AFLW preview: Round 3, 2018

Right off the top, there’s one thing we definitely don’t want to see anymore of this round, let alone the rest of the season: ACL injuries.

In just the last week, we’ve seen three champions in Brianna Davey (Carlton), Izzy Huntington (Bulldogs) and Brianna Green (Fremantle) all succumb to season-ending knee injuries.

Melbourne looks to keep its undefeated run alive away from home against Fremantle. Image: Michael Dodge/AFL Media

We know work and research is being undertaken to finds ways to reduce the risk of these injuries (women are five times more likely to do their ACL), but all we can do now is cross our fingers and hope for a fairly injury free run over the next six weeks.

This round also sees three teams sitting on the verge of being out of Grand Final contention.

Those teams need to win five games in a row and hope results go their way near the end of the season to be in calculation.

Finally, even though the first game of this AFLW is on Saturday, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any Friday night women’s footy.

In a live streamed double-header from City Mazda Stadium, West Adelaide host South Adelaide, while Sturt take on North Adelaide in Round 3 of the SANFL Women’s competition.

Don’t forget, you can join our live conversation on Twitter during each match by following us at @GirlsPlayFooty and using the relevant game’s hashtag.


Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs
Saturday, February 17 @ Norwood Oval – 1:35pm (ACDT)
TV: 7Mate (Adelaide) & Fox Footy
Stream:, AFLW App (Australia) and Watch.AFL (overseas)
Radio: –
Twitter: #AFLWCrowsDogs

Adelaide Crows
B: Mariana Rajcic – Sarah Allan – Dayna Cox
HB: Stevie-Lee Thompson – Rachael Killian – Deni Varnhagen
C: Erin Phillips
HF: Abbey Holmes – Jasmyn Hewitt – Jenna McCormick
F: Ruth Wallace – Sarah Perkins – Jess Sedunary
Foll: Rhiannon Metcalfe – Chelsea Randall – Ebony Marinoff
Int: Rheanne Lugg – Jess Allan – Georgia Bevan – Justine Mules – Eloise Jones
Emg: Anne Hatchard – Sally Riley
IN: Marijana Rajcic, Rachel Killian, Erin Phillips
OUT: Sally Riley, Talia Radan, Angela Foley

Western Bulldogs
B: Libby Birch – Lauren Spark – Nicole Callinan
HB: Hannah Scott – Bonnie Toogood – Brooke Lochland
C: Ellie Blackburn
HF: Jenna Bruton – Katie Brennan – Monique Conti
F: Deanna Berry – Aisling Utri – Naomi Ferres
Foll: Aasta O’Connor – Emma Kearney – Kirsty Lamb
Int: Tiarna Ernst – Hayley Wildes – Jess Anderson – Angelica Gogos – Bailey Hunt
Emg: Emma Mackie – Kimberley Rennie
IN: Jessica Anderson
OUT: Isabel Huntington

Who would have thought that we’d already be at this point, where the reigning premiers might be 60 minutes away from knocked out of the Grand Final race?

The AFLW best and fairest Erin Phillips is back, along with Mariana Rajcic and Rachael Killian; but with Courtney Cramey still missing and now Angela Foley missing through suspension, the Crows still haven’t been able to get their best side out on the park.

Despite being unbeaten after two games, it isn’t all smoothly sailing for the Western Bulldogs either.

After losing Daria Bannister to an ACL in the first match, Izzy Huntington (after kicking two goals) went down with a ruptured ACL in the second quarter last week.

To explain Izzy’s loss, not only did she jump start the Bulldogs’ scoring, but the Lions actually out-scored the visitors for the remainder of the game after she went off the ground.

What will come as a relief to Bulldogs supporters is the inclusion of former Melbourne forward Jessica Anderson.

She should fit nicely in the full-forward position and still provide the Doggies with a target, albeit more of a leading forward than a big pack mark like Izzy.

With Erin Phillips back in for the Crows, their midfield combo of Phillips-Randall-Marinoff is looking a lot better than the previous two weeks.

Unfortunately, Phillips won’t have much time to ease back in from her quad injury, with the Bulldogs’ Emma Kearney, Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb all in great form.

Worse for the Crows, new Bulldogs recruits Jenna Bruton and Monique Conti have settled into the side well and will provide them with further headaches.

It will also be interesting to see how Sarah Perkins performs this week. She was unfairly targeted by the Adelaide Advertiser’s Michelangelo Rucci for a slow start to the season, but when you’re a forward and the ball is struggling to even get into your forward half, there’s not much you can do.

Let’s hope she gets some good delivery of the ball this round and can snagged a few goals.

Prediction: Bulldogs by 13 points.


Carlton vs Brisbane
Saturday, February 17 @ Princes Park – 7:40pm (AEDT)
TV: 7Mate and Fox Footy
Stream:, AFLW App (Australia) and Watch.AFL (overseas)
Radio: ABC Grandstand and SEN 1116
Twitter: #AFLWBluesLions

Carlton Blues
B: Reni Hicks – Danielle Hardiman – Gabriella Pound
HB: Kerryn Harrington – Alison Downie – Kate Gillespie-Jones
C: Sophie Li
HF: Kate Shierlaw – Tayla Harris – Nicola Stevens
F: Georgia Gee – Darcy Vescio – Katie Loynes
Foll: Breann Moody – Sarah Hosking – Madison Gay
Int: Lauren Brazzale – Tilly Lucas-Rodd – Katie-Jane Grieve – Jess Hosking – Shae Audley
Emg: Sarah Last – Natalie Plane
IN: Kate Gillespie-Jones, Katie-Jane Grieve
OUT: Brianna Davey, Sarah Last

Brisbane Lions
B: Nicole Hildebrand – Kate Lutkins – Jamie Stanton
HB: Kaitlyn Ashmore – Leah Kaslar – Shannon Campbell
C: Emily Bates
HF: Nat Exon – Tahlia Randall – Emma Zielke
F: Jessica Wuetschner – Sabrina Frederick-Traub – Kate McCarthy
Foll: Sharni Webb – Jordan Zanchetta – Ally Anderson
Int: Breanna Koenen – Arianna Clarke – Isabella Ayre – Sophie Conway – Brittany Gibson
Emg: Megan Hunt – Gabby Collingwood
IN: Isabella Ayre
OUT: Gabby Collingwood

A team that’s on top of the ladder and playing at home would 999 times out of a 1,000 be favourite heading into this match.

Sadly, there’s one key reason that evens up this contest: Brianna Davey’s season-ending ACL injury.

We are all poorer in our AFLW experience for not having Bri out there. We certainly wish this (on and off the field) legend a speedy recovery.

At this stage, it appears Tayla Harris will play for the Blues, despite concerns over her shoulder following the collision with the Giants’ Renee Forth on the final siren last week.

On the Lions side of the equation, Isabella Ayre comes into the team, meaning all three players involved in the Harris trade (Harris-Ayre-Exon) will be taking part against their old clubs.

Without question, the Hosking twins were brilliant against the Giants, with Sarah laying a mind-blowing 16 tackles.

Teamed up with Shae Audley, Katie Loynes and the Sophie Li, the Carlton midfield are looking better than last year by a mile.

That said, was Brianna Davey the linchpin that held it altogether? This round we’ll know if that midfield unit is still rock solid or if it will crumble faster than a subway cookie.

For the Lions, their midfield of Emily Bates, Emma Zielke and Jamie Stanton have been performing well, especially rebounding off half-back – Kate McCarthy’s run last week was exciting – but they’re lacking the polish around the forward line to finish the job.

Jess Wuetschner has been holding up her end of the bargain, and will be hoping Isabella Ayre gives them not only a focal point to take some big grabs, but most importantly convert them into goals.

Carlton should be able to get another win on their home deck, but I’m going to back the visitors to take it out in a thriller.

Prediction: Brisbane by 1 point.


Collingwood vs GWS
Sunday, February 18 @ Olympic Park Oval – 4:35pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Sports 3
Stream:, AFLW App (Australia) and Watch.AFL (overseas)
Radio: –
Twitter: #AFLWPiesGiants

Collingwood Magpies
B: Emma Grant – Ruby Schleicher – Iilish Ross
HB: Chloe Molloy – Sophie Casey – Tara Morgan
C: Cecilia McIntosh
HF: Melissa Kuys – Jasmine Garner – Steph Chiocci
F: Caitlyn Edwards – Lauren Tesoriero – Christina Bernardi
Foll: Emma King – Jaimee Lambert – Amelia Barden
Int: Brittany Bonnici – Bree White – Holly Whitford – Jess Duffin – Meg Hutchins – Sarah Dargan – Moana Hope
Emg: TBC
IN: Ruby Schleicher, Meg Hutchins, Sarah Dargan, Moana Hope
OUT: Stacey Livingstone, Eliza Hynes

GWS Giants
B: Amanda Farrugia – Tanya Hetherington – Pepa Randall
HB: Nicola Barr – Louise Stephenson – Ellie Brush
C: Alicia Eva
HF: Jess Dal Pos – Phoebe McWilliams – Jodie Hicks
F: Jacinda Barclay – Aimee Schmidt – Rebecca Beeson
Foll: Erin McKinnon – Courtney Gum – Emma Swanson
Int: Philippa Smyth – Maddy Collier – Phoebe Monahan – Cora Staunton – Elle Bennetts – Britt Tully – Renee Forth
Emg: TBC
IN: Louise Stephenson, Jodie Hicks, Philippa Smyth, Maddy Collie
OUT: Maddy Byd, Renee Tomkins

I’m not going to say for sure that one side will walk away with their first AFLW season two win this week.

We’ve been here before. Last year, Freo and GWS were both winless after two rounds, and when they finally met the game ended in a draw. That could be possible again this week.

The most interesting news for this clash is coming out of the Magpies’ camp, with Moana Hope named on the extended bench, as well as defender Meg Hutchins.

It’s worth noting that Meg Hutchins was played as a forward in the Pies’ practice match against Melbourne, then for some unknown reason not selected for the first two AFLW matches this year.

The Giants head into this match a frustrated side. They blew the Lions out of the water in their practice match, almost rolled Melbourne at Casey Fields, led the Blues at quarter time… and then came the lightning break.

After the unscheduled 30-minute delay, they scored just three behinds.

GWS is a better side than the ladder position suggests, and on Sunday at Olympic Park Oval, we’ll see if the Giants can deliver four premiership points.

The Gum, Swanson, Eva and Forth midfield should be too good for the Pies midfield unit, and with Jacinda Barclay and Phoebe McWilliams giving them genuine options up forward, plus the forecast of a sunny day in the mid-20s, the Giants should be able to perform a lot better than last week.

For the Magpies, I wonder how many bruises Chloe Molloy is still sporting after last week?

Fair to say she coped a lot of attention off the ball from the Dockers, but was still able to power all through it.

If Meg Hutchins goes to her traditional defensive role, it will be interesting to see if Molloy will finally go forward and have some impact there.

The Pies have also dropped Eliza Hynes, meaning All-Australian ruck Emma King will start in the ruck, not at full-forward like last week.

Prediction: GWS by 7 points.


Fremantle vs Melbourne
Sunday, February 18 @ Fremantle Oval – 3:35pm (AWST)
TV: 7Mate (Perth) & Fox Footy
Stream:, AFLW App (Australia) and Watch.AFL (overseas)
Radio: –
Twitter: #AFLWFreoDees

Fremantle Dockers
B: Hayley Miller – Alex Williams – Evangeline Gooch
HB: Belinda Smith – Cassie Davidson – Gabby O’Sullivan
C: Dana Hooker
HF: Lisa Webb – Emily McGuire – Kara Donnellan
F: Melissa Caulfield – Amy Lavell – Ashlee Atkins
Foll: Alicia Janz – Stephanie Cain – Ebony Antonio
Int: Leah Mascall – Gemma Houghton – Ashley Sharp – Jodie White – Lara Filocamo – Tiah Haynes – Tayla McAuliffe
Emg: TBC
IN: Emily McGuire, Tiah Haynes, Tayla McAuliffe
OUT: Stacey Barr

Melbourne Demons
B: Meg Downie – Laura Duryea – Katherine Smith
HB: Ashleigh Guest – Bianca Jakobsson – Elise O’Dea
C: Melissa Hickey
HF: Kate Hore – Shelley Scott – Catherine Phillips
F: Richelle Cranston – Tegan Cunningham – Lily Mithen
Foll: Erin Hoare – Karen Paxman – Daisy Pearce
Int: Jasmine Grierson – Brooke Patterson – Emma Humphries – Lauren Pearce – Aliesha Newman – Harriet Cordner – Alyssa Mifsud
Emg: TBC
IN: Jasmine Grierson Harriet Cordner
OUT: –

A few minutes into last week’s match, things were looking grim for the Dockers. They were two goals down and being run over by the Pies.

Then something clicked. Fast moving, aggressive football was played by Fremantle and from there on, the match was on their terms.

Possibly the most exciting addition to the Dockers squad this week is the talented Emily McGuire.

Seeing her run around in two matches for the Aussie Sparks in their tour of California, you could see she was classes above anyone else on the ground.

Her one-handed pick ups of the footy were made for highlight reels and should give footy fans much enjoyment for years to come.

However, what awaits the Dockers is the Melbourne Football Club.

The Demons tore the reigning premiers to shreds last week, and are eager to continue their red-hot form at Fremantle Oval.

Tegan Cunningham is a genuine forward weapon. Karen Paxman just needs a lasso, because she is Wonder Woman – nothing can stop her, she is the midfield elite.

Bianca Jakobsson has fit in perfectly down back, while Kate Hore is proving why she was signed by the Dees after just playing two game of state league footy.

To be honest, we’re just scratching the surface. Melbourne fans should have every reason to be excited, and yes, it might be the early call, but they should begin the discussion of where they would like the Grand Final to be played.

Prediction: Melbourne by 20 points.

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