2024 AFL Sydney Women’s Premier preview: Round 3

A BLOCKBUSTER third round of action sees two of the title contenders go head-to-head at Gipps Road Ovals with Parramatta Goannas up against East Coast Eagles. Both sides have quality lineups and will be wanting to go 2-0 to start the season with the Eagles still missing some quality players and the Goannas keen to prove a point.

Saturday, April 20 @ 12:30pm
Gipps Road Ovals

A classic top-end match up to start the weekend. Free flowing linkage footy up against movement through accurate kicking and contested marking. Two of the expected top teams go head-to-head and this with be a battle of ball movement.

Paige Pirotta will be a main target for the Goannas, and it will be a question of how many times they can get the ball down to the the likes of her and Brianna Wade in the forward line. A lot of that responsibility will lie with Amanda Farrugia, who will need extra help from the likes of Michala Ford to get in around the contests and do enough to create opportunities.

St George was able to create a lot of static ball ups and pressurised situations last round against the Goannas which led to scrappy forward 50 entries. Coming up against a far stronger side this week, it will an area they simply must improve if they are to win.

For the Eagles, they will still be without some players in higher duties, but they do go in as three-goal favourites. They have never kicked a high score at the Gipps Road ground as it takes a relatively higher amount of linkages for all clubs to score.

Another factor that will come into play is Eleanor Rugg who has forced the Eagles to go around her in the past leading to low percentage shots on goal. That will be the key to the game, whether or not the Eagles can provide enough offensive flow through the corridor and get past the Goannas who have plenty of marking targets.

If they find the run and gun, their very potent forward line – such as Mikayla Jones and Caitlin Reid – finishing will be the difference with the Eagles tipped in a low-scoring contest by a few goals.

Saturday, April 20 @ 12:40pm
Waverley Oval

Both teams play a very similar style of inside football. The difference between the two teams is the Bats’ linkages to the outside and then the run and movement is much slicker at this stage of development.

Expect a tight battle for the first two or three ball-ups to start the match, and then it will be up to the Bulldogs to keep the Bats contained. Hayley Stanford and Shelby Koh are tipped for huge games this weekend, having a lot of the in tight, inside work fall on their shoulders For the Bats, this could be a weekend out for Jessica Quade up front. Bats by 37.

Saturday, April 20 @ 3:10pm
Olds Park

St George’s first ever home game in the Premier Division, and it will be a positive environment to play in, that the local footy community can get around. North Shore come down to visit and the Bombers will be keen for another early season victory, after Pennant Hills took it right to them last week.

They were forced to make positional adaptations and concept changes to find the key to beating the Demons, and getting more ball forward of the contest, and thus to linkages to find an avenue to goal. They had a staggering amount of field possession from quarter time onwards last week and only found the few slightly scrappy avenues to goal.

After sustained and repeated sustained pressure would finally break down the effort defence they were facing. This is definitely the key to the margin this weekend as well. The Bombers should win easily at this stage, But the Dragons will bring pressure all day and across the expanses of the Olds Park field/

Expect skipper Matilda Eder to have a dominant performance if she moves into the midfield. For St George. Scarlett Wynn to be in the best and get a few running exits from contests, And be a nuisance for North Shore at the centre bounces. North Shore by six goals.

Saturday, April 20 @ 3:25pm
Sydney Uni Oval

The contest game of the round and two teams will be very keen to get on the board and get an early win to kick-start the season. Sydney Uni took it right up to the Bats last week before a barrage of goals cost the Students, and that is exactly what both teams will not want to have happen here.

These two squads are very evenly matched in style and pressurised defence, and recently most contests between the two have been very low scoring and tight. Expect the same here.

Sydney University is learning extraction from inside footy concepts and Manly is the best at shutting down opposition space. There is no way to seperate these teams in the early round, so it will will be up to who can play better on the day. Expect this to be a single digit margin if not a draw.

Pennant Hills have the bye.

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