2023 AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division Preview: Round 9

TWO top five clashes headline Round 9 of the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division with the winless Southern Power having their first bye of the season, completing the first cycle of matches. Among the highlights are the first and third teams going at it, while fourth and fifth also clash.

Saturday, June 3 @ Gipps Road Ovals, 12:20pm

Ladder leaders East Coast Eagles will start favourite against the Goannas who put up a great show against fellow contenders Manly last week. Finals should be mathematically locked away for the Eagles with a win, and top two clearly on the cards, but a loss brings them right back to the pack in that race.

The third placed Macquarie Uni is a solid challenger and a win would be a huge bonus for its finals chances. Overall expect a tight contest, where the Eagles defenders will have to mark a lot tighter and pay more attention to the speedy forward line of the Goannas.

The centre contest will be vital in this game, because both teams have proved their ability to finish and put scores on the board when their forwards get it. The Eagles should just have the experience edge in the centre. The game could be decided by that centre battle and whether anyone can put a thorn in the Eagles ball movement, while Caitlin Davidson is proving hard to spot and is likely to continue kicking pivotal goals against all-comers.

Saturday, June 3 @ Greenway Park, 12:40pm

Manly has deconstructed the Demons at home on the last few occasions and this will be a defining test for the rest of the season for them. The Wolves athleticism across the ground and ability to extract the footy from the contest and move it down field should be the difference in this game.

For Pennant Hills, Laura Donohue is in great form, and when they can get the ball to her, Brianna Wade is damaging the scoreboard. If Pennant Hills can get clean ball on the outside and manage a win, it will be the biggest chance they have had to seek a finals berth going forward.

However, expect the Wolves to almost constantly turn them around, completely smother and stifle to Pennant Hills ball movement over the breadth of the game. Watch for the back six of the Demons – including the general of play, Eleanor Rugg at centre half-back – to use athleticism and tight tracking to make it hard for the Wolves forwards.

The question will be can they win enough ball out of the centre to get it into the forwards or rebound with linking play to go all the way back up the field and then, whether the forwards can hit the scoreboard against top level pressure.

Saturday, June 3 @ Sydney Uni No. 1 Oval, 2:55pm

The closest and most pivotal game of the round between the sixth placed North Shore Bombers and seventh placed Sydney University. Both sides have won the to games from seven matches and will be desperate to keep in touch with the top five. North Shore will start favourites, but at home the Students are a huge challenge and one expect a very highly contested game.

The game literally has staying in touch with the top five on the line, and so a finals-like style might be on the cards. On the smaller ground, where one centre clearance can be marked for a shot at goal, if Sydney Uni let North Shore have its way with its preferred one, two or three handpasses from the coalface, then they will win comfortably.

If the Students can run and gun and accurately hit the scoreboard, they have a chance. It should be great viewing. Watch for North Shore captain Maryanne Harley to have a huge game and try and lift her team to a much needed win.

Saturday, June 3 @ Henson Park, 3pm

UTS Bats will start as huge favourites, and should be too strong across the park for the full four quarters. Sitting second with only a loss to the ladder-leading Eagles, the Bats are primed to go deep in the finals, while the Bulldogs are seeing that same hope slip away with one win from seven matches.

UNSW-ES Bulldogs are really finding it hard to trouble the scorers over the last month and they will need to find the solution to have any chance in this one. UTS will find it tight and tough in the centre, but clean ball out for them, and multiple opportunities to deliver inside 50 might result in a roll on of goals.

The Bats are due for a thumping win if their progression continues and they want to play the footy that will contest in the finals and this might be the day. They do not want to get bogged down in a scrappy contest.

Southern Power have the bye.

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