Week one of the 2021 AFLW Finals series delivered two enthralling clashes as Melbourne and Collingwood advanced to the Preliminary Finals. Now they both face the challenge of heading interstate to take on the Lions and the Crows. We’ve got you covered with previews and tips for two massive Preliminary Finals this weekend!
Saturday April 10, Adelaide Oval, 2:10pm
Melbourne enter the Preliminary Final as the most in-form team in the competition, with five wins on the trot. Karen Paxman’s 20 disposals led the Demons to a gritty seventeen point win over the Dockers, a game which characterised Melbourne’s remarkable recent run. Regardless of the conditions or the quality of opponent, they just find a way. They face a seasoned Adelaide side that has won two of the three AFLW premierships. The dominant midfield trio of Erin Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard have been there and done it on the big stage, they know what it takes. The Crows have an incredibly experienced line up, and a massive home ground advantage at the Adelaide Oval.
The Crows ruck pairing of Rhiannon Metcalfe and Caitlin Gould has elevated Adelaide in the back half of the season, particularly Gould’s athleticism is something opposition sides have struggled to contain. Melbourne’s accuracy in front of goal has been a concern all season long, and after kicking 5.10 last week, it’s clear that it’s still a massive issue for Melbourne. The Demons are going to have to play a near perfect game to win on Saturday, and they can’t afford to be inaccurate in front of goal.
Phillips, Marinoff and Hatchard hold the key in this clash - if they get going, Melbourne are going to struggle to keep with the Crows. Melbourne have never played at the Adelaide Oval, with what is expected to be a packed crowd and ground dimensions that the Demons will be completely foreign to, it's going to be an incredibly tough ask for Melbourne. The Crows premiership experience will rise to the top in this clash, expect Erin Phillips to once again star on the big stage.
Brisbane vs Collingwood
Saturday April 10, Gabba, 4:10pm
Collingwood travels to the Gabba to take on the Lions in the second Preliminary Final on Saturday. Both sides are in contrasting patches of form with Brisbane finishing the season with four wins from their last five games, whilst Collingwood has lost two of it’s past four games. The Pies kicked the last three goals of the game to beat North Melbourne by a goal last week, which will give the Pies a much needed boost of confidence after a shaky end to the home and away season. The Lions were able to overcome a last minute ground change to beat Collingwood in round seven, and will be confident their depth will be too much for the Pies.
Whilst the Pies may have some of the star names in the competition, the Lions ability to get contributions all over the field has been the hallmark of their success this season. Lions stopper Cathy Svarc will play a massive role in this clash, Svarc held Pies star Bri Davey to 14 disposals in their round seven win over the Pies. If Svarc can quell Davey’s influence, it will go a long way to the Lions winning on Saturday. Like the Crows vs Dees match, the home ground advantage will be a pivotal for the Lions.
The Pies have never played at the Gabba, and the Lions have an excellent record there. The Lions attacking game has always been a focal point of their game, however their backline has lifted in the latter part of the season, and they’ll need to be at their best against the dangerous Collingwood forward line. The Lions possession style football could pick apart a Collingwood side that has suffered many injuries to it’s back six. This game will be an entertaining clash if their encounter earlier this season is anything to go by, but the Lions will be too strong and book a spot in the Grand Final.
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