2024 AFL Sydney Women’s Premier preview: Rescheduled Round 1

MANY weeks after the initial AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division Round 1 was meant to be played but could not due to rain, the results might be tipped to be similar, but for many different reasons.

Saturday, June 8 @ 11:35am
Mike Kenny Oval

Pennant Hills played in its first win last week without some of the Demons’ regular players. But they will need them all back and a serious defensive effort to keep the score close. Syd Uni’s current style of football is Pennant Hills’ kryptonite, and whilst the recent games between the two teams have been close, the repeated ball extraction and burst run might just be too much for the young Demons.

Kaitlin Noble has had an excellent season across her team’s half-back line and is quite underrated across the league, being very unlucky not to be in the representative teams. Expect her to be in the thick of the action for repeated rebounding football efforts, as Sydney Uni constantly drive the ball forward.

Watch out for the players around Sydney Uni’s inside football contests such as Saskia Johnson, Emma Walsh and Jasmine Smith to have big games. That experience should be too much and expect the Students to get up by around three goals.

Saturday, June 8 @ 12:00pm
Kanebridge Oval

UTS Bats are really missing the inside football influence of Danika Spamer from last year, and thus when they are let outside with the footy and allowed to run, they have piled on the scores. But when they have not, they have found it very difficult to put enough linkages and therefore large enough score on the board.

The big question asked before Round 1 was whether the Bats had learnt from their finals lessons last year. It was hoped they added more inside players, with more specific and cleaner extractions to match it right at the top end.

That area in particular will be the determining factor, and the Eagles, whom are the best in the league at creating line busting space. They might just be ready to pile on the points through the pathways. Expect a very athletic contest, with the winning team finding a way to go straight through the middle.

Saturday, June 8 @ 12:20pm
Mahoney Park

Inside football will be a key feature of this game, with contested football being a visual feature for most of the game. Expect to see UNSW, with much more experience at getting in and getting the hardball with the Bulldogs’ midfielders tipped to give their runners many more chances to drive the ball forward.

For the Dragons, they got many more successful possessions in the staggeringly wet conditions last round, it is just a question of how fast and effective their learning curve is tracking. UNSW should be too strong against a developing Dragons side, with a six-goal margin about right.

Saturday, June 8 @ 2:40pm
Gore Hill Oval

A very close game awaits, where again the inside work of both teams will be the determining factor. The two main strengths and weaknesses of the two programs are in direct opposition. Manly is the best defensive team, able to pressure the opposition consistently and last week the Bombers found it very difficult to score when their extractions are disrupted.

If North Shore can be cleaner with extraction and find the confidence to detach from stationary positions, or reduce the positional mindsets to get some run through the lines, the Bombers might find a very small win.

Both teams will find an advantage once they find some run, and the forwards make themselves big targets. They can ill-afford to get stuck in contested situations that constantly are 50/50s or worse percentage of marking or keeping inside forward area. Conversion into points will be key. Manly in a tight one.

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