Preview | VFLW 2023 Round 11: One more chaotic month to go

FASTER than Nyakoat Dojiok out of a pack, we have reached the final month of the 2023 VFL Women’s season, and yet so little has been determined.

With one win separating first from sixth, and two separating first and seventh, this year’s finalists are far from decided.

It is also moving into the part of the season where the AFLW listed players across the comp start to make way for the VFLW-only listed players, so teams are going to have to retool their systems to counter that.

The weekend begins in Port Melbourne with the second edition of the ETU Stadium Derby between the Bulldogs and Borough.

It is also the battle of last week’s shock winners as both sides defeated arguably more highly fancied opponents last week.

Although the Bulldogs are still technically in finals contention, lose this week and that is the last flicker of finals hopes just about gone. They come up against a Port Melbourne side keen for a win to not only further cement their place in the top six but close the gap between themselves and the higher rungs of the ladder.

The Bulldogs have made three changes to their side, with Trinity Skenderis among this week’s inclusions.

Port Melbourne on the other hand has just made the two changes, bringing in Elizabeth Wilson and Kaitlyn O’Keefe.

The action continues in Carlton tomorrow with the Blues hosting the Southern Saints.

The Saints come into the match in second spot and off a win last week that almost did not happen, while Carlton will be keen to bounce back strong and maintain touching distance with the top six after a poor performance last week.

Carlton does okay at home, but Ikon Park is not the fortress other sides get to enjoy with their home ground, so the Saints will be feeling confident heading into the match.

Carlton has recalled Jessica Joyce and Joyce Dunne, while Melanie Bertuna headlines one of four omissions for the Saints that sees Ilena Gentile among the inclusions.

Half an hour later and down the Eastern Freeway the Hawks will be hosting Williamstown in a match that is arguable more important for the Seagulls than the Hawks.

Williamstown is only one game out of the six, but with the likes of Geelong and the Saints still to come, if the Seagulls slip up this weekend it may prove too tricky to get into the top six.

The Hawks on the other hand are in third place, half a game behind the top two but a game and a half from falling out of the six.

Box Hill has brought back Charlotte Hammans and Chantella Perera this week for injured pair Chloe Bailey and Jess Trend.

Meanwhile for Williamstown, Jasmine Kawa is one of two inclusions this week, but Sophie Damon is one of the omissions.

The last of Saturday’s games is in Geelong with the Cats set to host Casey in arguably the longest away trip in existence in the VFLW at the moment.

Recent form history suggests a win to the Cats, but they did lose at the exact ground a week ago, so if the Dees have done their homework there is a chance for them to cause an upset of their own.

The Cats have been badly hit with injuries this week, with Olivia Cicolini and Ingrid Houtsma among the list of outs with injury this week.

Casey on the other hand has not made nearly as many changes, with Steph Barnett one of only two changes.

Sunday’s action begins nice and early out in Preston with the Falcons hosting the Magpies.

There is certainly more resting on this match for Collingwood than Darebin.

Collingwood is teetering on the edge of finals at the moment, so need to keep winning in order to maintain their place in the top six. Meanwhile the shackles are off at Darebin, with no pressure on the Falcons as the only team who can officially no longer make finals.

Zoe Larkins, Sally Lynch and Bec Goring are all back for Darebin this week, while Collingwood have some handy inclusions of their own in Riley Christgoergl and Tricia Cowan.

The weekend’s action ends at the Hangar, with a clash between the Bombers and Kangaroos.

After being tested at times last week against Darebin, Essendon will want to come out and prove it is still a strong premiership contender.

Meanwhile the Kangaroos find themselves in a similar position to the likes of the Dees and Bulldogs in the sense that they are still in the finals race but really cannot afford too many slip ups.

Both sides have only made two changes, with Melanie Bateman and Scarlett Orritt out for the Bombers and Sophia McCarthy and Charli Granville out for the Kangaroos.

VFLW Round 11 Fixture

Western Bulldogs vs Port Melbourne – Saturday at 10:30am – ETU Stadium

Carlton vs Southern Saints – Saturday at 11am – Ikon Park

Box Hill vs Williamstown – Saturday at 11:30am – Box Hill City Oval

Geelong vs Casey – Saturday at 12pm – Deakin Uni

Darebin vs Collingwood – Sunday at 10am – Preston City Oval

Essendon vs North Melbourne – Sunday at 11am – The Hangar

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