The quest for AFLW glory begins this Saturday with Round 1 of the 2019 season. We’ve got you covered with tips for all five Round 1 matchups.
Round 1 begins in Geelong and it's an extra special occasion as the Cats make their AFLW debut. Most of this squad has been picked from their VFLW team so they should be able to hit the ground running in this league. They beat Carlton in a preseason affair and will be keen to create history with their first AFLW victory. For the Magpies, it's looking like a tough 2019 as their squad has been impacted by injury and player movement. Chloe Molloy is already out for the season after winning the AFLPA Best & Fairest. They also lost a lot of talent to the Kangaroos and other sides. Despite this, Collingwood is around $1.70 to win but it's not overly convincing. So I think this should be a close game and can see either side winning by under 15.5 points. It's probably going to be a scrappy affair and that should see a low scoring battle.
The second game of Saturday's doubleheader will be played between Conference B rivals at Norwood Oval. Travelling to Adelaide will be the reigning champion Bulldogs as they face the Crows. Both sides are expected to compete for top spot in this conference so it'll be on from the start in Round 1. After winning the flag, the offseason wasn't overly kind for the Dogs. They've already lost Brooke Lochland up forward and she led the league in goals last season. Kearney also left for the Kangaroos. But with co-captains Ellie Blackburn and Katie Brennan on the field, they should be okay. Meanwhile, Adelaide is looking for improvement after a fairly poor season in 2018. The key will be Erin Phillips and her decision to forego her Basketball career can only help the Crows cause. They've also recruited well in the offseason and that showed in a solid 20 point win over the Dockers in the preseason. So I think the Bulldogs might struggle to kick enough goals in this one and it's also a tough Round 1 fixture away from home. In the end, Adelaide is 2-0 against the Bulldogs in AFLW and the Crows won by 7 points in the last meeting at this venue.
A triple-header on Sunday will start in Hobart as the Kangaroos start their AFLW campaign against the Blues. The new side to the competition went hard in the offseason and have picked up some quality talent that should see them near the top of Conference A. Non bigger than Emma Kearney who will captain the side after switching from the Bulldogs. Carlton's 2018 season was one to forget as they won just 2 of 7 games. Scoring points was a major issue and that put immense pressure on the defence. But things look brighter in 2019. Captain Brianna Davey is back from injury and booted 4 goals in their 2 point loss to the Cats in a practice match. So hopefully she can help the Blues forward line improve this season. They have serious talent with Vescio and Tayla Harris as well. In the end, I think North may struggle to gel straight away with a new side and that should see a fairly close contest. The Blues won't be happy with 2018 and should be eager to make amends straight away by keeping this margin under 15 points.
The other Conference A battle in Round 1 will see the Demons take on the Dockers. Melbourne will miss Daisy Pearce this season but I think they'll easily handle the Dockers at Casey Fields. The Dees have won 5 straight games at the venue and went undefeated in their 3 games here last season. There's also the travel factor for the Dockers as they've never won away from Perth in the AFLW competition. So the Dees by 1-39 looks the best value bet in this matchup. They won all 3 games at Casey Fields in 2018 via this margin.
Round 1 concludes with a matchup between the Lions and Giants up North. These two sides should be in contention for the top 2 spots in Conference B so for a Round 1 encounter, this could be a high stakes affair. The Lions are coming off back to back Grand Final appearances and despite losing both, there shouldn't be a massive dropoff in 2019. However, a recent 47 point loss against the Giants in the preseason is a concern. GWS has recruited well in the offseason and it showed as they booted 75 points. They should be one of team's to beat in 2019 and I think they start Round 1 with a win over the Lions.
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