PREVIEW | 2023 VFLW Finals Week 3: Borough and Bombers battle

ONE spot remains in the 2023 VFL Women’s Grand Final, with the winner of the Borough and Bombers to battle Collingwood in the decider.

Port Melbourne finished higher on the ladder, but a loss to the Magpies saw them have to face off in a knockout semi-final, just getting past Carlton to earn a double chance. Essendon on the other hand finished fifth, defeating Box Hill before going down to the Magpies last week.

  • Team
  • Essendon VFLW
  • Port Melbourne VFLW

Preliminary Final
Sunday at 2pm
ETU Stadium

Both these sides enter the penultimate round having won a final, and both lost to Collingwood, putting them on even pegging. Port Melbourne appears to be the favourite, having lost to the Magpies by 26 points at Victoria Park in the qualifying final, before bouncing back in a nail-biting one-point win over Carlton at ETU Stadium last week.

Essendon got a lot close to the Magpies, going down by four points, but made it this far thanks to a 10-point victory on the road against Hawthorn. The Bombers have had to do it the hard way, playing away each week, and despite being the “home” team in the preliminary final, will front up against the Borough on their home deck.

Ex-Magpie Eloise Chaston was a standout for the red sash last week against her former side, collecting 21 disposals, four marks and laying six tackles in the loss. She has seemingly picked up a new lease of life, while Grace Dicker and tenacious small Reese Sutton were fierce around the contest.

The ruck combination of Megan Ryan and Jaimee-Lee Morrow worked well together, though veteran Mia-Rae Clifford (two goals) was the only goalscorer for the Bombers. The infusion of ex-Tiger Sophie Molan has helped fill the void left by those premiership Bombers who were drafted, while Courtney Ugle is always a damaging player.

For Port Melbourne, the Borough did not have a dominant ball-winner against Carlton, but scrapped it out well with Jessie Williams (16 disposals, 10 tackles) leading the way in those areas. Eliza Morrison and Federica Frew add great experience to the lineup, the latter incredibly familiar with the red and black in finals.

Georgia Alomes (two goals) was the sole multiple goalkicker last week, while Elizabeth Wilson will have a big job through the ruck for the Borough. Emily Harley and Olivia Barton are among the other important players for Port Melbourne heading into the do-or-die clash.

The last time these sides faced off was in Round 13 at this very venue. Port Melbourne got up by three points, 3.4 (22) to 3.1 (19). That day it was an even team performance from the Borough that got them over the line, with Lauren Caruso (17 disposals, seven tackles) the top ball-winner, and Barton and Harley both prominent. Chaston, Molan and Dicker racked up 65 disposals and 27 tackles between them for the Bombers.

Expect the game to be another thriller and go down to the wire, with both these sides having great experience across the board. The Bombers might have that additional top-end talent, but the Borough have incredible depth that has got them to this point.

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