the round will be starting an hour later in Box Hill, with the Hawks hosting the Bombers. These two sides played an epic draw back in Round 1, and with two draws already in their history, we may well be in store for a third.

Speaking of that Round 1 clash, Aine McDonagh is back for her first outing since that game, while the Hawks have brought in another Eastern Ranges debutant, with 17-year-old Hayley McLaughlin poised to debut.

Meanwhile, the Bombers have brought back Zoe Hurrell and Paige Scott as part of four changes to their side from last weekend’s Grand Final rematch.

Moving along to Sunday, and it’s another early start by the bay when the Southern Saints host Port Melbourne.

The Saints have never lost to Port Melbourne, so the Borough will certainly be hoping to change that stat this weekend.

Melanie Bertuna and Maighan Fogas are among the ins this week for the Saints, while Kaitlyn O’Keefe and Emily Harley are among five inclusions for Port Melbourne, with the latter returning from a knee injury.

Another potentially interesting clash is happening on Sunday afternoon when Casey travel to the other side of the bay to take on Williamstown.

Despite this clash being at Williamstown’s home ground, it is a happy hunting ground for the Dees with Casey having never lost to the Seagulls at the ground. They will be hoping this continues this weekend as they try and rescue their season.

Two club debutants are among five inclusions for the Seagulls this week. Phoebe Chisholm has come across from the Bulldogs, while Charlotte Linssen has come across from Carlton.

Casey has also made five changes, including blooding a debutant. Alison Dowler and Casey Sherriff are among the ins, as is Dandenong Stingrays forward Sophie Butterworth.

Darebin has got a mountain ahead this weekend when Geelong comes to town. This was a bit of a one sided clash last time, but one thing in the Falcons’ favour is that Geelong has never played at La Trobe University.

Victoria Blackwood is a much welcomed inclusion for the Falcons, but Zoe Larkins is out with an ankle injury.

Meanwhile for Geelong they have rested many of their AFLW stars, while Ruby Bowers from Grovedale comes in for her debut.

The final match of the weekend sees Collingwood hosting North Melbourne.

They have only played twice but Collingwood has won both times, so combine that with the fact that the sides have never met at the AIA Centre and history is certainly not in the Kangaroos’ favour this weekend.

Nicole Hales is back for Collingwood this week, while Rianna Thiele comes in for her debut.

Meanwhile North Melbourne has brought in three debutants, with Tasmanians Tunisha Kikoak and Jasmyn Thompson, and AFLW Roo Sophia McCarthy all making their debuts for the Roos on Sunday.

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