2023 AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division Preview: Round 8

TWO sides desperate for a win kick off Round 8 of the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division on Saturday. Both the UNSW-ES Bulldogs and Sydney University have won the one game from six matches, and will be searching for the full points when they face off tomorrow.

Saturday, May 27 @ Henson Park, 11am

The game kickstarts the round of teams playing against each other whose styles are each other’s Achilles heels. Both teams like to create running space around contests and both have deep forward targets who kick the goals, if the ball gets down there.

The four points is huge for both teams. So far this year, both teams play has been characterised by great effort but minimal linkage play and thus scoreboard damage. The team that finds a way to get the upper hand in moving the ball through the lines will win this one, in a lower scoring tight contest.

Hayley Stanford is enjoying a strong season for the Bulldogs, and will be hoping to lift them up in this match, while Maryanne Harley has been among the best for the Students most weeks in what has been a tough year.

Saturday, May 27 @ Weldon Oval, 2pm

A cracker of a game for sure, but once again the styles and weapons oppose. Macquarie University’s main weapon of electric speed and finishing up front will be tested or even stifled by the best defensive team in the competition, who make every possession pressured Thus, the Goannas will not be able to just have open space but will have to use the footy effectively.

Manly’s depth across the ground is its weapon and their surge footy will have to find cleaner kicking to positional marking to slice through the defence to gain the advantage in this one.

Lauren Easton is among the top goalkickers this season, booting 11 majors in five games for the Goannas, with teammate Michala Ford potent with 10 goals in four games. For the Wolves, it is more about their defence and even team performances, with Molly Woods and Hannah Woolf both stepping up in 2023.

Saturday, May 27 @ Gore Hill Oval, 2:20pm

The clash between the undefeated Eagles and mid-table Bombers will feature the fastest ball movement of the weekend with both coaches looking to instil quick extraction and hard running footy, rolling into multiple possessions. Thus the Eagles whom have taken all before then will have a new challenge to try and defend.

The Bombers however will be dreading the foot skills and marking of the Eagles and looking to create and many stoppages as possible to minimise the premiership favourites’ ability to break away from the stoppages. If they can do this they might keep it close, but if not, a high scoring contest will ensue. Expect a big showing from North Shore on its home astroturf and for the Bombers to learn a lot testing themselves against the current benchmark.

Caitlin Davidson (21 goals in five games) is nine goals clear at the top of the goalkicking table, with Lauren Easton (11 in five) a chance to move to second overall, and Caitlin Reid (10 in six) not far away either. Olivia Edwards and Lucy Krimmer are the Bombers top goalkickers with season with seven and five respectively.

Saturday, May 27 @ Waratah Oval, 5:10pm

The most intriguing game of the round as the winless Southern Power possess the main Achilles heel of the current fifth placed Pennant Hills squad – scrapping effort defence leading to pressure on the ball carrier. The Demons showed last week, that when they are at full strength and given space, their spine can put points on the board, particularly the good form of Laura Donohue and Brianna Wade up front.

But when the Demons are pressured at every possession, they are finding it difficult to link the footy. Rebecca Ives, Tayla Duguid and Eliza Harvey and co. should be too strong at the coalface in this one, but they will have internal goals of continuing lifting the footy to match it with the leading teams. They will need to keep the footy on the outside and stay away from Power’s two defences pillars Laura Kent and Amy Kowski, who will be in the Wade and Donohue space.

It’s been a very very tough few weeks for the Power, especially coming off a forfeit, and everybody will be looking for a lifted performance. Back on their home deck and in front of supporters should be good for them. It could be a lower scoring game where Pennant Hills are pressured into missing, or a blow out if the Demons are on song as they were in Round 7.

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