AFLW 2019: Round 7 Preview

Say what you want about the conference system this season (and we have), but it has thrown up one of the best final rounds of any competition in recent memory with finals and/or the wooden spoon up for grabs in each and every match this round. 

That's right, nine out of the ten teams playing this weekend have a pathway to finals or the spoon so strap in for what is sure to be a brilliant finish to the home and away season for 2019. 

GWS Giants v Geelong

When, where and weather: 7:15pm (AEDT) on Friday March 15 @ UNSW Canberra Oval, Canberra. 

Weather fine, small chance of possible shower, so check back prior to bounce especially if betting on Total Points markets.

Comment: The Cats look likely to secure a maiden AFLW Finals berth tonight against a Giants team that has been - by far - the most disappointing of the 2019 AFLW season. They went into the season with an unorthodox forward line which just hasn’t worked out, but what has completely failed has been their highly-touted midfield which has been smacked in every single game this year. Expect Renee Garing to clamp down on either Courtney Gum or Alicia Eva (or Alyce Parker is she starts finding it). Liv Purcell and Rocky Cranston should dominate this game, ensuring plenty of opportunity for the likes of Darby and McWilliams up forward.

Who wins and why? Geelong are a better outside team, and a better inside team. They are a more accurate team, and they are a hungrier team. Unless the Giants come out with their absolute best effort here, I can’t see the Cats losing especially with their finals motivation.

Geelong by 15.

View Match Page: Giants v Cats


Melbourne v Adelaide Crows

When, where and weather: 4:45pm (AEDT) on Saturday March 16 @ Casey Fields, Melbourne. 

Light winds, no rain. Perfect afternoon for footy.

Comment: One of two absolutely ripping Round 7 games that will decide the 2019 AFLW Finals, and in all likelihood the 2019 AFLW Premiership. Melbourne are a tricky side for Adelaide to deal with because they are very similar. Good clearance side, solid defence and a very fast, mobile and skilful forward line. The Crows have got more natural talent, but the Demons spine of Downie, Pearce and Cunningham could trouble Adelaide if the delivery is there. It will be the job of the Crows midfielders to ensure that Tegan Cunningham gets poor service, and if they can keep her and forward partner Kate Hore quiet then they are halfway there.

Who wins and why? Melbourne look one or two stars short of going with Adelaide’s best and any kind of contested scrap-fest advantages the Crows, but if the Dees can win the clearances (something no team has done to the Crows in 2019) or of the Crows kick inaccurately for goal then the Dees they are a show. Adelaide’s best wins this comfortably though. Crows by 8.

View Match Page: Demons v Crows


Fremantle v North Melbourne

When, where and weather: 7:10pm (AEDT) on Saturday March 16 @ Fremantle Oval, Perth.

Zero rain on the radar, expect the usual breeze to have an impact on goal kicking.

Comment: After being the red-hot, early round favourite for the AFLW Premiership, the Kangaroos are a decent chance to miss out on the AFLW Finals in 2019. North will relish the wide ground at Fremantle, where they can come into their forward line via Duffin off halfback, through Gillespie-Jones or Ashmore on the wings, and then into Garner/King/Hope and co. inside 50. That is how they will beat the Dockers. That... and kicking straight, which they had huge issues with last week. The Dockers can win this too, through superior clearance work and a very speedy forward line.

Who wins and why? Antonio v Duffin cutting off at halfback, and the midfield royal rumble of Kearney v Donellan, Stanton v Hooker and Bowers v Bruton. That will determine this match. Flip a coin for this one, mine landed on Fremantle with Gemma Houghton finally clunking a few to being the difference.  

View Match Page: Dockers v Kangaroos


Collingwood v Brisbane Lions

When, where and weather: 2:05pm (AEDT) on Sunday March 17 @ Victoria Park, Melbourne.

No rain on radar at this early stage, check BOM site prior to bounce.

Comment: Whatever happens in Canberra on Friday night, the equation for the Brisbane Lions is simple – win, and win well. They must get 4 points and a good percentage boost, and hope that they can overtake the Cats if they lose, or Carlton if they lose. The good news for the Lions is that they are playing Collingwood. The bad news is that the Pies can beat them if they get too intent on playing on at all costs, or looking for Sabrina every single time - even though she is likely to be sat on by Ash Brazill or Schleicher all game. If they can get the ball in the hands of Exon and Wuetschner at half forward, and find the lead of Ellenger or Jesse Wardlaw instead of Sabs - who will be double teamed - then they are a chance to blow Collingwood away, but I suspect that the Pies will be as motivated to avoid a winless wooden spoon season as Brisbane are to limp into the AFLW Finals.

Who wins and why? Brisbane are the better side and if Lutkins has a blinder the Pies will struggle to score, but I can just see the Pies winning this on the back of motivation to avoid the wooden spoon. Brisbane’s disposal has been horrid of late, and if that continues here they will pay a huge price against what's turned out to be a pretty good rebounding side in Collingwood. 

Magpies by 5.

Match Page: Magpies v Lions

Western Bulldogs v Carlton

When, where and weather: 4:05pm (AEDT) on Sunday March 17 @ Whitten Oval, Melbourne.

No rain forecast.

Comment: The Bulldogs are drawing dead on AFLW 2019, but they are a proud club, playing at home and will want to finish strong. The Blues are a team with a ‘win and play AFLW Finals’ equation, despite being probably the 7th best team this season. First off, Lamb or Gogos will clamp down on Maddi Prespakis, secondly, Mon Conti, Ellie Blackburn and Katie Brennan (who Carlton have no good matchup for on a wing) will remind the competition why the Dogs dominated last season. Carlton are dangerous if they get it into Harris, Vescio and company fast, but they can leak points the other way and I suspect the Dogs will be at their best in the clearances here.

Who wins and why? The Western Bulldogs by 10 on the back of massive games from Conti, Brennan and Blackburn.

Match Page: Bulldogs v Blues

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Dan Fraser

Former ABC Journo and Champion Data stats nerd who loves his fantasy sport, punting, footy, cricket, golf - you get the point. More than prepared to take driver off the deck from 250 out (especially if it's for a beverage or two!) but will also happily take my medicine when the occasion calls for it. Pumped to be part of the Stats Insider team - if it's value and it's footy, I'm all over it in 2019 folks!

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