The second half of the AFLW season is upon us and round four was moving day. Brisbane and Fremantle remained undefeated at the top of each conference, the Demons leapfrogged the Pies into the top three in conference B. Whilst losses to the Crows, Giants and Suns means that there is just one game separating third place and sixth place in Conference A. Round five is headlined by a top of the table between the Dockers and Lions on Sunday evening in Perth.
Friday 6th March, Great Barrier Reef Arena, 7:10pm AEDT
The Cats finally broke through for their first win against the Tigers last week in Bendigo, and thanks to the Crows, Giants and Suns losing last week, the Cats are remarkably just one game outside of third place. A win for the Cats this weekend will have them leapfrog the Suns and be knocking on the door for a finals place in conference A. The Cats were awesome last week led by Olivia Purcell (20 disposals), Amy McDonald (12, disposals) and Phoebe McWilliams (13 disposals) as the Cats registered their highest score ever 10.6.67. The Suns have continued to surprise opposition sides, as they ran North Melbourne’s star studded side right to the finish line in a thirteen point loss. Jamie Stanton continued her All-Australian calibre season with 17 disposals as the Suns again brought their renowned tackling pressure that has continued to keep them in games, as they registered 61 tackles. The Suns have been hard to beat in Queensland this season and the Cats have struggled interstate since coming into the league. This game is going to be a tight, low scoring affair. The Suns high pressure football will be too much for the Cats to handle on the road.
Saturday 7th March, North Hobart Oval, 3:10pm AEDT
This Saturday afternoon clash between two of the league’s most talented sides is set to be one of the games of the year. North Melbourne again overcame a tough challenge in round four as they defeated the Suns at Arden Street to remain second in conference A, whilst the Crows lost to the Blues at home which now has their place in the top three hanging by a thread. The Kangaroos haven’t been at their best so far, but their talent has gotten them by so far this season. Emma Kearney was once again a dominant force with 26 disposals, seven marks and five inside 50s against the Suns as she looks a strong chance for another league best and fairest medal. Jas Gardiner put together one of the best games of her career last week with 29 disposals. The Crows started strongly in the grand final rematch against the Blues, but suffered a second half fade out as they conceded five of the last six goals of the match in the eight point loss. Erin Phillips made a positive return from injury with 13 disposals in limited midfield time whilst Anne Hatchard continued her stellar season with 26 disposals. With conference A now a log jam between third and sixth, this is a must win game for the Crows. The Crows match up well with North Melbourne, convincingly defeating them away from home last season. With the Crows top three spot hanging by a thread and with Phillips back, the Crows will take an upset victory in Tasmania.
Saturday 7th March, Robertson Oval, 5:10pm AEDT
After losing to the Cats last week, the Tigers are now the only winless team left in the AFLW. Monique Conti’s 28 disposal, best on ground performance went in vain as the Tigers defence couldn’t handle a six goal onslaught in the second quarter from the Cats. The Tigers inability to stop opponents scoring continues to be a concern as they concede 56 points per game on average. The Giants suffered 28 point loss against the Lions last week, as the Lions dominated the second half en route to victory. The Lions set the blueprint for beating the Giants as Cathy Svarc shut down star midfielder Alyce Parker, keeping her to just 11 disposals. If Parker doesn’t get going, the Giants look extremely vulnerable. The Giants were shown how far they are off the top teams of the competition as the Lions bet the Giants in clearances (27-13), contested possessions (105-85), tackles (59-45) and inside 50s (37 to 15). With the log jam conference A has become, the Giants can’t afford to drop this game against the winless Tigers. After copping a lesson from the Lions, the Giants midfield led by Alyce Parker, will be eager to bounce back and stay in finals contention. Expect a statement game from the Giants, as Richmond’s winless season continues.
Saturday 7th March, Ikon Park, 7:10pm AEDT
Carlton firmly established its status as a premiership contender as they defeated Adelaide for the first time in the club's history. The win cemented the Blues spot inside the top three in conference B as they sit just five percent off second place. The Saints looked set to cause the upset of the season as they led for almost the entire match against the Dockers, until a last minute capitulation from Saints gifted the Dockers a one point win. The game has caused some issues for the Saints depth after serious injuries to Kate McCarthy and Tarni White. The Saints have seen some serious improvement from their defence in the last two weeks as they have only conceded four goals in the last two weeks, against the top two sides in conference B, Melbourne and Fremantle. St Kilda ruck Poppy Kelly starred on debut with 16 hitouts and 12 disposals. Young gun Madison Prespakis continued her elite season with 20 disposals, whilst Tayla Harris continued her return to form as she kicked two and was a force in the air hauling in contestant marks. Carlton have struggled to convert inside 50’s into goals but the Blues have kept doing enough to win games, If the Blues can improve their efficiency they are going to be incredibly tough to beat. The Saints have been brave over the last few weeks, however given the mounting injury list and facing an inform Blues, the floodgates might open up in this clash.
Sunday 8th March, Morwell Recreation Reserve, 1:10pm AEDT
For the second week in a row the AFLW goes to a regional Victorian town as the Pies and Dogs face off in Morwell. Collingwood are coming off a tough loss against Melbourne in round four, whilst the Bulldogs’ finals aspirations are all but over after losing to the previously winless Eagles. With a 1-3 record and sitting two games outside the top three, the Dogs would need a miracle to make the finals. Whilst the Pies are still in reach of the top three sitting just one game out, they must win this week as the Blues and Demons will likely be winners this weekend. Collingwood will be without All-Australian defender Ash Brazill after she tore her ACL against the Dees. Jaimee Lambert played a lone hand for the Pies in their round four loss with 22 disposals, six inside 50’s and a goal. The Bulldogs inaccuracy cost them dearly in their shock loss to the Eagles, the Dogs kicked 3.8 and had a plethora of opportunities in the last quarter to win the game. Captain Ellie Blackburn again carried the load for the Dogs with 19 disposals. The Pies will be licking their lips coming into the clash against the out of form Bulldogs, Collingwood’s midfield depth featuring Jaimee Lambert, Brianna Davey, Chloe Molloy and Steph Chiocci could run riot against a Dogs midfield that has struggled with form and injuries. This is a must win game for the Pies and despite a poor showing last week, the Pies have been fantastic this season. Playing a free flowing brand of football led by their star-studded midfield, they won’t have any issues against the Bulldogs.
Sunday 8th March, Casey Fields, 3:10pm AEDT
It looked like it may never come, but the Eagles finally secured their first AFLW victory last week against the Western Bulldogs. However that joy will be short lived as they travel to Casey Fields to take on a Melbourne outfit that sits second in conference B, with a 3-1 record. The Demons put on a ruthless display last week in a convincing 20 point victory, where they led from start to finish. Three time All-Australian Karen Paxman looks a certainty for a fourth consecutive All-Australian selection, she had a game high 24 disposals and six clearances in round four. Melbourne’s defence looks impossible to score against at the moment led by Libby Burch who has been the best key defender in the competition this season, whilst Daisy Pearce has added some much needed class to their half backline. Dana Hooker struggled for the first time this season however captain Emma Swanson picked up the sack, collecting 22 disposals to drag the Eagles to their first win. Whilst the Eagles are on a high from their first win, this game will be a major reality check. The Demons are a genuine premiership contender and will be looking to send a statement against the Eagles. The Demons have the Eagles well covered across the field and the Eagles simply don’t have enough offensive firepower to kick a winning score against the Demons elite defence. This match will be a great opportunity for the Demons to pick up some important percentage, in a tight conference B.
Sunday March 8th, Fremantle Oval, 5:10pm AEDT
We have to wait until the very last match of the round, but the game of the round comes on Sunday evening as the two best teams in league face off at Fremantle Oval. The Dockers just managed to keep their perfect 4-0 record alive, with a miraculous one point victory over the Saints last week. Whilst the Lions kept their unbeaten record intact with a convincing 28 point victory against the Giants in round 4. Both sides sit atop their respective conferences, both sides are yet to lose in 2020, this is set to be a cracker. It’s a case of offence vs defence. The Lions have been a dynamic side in attack with attacking ball use and a forward line that has continued to kick big scores. Whilst the Dockers superb backline has won the last two games for Fremantle, when it looked near impossible. Cathy Svarc has been a revelation for Brisbane this season, the mature age recruit further added to her All-Australian case with 23 disposals, two goals and an incredible shutdown job of Alyce Parker last week. Kiara Bowers continued to be a tackling machine as she racked up 12 tackles to go along with 13 disposals, Bowers has a remarkable 58 tackles from four games at an average of 14.5. The Dockers will have concerns about their midfield and forward line that has struggled in the past two weeks, the Dockers have firmly relied on their defence to win their last two games. However the Dockers have won their last seven games at Fremantle Oval, they haven’t lost at the venue since March 3rd 2018. The Dockers have found a way to win even when they haven’t been at their best and they’ll find a way to do it against the Lions. This is going to be the game of the season.
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