PREVIEW | 2023 AFLW Round 1: Melbourne vs. Collingwood
A BLOCKBUSTER match opens the 2023 AFL Women’s season, with reigning premiers Melbourne unfurling their Season 7 flag against Collingwood at Ikon Park. The teams within the contest could not be more different with the ever-consistent Dees going up against a new-look Magpies outfit that will hope to cause a boilover.
B: L.Birch 9 T.Gillard 17
HB: S.Heath 30 M.Gay 3 S.Goldrick 23
C: S.Lampard 8 O.Purcell 2 E.McNamara 22
HF: T.Harris 7 L.Mithen 14 A.Bannan 16
F: E.Zanker 29 K.Hore – C 10
Foll: L.Pearce 15 T.Hanks 5 P.Paxman 4
I/C: B.Mackin 31 G.Campbell 1 E.West 11 C.Sherriff 18 M.Fitzsimon 24
Emerg: G.Colvin 32 C.Wilson 20 S.Johnson 25
B: S.Casey 22 S.Livingstone 12
HB: S.Sansonetti 16 S.Karlson 20 A.Brazill 10
C: J.Allen 6 B.Davey – C 3 T.White 29
HF: G.Campbell 13 E.Morris 21 E.James 2
F: N.Morris-Dalton 17 S.Rowe 7
Foll: S.Frederick 1 M.Cann 25 B.Bonnici 8
I/C: A.Porter 9 E.Fowler 15 L.Brazzale 24 T.Brown 26 A.Sheridan 14
Emerg: I.Barnett 4 C.Blair 28 E.Smith 33
IN: Eliza McNamara, Georgia Campbell
OUT: Daisy Pearce, Maeve Chaplin
IN: Selena Karlson, Brianna Davey, Tarni White, Grace Campbell, Eleri Morris, Nell Morris-Dalton, Britt Bonnici, Alana Porter
OUT: Chloe Molloy, Jaimee Lambert, Charlotte Taylor, Steph Chiocci, Ruby Schleicher, Lauren Butler, Abbi Moloney, Joanna Lin
- How will the massive overhaul of Magpies changes effect the team?
Collingwood has undergone plenty of chances over the off-season with a host of key players departing in Chloe Molloy (Sydney), Steph Chiocci and Jaimee Lambert (St Kilda) heading to other sides. Along with that, Charlotte Taylor is facing a long stint on the sidelines.
They do recall Brianna Davey and Brittany Bonnici who should at least match it with the experienced Demons midfield, but will need to create some run. That is perhaps where Saints recruit Tarni White comes in, as she is a potential A-Grade star for the long-term.
- Does Daisy’s departure change anything?
While no doubt the loss of Daisy Pearce will impact the Dees on and off the field, the reigning premiers have enviable depth across the board. They have hardly changed their side from their premiership team wiht Pearce the only departure, and they regain Eliza McNamara from a long-term back injury. Opting to go tall, Melbourne has also recalled ruck/forward Georgia Campbell.
- Who will stand up in defence for the Pies?
Collingwood is missing Ruby Schleicher and Lauren Butler which hurts its chances massively, and will have to rely on former Saint Selena Karlson as well as Sarah Sansonetti to work it out with Stacey Livingstone. It is a clear worry in the Pies’ lineup.
WHERE THE GAME IS WON
- The midfield
Both sides have incredibly strong midfields, and with Davey, Bonnici and White coming into the side, it is effectively a net break even for losing Chiocci, Lambert and Molloy. It will be a tough ask to contain the likes of Tyla Hanks, Karen Paxman and Olivia Purcell however.
- Melbourne’s tall timber
The Demons have an enviable spine across the board, with ruck Lauren Pearce, marking forwards Tayla Harris and Eden Zanker, and the dangerous Alyssa Bannan, while having the likes of Tahlia Gillard and Libby Birch in defence. By comparison, the Pies do not have a full-time ruck, instead looking to Sabrina Frederick to take that load, and opt for smaller, speedier players across the ground.
It is difficult to look past Melbourne in the match, with the reigning premiers virtually untouched from last year’s flag. By comparison, the Magpies have undergone a stack of chances, and while they will likely be thereabouts in finals contention, on paper this looks a bridge too far. Melbourne will likely make a statement and win by four goals.
AROUND THE GROUNDS – SATURDAY AFTERNOON
Carlton vs. Gold Coast
Saturday, September 2 @ Ikon Park, 1:05pm
A wounded Carlton will attempt to kick off its Season 8 at Ikon Park against notorious poor traveller, Gold Coast Suns. The Blues will be without skipper Kerryn Peterson and key forward Phoebe McWilliams, while posting a new-look team that includes the likes of Madeline Hendrie and Harriet Cordner in defence. Gold Coast will finally get to unveil last year’s top draft pick Alana Gee as well as star tall, Darcie Davies.
Adelaide vs. Port Adelaide
Saturday, September 2 @ Norwood Oval, 3:05pm
Following an impressive preseason, Port Adelaide will gain an early challenge against its Showdown rivals in Adelaide, as the Power hope to kickstart Season 8 off with a bang. The inclusions of marking targets, Janelle Cuthbertson, ex-Crow Ashleigh Saint and Poppy Scholz will make the Power stronger, while the Crows will welcome in ex-Port speedster Sarah Goodwin, while maintaining the one-two punch of Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard.
Other Round 1 matches:
Geelong vs. Western Bulldogs, Saturday, September 2 @ GMHBA Stadium, 5:05pm
Hawthorn vs. Essendon, Saturday, September 2 @ Kinetic Stadium, 7:15pm
North Melbourne vs. St Kilda, Sunday, September 3 @ Blundstone Arena, 1:05pm
Brisbane vs. Richmond, Sunday, September 3 @ Brighton Homes Arena, 3:05pm
Sydney vs. GWS, Sunday, September 3 @ North Sydney Oval, 3:05pm
Fremantle vs. West Coast, Sunday, September 3 @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval, 5:05pm