AFLW preview: Round 5, 2018

Good grief, did round four of the AFL Women’s competition cause some carnage!

Carlton, missing a number of its stars, was a complete train wreck.

The Demons failed to deliver in round four, but can atone for their miserable performance with a victory over Brisbane. Image: Adam Trafford/AFL Media

Melbourne seemed to suffer from homesickness, dropping its second game on the road.

Fremantle frustrated supporters by taking the fight to the Lions but failing to make an impact on the scoreboard.

While GWS blew a big chance to score a famous victory and Adelaide almost threw away its chances of making a Grand Final entirely.

On the other side of the coin, three sides gave their supporters much joy.

The Western Bulldogs, despite missing two key forwards, record the highest score in the short history of the AFLW, wiping the Blues off the park and shooting to the top of the ladder.

Brisbane proved that it’s the side that knows how to grind out victory, surviving an arm wrestle of a match with the Dockers.

And then there’s Collingwood. After Kate Sheahan questioned Wayne Siekman’s position, the Magpies responded in the best possible fashion, making a statement on the park by knocking off the highly fancied Demons.

Now we have round five, the unofficial sudden death round.

For three teams this week, lose and your season is done, while for another, lose and you’re on very thin ice.

Add to the mix two sides in a race to claim a home Grand Final and, well, you just can’t afford to miss a match this weekend.

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.


Melbourne vs Brisbane
Friday, March 2nd @ Casey Fields – 7:05pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Footy
Stream:, AFLW App (Australia) and Watch.AFL (overseas)
Radio: –
Twitter: #AFLWDeesLions

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

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

In my predictions before the start of the season, I pointed to this match as the one which could decide who will make the Grand Final and who won’t.

To be fair, I thought it would be Brisbane on thin ice and the Demons looking to book their ticket; who knew it would be the other way around?

Although the Demons are finally back home after their road trip to Western and Central Australia, history says they can’t be comfortable knowing that it was the Lions who rolled them at Casey Fields in round one last year.

The key question for this match is who will the Brisbane Lions put on Daisy Pearce? Collingwood proved last week that if you put a wheel clamp on Daisy (one Brittany Bonnici), the Melbourne engine room stalls.

In an effort to re-start their season, the Demons selection committee has made four changes, including dropping ruck Erin Hoare and defender Laura Duryea.

Their number one ruck last year, Lauren Pearce, comes back into the side, as well as young forward Eden Zanker.

It will be interesting to see who Melbourne uses in defence to watch the Lions’ leading goal kicker, Jessica Wuetschner. “Woosha” is tough, mobile and quick, and we might find the Demons’ Katherine Smith keeping a close watch on her.

Also, with all the focus on the Lions’ midfield big guns in Emma Zielke and Emily Bates, the likes of Jamie Stanton (16 disposals last week) and Ally Anderson (18 disposals) sneak under the radar – at least in the Victorian press.

Plus, since we’re talking about flying under the radar, why are we not talking more about Brisbane’s Tahlia Randall who is currently the AFLW’s leading ruck, averaging 22 hitouts per match?!

As much as my gut instinct says back the Demons because their backs are against the wall and they’ll come out swinging, making four changes rings alarm bells for me, so I’m backing the Lions.

Prediction: Brisbane by 7 points.


Fremantle vs GWS
Saturday, March 3rd @ Fremantle Oval – 2:05pm (AWST)
TV: 7mate (Perth) and Fox Sports 3
Stream:, AFLW App (Australia) and Watch.AFL (overseas)
Radio: –
Twitter: #AFLWFreoGiants

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

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

There’s a famous line from Greg Chappell in the 1980s who was at one stage making a run of low scores: “I’m batting great, I just keep getting out.”

It’s the same theory with the GWS Giants. They’re playing some great football, they’re just struggling to rack up the wins.

Despite being tagged by the highly respected Courtney Cramey, the Giants’ Courtney Gum still managed to rack up 11 disposals and lay 5 tackles in a rain-soaked match.

Alicia Eva demonstrated why she is leading the Leesa Catto Media MVP race by collecting 23 possessions and laying 11 tackles, whilst Jess Dal Pos joined in the tackling fun by laying 10 tackles of her own and racked up 12 disposals.

Up in Brisbane, also in wet conditions, Kara Donnellan lead the way with 15 disposals and 10 tackles, while Lara Filocamo collected 18 possessions.

Hayley Miller had 14 touches, put on five tackles, and will again be an important weapon for Fremantle. She may well get matched up against Jacinda Barclay if the Giants forward looks to push further up the ground.

The ruck battle will also be one to watch, with Alicia Janz going okay for the Dockers, but will be well and truly tested this week when she clashes with the Giants’ Erin McKinnon, who is averaging 20 hitouts a week.

I think many of us would like to see GWS win as they seem to be the feel-good story of the season, but with the Dockers being at home, it’s hard to tip against the home team

Prediction: Fremantle by 10 points.


Adelaide vs Carlton
Saturday, March 3rd @ Norwood Oval – 6:40pm (ACSDT)
TV: 7mate & Fox Footy
Stream:, AFLW App (Australia) and Watch.AFL (overseas)
Radio: ABC Grandstand
Twitter: #AFLWCrowsBlues

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

Carlton Blues
B: Gabriella Pound – Danielle Hardiman – Reni Hicks
HB: Katie Loynes – Alison Downie – Kate Gillespie-Jones
C: Shae Audley
HF: Nicola Stevens – Darcy Vescio – Kerryn Harrington
F: Sarah Hosking – Tayla Harris – Bridie Kennedy
Foll: Breann Moody – Tilly Lucas-Rodd – Sophie Li
Int: Courtney Webb – Georgia Gee – Lauren Arnell – Lauren Brazzale – Maddison Gay
Emg: Madeline Keryk – Jess Hosking
IN: Danielle Hardiman, Katie Loynes, Tayla Harris, Georgia Gee, Lauren Brazzale
OUT: Kate Shierlaw, Jess Hosking, Nat Plane, Madeline Keryk, Sarah Last

Last year these two sides met at Thebarton Oval in Round 3 as two unbeaten sides. This year, the stakes are higher, with the loser kissing goodbye any chance of making the Grand Final (barring upsets in other games).

The reigning premiers are almost having the season from hell. They were missing the league best and fairest for two matches, and the former South Australian captain for three.

As a result, they’ve won just four of sixteen quarters so far this season; a stat that normally wouldn’t give them much confidence heading into this weekend’s game.

That said, they are perhaps a bit more hopeful, knowing they are coming up against a side that got completely smashed last week.

However, Carlton should not be easily dismissed when you look at the players coming back into the side, who were missing through injury and suspension last week.

Tayla Harris will give the Blues a much-needed link between the midfield and forward line, Georgia Gee’s speed and work in the pockets will take the pressure off Darcy Vescio, Lauren Brazzale and Danielle Hardiman will beef up Carlton’s defence, while Katie Loynes will give the Blues first use of the ball through her inside work.

As much as there is a different looking Blues outfit, Bec Goddard has responded in kind with four changes of her own.

Rheanne Lugg returns from injury, Dayna Cox is back from suspension, while Anne Hatchard and Sophie Armistead also come back into the team.

Carlton again will be looking to Sarah Hosking for drive in the midfield, but will she be able to escape the clutches of the human tackling machine Ebony Marinoff, who laid an incredible (and record breaking) 21 tackles last week.

Meanwhile, Erin Phillips was quiet by her standards last week, and no doubt Damien Keeping would have watched the vision and observed the work of the Giants’ Pepa Randall on the Crows’ captain.

Will Danielle Hardiman get the job on Phillips, or will the task go to Gab Pound, who proved herself to be an effective tagger last year in the VFLW?

When comparing the ins for both sides, Carlton’s seem more important to their line up and I think they’ll edge out the Crows in a low scoring battles.

Prediction: Carlton by 5 points.


Collingwood vs Western Bulldogs
Sunday, March 4th @ Ted Summerton Reserve, Moe – 2:35pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Footy
Stream:, AFLW App (Australia) and Watch.AFL (overseas)
Radio: SEN 1116
Twitter: #AFLWPiesDogs

Collingwood Magpies
B: Emma Grant – Ruby Schleicher – Iilish Ross
HB: Chloe Molloy – Cecilia McIntosh – Melissa Kuys
C: Caitlyn Edwards
HF: Sarah D’Arcy – Jasmine Garner – Stephanie Chiocci
F: Meg Hutchins – Moana Hope – Christina Bernardi
Foll: Emma King – Jaimee Lambert – Brittany Bonnici
Int: Holly Witford, Sarah Dargan, Laura Tesoriero, Jess Duffin, Amelia Barden, Kristy Stratton, Bree White
Emg: TBC
IN: Kristy Stratton, Bree White
OUT: –

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

Finally, last week we got to see Collingwood claim four premiership points and play in a way deserving of the talent that is on the Magpies’ list.

Stephanie Chiocci was a more attacking midfielder, Christina Bernardi was a force to be reckoned with around half-forward, Brittany Bonnici shut down Daisy Pearce, Moana Hope kicked another two goals, and Jaimee Lambert racked up 19 disposals.

Who knows whether it was just a ‘backs against the wall’ mentality from the players, or the coaching staff throwing up a different game plan after their 0-3 start to the season, but we loved the football the Pies played.

Now after all that good news, I have some bad news for Collingwood supporters: you’re playing the top side this week.

The Western Bulldogs are on fire. After a loss to the Adelaide Crows, losing Daria Bannister and Izzy Huntington to season ending injuries, and losing captain Katie Brennan to an ankle injury for who knows how long, somehow the Bulldogs came out and annihilated Carlton.

An attacking midfielder, Brooke Lochland, found herself bagging a record seven goals and leaping to the top of the AFLW goal kickers list.

Emma Kearney did as she pleased, amassing 26 possessions and leaving us pondering, how has this woman never won a league best and fairest at senior level – SHE. IS. THE. ELITE. MIDFIELDER.

Two of the Doggies’ newest recruits, Aisling Utri (18 disposals) and Monique Conti (16 disposals), were also amongst the side’s top half-dozen possession gatherers.

Something tells me we could be in for a high-scoring, exciting shoot-out, and although the Magpies will have a crack, the Doggies have a sniff of a home state Grand Final and that should be enough of a reason for them to run away with the win.

Prediction: Bulldogs by 16 points.

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