Weekend previews: VFLW – Round 5

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition continues to roll along as we establish contending teams and star players continue to dominate the competition. A big game between two top sides in the Hawks and the Pies kicks off the round while the Bombers and the Tigers go head-to-head down at Punt Road for a twilight encounter as the curtain raiser to the Dreamtime at the G showdown.  

Hawthorn vs Collingwood

Saturday June 2, 11:30AM, Box Hill City Oval

A huge game between two of the in-form sides of the competition kicks off a huge round of footy. Hawthorn enter the game off the bye and look to maintain its perfect record after a trifecta of impressive wins to start its VFLW campaign. The Hawks have shown great ability so far to adjust to the flow of the game, with impressive offensive displays scoring over 60 points in rounds one and three. They have also been able to grind out a low scoring, defensive game, such as their clash against the Demons in round two. Collingwood also come into the game in unbelievable form and sit second on the ladder. The Magpies will get a huge boost with AFLW Rising Star award winner, Chloe Molloy making her VFLW debut. Molloy was unbelievable throughout the entire AFLW season, remaining a steady presence down back, and was one of the few bright spots of a disappointing campaign for Collingwood.  

Carlton vs Darebin

Saturday June 2, 11:30AM, Ikon Park

After an impressive start out of the blocks, the Blues have stumbled in the past two weeks, dropping their record to two wins and two losses. Despite the loss to the league-leading Cats last week, Carlton was extremely impressive and held a one-goal lead heading into the fourth quarter before ultimately falling. Darcy Vescio was the star of the game, kicking four goals from her 11 possessions in what continued an excellent run of form. AFLW Academy member, Tyla Hanks was also particularly impressive with her 20 possessions and a major. The Blues face the Falcons who were absolutely unstoppable last week in a 10-goal demolition of the Demons. With standout performances across the board, the Falcons couldn’t do a thing wrong led by former Northern Knight, Maddy Guerin’s 18 possessions and three goals, AFLW midfielder, Lily Mithen’s 32 possessions and Hannah Mouncey’s five-goal haul. This is an important game for both sides as they look to keep pace with the top teams as the season rolls along.  

NT Thunder vs Western Bulldogs

Saturday June 2, 4PM, TIO Stadium

The Thunder has been absolutely unstoppable throughout its first three matches, making a huge statement to the rest of the league. There were stars aplenty in its last match with Adelaide duo, Marijana Rajcic and Jess Sedunary as well as NT native, Jordann Hickey, kicking three goals each. The Thunder has been an offensive juggernaut to begin the season and will be sure to cause the Bulldogs defence a number of problems. The Bulldogs have been disappointing to start the season, sitting at the bottom of the table, winless from their three games. Their near-victory against the unbeaten Collingwood should give them great confidence and belief that they can hang with the best of them and will need the same intensity if they wish to end the Thunder’s run of dominance. Naomi Ferres has enjoyed a nice run of form in the past two weeks, building off her Rising Star nomination in the AFLW competition, and will be a player to watch for the Bulldogs moving forward.  

Essendon vs Richmond

Saturday June 2, 4PM, Swinburne Centre

Two teams who are in desperate need of a win go head-to-head for the first of two battles between the Bombers and Tigers on Saturday. Both teams come off demoralising losses in the last round, with both teams being noncompetitive throughout the game. The Bombers backline has been under plenty of pressure in recent weeks with the majority of play being situated in their defensive half. Despite their poor results, their pressure in and around the contest has been stellar, led by Hayley Bullas, who leads the competition in tackles. The Tigers again struggled to get going offensively last week with just three goals next to their name. Two of these came from AFLW Collingwood talent, Lauren Tesoriero, who played one of her better games of the season and will be a force to be reckoned with once again this week. Phoebe Monahan has also been a bright spot early on in the season and will be a big factor in the Tigers ending their poor run of form.  

Williamstown vs Casey

Sunday June 3, 11:30AM, Williamstown Football Ground

Another match-up of two struggling sides who are in need of a victory kicks off the Sunday afternoon action in Williamstown. The Seagulls notched their first win last week in an impressive outing against the Tigers, running out 31-point winners. They look to continue to build off of the form they found last week and keep the momentum going as they surge up the ladder. New North Melbourne recruit, Jess Duffin produced her best performance of what has already been a great start to the season, with 33 possessions and a goal. Teammate, Jasmine Garner was also impressive with 19 possessions and a goal of her own. For the Demons, they were completely overrun by Darebin last week after playing them tightly for the first quarter. Melbourne AFLW forward, Kate Hore has had a solid start to the season for Casey and continues to play her role each week. She will look to have an even larger impact this week and lead her side to victory.  

Melbourne Uni vs Geelong

Sunday June 3, 2:30PM, Melbourne Uni Main Oval

The round draws to a close as the league-leading Geelong Cats take on Melbourne University in what should be a compelling contest. Geelong was able to fight off a gutsy Carlton side last week and grind out an eight-point win, continuing its unbeaten start to the season. They have had consistent performances from players such as Maddy McMahon and Renee Garing, who have led from the front each week and been instrumental in their start. Geelong has seen great contributions from role players to begin the season and will need another total team effort to get over the line once again. Melbourne University had been in good prior to running into the juggernaut that is the NT Thunder, who obliterated them to the tune of 69 points. Despite the loss, AFLW Academy member, Maddison Prespakis and Mugars captain, Ashleigh Riddell impressed in the midfield. Without Prespakis this week, Riddell will be relying on her other key midfielders to step up in the Mugars’ first home game of the VFLW season.

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