Round six of the AFLW was by far the best we have witnessed in terms of drama, with the landscape drastically changing and the home and away season being setup for a wild finish.
For the third week in a row, we have a new leader in the Leesa Catto Media MVP voting, with a former count leader reclaiming her spot with just one week to play.
Alicia Eva is back atop the count, leading by one vote ahead of Emma Kearney and Elise O’Dea.
Only eight players remain in contention for the Media MVP, and if the on-field drama isn’t enough for you this weekend, it acts as an interesting subplot to follow.
What we know about this year’s count is that the winner can only finish on a maximum of 22 votes, and when compared with last year’s winner Erin Phillips’ 27 votes, it goes to show just how tight this race has been.
Here are the votes for round six, as well as the Team of the Week!
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
TOTW/Leesa Catto Media MVP votes: Round 4, 2018
TOTW/Leesa Catto Media MVP votes: Round 5, 2018
Back pocket: Chelsea Randall (Adelaide)
Key stats: 11 disposals (10 kicks, 1 handball), 81.8% DE, 6 marks, 3 contested marks, 6 tackles, 3 clearances
Previous TOTW: R1 (HFF), R3 (BP), R4 (BP), R5 (BP)
Chelsea Randall is on the most remarkable run in terms of defensive output. She didn’t quite get the numbers she has in recent weeks, but she stepped up in the key moments of the match, particularly in the final quarter when the Crows were under siege. Once again, she used the ball reliably, which is a trademark of her game.
Full-back: Sarah Allan (Adelaide)
Key stats: 11 disposals (9 kicks, 2 handballs), 63.6% DE, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 4 rebound 50s
Previous TOTW: –
Although this is only Sarah Allan’s first time in the GPF Team of the Week, she has been a consistent performer for the Crows and usually has a quarter or two where she really steps up and shines. Against Fremantle, she rose at all of the important moments and did extremely well to keep the Fremantle key forwards quiet, also repelling the ball effectively. Simply put, the Crows don’t win without her.
Back pocket: Chloe Molloy (Collingwood)
Key stats: 18 disposals (13 kicks, 5 handballs), 77.8% DE, 5 marks, 3 tackles
Previous TOTW: R1 (BP), R2 (BP)
Chloe Molloy returns to our Team of the Week after being named in the first two rounds. Though it has been a few weeks between drinks, Molloy has remained a consistent performer even if not blowing the house down. We can pretty much pen her in for the Rising Star award, having been a key part of Collingwood’s defensive efforts and now getting the chance to roam forward a bit more.
Half-back flank: Kate Lutkins (Brisbane)
Key stats: 18 disposals (12 kicks, 6 handballs), 61.1% DE, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal
Previous TOTW: R1 (CHB), R3 (FB), R4 (FB), R5 (FB)
It was a slightly different role for Kate Lutkins in round five as she roamed further up the field and applied forward pressure. The Lions probably could have used her in the key defensive areas a bit more, but she is also just as valuable pressing forward. After such a spectacular season in which she has shown her versatility, you’d have to say she is on par with the likes of Brianna Davey in terms of worth to her team.
Centre half-back: Jasmine Garner (Collingwood)
Key stats: 18 disposals (16 kicks, 2 handballs), 55.6% DE, 6 marks, 1 goals
Previous TOTW: R4 (CHB), R5 (CHB)
It was somewhat difficult giving Jasmine Garner a position this week as she played both defensively and up forward, and although she kicked a goal (also missing a few opportunities), her impact in the back half was again what stood out. Her move to the back half has been a master stroke, and the Magpies have been able to fully utilise her excellent marking and composed disposal. This is the third week in a row she has claimed the centre half-back spot.
Half-back flank: Alicia Eva (GWS)
Key stats: 19 disposals (13 kicks, 6 handballs), 57.9% DE, 7 tackles, 3 rebound 50s 1 goal
Previous TOTW: R3 (HFF), R4 (RV)
On the ball, on a wing, up forward or down back – no matter where you play Alicia Eva, she has an impact. In partnership with Courtney Gum, Eva is relishing the opportunity to use the football on the run and is carving up opponents week after week, sometimes without getting the plaudits (this is only her third Team of the Week selection). She has retaken her lead in the Leesa Catto Media MVP and would be an extremely fitting winner if she manages to hold on.
Centre: Courtney Gum (GWS)
Key stats: 23 disposals (17 kicks, 6 handballs), 56.6% DE, 20 contested possessions, 4 marks, 3 contested marks, 10 clearances, 5 inside 50s, 3 one-percenters, 1 goal
Previous TOTW: R3 (RV), R5 (HFF)
In terms of playing for an underdog team with its back to the wall, we might not ever seen a better individual performance than what we saw from Courtney Gum against the Western Bulldogs. She was unstoppable – it’s hard to highlight anything specific because she was just phenomenal, even while receiving close body contact. What’s worth mentioning is that she broke two individual records against the Dogs, registering them most clearances and most contested possessions in a match.
Half-forward flank: Elise O’Dea (Melbourne)
Key stats: 19 disposals (14 kicks, 5 handballs), 73.7% DE, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 3 goals
Previous TOTW: R2 (HBF), R4 (Int), R5 (RV)
It’s hard to put into words just how good Elise O’Dea’s first term was. She was a great for the whole game, but that first quarter, in which she kicked all of her three goals, was just something special. In a game the Demons needed to win comfortably, O’Dea came out and took full advantage of the Blues tagging Daisy Pearce, proving to opposition teams that she will torch you if that’s how they want to approach things. Furthermore, she is now equal second in the Leesa Catto Media MVP race.
Centre half-forward: Christina Bernardi (Collingwood)
Key stats: 16 disposals (11 kicks, 5 handballs), 68.8% DE, 7 marks, 3 goals
Previous TOTW: R2 (HBF), R4 (Int), R5 (RV)
In many of her performances this year, Christina Bernardi has been only just shy of putting together something really memorable. On the weekend against Brisbane, she did just that, using the ball exceptionally, showing off her marking skills and kicking goals for fun against what is usually a stingy Lions defence. She is deserving of the Magpies’ best and fairest, which she is almost certain to claim.
Half-forward flank: Ellie Blackburn (Western Bulldogs)
Key stats: 18 disposals (10 kicks, 8 handballs), 72.2% DE, 4 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 60s
Previous TOTW: R1 (RR), R3 (HFF), R4 (HBF), R5 (RR)
Opposition teams know Ellie Blackburn’s skill set, but stopping her from having an impact is the issue. The best thing about her is that she seems to change the way she has an impact in midfield roles on a weekly basis, last week taking advantage of free space in the centre and this week winning her own. It was a difficult week for the Bulldogs, but unsurprisingly, Blackburn was unphased.
Forward pocket: Erin Phillips (Adelaide)
Key stats: 9 disposals (6 kicks, 3 handballs), 77.8% DE, 3 goals
Previous TOTW: R3 (FF)
It seems ridiculous that a player performing on one leg could still have such an impact, but here we are. Many seem reluctant to give Erin Phillips the praise she deserves this year after such a stunning 2017, but what she is managing to do while dealing with injury is almost more impressive than all the accolades acquired last year, at least in this observer’s opinion. Her three goals were the difference against Fremantle, no doubt.
Full-forward: Tegan Cunningham (Melbourne)
Key stats: 13 disposals (8 kicks, 5 handballs), 76.9% DE, 3 marks, 3 goals, 2 goal assists
Previous TOTW: R2 (CHF), R3 (CHF)
Tegan Cunningham just bullied the poor Carlton defenders at the weekend. The Blues put four different defenders on Cunningham over the course of the 60 minutes, and nobody was able to stop her from influencing the contest. Not only did she kick three goals, she was directly responsible for two others, and in her first season has risen to be considered one of the best – if not the best – premier key forwards in the competition. She is now tied second with Tayla Harris in contested marks behind only Sabrina Frederick-Traub, and second in goals behind Brooke Lochland.
Forward pocket: Moana Hope (Collingwood)
Key stats: 7 disposals (6 kicks, 1 handball), 57.1% DE, 3 goals
Previous TOTW: R4 (FP)
She just keeps on growing as the season rolls on, Moana Hope. It’s no surprise to see her influence increase as her team’s midfield output has improved, kicking three goals as the Magpies ran rampant. She has now moved up to seven goals in five matches, equalling the seven she kicked last year, and has only kicked four less goals than Darcy Vescio in the AFLW’s short existence. It goes to show just how overblown the criticism of Mo has been.
Ruck: Lauren Pearce (Melbourne)
Key stats: 17 disposals (9 kicks, 8 handballs), 64.7% DE, 16 hitouts, 3 tackles, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s
Previous TOTW: –
It was a toss-up between Pearce and GWS’s Erin McKinnon for the ruck spot, but Pearce is deserving of the nod for the work she does around the ground. The Demons looked lost without her in defence when she was left out of the team for found four, and while we talk about the midfielders so much, she is one of the most important parts of their team structure. Her defensive marking is generally a standout, but in round six week it was her ground work across half-forward that impressed most.
Rover: Dana Hooker (Fremantle)
Key stats: 20 disposals (15 kicks, 5 handballs), 65% DE, 13 contested possessions, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 5 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 2 goals
Previous TOTW: R2 (RV), R3 (Int)
We might’ve just seen the most remarkable individual performance from a player in a losing AFLW side. Dana Hooker was a woman possessed against Adelaide, grabbing clearances, using the ball well and kicking a couple of goals while she was at it. Her team still managing to lose is symptomatic of the Fremantle side: a few really impressive players, but the bottom half of the list is not up to scratch. Hooker is now number one overall in the competition for clearances, ahead of Daisy Pearce and Emma Kearney.
Ruck-rover: Emma Kearney (Western Bulldogs)
Key stats: 22 disposals (19 kicks, 3 handballs), 54.5% DE, 4 marks, 8 tackles, 4 clearances, 4 rebound 50s, 4 inside 50s
Previous TOTW: R1 (C), R2 (C), R3 (C), R4 (C), R5 (Int)
Emma Kearney is now just one round away from being named in everu Team of the Week this season. She has been nothing short of stunning, and although she was again blanketed this weekend, she still manages to have an impact. Although there weren’t as many contributors for the Bulldogs as there usually are, Kearney was still able to impress in their loss, and her side will need her to be at her very best if they are to succeed this weekend against Melbourne
Interchange: Emily Bates (Brisbane)
Key stats: 20 disposals (13 kicks, 7 handballs), 60% DE, 10 contested possessions, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s
Previous TOTW: R3 (Int)
While Emily Bates hasn’t been as good as in 2017 – partially due to more contributors in the Brisbane midfield – she put on a throwback performance in her side’s round six loss. She was back to winning the lion’s share of loose balls around congestion, which is where she excels most. To operate at 60% disposal efficiency despite half of her touches being contested is rather impressive.
Interchange: Monique Conti (Western Bulldogs)
Key stats: 14 disposals (11 kicks, 3 handballs), 71.4% DE, 4 marks, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal
Previous TOTW: –
Monique Conti’s development has been clear to the eye as we have watched her go from a minor contributor to a blossoming half-forward. She has been threatening to get on the scoreboard all season and was finally able to do so in her team’s loss, but it was the stuff she did around the half-forward line that was more impressive. Her agility and calmness under pressure will continue to set her apart for years to come.
Interchange: Angela Foley (Adelaide)
Key stats: 15 disposals (13 kicks, 2 handballs), 60% DE, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 3 inside 50s
Previous TOTW: Round 4 (RR)
Angela Foley is working into the season more and more as it goes on, which is extremely encouraging for the Crows as they look to book what was an extremely unlikely Grand Final berth just a few weeks ago. In the absence of Erin Phillips in the midfield, it has been Foley who has stood up to create midfield drive, whether that be by bombing it long or running the ball.
Interchange: Sabrina Frederick-Traub (Brisbane)
Key stats: 13 disposals (10 kicks, 3 handballs), 53.8% DE, 6 marks, 3 contested marks, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal
Previous TOTW: R1 (CHF), R5 (FF)
Try as she might, Sabrina Frederick-Traub just couldn’t manage to keep her team in the game at the weekend. She was her typical self taking contested marks and being more than just a tall presence in the forward line, but she just didn’t get enough quality service. Sometimes Frederick-Traub seems to suffer from her teammates just sitting the ball on her head, and although she is the competition’s best contested marker, it’s overlooked how damaging she can be on a lead.
Interchange: Jess Duffin (Collingwood)
Key stats: 18 disposals (15 kicks, 3 handballs), 83.3% DE, 4 marks, 3 inside 50s
Previous TOTW: R2 (BP)
While this is only Duffin’s second appearance in our Team of the Week, like many players only having a couple of appearances, she has been extremely consistent either up forward or down back. As a rebound defender, she is unstoppable in stages, especially when she is able to get clear room to run and use the ball. She is arguably the best user by foot on the run, and frequently begins counter-attacks with accurate ball movement, whereas other players just look to bomb the ball forward.
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