AFLW 2023 Round 9 Preview: Saturday

RIVALRY and finals are the two key words on all the AFL Women’s clubs minds as the penultimate round of action continues today. We preview each of the games.

  • Team
  • Melbourne
  • Fremantle

Casey Fields

Recent Form

Melbourne is cruising along nicely at the moment, and are pushing towards yet another finals campaign. Fremantle on the other hand is in a do-or-die situation this weekend. Lose and they can kiss their finals hopes goodbye for this season.


As two inaugural teams of the AFLW competition, there is plenty of history between these two teams. These teams have played seven times, with the Dees having won five of these clashes.

Key Stat Areas

Melbourne is renowned for its handball game, while the Dockers prefer to kick the ball instead. Melbourne is doing a lot better in just about every category than Fremantle is, so the Dockers will certainly have plenty to keep an eye on this afternoon.

Key Match Up/s

Shelley Heath vs Kiara Bowers

Bowers’ reputation and value to the Fremantle side is much talked about, so it will not be a surprise if Melbourne do put a tag on her. If they do, the likely tagger will be Heath who is quickly growing a reputation of successfully tagging some of the competition’s best.

Sinead Goldrick vs Orlagh Lally

With some big outs this week, Lally’s role as a goal scorer for the Dockers grows in importance. The Dees need someone who’s quick and agile to combat her influence, which luckily for them they have in the form of fellow Irishwoman Goldrick.

Eden Zanker vs Serena Gibbs

Melbourne has plenty of strong forward options and one of those is Zanker. Gibbs matches up on Zanker well physically, but will have to play in front all day to counter Zanker’s aerial game.

  • Team
  • St Kilda
  • Brisbane


Recent Form

It is do-or-die for St Kilda today, with one loss meaning the end of the Saints’ hopes for finals action in 2023. Brisbane on the other hand come into today’s clash full of confidence after knocking off the previously undefeated Crows last week.


These two teams have only met once prior. It was back in Round 6 of Season 6, and that day it was Brisbane who came away with a five-point win.

Key Stat Areas

Both of these teams tend to kick the ball more than they handball it, so how that collides will be intriguing to see. One thing particularly St Kilda will need to keep an eye on is its inside 50 efficiency. Brisbane already get a lot more inside 50s than the Saints have this season, and when you add on top Brisbane’s significantly better inside 50 efficiency tally, that spells trouble for the Saints.

Key Match Up/s

Bianca Jakobsson vs Dakota Davidson

Davidson is the core to the success of the Lions in attack, so Jakobsson or whoever ends up on her will have a big job. They will have to really make sure they play in front to counter Davidson’s ability in the air.

Jesse Wardlaw vs Jade Ellenger

Up the other end, and Davidson’s former team mate Wardlaw plays a very similar role for the Saints. Ellenger or whoever ends up on her will have plenty to do, with plenty of running and spoiling necessary.

Jaimee Lambert vs Ally Anderson

Two midfield tough nuts who have had plenty of battles over the years, this is sure to be an entertaining battle. They also provide a crucial role for their teams in clearances, so one quelling the influence of the other will be huge in the context of the game.

  • Team
  • Essendon
  • Carlton

Windy Hill

Recent Form

Both of these teams are coming into today’s clash off the back off losses last week so will be keen to not keep that losing run going. Essendon will also be hoping for the win to stay in touch with the top four, while for Carlton it is literally a mini elimination final today in terms of their post-season hopes.


These two teams did meet once in Essendon’s inaugural season last year, and in a nail-biter it was the Blues who prevailed by one point.

Key Stat Areas

Both of these teams tend to handball the ball more than they kick it, so how that collides will be intriguing to see. Carlton is significantly better at stoppage clearances than both centre clearances and Essendon, while for the Bombers it is the opposite.

Key Match Up/s

Bonnie Toogood vs Gena Lawson-Tavan

Stopping Toogood’s influence will be a crucial step to success for the Blues, and as a tall agile defender Lawson-Tavan may just be the person for the job. She will just need to remember to keep playing in front to counter Toogood’s marking ability.

Stephanie Wales vs Bre Moody

As the old saying goes it all starts in the middle, and this may prove to be a very intriguing ruck battle. It is one of the best rucks of the competition up against one of the best young rucks.

Madison Prespakis vs Mimi Hill

It may all start with the rucks, but after that it is down to the likes of these two to get things going for their teams. Former team mates and former midfield partners, these two competitive beasts will no doubt love to get one over the other.

  • Team
  • West Coast
  • Western Bulldogs

Mineral Resources Park

Recent Form

West Coast come into this clash off a surprise win last week, and would love nothing more than to keep that winning momentum going. The Bulldogs on the other hand are still searching for their first win of the season.


Today is the fourth time these two have met in their history. The Eagles won the first time they met, but the Bulldogs have won the two most recent encounters.

Key Stat Areas

Although the Bulldogs have had more inside 50s than the Eagles this season, it is the Eagles who have the better inside 50 efficiency. Both of these teams tend to kick the ball more than they handball it, so how that collides will be intriguing to see.

Key Match Up/s

Aisling McCarthy vs Ellie Blackburn

The two midfield bulls will certainly be in and under plenty of contests today, and both play a similar role for their respective sides. They are the initial cog that starts any clearance chain going for their teams, so are pretty important players.

Ella Roberts vs Jessica Fitzgerald

Two of the younger members of the respective midfield brigades, they both play an important role for their teams. Fitzgerald’s may be particularly important today as she might just be the one tasked with keeping the red hot Roberts quiet.

Belinda Smith vs Gabrielle Newton

No matter which end she is playing at, Newton is a huge asset to the Bulldogs. She is listed as a forward tomorrow, so someone with Smith’s skillset will be just the type of player to thwart Newton’s leading and marking abilities.

  • Team
  • Richmond
  • Geelong

Ikon Park

Recent Form

Both these teams find themselves in a bit of a do or die situation this weekend. Both teams are on four wins, so whoever loses this match can kiss their 2023 finals hopes goodbye.


These two teams have played four times before today. The ledger is definitely in Geelong’s favour, with the Cats having won three of those clashes.

Key Stat Areas

Geelong are way more prolific handballers than kickers, while Richmond tend to kick the ball more than handball it.

Although the Cats have had more inside 50s than the Eagles this season, it is the Tigers who have the better inside 50 efficiency.

Key Match Up/s

Katie Brennan vs Meghan McDonald

Brennan’s importance to Richmond is no secret, so getting the match up on her right is important. McDonald or whoever ends up on her needs to constantly play in front and also be in for a fair amount of running.

Monique Conti vs Amy McDonald

Two of the best midfielders of the competition, these two are competitive beasts who love to get to the bottom of contests and do whatever is necessary for their teams. They are also hugely important to their respective teams, so if one can keep the other quiet that will be a huge boost for one of the teams.

Eilish Sheerin vs Kate Surman

Sheerin’s run off half back up against Surman’s ability to sneak out the back of contests should provide for an intriguing battle. These two match up well physically so should also provide a very even one on one battle.

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