AFLW 2019: Round 6 In Review
The cream has risen to the top of the AFLW ladder with the Crows emerging as clear premiership favourites after a 32pt pasting of the highly touted pre-season favourites GWS.
Who, What, Why
Geelong stayed with them for the first half, but once the Dockers got their clearance and outside run games going it was all over. Kiara Bowers had another best on ground performance, registering 17 disposals and 18 tackles. A head clash in the second half between Dana Hooker and Renee Garing caused the claret to flow from Hooker’s noggin but it was actually a blessing in disguise, as Garing, who was tackling the Dockers midfield into containment, coming off second best and spending the rest of the quarter on the pine.
It proved a crucial 5 minute period where Fremantle gained the ascendancy at the stoppages and despite Garing returning, Fremantle never relinquished their advantage.
The Dockers can beat the Kangaroos if they bring their best footy whilst the Cats are more than capable of beating the Giants and finishing top of Conference B – big chance for this game to be replayed in two weeks for the first qualifying final.
Who, What, Why
This game would have had North supporters pulling their hair out. Had the Kangaroos forwards (and star midfielders like Emma Kearney) kicked straight in front of goal, the game would have been over by halftime. As it was, they allowed what should have been a 50-60pt percentage booster to become a less-than-convincing win that leaves them having to win their final game to play AFLW Finals. Borderline criminal delivery into tall targets Emma King and Kaitlyn Ashmore who needed only half a chance, but got none. Jess Duffin was tagged by Emma Grant in a move which will be copied in every other game this season.
Collingwood were exactly as expected – plenty of guts from Ash Brazill, Jamie Lambert, Sarah Rowe and co, but not a lot of skill and polish. They have no one who can kick with any kind of accuracy or penetration, which is the biggest difference this season amongst the top sides.
If North play like they did here, they won’t play AFL Finals because Fremantle will smash them in Round 7. They desperately need a big lift. Collingwood are capable of finishing the season with a win - given how poor Brisbane are playing - but they will need the Lions to bring their worst kicking boots to have a chance.
Who, What, Why
The Demons in essence had to win twice, which is what happens when good teams don’t kick straight in front of goals. What should have been a 4-5 goal first quarter lead for Melbourne, ended up less than a kick, and when the Dogs got the possession ascendancy in the second term it looked like the Dees AFLW 2019 season was over. Melbourne responded through big lifts from Karen Paxman, Elise O’Dea, Meg Downie and a clutch mark-and-goal from 40m out from Tegan Harrison.
The decision from Melbourne to run-with Katie Brennan was a masterstroke, it cost the Bulldogs their most effective link from defence into attack. Mon Conti getting more midfield time and Eleanor Brown seeing more midfield minutes were the only positives in a poor game for the Dogs. Ellie Blackburn not the same player after that head knock in Round 4.
Melbourne are probably the only team capable of really taking it to the Adelaide Crows, which sets up this Round 7 clash as an absolute cracker. The Demons will be ruing that free kick paid to Emma King, three minutes out from full time against North Melbourne in Round 4. The Bulldogs lost their two best midfielders from last season and have nosedived in 2019. They aren’t that far off though, another gun midfielder, and an elite ruck will be the off-season wish list.
Who, What, Why
Erin Phillips, you are a superstar.
Despite having plenty of company all game, Phillips still managed 24 touches and a goal, passing off a few more scoring chances and being able to hold the ball in really clutch moments. Her defensive efforts also impressed. Ably supported by the best midfield in the AFLW, with Ebony Marinoff, Anne Hatchard and Jess Foley, not to mention Chelsea Randall who is the best defender in AFLW 2019, hands down. Then they have a forward line full of the most skilful bunch of youngsters in the AFLW.
If Adelaide don’t win the AFLW Premiership this year, it will be because they beat themselves with inaccurate goalkicking. There is daylight between them and the next best side at the moment.
The Giants are a basket case. Too slow, reactive, a complete lack of effective defense, poor rucking and the worst thing – a forward line comprising two Irish lasses who know next to nothing about footy. It would be hard to kick to a forward that can’t lead, and twice as hard to lead up to the kicking forward when she can’t kick.
Who, What, Why
Brisbane lost this game through horrible foot skills, and only slightly less-worse decision making. No one in the Carlton defence had Jesse Wardlaw’s size and endurance combination, nor Sabrina Freidrick-Traub’s sheer power, and yet neither of Brisbane’s talls were hit up directly all day. Even when they were spotted on a lead, the kick was not to advantage.
Carlton, on the other hand showed how to hit up a forward on the lead, finding Tayla Harris frequently, despite the best efforts of Kate Lutkins. If Lutkins wasn’t there the Blues may have put 50 points on Brisbane. Maddi Prespakis was tagged and shut down pretty well by young Jacquie Yorston who looks to have found a home in that Lions midfield.
Like the Bulldogs, though, the Lions lack power and penetration from their onballers, while also lacking the foot skills to hit up short.
Because of the ridiculousness that is the 2019 AFLW Conference system, Brisbane still have an outside shot at playing AFLW Finals again, despite having won just the two games this season so far.
Carlton can secure an AFLW Finals berth with a win against the Western Bulldogs. Both - in reality - shouldn’t be there after horror seasons, but one will get lucky.
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