AFLW 2023 Round 2 Preview: Sunday

  • Team
  • Western Bulldogs
  • Hawthorn

Mars Stadium, Ballarat

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Both of these teams are coming off Round 1 losses. The Bulldogs are coming off an unimpressive performance against the Cats, while the Hawks were valiant but still went down to the Bombers.


Hawthorn will be hoping history does not repeat itself today, as when these two met last season it was the Bulldogs who prevailed by six goals.

Key Stat Areas

While both sides did not perform overly well in many of the stats last week, there are still some areas that may decide how today’s game unfolds.

On the one hand Hawthorn is more of a kicking side, while the Bulldogs are more of a handballing side which will bring the two contrasting styles together.

Hawthorn was also significantly more efficient inside 50 than the Bulldogs were last week, and also did significantly better in the tackle count too, so they are key areas the Bulldogs will need to watch today.

Key Match Ups

Ellie Blackburn vs Tilly Lucas-Rodd

Two hearts and souls of their respective sides, and two midfielders who are not afraid of the rough and tumble of a midfield battle and getting to the bottom of a contest.

Also Blackburn is somewhat of a barometer of the Bulldogs’ fortunes in any game, so if Lucas-Rodd and the rest of the Hawthorn midfield can keep her and Kirsty Lamb quiet, that is going to do them a lot of favours in trying to win the match.

Sarah Hartwig vs Jenna Richardson

Hartwig proved to be quiet the handy forward last week, kicking two goals and so again starts up forward today having progressed from initially being a defender. The Hawks will need someone to match her that is a similar height and build to match her and keep her quiet, and that job may just fall to Richardson.

  • Team
  • Collingwood
  • Fremantle

Victoria Park

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Both of teams could not be coming into this match off more different results last week. Collingwood started well but then was run over the top of by Melbourne, while Fremantle defeated West Coast in the Western Derby.


As two inaugural clubs of the competition, there is certainly plenty of history between the sides.

The teams have played every season except 2021, with Fremantle winning four of the six encounters. However, last time the two sides met it was Collingwood who won comfortably, but that was in the middle of an injury crisis for the Dockers.

Key Stat Areas                 

Both teams were inefficient inside 50 last week so that is an area that they will both look to improve this week. If you break down the clearance stats it also paints an interesting picture. Last week Fremantle did better in both the hitouts and the centre clearances than Collingwood did, but Collingwood did better in the overall clearances and stoppage clearances.

Key Match Ups

Brianna Davey vs Kiara Bowers

The two tough nuts of their respective midfielders, the physical battle alone between the pair is sure to be an entertaining one. They are also two of the best players in the competition, and are going to be crucial in getting their teams’ attacking play started.

Selena Karlson vs Aine Tighe

Over the past few years Tighe has grow into a dangerous but mobile marking target for the Dockers, so Collingwood will need someone to run with her and match her strength wise. That challenge may fall to Karlson, who is a similar height to Tighe and can match her strength wise.

  • Team
  • North Melbourne
  • Carlton

Arden St Oval

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Both teams come into this match off the back of Round 1 wins, and will be looking to continue that momentum today. Carlton fought off a valiant Gold Coast last week, while North Melbourne comfortably beat St Kilda.


These two teams have met three times previously, and the history does not paint a pretty picture for Carlton. Not only has North Melbourne won all three previous meetings, but the average margin each time has been about five goals.

Key Stat Areas

Unsurprisingly considering how their respective games went last week, North’s numbers are considerably better than Carlton’s in many stats areas.

Everything from disposals to inside 50s and efficiency inside 50, to even marks and marks inside 50, North came away from last week with significantly better figures than the Blues did, and with the ease in which North was able to move the ball into attack last week, Carlton is certainly going to have plenty to be mindful of this afternoon.

Key Match Up/s

Kate Shierlaw vs Harriet Cordner

Even in game one for her new club, Shierlaw made an impact straight away, proving her worth in creating an extra marking target in North’s forward line. Cordner is certainly going to have her work cut out for her today to try and keep her quiet.

Tahlia Randall vs Vaomua Laloifi

Randall is another cog in a very dangerous North Melbourne forward line, whose strong marking presence can be at times tough to stop. However, Laloifi is a strong spoiler of the ball, so Randall will need to be on her toes to thwart her.

  • Team
  • Essendon
  • St Kilda

Windy Hill

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Essendon come into this clash off a win against the Hawks, while St Kilda will be looking to turn things around in a big way after a disappointing performance against North Melbourne last week.


A little bit of history will be made at Windy Hill this afternoon as this is the first time these two sides have met in the AFL Women’s.

Key Stat Areas

Unsurprisingly considering how their respective games went last week, Essendon’s numbers are considerably better than St Kilda’s in many stats areas.

From disposals to uncontested possessions and even marks, Essendon did a lot better in most of the categories last week than St Kilda did, so St Kilda need to find a way to ensure a similar result does not happen again today.

The one area St Kilda did do better than Essendon in was tackles, which is perhaps more a sign of how little they actually had the ball, considering they were minus-72 in disposals compared to Essendon’s plus-68.

Key Match Up/s

Bonnie Toogood vs Grace Kelly

Toogood is the focal point of Essendon’s forwardline, providing a tall, strong, leading target for Essendon’s star midfielders to aim for as they are running into attack. Therefore, St Kilda need someone who has some height on them, but is strong and can still run with someone like Toogood.

Enter Kelly, who last week proved she is capable of such a task while also proving to be a strong interceptor.

Georgia Nanscawen vs Jaimee Lambert

Two of the most fierce midfielders of the competitions, Nanscawen and Lambert match up well in size, strength and physicality, and are sure to prove critical in the success of their team’s ability to get the ball out of a contest.

  • Team
  • Melbourne

Manuka Oval

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These two sides could not be coming into today off more different Round 1 results. The Giants are coming off a disappointing loss to crosstown rivals Sydney, while Melbourne impressed with a comfortable 42-point win over Collingwood.


There is certainly plenty of history between these teams stretching back as far as Season One of the AFLW.

Back in 2017 it was a five-point win to the Giants, but in the subsequent four matches it has all been Melbourne, winning by six, 39, three and 37 points respectively.

Key Stat Areas

The stats certainly do not paint a pretty picture for GWS in its quest to upset the Dees today. However, both sides are significantly more of a handballing side than a kicking side, so this may cause both teams to need to adapt their game styles.

One of the main danger areas for GWS today will be Melbourne’s uncontested ball game, which is one of many stat areas the Dees did significantly better in than GWS last week and once it gets going can be very hard to stop.

Key Match Ups

Alicia Eva vs Eliza McNamara

A pair of wingers who love nothing more than to run all day, Eva and McNamara also both love to get into the middle of a contest, so should measure up well when forced to play on each other. Although both players are at very different ends of their careers, both are much loved members of their teams and provide similar skill assets and contributions to their team.

Georgia Garnett vs Tahlia Gillard

Garnett is one of GWS’ most dangerous forward targets, with a strong leading and high marking presence key aspects of her game, so she will be one of Melbourne’s top priorities to keep quiet.

Thankfully for the Dees they have Gillard, who has become renowned for silencing big name players of a similar ilk in the past, and will likely have the task of dealing with the lively Garnett today.

Pepa Randall vs Eden Zanker

Zanker proved last week how dangerous she can be if the right player is not defending her, and with her strength in a one-on-one battle, GWS do not have many defenders that can match her in those situations.

Enter Randall, who returned from an ACL injury last week, and can provide tough resistance for any forward of Zanker’s type, both physically and verbally.

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