Fremantle vs Adelaide
Saturday 3:10pm AEDT, Fremantle Oval
Round 8 kicks off with a top of the table clash at Fremantle Oval, as the Dockers host Adelaide on Saturday afternoon. Adelaide are sitting on top of the ladder after a 40 point win over GWS, as they held the Giants goalless. The Crows racked up 20 scoring shots to 5, and the margin could’ve been even more embarrassing if not for Adelaide’s inaccuracy in front of goal. Fremantle come into this clash after a bye, with their last game taking place on the 12th of February, where they defeated Carlton by 42 points.
The statistical profile in this clash makes for remarkable reading between the two best teams in the competition. Fremantle sit second on the ladder with a 6-1 record possessing the number one ranked attack in the competition (averaging 43 points per game) and the second best defence in the league (conceding on average 20 points per game). Ladder leaders Adelaide are also 6-1, with the number two ranked (averaging 42 points per game), and the best defence in the AFLW (conceding on average 18 points per game).
It’s a genuine 1st vs 2nd clash in every sense of the occasion, and it’s going to be one of the games of the season. Fremantle are the number one tackling team in the competition by a considerable margin, and their pressure can bring their Crows possession style of football undone. Fremantle have won 14 of their last 16 games at Fremantle Oval, and they’ll get the job done against the Crows.
Richmond vs Geelong
Saturday 5:10pm AEDT, Swinburne Centre
Richmond ended their five game losing streak with a 23 point victory over West Coast last week. For the Cats, it was another honourable loss last week in a 12 point defeat to the Bulldogs, leaving them with a 1-6 record. Remarkably the Cats six losses have all come by under 15 points, as they’ve held their opponents to under five goals in five of their seven games this season.
Geelong’s biggest issue has been their inability to score, with the Cats only reaching the five goal mark once, as they’ve averaged just 23 points per game this season - the third fewest in the AFLW. Despite only winning two games, the Tigers rank 4th in the competition for scoring, averaging 40 points per game.
Richmond just have too much offensive firepower for Geelong to keep up with in this clash, Geelong's defence has been brave all year, but they won't be able to score at a rate against Richmond to keep themselves in the game. Monique Conti and Ellie McKenzie are going to be a nightmare for the Cats midfield to contain.
Melbourne vs North Melbourne
Saturday 7:10pm AEDT, Casey Fields
The second top four clash of the weekend sees the fourth placed Melbourne, hosting the third placed North Melbourne at Casey Fields. The Demons are coming off a stirring three point win over Brisbane on Monday, where they trailed by 22 points in the first half. Led by Jasmine Garner’s 26 disposals, 6 marks and 3 goals, the Kangaroos extended their winning streak to five matches, with a 23 point win over the Pies in Hobart.
Both sides come into this clash with 6-1 records, and with Fremantle and Adelaide playing each other this week, there’s a chance for one of these sides to move into the top two. Melbourne possesses the equal best attack in the AFLW, averaging 43 points per game this season, and have the fifth best defence in the competition to pair with it, conceding just 26 points per game this season. The Kangaroos are the fifth highest scoring team in the league with 36 points per game, and the third best defensive team, conceding just 21 points per game this season.
This is set up to be another cracking clash between two of the best sides in the competition, however Melbourne’s dominance at Casey Fields is too hard to ignore. The Demons have won their last eleven games by an average margin of 25 in Casey.
St Kilda vs Gold Coast Suns
Sunday 1:10pm AEDT, Trevor Barker Beach Oval
The winless Saints hit their lowest low last week, kicking 0.2.2 in a 46 point loss to Carlton who were second last on the ladder with just one win heading into the game. The Saints backed up their horror show on Sunday with a remarkable choke against the Giants on Wednesday, giving away a 50 metre penalty to allow the Giants to kick the winning goal after the siren. Gold Coast have had a frustrating week with a 69 point loss to the Lions on Thursday followed up by a draw on Tuesday against the Bulldogs, in a game where they led by 24 points at three quarter time.
The Suns sit half a game outside of the top six and must win this game to keep their finals hopes alive with just three games remaining in the season. Coming up against the Saints who have scored just 15 points per game this season, there is a massive chance for a percentage boost.
Despite their poor showing against the Lions, the Suns have been consistent at hitting the scoreboard this season, averaging 34 points per game. Their weakness has been at the defensive end, but they won’t be challenged enough by this struggling St Kilda outfit. The Suns will keep their finals hopes alive with an easy win over the Saints.
Collingwood vs Western Bulldogs
Sunday 3:10pm AEDT, Victoria Park
It’s sixth vs seventh on the AFLW ladder with a spot inside the top six up for grabs. After their dramatic draw on Tuesday against the Suns, the Bulldogs are within two points of Collingwood who were soundly beaten by North Melbourne in Hobart.
After starting the season 0-2, the Bulldogs have three wins and a draw from their last four games to have themselves within striking distance of the top six. Collingwood’s inability to keep games tight when they aren’t on top has been a major factor in their inability to beat any teams above them on the ladder. Collingwood’s three losses this season have come by margins of 31, 24 and 23 points.
The Bulldogs have had plenty of close game experience in the last month, with their last five games being decided by an average margin of 7 points. They’ve had a 3-1-1 record in those four games, and will be well prepared in a game that will be pressure packed. There’s very little separating these two sides, but with the form the Bulldogs are in, they’re well positioned to jump into the top six.
West Coast Eagles vs Brisbane
Sunday 5:10pm AEDT, Mineral Resources Park
West Coast were beaten convincingly by Richmond last weekend, slumping the Eagles to 13th place on the ladder with a 1-6 record. Brisbane split their weekend fixtures 1-1 with a 69 point win over the Gold Coast and a 3 point loss to Melbourne. Brisbane got through unscaved which given their ridiculous fixture, is probably more important than the four points.
The Eagles have struggled to defend this season, conceding 41 points per game in 2022. Coming up against the best team in the competition at retaining the ball inside forward 50, the West Coast defence is going to be under pressure for four quarters in this clash.
This match will be the fourth in fifteen days for the reigning premiers, so they may be a little slow in this clash, however their system and talent is far too good for West Coast to handle. Brisbane will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Melbourne during the week, and won’t have any troubles knocking off the Eagles in Perth.
GWS Giants vs Carlton
Sunday 7:10pm AEDT, Manuka Oval
Round 8 concludes in the nation’s capital, as Carlton take on GWS. The Blues managed to put an end to their four game losing streak with a 46 point thrashing of St Kilda last weekend. For the Giants, it was the second week in a row a top four side completely outplayed them as the Crows demolished GWS by 40 points. They managed to scrape over the line against the Saints on Wednesday thanks to a goal after the siren from Katherine Smith taking the Giants to a 3-4 record, just one win outside of the top six.
GWS have had one of the toughest fixtures in the competition, having played all four top teams as well as the Bulldogs and Suns who are half a game outside of the top six. The Giants will be looking forward to taking on a side below them on the ladder, and the 11th placed Carlton will provide a massive opportunity for GWS to keep themselves in the finals race.
Both teams have been poor at the defensive end this season, so this could be a high scoring affair. Carlton have never played at Manuka Oval, so the home ground advantage will be a factor for the Giants. Their midweek victory could garner some serious momentum and belief heading into the final weeks of the season. This will be a close encounter, but the Giants will come out on top.