AFTER the conclusion of round six, the fight for a spot in the grand final is tight, as many teams vie for a top two position. The round was filled with huge upsets with both the Brisbane Lions and Western Bulldogs going down in big clashes. The Crows on the other hand moved their way up the ladder, putting their hand up for grand final contention. Collingwood’s impressive win over the Lions moved them off the bottom of the ladder while GWS stunned the in-form Western Bulldogs and moved into third spot on the ladder. The Demons were back to their usual tricks and in the process, broke the record for the highest score in a quarter. Their dominant display helped them slide into the top two while Carlton’s slump continued.
Adelaide 6.4 (40) def. Fremantle 5.6 (36)
In a hard- fought win, it was the reigning premiers that sealed the deal with a four-point win over the Dockers. Competing with both the extreme conditions of Darwin and the immense physical pressure, both teams battled it out to keep their finals hopes alive. Adelaide dominated for most of the game but Fremantle did not go down easily, wrestling back the lead in the third quarter. After a slow start to the season, the Crows have forged their way back into finals contention, now sitting just outside the top two.
After a third-quarter surge by the Dockers, Adelaide fought back hard to claim the win, pilling on both the physical and scoreboard pressure. Though the Dockers had most of the play in the third term, they struggled to capitalise on their scoring opportunities and run away with the game. Fremantle’s inaccuracy in front of goal was costly, as Adelaide came out firing in the last quarter, controlling the flow of the game and trapping the footy inside their forward 50.
Erin Phillips starred again for the Crows, putting her injury concerns to bed. The co-captain slotted three much-needed goals, securing Adelaide’s third victory for the 2018 season and helping to keep their finals hopes alive. Key forward, Sarah Perkins also found some form, bagging a goal and applying heaps of pressure in the forward-line. Teammate and tackling machine Ebony Marinoff was at her best again, laying a whopping 16 tackles for Adelaide. Chelsea Randall dominated once again for the Crows, taking courageous intercept marks and imposing herself on the contest with six tackles. Dana Hooker had a stellar game in a disappointing loss for the Dockers, scoring two goals and racking up 20 touches. Her partner-in-crime, Ebony Antonio also stood tall for Fremantle with a goal and 16 disposals.
Brisbane 5.9 (39) def. by Collingwood 8.5 (53)
Premiership favourites, Brisbane were left stunned by a fast-starting Collingwood side at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex. With the finals out of the picture for Collingwood, the Magpies put on a show, determined to upset the final outcome of the top two. Brisbane struggled to keep up with the intensity of the Pies, who capitalised on their scoring opportunities and dominated across the ground. The Lions’ unexpected loss knocked them out of second position which leaves them in a tight battle with the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, GWS and Adelaide to secure a spot in the grand final.
The Magpies’ accuracy in front of goal seemed to be the difference between the two teams as they capitalised on all their scoring opportunities. Though the Lions had more forward 50 entries, they struggled to convert, scoring nine behinds for the match. Brisbane had 16 shots at goal from 31 inside 50s, going at 52 per cent efficiency. The Magpies on the other hand dominated in front of goal, scoring from 13 of their 21 inside 50s at 62 per cent efficiency thanks to Christina Bernardi and Moana Hope. The Pies’ straight shooting allowed them to pull away and maintain a lead from beginning to end against the ominous Lions outfit.
With three debutants named in the team, the likes of Moana Hope and Christina Bernardi impressed with three goals a-piece. Their influence up forward provided a much-needed target and spark in the forward 50 for the Pies. Bernardi not only starred up forward but also imposed herself on the contest with eight tackles and 16 touches. Chloe Molloy’s season continued to improve with another stellar game in the black and white, racking up 18 touches. St Kilda Shark recruit, Jasmine Garner also impressed for Collingwood with plenty of touches. She also showcased her class and strong marking ability. For the Lions, the likes of Emily Bates dominated with 20 disposals and Sabrina Frederick-Traub continued her impressive form, bagging another goal and racking up 13 touches. Superstar Kate Lutkins was in everything yet again, consistently imposing herself on the game. Her clean hands and footy smarts were on show, as she bagged a goal and amassed 18 possessions for the match.
GWS 7.4 (46) def. Bulldogs 4.4 (28)
The Giants put on a stellar performance on Saturday night, downing the Dogs by 18 points. In a highly anticipated game, GWS pulled out all the stops against the Western Bulldogs to put their hand up for grand final contention. The Western Bulldogs struggled to compete with the extreme class and accuracy in front of goal that the Giants displayed, and succumbed to the constant pressure being applied.
GWS applied a huge amount of pressure on the Dogs, limiting them to just four goals for the game thanks to their impressive team defence and hustle for the footy. The Giants kicked three goals in the last quarter while keeping the Dogs scoreless in the process, helping them secure one of the biggest wins for their 2018 season. Their ability to contain key and damaging players proved to be vital in stopping the footy from entering the Dogs’ forward-line. The Giants had racked up 31 inside 50s as opposed to the 26 that the Bulldogs accumulated for the game, which is credit to GWS’ defensive structures and efforts.
The Giants reigned supreme with the likes of Alicia Eva putting on a masterclass. Eva racked up 19 touches and slotted an impressive goal under immense pressure. Teammate and Adelaide University recruit, Courtney Gum fired on all cylinders, bagging a goal from 40 metres out and amassing 23 possessions. Irishwoman, Cora Staunton impressed yet again with her silky skills and evasive ability, slotting a stellar goal. The ever-reliable GWS captain Amanda Farrugia dominated once again with plenty of touches and a goal. In her first season of AFLW, Monique Conti stood up for the Dogs with a goal and 14 disposals. The Melbourne University recruit slotted her first AFLW goal and impressed with her footy smarts and speed. Bulldog, Emma Kearney was never far from the footy, laying eight tackles and gathering 22 touches in a disappointing outing for the premiership favourites. Cranbourne recruit, Kirsten McLeod helped to keep the Dogs in the contest with her two goals.
Carlton 3.4 (22) def. by Melbourne 8.9 (57)
The Demons put it all on the line to etch themselves closer to competing in their first grand final. With a dominant display against the depleted Blues, the Dees left nothing in the tank, hoping to work their way into the top two. The huge win helped to secure second spot on the ladder for Melbourne while the Blues fell to the bottom of the ladder after a promising start to the year. The Demons showed their experience, class and skill with a 35-point win. Their ability to capitalise in the first quarter put the rest of the competition on notice, showing how damaging they can be up forward.
The Demons were off to a blistering start against the struggling Blues. Their impressive first term broke the record for the highest score in a quarter, piling on 39 points to put the Blues on the back foot. The Demons were simply unstoppable as they dominated not only in front of goal, but in all areas of the ground, making it nearly impossible for Carlton to catch up. The Blues were outclassed in the first quarter as Melbourne controlled the flow of the game and dominated on the scoreboard. Carlton was held to a point for the first term of the match, while their opponents put on a masterclass.
Elise O’Dea worked her magic again with another stellar performance. The superstar bagged three goals and was the leading disposal-getter for Melbourne, racking up 19 touches for the match. Dees forward, Tegan Cunningham also impressed with three goals and plenty of big grabs. The former basketballer and St Kilda Shark recruit, Kate Hore proved her worth and football class, slotting two goals and amassing 12 touches. Up the other end, Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio contributed to Carlton’s score, slotting a goal each in a disappointing outing for the Blues. Dandenong Stingrays star, Georgia Gee also impressed in the navy blue, bagging a goal and racking up 10 touches in her fifth game.