The field is set, after nine home and away rounds the finals are upon us. Two do or die finals on Saturday afternoon will have fans across the country excited. Melbourne will host Fremantle at Casey Fields, whilst North Melbourne will travel to Victoria Park to take on Collingwood. We’ve got you covered with previews and tips of the two blockbuster finals this weekend!
Saturday April 3, Casey Fields, 1:10pm
The Demons survived a kick after the siren to beat the Lions last week, which meant they earned the right to host the qualifying final against the Dockers. Lily Mithen (23 disposals) and Karen Paxman (18 disposals, 1 goal) led Melbourne to victory. In the back half of the season, the Demons ability to beat fellow top six sides has shown they will be a massive threat during this finals series. Whilst the Dees have momentum, they will go into this knockout final without captain Daisy Pearce who is out with a knee injury.
Fremantle suffered a one point loss against North Melbourne, meaning they will be on the road for the entirety of the finals series. The Dockers slow starts have proven costly, scoring 3.12 in first quarters this season. Whilst many people will be quick to write off the Dockers after losing two games in a row to end the home & away season, this Dockers side has played some incredible football over the past two seasons. They play a hardened brand of football that stands up in finals football, and they will have the motivation of the pandemic denying them a premiership last season, to spur them on. They also have something that no other side possesses, the best player in the league, Kiara Bowers. Bowers has averaged 21 disposals, 6 clearances and 10 tackles per game in 2021.
Her star factor will stand out in the finals and she can drag Freo to the promised land. The Demons triumphed by five points when the two sides met two weeks ago, and you can expect another classic encounter. Daisy Pearce is a massive loss for the Demons, and the Dockers high pressure, contested style of footy could shock the Demons who play a brand that revolves around their outside run. The Dockers style is built for finals footy, and the contrasting style the Dees play with will suit Fremantle to a tee. The Dockers to move onto the preliminary final.
Saturday April 3, Victoria Park, 3:10pm
After starting 6-0 and spending the majority of the home & away season atop the AFLW ladder, the Pies have lost two of their last three games and now face the long road to the Premiership. Collingwood benefited from a favourable fixture early in the season, but now there are genuine questions about their flag credentials. They face off against an inspired North Melbourne outfit that is riding high after a one point win over the Dockers last week, which secured their spot in the finals series. These two sides have dynamic forward lines that can put up points in a hurry, but there are concerns about the consistency of both these sides. The midfield battle is going to be crucial in this clash.
Collingwood have the star power with Bri Davey, Britt Bonnici and Jamie Lambert, however the Roos midfield bats deeper than nearly every team in the comp. Emma Kearney, Jas Garner, Jenna Bruton, Ash Riddell and Ellie Gavalas have dominated over the past two seasons and they’ll be confident their experience will come through against the young Pies. Emma King has been the best ruck in the competition this season and she will give Collingwood some major problems when she pushes forward.
Despite Collingwood finishing as the higher placed side, there was only a game difference between the two teams. North Melbourne had some issues with consistency throughout the season, but in a one game elimination scenario, it’s hard to pick against them. The Kangaroos have a major experience advantage over the Magpies, and they have the bigger bodies that stand up in finals football. North Melbourne defeated Collingwood in last year’s finals series in an epic encounter, and we’re set for another one. The Kangaroos experience and depth will prove too much for the Pies in this clash.
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