AS the regular season passes the halfway point, things are heating up in the contention for finals places and round four did not disappoint. The weather was a major factor for many teams this week with players having to contend with extreme heat and wet and wild conditions. But the Bulldogs managed to put on a goal kicking masterclass against the Blues on Friday night, and the Pies secured their first victory in Alice Springs after upsetting the Demons. The Lions got over the line in a wet weather slog while the Giants and Crows were faced with similar conditions resulting in the first draw of the season.
Western Bulldogs vs Carlton
With injuries to key forwards Katie Brennan and Isabel Huntington the Bulldogs were in search of a star goalkicker, and after a record breaking seven-goal haul, they found one in Brooke Lochland. It was a breakout performance for the former ice-skater who put on a dominate performance in windy conditions, racking up 17 disposals and smashing the previous record of four goals. Superstar on-ball duo Emma Kearney (26 disposals) and Ellie Blackburn (18 disposals) were on fire again, Aisling Utri (18 disposals) Monique Conti (16 disposals) and Hannah Scott (16 disposals) also contributed to the Dogs possession authority (220 to 157). While both teams had a similar inside 50 count (30 to 29) Carlton had a mere 10 per cent efficiency in comparison to the Western Bulldogs 87 per cent. Although missing many key players, Sarah Hosking (18 disposals) and Lauren Arnell (two goals) had notable performances, but it was ultimately to no avail with the Blues accepting consecutive defeats. They will have a fight to maintain a finals position while the Bulldogs sit comfortably in top spot after a percentage boosting win.
Brisbane vs Fremantle
Wet and miserable conditions resulted in a low scoring slog between Brisbane and Fremantle. There weren’t many opportunities when it came to scoring (seven to five), and on days like this, the team who hustles the hardest comes away with the victory, and that’s what the Lions did. Tahlia Randall dominated in the ruck with 33 of her teams 44 hit outs in comparison to Fremantle’s total of 14. Brisbane defender Kate Lutkins had a stand out performance in the wet finishing with 18 disposals, with Jess Wuetschner (18 touches, two goals), Ally Anderson (18 disposals), Jamie Stanton (16 disposals) and Nat Exon (14 disposals, 10 tackles) also putting up notable performances. There was plenty of tackling on both sides (83 to 70) with Fremantle captain Kara Donnellan having another hard-fought game with 10. The Lions join the Bulldogs on top of the table with three wins only separated by percentage.
Melbourne vs Collingwood
The biggest surprise victory of the round saw Collingwood dominate most of the contest in an imposing 34-point win against hot premiership favourites Melbourne. Brittany Bonnici tagged Melbourne gun Daisy Pearce and restricted her to just nine disposals where Magpie midfielders Jaimee Lambert (19 disposals) and captain Stephanie Chiocci (17 disposals) shone. The Demons struggled to convert while the Pies were able to capitalise with a conversion rate of 69 per cent to their opponents 33 per cent. After a rough start, Moana Hope continued her return to form with two goals, equalled by teammate Caitlyn Edwards who impressed for the Pies. Elise O’Dea (19 disposals) and Karen Paxman (18 disposals) had commendable performances for the Demons, but the lack of impact from their star skipper was visibly deflating. The Pies still sit in the wooden spoon position after their first victory of the 2018 season while their opponents now fall one game shy of a top spot.
Greater Western Sydney vs Adelaide
After trailing for the majority of the match, a late comeback by last year’s premiers resulted in the first draw of the 2018 season. Suppressive conditions impacted the flow of the game and with a 9-point lead into the final term the Giants looked set for a victory. Yet somehow the Crows managed to grind their way back to even by doubling their 3-quarter time score. In another tackle heavy, wet weather hustle, Ebony Marinoff starred for Adelaide setting the record for the most tackles in an AFLW game with an incredible total of 21. There were also strong performances by Angela Foley (20 disposal, six tackles) and Chelsea Randall (15 disposals, six tackles) for the Crows, while Alicia Eva (23 disposals, eight tackles) and Jessica Dal Pos (12 disposals, 10 tackles) stood up for the Giants in the wet conditions.