2024 AFL Sydney Women’s Premier preview: Round 9

THE AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division landscape has changed and a new contender has emerged. Manly was simply awesome last week and now justifiably earn joint favouritism for the flag with back-to-back premier East Coast Eagles.

The deliberate elements displayed and being taught and learnt right across the squad are exactly what is required for the highest level of football performance in the women’s game at the moment. They are universally athletic and the skills were very pleasing to watch, especially the overhead marking. Though the Eagles have been the benchmark the last couple of years, it is game on in 2024.

We preview Round 9 of the competition to see what the weekend has in store.

Saturday, June 15 @ 12:30pm
Gipps Road Ovals

The match should be a very close game overall, with UTS very keen not to fall out of a finals position. The Bates have found it very difficult to score in recent rounds, as other teams have found their Achilles heel of pressuring the ball carrier.

That in turn reduces the linkages and run that UTS was known for and took them all the way to the grand final last year. Comparatively, Parramatta is playing positional football at the moment, with much less reliance on hunting defence, so that should provide some relief for the Bats.

Conversely and in direct opposition, Parramatta plays with a highly contested style of football. Caitlin Fletcher has driven the ball down the field at will over the last two rounds and if the Goannas can find way to structure up in front of the contested football to create linkages, they will be too good in this game.

Amanda Farrugia would have the most possessions in the league at the moment, and to have any chance the Bats must find a way to stop her extractions. Parramatta in a tight one, 10 points.

Saturday, June 15 @ 1:40pm
Weldon Oval

Manly brings the tools to be Pennant Hills’ most difficult opponent. The young Demons team finds it very difficult to link possessions when the pressure is red-hot, and Manly is the best in the league at it. It will be a great learning tool for the Demons as to what is required.

For Manly, the Wolves will find it difficult to go straight through Kaitlin Quinlan and Kaitlin Noble, so they will have to try and add strings to their bow for the match where they go over around them and provide linebreaking run and different types of entries.

But the match can only stand them in good stead for later in the year, and with the logjam for the top six positions on the ladder percentage will be important here. Manly to win by a large margin based on the respective formlines of the sides.

Saturday, June 15 @ 1:00pm
Sydney Uni

The game with the most on the line this week and it features two teams that could not be more opposed in strengths and weaknesses, which could end up resulting in a draw. For North Shore, the key will be if the Bombers have learnt their lessons about space creation and extraction that their opposition showed them last week, and has kept them just off the pace for multiple rounds in a row now.

They have the drive and personnel and now if they can get the football right on the field and deliberately create the linkages necessary. They also need to have a Plan B for when the one, two or three extraction handpasses to free a runner they are famous for, is disrupted.

For Sydney Uni, expect to see the Students’ strength of repeat contests and if they can break the lines. They need to use more deliberate kicking to targets which will help them over the line, especially into forward 50 to put score on the board for effort. As tight as it gets, a single-digit margin either way or even a draw.

Saturday, June 15 @ 4:40pm
Olds Park

The classic David and Goliath matchup here, where the only thing to talk about is how much can St George learn from being on the field with the back-to-back premiers. East Coast will win and by plenty, but if St George want to figure out what week-to-week Premier Division football requires, the Dragons should go in with the mindset of giving it everything and learning from what they see.

To succeed at the level it requires not only huge effort in scrap defence, but offensive weaponry as well to actually hurt the opposition on the scoreboard the other way. St George’s squad thus far has shown excellent effort and huge application to scramble defence, but have found it very difficult to score.

All scores this week should be celebrated, analysed and worked upon as to the blueprint for the future. It is hard to see them putting too much of a dent on the scoreboard against such a quality outfit though, East Coast Eagles the easy choice in the top-against-bottom clash.

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