2024 AFL Sydney Women’s Premier preview: Round 2

AN enormous amount of practical issues dominate the focus of this weekends introductory Round 2 after Round 1 was washed out last weekend. It has meant the teams have had limited chances for initial hitouts and could give way to lob-sided contests, while a number of players are representing the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants in the VFL Women’s as well, leaving opportunities for others.

North Shore Bombers vs. Pennant Hills
Saturday, April 13 @ Gore Hill Oval

These two teams have been staggeringly evenly matched over the past couple of seasons, with most contests being low scoring results, and a kick either way being the end result. But it is difficult to see this being the same.

Pennant Hills is facing a mini-rebuild after several retirements or clubs shifts from regular players. There is no doubt the effort and defensive pressure that the Demons are renowned for will be there, but they might take some time to replace the experience lost.

For North Shore, the Bombers have lofty ambitions for 2024. But did not have the pre season they wanted or expected, and did not get the hitout they needed in Round 1, so their true tests for finals competitiveness will now be further on into the season.

Expect an enormous amount of contested ball and North Shore’s quick exits from inside to outside footy to be too much in the long run for the young Demons, constantly turning them around and not letting them link anything upfield. The Bombers by five goals.

Parramatta vs. St George
Saturday, April 13 @ Gipps Road Oval

Nobody external knows the full make up of the two new teams being put in on the park, but with some of the known new recruits to the club at Parramatta, and the players available from last years successful venture, Parramatta is widely tipped to be right up there when the whips are cracking this year.

Its experience in the middle, the clearance work in tight and the difference in contested footy experience will be clear initially. This could be a very difficult day for the Dragons, but you have to start somewhere and it will be a great first-up test against quality opposition.

UTS Bats vs. Sydney University
Saturday, April 13 @ Waverley Oval

Clearly the contested ball match of the round and both teams will be looking for that early season advantage, as they will both want to be finals contenders this year. Their recent form matches up very well, with both teams strengths and weaknesses off-setting.

This game will come down to the preseason work done and the new coaching staffs tactical battle.
And for UTS the key question will be, have they taken the time to build the linkage play in their players that they were shown they needed in the finals series last year? And whom takes advantage of the the more broader valuable lessons learnt from the 2023 season?

The universal athleticism across the park in the game should be a feature, with Sydney Uni to pull off minor upset by a point.

UNSW-ES Bulldogs vs. East Coast Eagles
Saturday, April 13 @ Henson Park

The Bulldogs will be looking to build in 2024, with their inside football work coming along towards the end of last season. They were just finding it difficult to put the reflective score on the board and find enough linkages for avenues to goal.

However last weeks washout sees the come up against a white hot and in-form Eagles side as their first opponent. Thus, it is hard not to see the result going the Eagles way.

Whilst relatively low scoring compared with other venues, the Eagles have been unstoppable at Henson Park over the last few years. Whilst they have a few players on VFLW or other duties, their forwards might be in for a day out, so expect the visitors to win by about seven goals.

Manly Warringah Wolves have the bye.

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