Meaningless AFLW Review: Round 4

A well-earned group hug for the Eagles ladies, after getting that landmark first win in the AFLW in a thrilling finish at Leederville.

3/4 expansion teams have cracked it for a win this season, leaving Richmond as the only team in the league without a win in 2020.

Quite a few old school nuffies will be hoping it stays that way.

Melbourne (7.4-46) defeated Collingwood (4.2-26) @ Marvel Stadium

In the warm-up for State of Origin, both Collingwood (In 2 sports) and the Australian Diamonds managed to cop an absolute hammering on the injury front.

Pies vice-captain Ash Brazill became the latest ACL casualty, after a leg buckle that was apparently so bad, that she also damaged her MCL and suffered a tear to her lateral meniscus – At her physical peak as well.

She was due to back up and play for the Diamonds in the netball Bushfire fundraiser in Sydney on Sunday – Now the Pies won’t have her for the Super Netball season.

And that smack to the system came after Georgia Gourlay tore her ACL during Wednesday training (Sadly the 3rd ACL tear of her career), and Ruby Schleicher’s season is done after she fractured her left wrist. 

Deadset, if this run continues, the Pies team for this coming Sunday will just be Jamiee Lambert, Stacey Livingstone and Sharni Layton.

Anyway, as for the game, the Dees managed to straighten up in front of the sticks after last week’s crapshoot, and wouldn’t you know it, they were way too good for a Pies team that was travelling back from Perth on barely 6 days of rest.

Lambert did her best for the Pies as per usual (22 disposals and a goal), but Karen Paxman was the pick of a very even Dees team – 24 disposals and 6 clearances, which earned her a perfect 10 in the Coaches votes.

In an interesting thought, there were 3 goals from 50m penalties – Melbourne gave up 2, while the Pies effectively gave up a 100m penalty in the 1st Quarter, which handed the opening goal to Jackie Barry (Her first career goal).

That has to be some kind of record.

Geelong (10.7-67) defeated Richmond (7.3-45) @ Queen Elizabeth Oval

The good folk of Bendigo were treated to a rare sight these days – A game of free-flowing attacking footy.

Geelong SLAMMED home 6 goals in a red hot 2nd Quarter to skin the Tigers, and for the second game running, the Catters racked up their best-ever AFLW score, although this time they actually managed to get the 4 points.

Right as the Tigs made a comeback in the 3rd Quarter, their skipper Katie Brennan copped a head high hit from Jordan ‘Poison’ Ivey right on 3/4 Time, knocking Brennan out of the last quarter, and earning Ivey a week off from the MRO.

It was yet another moment that summed up the pain of this inaugural season for the Tigers.

The air appeared to go out of the game after that incident – Just the 1 goal to the Cats in the last quarter.

Probably the only highlight for the Tigers was Monique Conti – Both coaches gave her a perfect 10 in the votes for a 28 disposal performance in the midfield, as her basketball background came in handy once again.

Richmond losing twice in 2 days – A good weekend was had by all.

North Melbourne (6.11-47) defeated Gold Coast (5.4-34) @ Arden Street

In the first AFLW game at North Melbourne’s spiritual home (Minus the Gasometer), the Suns were right in the contest once again, but the Roos aren’t a premiership threat for no reason

6.11, with 2 rushed behinds late in the piece – The Roos honestly should’ve won by at least 4 goals with the advantage they had in general play, but they just couldn’t get it done on the scoreboard.

There were a few Roos supporters crapping themselves after Sophie Abbatangelo gave away a 50m penalty in the 4th quarter (Caught holding the ball and then kicked the ball away), gifting Lauren Ahrens her first AFLW goal, cutting the lead to 4 points.

Fortunately, the Roos pushed the lead past a goal solely on behinds, and a goal to Daisy Bateman with 1:45 to play sealed another win.

North skipper Emma Kearney was very handy, and Jasmine Garner once again stuck out in the midfield, finishing with 30 disposals, and I would put solid money on her making it back-to-back All Australian appearances.

Of this year’s expansion teams, the Suns appear to be the best in terms of ability, and they’re right alongside St Kilda for competitiveness.

West Coast (4.6-30) defeated Western Bulldogs (3.8-26) @ Leederville Oval

Scenes we didn’t think we’d see in 2020: West Coast winning an AFLW game.

After getting kicked in the voice box last week, Dana Hooker didn’t miss any time at all, after the Eagles somehow replaced her voice box with the one belonging to James Earl Jones.

Her teammates now take her much more seriously, and it showed on Saturday.

In a thrilling conclusion to a low scoring game, the Dogs nearly pinched the win after coach Nathan Burke swung Isabel Huntington forward in the final quarter, a move that got results when she converted a really tough shot from an acute angle with just over four minutes left.

Teammate Kirsten McLeod could have kicked the winner 2 minutes from time with a set shot from 30m out, but tugged it to the right, and the Eagles struggled through the final seconds to join the winners’ list.

Funnily enough, McLeod was denied a goal by the 3/4 time siren, after the umpires (Correctly) called time barely a second before she got her snap away – How much of a difference that goal could have made.

Carlton (5.6-36) defeated Adelaide (4.4-28) @ Richmond Oval

In front of a really healthy rowd of 7,281, the Grand Final Rematch was a huge result for the Bluebaggers – Not only winning on the road, not only derailing the return of the AFLW Empress Erin Phillips, but most importantly, they got a small measure of vengeance for last year’s Grand Final wipeout.

It looked like another wipeout was on the cards when the Crows kicked the first 3 goals of the day, but the Blues changed things up by switching the ball and stretching the ground.

Thanks to some extremely good ball use (Maddy Prespakis again), the change worked, and combined with an injury to Crows ruckman Jess Foley, the Blues completely dominated the game for the final 3 quarters, and they kicked 5 of the last 6 goals.

As a result of the constant switching, the Blues racked up an AFLW record 100 marks for the game – Tayla Harris took 7 and kicked 2 goals up forward, and skipper Kerryn Harrington, once remembered for interrupting an Ash Barty press conference, claimed 13 marks, and you know why?

She has a basketball background – It was like racking up rebounds.

In her return, Phillips played mostly forward and finished with 13 disposals and 4 marks, but I’d point out that the Crows haven’t won at all with her in the team – Surely a run in the 2s awaits.

Fremantle (3.6-24) defeated St Kilda (3.5-23) @ Moorabbin

The only thing that kept me watching this game was the fact that it was entertainingly close.

Honestly, the only way it could have looked any more ugly was if the Saints grabbed the hose on Saturday evening and flooded the centre square to drag their opposition down to the maw of hell with them.

As plenty of people will remember, the Sainters had decades of experience with that.

Anyway, it was just a really dour game – The defences had a field day (Freo kicked 1 goal to 3/4 time), Kiara Bowers had a field day, and the other ugly part of the game was when Saint Tarni White went down with what looked like an ACL tear (Given how emotional she was), potentially making her the 12th player with a serious knee injury this season, and the double-whammy was Kate McCarthy getting her leg caught in a tackle.

As the Saints still led into the last quarter, the pivotal moment of the day came with 2 minutes to go, when Freo got an out on the full free kick 50m out with 1:50 to go.

Instead of giving the ball to Kate Flood straight away, Saint Molly McDonald committed the cardinal sin of rolling the ball away…. The Freo players realised that, and the umpire correctly called a 50m penalty.

Flood kicked the easiest goal of the day, and scores were level.

Freo then managed to smuggle themselves ahead with 55 seconds left, when Gemma Houghton split 2 defenders and hit the post from 15m out dead in front, and the loose defender that Trent Cooper dropped back made sure that was the end of the scoring, as the Dockers once again won by under a goal.

Freo remain the last perfect team in the AFLW, although based on their last 2 weeks, perfect isn’t the word one would use to describe the way the Dockers are playing.

Still, good teams still win when they play like crap, and Freo pulled it off.

Brisbane Lions (7.9-51) defeated GWS (3.5-23) @ Hickey Park

With Craig Starcevich back in charge, the Lionesses did what they’ve done in every season of the AFLW – Rip the Giants’ collective hearts out.

Round 4, 2017 – Lions win 43-9

Round 7, 2018 – Lions win 64-24

Round 1, 2019 – Lions win 29-27

Hang on, 2019 wasn’t quite a drubbing… but they still ripped their orange hearts out.

Led by Cathy Svarc in the midfield with 23 disposals, 11 tackles and 2 goals, the Lions never looked like losing after the half, blanketing the Giants with a scoreless 3rd quarter, while the hosts added 3 majors to increase the lead from 2 goals to 32 points.

Simple business.

Categories: AFL

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