AFLW Team of the Week/Leesa Catto Media MVP votes: Round 4, 2018

Just when we thought we had some sort of idea of what direction this AFLW season is heading in, the script was flipped completely in round four.

It was another remarkable round of footy, highlighted by some excellent games and even better individual performances as the record books were rewritten.

Not only did we see the Western Bulldogs kick the highest AFLW score and register the biggest winning margin against Carlton, Brooke Lochland kicked a record seven goals, and Ebony Marinoff recorded the most tackles in an AFL game ever – men or women.

We also have a new leader in the Leesa Catto Media MVP race, with Brianna Davey finally being overtaken in this incredibly close race.

At the same time last year, the leader was on 17 votes and nine players had 10 votes or more. This year, the leader has 13 of a possible 20 votes and only four players have 10 votes or more. Additionally, 25 players have 5 or more votes this year, in comparison to only 19 at the same time last year.

What we’re saying is that it’s close – really close.

Like the AFLW premiership, the Media MVP is still well and truly up for grabs. Let’s get to the votes as well as the Team of the Week for round four!

TOTW/Leesa Catto Media MVP votes: Round 1, 2018
TOTW/Leesa Catto Media MVP votes: Round 2, 2018
TOTW/Leesa Catto Media MVP votes: Round 3, 2018


Back pocket: Jess Dal Pos (GWS)
Key stats: 12 disposals (11 kicks, 1 handball), 58.3% DE, 10 tackles
Previous TOTW:
Jess Dal Pos may no longer be one of GWS’s dominant ball winners, but you could comfortably argue that she is of even more value either in the forward or back pocket. Against Adelaide, it was her performance in the backline that earns her praise, putting in a strong defensive shift and giving Adelaide’s group of smart, fast forwards no room to move. She is also credited with a dive on the goal line which would’ve been a telling Crows goal.

Full-back: Kate Lutkins (Brisbane)
Key stats: 18 disposals (12 kicks, 6 handballs), 61.1% DE, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 3 rebound 50s
Previous TOTW: R1 (CHB), R3 (FB)
It might be time to start referring to Kate Lutkins as the competition’s premier key defender. At ground level or in the air, she just looks a class above whoever her direct opponent is. Her incredible work in the defensive 50 has her equal second in the Leesa Catto Media MVP tally, a remarkable achievement considering these types of awards are generally dominated by midfielders.

Back pocket: Chelsea Randall (Adelaide)
Key stats: 15 disposals (11 kicks, 4 handballs), 60% DE, 10 contested possessions, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 3 clearances, 4 rebound 50s
Previous TOTW: R1 (HFF), R3 (BP)
Adelaide is a much improved team when Chelsea Randall is able to play a defensive role, as she has proved for two straight weeks now. Randall’s ability to operate at 60% disposal efficiency despite having a high number of contested possession, and also considering the torrential rain in Western Sydney, is stunning.

Half-back flank: Ellie Blackburn (Western Bulldogs)
Key stats: 18 disposals (16 kicks, 2 handballs), 61.1% DE 5 marks, 3 tackles, 4 rebound 50s, 1 goal
Previous TOTW: R1 (RR), R3 (HFF)
There isn’t really a way to effectively shut down Ellie Blackburn, such is her wily movement with or without the football. On the flanks and in the centre, Blackburn just manages to find space, and on the rare occasions her opponents can get on top of her, she can be placed somewhere else on the ground and have an impact. Blackburn racked up rebound 50s against Carlton and rubbed salt in the wounds of the Blues (and Lauren Arnell) by telegraphing a switch kick to intercept smartly and slam home a goal.

Centre half-back: Jasmine Garner (Collingwood)
Key stats: 13 disposals (12 kicks, 1 handball), 61.5% DE, 4 marks, 8 tackles, 5 rebound 50s, 3 one-percenters
Previous TOTW:
Much has been said about some of the coaching decisions at Collingwood, but moving Jasmine Garner to the backline was a stroke of genius. Garner was wasting away at centre half-forward, and was able to have her first really impressive AFLW game to date. She played a complete defender’s game, as though she had played the positions for years. It will be interesting to see where she lines up in round five.

Half-back flank: Kara Donnellan (Fremantle)
Key stats: 15 disposals (14 kicks, 1 handball), 53.3% DE, 5 clearances, 3 rebound 50s, 10 tackles
Previous TOTW: R3 (Int)
Though playing against a Brisbane midfield that has earned a reputation for being dogged at the contest and quick to move the ball on, Kara Donnellan used all of her experience to lead the way for her side. It might not have been enough on the day, but all the signs indicate that “Juddy” looks to be hitting her straps in season 2018, which bodes well for Fremantle’s potential Grand Final run.

Centre: Emma Kearney (Western Bulldogs)
Key stats: 26 disposals (25 kicks, 1 handball), 50% DE, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 6 clearances, 4 rebound 50s, 4 inside 50s
Previous TOTW: R1 (C), R2 (C), R3 (C)
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Emma Kearney claiming the centre position in our Team of the Week. She is the only player to have appeared in the team in all four rounds, and in such a prominent position, such has been her consistency. Teams have employed different tactics to try and slow down Kearney, but nothing ever seems to work. At this stage, she might even be the favourite for the league best and fairest.

Half-forward flank: Stephanie Chiocci (Collingwood)
Key stats: 17 disposals (11 kicks, 6 handballs), 82.4% DE, 4 tackles, 4 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal
Previous TOTW:
Steph Chiocci has been good this season, but the big knock on her is that she was being used as more of a link-up player rather than the bursting forward runner we know she can be. Instead of disposing of the ball backwards and sideways, Chiocci has taken on the game in the past two weeks, and was considerably more attack-minded against Melbourne. It makes such a difference, as Chiocci has proved to be one of the best attacking midfielders in the game. Now that the Magpies are playing to her strengths, the team looks significantly better.

Centre half-forward: Bonnie Toogood (Western Bulldogs)
Key stats: 11 disposals (6 kicks, 5 handballs), 90.9% DE, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals
Previous TOTW:
While all of the attention goes straight to Dogs teammate Brooke Lochland’s bag of seven, the performance of Bonnie Toogood shouldn’t go without notice. It’s almost hard to imagine that Toogood slipped through the 2017 AFLW Draft into the Rookie Draft considering how good she has been this year. Her use of the ball against Carlton was extraordinary, and she will likely have to play an important role in the forward line for the remainder of the season if the Bulldogs are to win the premiership.

Half-forward flank: Jaimee Lambert (Collingwood)
Key stats: 19 disposals (14 kicks, 5 handballs), 73.7% DE, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s
Previous TOTW:
We’ve been waiting for Jaimee Lambert to show us some of what she is capable of, and it came in a crucial match when the Magpies’ backs were against the wall. She was sensational both in the midfield and around the forward 50 metre arc, and used the ball with excellent efficiency. You could argue that she is the missing piece in Collingwood’s midfield.

Forward pocket: Jessica Wuetschner (Brisbane)
Key stats: 18 disposals (14 kicks, 4 handballs), 55.6% DE, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 goals
Previous TOTW: R1 (Int), R2 (FP)
Jessica Wuetschner has been a model of consistency this season. In the four games thus far, she has kicked two goals on three occasions and hit the scoreboard once on the other occasion. In wet conditions against Fremantle, Wuetschner was on hand to soccer through a couple of goals and shepherded through another, but it was her presence around half-forward that stood out more than anything.

Full-forward: Brooke Lochland (Western Bulldogs)
Key stats: 17 disposals (14 kicks, 3 handballs), 64.7% DE, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 7 goals
Previous TOTW:
Somebody had to stand up for the Western Bulldogs in the absence of Katie Brennan and Isabel Huntington, but if we’re honest, nobody would’ve expected it to be Brooke Lochland, and nobody would’ve expected her to kick seven goals. Her bag of seven smashes the previous record of most goals in a game (four), and comically puts her into first in the goal kicking with nine goals overall.

Forward pocket: Moana Hope (Collingwood)
Key stats: 9 disposals (8 kicks, 1 handball), 44.4% DE, 4 marks, 2 goals, 2 goal assists
Previous TOTW:
Since she was dropped for Collingwood’s round two game, Moana Hope has kicked four goals and had three goal assists in her past two outings, and it’s no coincidence that those two games have been the Magpies’ best all season. She is still struggling for a bit of confidence in front of goal, but is doing all of the team things and getting herself in important positions. The Magpies just look considerably better with Hope in the team, especially now that they are playing to her strengths.

Ruck: Tahlia Randall (Brisbane)
Key stats: 4 disposals (4 kicks), 50% DE, 33 hitouts
Previous TOTW:
Tahlia Randall put in a superb shift in the ruck, recording 33 of her team’s 44 hitouts and keeping Fremantle to just 14 overall. The Lions appear to have found their new number one ruck option in a team that played all of last without a recognised full-time ruck. Randall played a number of roles in her junior career but struggled to find a position she excelled at in 2017, but it now looks as though the 19-year-old has found a permanent spot. She is now first for overall hitouts in 2018.

Rover: Alicia Eva (GWS)
Key stats: 23 disposals (15 kicks, 8 handballs), 47.% DE, 13 contested possessions, 8 tackles, 8 clearances, 4 rebound 50s, 3 inside 50s
Previous TOTW: R3 (HFF)
Alicia Eva may only be making her second Team of the Week appearance, but you’d have to say she has been one of the competition’s most consistent performers. Stepping up to be the Giants’ most prominent midfielder, she has taken the lead in the Leesa Catto Media MVP race after another sensational performance, this time in the wet conditions. Her eight clearances is equal second for most clearances in a game by an individual player in the AFLW’s short history.

Ruck-rover: Angela Foley (Adelaide)
Key stats: 20 disposals (19 kicks, 1 handball), 40% DE, 12 contested possessions, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 3 rebound 50s, 3 inside 50s, 4 one-percenters
Previous TOTW:
Angela Foley was a huge inclusion after serving her one-match suspension, putting in almost the perfect wet weather game of football, and it was needed against a dogged GWS midfield. All of her 19 kicks in the heavy rain were worth their weight in gold, and her four one-percenters shows she did more than just rack up numbers. Perhaps this performance opens up more opportunities to play through the midfield.

Interchange: Ebony Marinoff (Adelaide)
Key stats: 13 disposals (10 kicks, 3 handballs), 46.2% DE, 10 contested possessions, 21 tackles
Previous TOTW: R3 (HBF)
Ever since Carlton’s Sarah Hosking took Ebony Marinoff’s record for most tackles in a match, it seemed like a matter of time before the competition’s best tackler took back her mantle. Little did we know that she would put together a tackling performance that would shatter the record books in more ways than one. In the wet affair against GWS, Marinoff registered 21 tackles which not only smashes Hosking’s 16, but sets a new record for most tackles ever recorded in an AFL match (men’s or women’s).

Interchange: Ally Anderson (Brisbane)
Key stats: 18 disposals (16 kicks, 2 handballs), 16.7% DE, 3 tackles
Previous TOTW: R1 (Int)
This may only be Ally Anderson’s second appearance in the Team of the Week, but she just missed out on the other two occasions and is proving to be yet another consistent performer in a Brisbane midfield stacked with them. She also had one of the best game you will ever see for a player who only had 16.7% disposal efficiency. That was the nature of the game: get boot to ball and get some distance, and Anderson did just that.

Interchange: Christina Bernardi (Collingwood)
Key stats: 12 disposals (10 kicks, 2 handballs), 66.7% DE, 6 marks, 1 goal
Previous TOTW: R2 (HFF)
Christina Bernardi was in all the action when the tide turned against Melbourne, getting herself involved in all the crucial goals when the match was there to be won. She is proving to be the x-factor the Magpies forward line needs to click, and her team is noticeably better when she is lively. Combining with Moana Hope, the pair was responsible for almost all of the key Collingwood goals.

Interchange: Elise O’Dea (Melbourne)
Key stats: 19 disposals (12 kicks, 7 handballs), 63.2% DE, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal
Previous TOTW: R2 (HBF)
Melbourne’s poor performance against Collingwood was in no part due to Elise O’Dea’s endeavour. With Collingwood stifling Daisy Pearce, O’Dea did her very best to stand up against a superior Magpies midfield unit on the night, but the job was far too big for one player. Still, she can be proud of her efforts at the weekend.

Interchange: Aisling Utri (Western Bulldogs)
Key stats: 18 disposals (10 kicks, 8 handballs), 66.7% DE
Previous TOTW:
Aisling Utri continues to get better with every game, which is all you can ask from a 19-year-old. Though others who missed out on the Team of the Week had better numbers, the stats don’t show how involved in the play Utri was. She and Hannah Scott are forming a formidable half-back duo, with one able to run forward and hit the scoreboard while the other stays back and does the mop-up work. It’s something the Bulldogs have that no other team does.

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