Well, after some wild events on Monday, and the power going out this morning, the AFLW report is here.
It’s a damn shame that we might not see the end of the season, given this was building up as the most competitive AFLW season to date, before it gets surpassed by 2021, and so on and so forth.
Aside from being the typical Debbie Downer about losing the crowds, the ugly problem of ACL tears popped up again – Nina Morrison (Geelong) and Sarah Lampard (Melbourne) became the 14th and 15th players to suffer an ACL tear/rupture since the start of pre-season.
North Melbourne (10.6-66) defeated Geelong (3.2-20) @ GMHBA Stadium
The last game of footy before the COVID-19 bans kicked in, although it appears nobody bothered turning up to Kardinia Park anyway, given the game coincided with the Government’s announcement about locking out events of 500+ people, and the AFL announcing that all the games were being closed door events.
Maybe there’s better things to do in Geelong on a Friday night… Such as riding home on the back of a garbage truck, or pillaging the local Woolies.
It really was a weird game – The Cats kicked the opening 3 goals and held North goalless in the opening quarter…
Then North went off like a jill missing her joey, and kicked the last 10 goals of the game.
Jasmine Garner was once again the standout for the Roos, with 18 disposals and 3 goals up forward more than enough for her 4th perfect 10 in the Coaches’ Votes this season, and propelling her above Jaimee Lambert into the lead (47 votes to 46).
If the league ever dish out the AFLW Best and Fairest (Unofficially known as The Erin) this season, I think Garner will probably have the lead after Round 6.
Just to cap off the horror evening for the Cats, young gun Nina Morrison suffered another ACL rupture, on the same right knee she had reconstructed in February last year, which destroyed her rookie season.
Unsurprisingly, the Roos are the first team to officially qualify for the finals, and they only need to win just 1 of their final 2 games to clinch top spot in Conference A.
The more pertinent thought is, will we even get any finals played.
Collingwood (5.13-43) defeated Brisbane Lions (2.2-14) @ Hickey Park
The first game after the crowd lockout kicked in, and the result proved to me that the only team from Conference A who even look a hope of doing anything is North.
It wasn’t even close from the opening minute – The Pies were absolutely fierce, but the only problem stopping them from turning the game into a 2nd Half training drill was repeatedly bad goalkicking.
Sharni Layton also dislocated her finger in the 1st Quarter, but that apparently didn’t stop Brittany Bonucci from poaching the Lions in the midfield, which would’ve pleased Collingwood’s coaching staff that someone other than Jaimee Lambert can step up and lead the way.
Brisbane looked absolutely hopeless, kicking 1 behind in the 1st Half to trail by 4 goals, before staging something resembling a fightback in the 3rd Quarter, kicking both their goals to cut the gap to 14 points, but the Pies restored order, and did win by what can be considered a percentage booster, but in a classic First World Problem, it wasn’t as big as they wanted.
Still, it’s a win that makes things the already very competitive Conference A even more competitive – The Pies are only behind Melbourne for 3rd on percentage at 4-2.
St Kilda (6.6-42) defeated Richmond (0.3-3) @ Moorabbin
Katie Brennan’s concussion issues were some form of icing, but this result really was the cherry on top of the crap cake that has been Richmond’s debut season.
The lowest-ever AFLW score, and they’re also the first team in the women’s league to fail to kick a goal in a game.
Then again, if a team fails to kick a goal and nobody’s there to see it, did it really happen?
Here’s an odd fact that loosely relates to this game – The last time a VFL/AFL team was held goalless in a game was Round 16, 1961.
The two teams?
Richmond, who were held goalless by… St Kilda.
Caitlin Greisler gave herself a percentage booster, and because of the fan lockout, the Saints had to applaud themselves off the ground.
Tiger Monique Conti, who racked up 22 disposals with absolutely no support, was apparently in tears walking off the field.
Who could blame her.
Carlton (6.4-40) defeated Melbourne (3.6-24) @ Traeger Park
Can you smell what the Blues are cooking?
Apparently it’s not broth.
The Dees looked right on during the opening half, led by Karen Paxman (I think The Beatles wrote a song about her), and Kate Hore (Unfortunate surname for a women’s comp) kicking one of the funnier goals this season – She took 3 bounces, kicked Inside 50 to Niamh McEvoy, floored it to get the handball back, and finally snapped a tough goal.
Considering how hot Alice Springs was on Saturday night, she was entitled to collapse on the ground.
Then the Blues took over in the 2nd Half, as the Dees goalkicking really came back to bite them on the arse – Tayla Harris didn’t look useless at ground level, kicking a goal and setting up her teammates, and as per usual Maddy Prespakis – That’s Greek for ‘Good Player’ – Racked up 23 disposals and kicked a goal on the run from 40m out early into the 4th Quarter, which proved a back breaker for the Dees, and Brooke Walker kicked another goal 6 minutes later, sealing the contest.
I believe this is the point in the story where Melbourne look good, then do a Melbourne and miss the finals.
The only team in AFLW history to never have a losing season… And the great irony is that they still haven’t played in a final.
Fremantle (10.6-66) defeated Western Bulldogs (8.3-51) @ Whitten Oval
This was quite easily the most entertaining game this season, and some talking heads have described it as the best AFLW game ever played – Not that I’m one to debate that.
But, fancy that, an entertaining game with nobody there to see it.
No different to most Footscray games, I suppose.
Despite the no crowd, the strong wind allowed for some attacking football, and it turned out this game set the record for the highest aggregate score in AFLW history at 117 points, beating the old record of 116.
There was plenty of great highlights – Katie-Jayne Grieve giving away a 100m penalty to gift the Dogs a goal, Kirsten McLeod’s no look snap (I remember another McLeod who did that at free will), Ebony Antonio slicing through 3 tacklers and nailing a tough goal from 40m to put Freo ahead in the final quarter, and Bulldog Danielle Marshall’s hilarious 4th Quarter effort of kicking into the mark, regathering the loose ball, and then casually kicking the goal with her non-preferred left foot.
The ultimate difference was that the Dockers were able to keep the game close when they were kicking into the breeze.
4 points down at Quarter Time (Kara Antonio’s goal after the siren), 4 points down again at 3/4 time thanks to 2 late goals, and then they steamed home with 4 goals to 1 in the last quarter.
Kiara Bowers finished with 21 disposals and her regulation 12 tackles, which were enough to see her smash her own tackle record from last season.
They extended the season by a game, and she didn’t even need it.
Sure, you can point out the slight worry that the lowly Doggies kicked 8 goals on Freo, but 10 goals tops that, especially 10 goals with Roxy Roux out, and Sabreena Duffy and Gemma Houghton kicking none of them (Isabel Huntington a big reason for that).
Instead, it was Ashley Sharp and Mia-Rae Clifford who kicked the goals for Freo, combining for 5 majors.
6-0 for the Dockers, and it’s going to take an absolute disaster for them to miss the finals now, as they get they finish the season with 2 gobstoppers – Melbourne at home, and then Carlton on the road.
GWS (4.2-26) defeated Adelaide (3.3-21) @ Richmond Oval
The war between the Allan sisters (Jess for GWS against Sarah for Adelaide) was the showpiece Sunday game, but it took a back seat by full-time, because in a result plenty may have seen coming, the Giants ladies have finally defeated the Crows!
The previous best they’d managed was a thrilling draw in 2018, so you could alternatively say this is the second time the Giants haven’t lost to the Crows.
Alyce Parker (Alyce, Who the **** is Alyce!) creamed the star-studded Crows midfield (Featuring Erin Phillips and Ebony Marinoff), Tait Mackrill picked up a Rising Star nomination in support, and you could tell it was almost St Patrick’s Day, because Cora Staunton popped up again, kicking 2 goals, the second of which was a boomer off a free kick from 45m out, which swung back perfectly and gave the Giants a cruical 2 goal lead, and it turned out to be the difference on the scoreboard.
Despite a couple of dodgy umpiring decisions to get the Crows back in it with a couple of minutes remaining, the Giants clung on, and Staunton let out a big roar, which I imagine was also her reaction to finding out that Ireland had to shut down all the pubs for health concerns.
The most bittersweet St Patrick’s Day since the start of Home Rule.
Anyway, the Giants look like they’ll be making their finals debut in 2020, and with a 2-4 record and a crap percentage, that looks like game-set-match for the defending premiers.
Gold Coast (5.3-33) defeated West Coast Eagles (1.2-8) @ Lathlain Park
There was a grand total of 6 goals for the game – 4 of them were off the boot of Kalinda Howarth.
2 of them came in the space of a minute in the 3rd Quarter, which killed the Eagles after Parris Laurie missed a set shot from 15m out.
A truly riveting Coast Clash, for the simple fact that we were 5 minutes away from having another goalless expansion team in Round 6.
Then the Eagles smuggled in their only goal, when Hayley Bullas was taken high 30m out from goal, and made no mistake.
The Suns regained their place as the best of the 2020 expansion teams, with this win now putting them just a win behind Brisbane for the last of the Conference A finals places.
Oddly enough, West Coast won the Inside 50 count 29-26, and the clearances 16-13, thanks mainly to the performance of Laurie in the ruck, and Dana Hooker, who racked up 31 disposals and 6 marks.
We definitely know 2 things about the Eagles – Dana has always been a fantastic player, and the team is a melted pool of water trying to become an ice sculpture.