02/03/2024

The Inner Sanctum's Team of the Week for Round 1. (Picture: Essendonfc, North Melbournefc, Richmondfc) Design: Will Cuckson

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week, comprised of the best performing players from Round 1 of AFLW season seven.

Defenders are rewarded for defensive play, midfielders receive accolades for their dominance, while forwards receive a shout-out for hitting the scoreboard and applying pressure.

The team selected is…

The Inner Sanctum’s Team of the Week for Round One. Design: Will Cuckson

Defenders

In a game that went from end to end all afternoon, Claudia Gunjaca ensured Geelong remained in the game all afternoon and would ultimately go on to win. Gunjaca finished with nine disposals and five marks in the win. Sarah Lampard had arguably her best game in the AFLW, finishing with 14 disposals and three tackles. Lampard’s composure was a standout all night against a quality opposition in the Crows.

Emma Kearney was rock solid for North Melbourne in its crushing victory over Gold Coast. The experienced defender racked up 18 disposals, five marks, and four rebound 50s. Collingwood superstar Ruby Schleicher was terrific all night in the win over Carlton. The 24-year-old finished with 20 disposals, five marks, and two tackles. In her AFLW debut in Geelong, Eilish Sheerin showed why she will become a crowd favourite for many years to come. Sheerin collected 19 disposals, five marks, five rebound 50s, and four tackles.

Midfielders

Orla O’Dwyer continued her dominance for Brisbane in the opening game of the season in their comprehensive win over Fremantle. O’Dwyer finished with 20 disposals, two goals, and four inside 50s. In West Coast’s come-from-behind win over Port Adelaide, experienced campaigner Emma Swanson finished with 21 disposals and four marks, driving the home side forward at every opportunity. In the tight loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon, GWS midfielder Alyce Parker tried everything possible to keep her side in the contest. Parker finished with 26 disposals, six tackles, and a goal.

Despite the loss to arch-rivals Collingwood, Carlton ruckman Breann Moody provided her midfielders with first use all night long. Moody picked up 24 hitouts, 11 disposals and booted a crucial goal. Jasmine Garner showcased why she is one of the competition’s best players, finishing with 27 disposals, six inside 50s, and a goal. Alexandra Anderson was pivotal in Brisbane’s dominant win over Fremantle, gathering 23 disposals, five inside 50s, and four tackles.

Forwards

Cora Staunton picked up where she left off last season, providing a genuine threat up forward for GWS in the tight loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday. Staunton finished with three goals and nine disposals. On the back of winning the competition’s leading goalkicker award for Season Six, Adelaide forward Ashleigh Woodland showed the footy world she is set to be a significant threat for the title yet again. Woodland kicked three goals from seven disposals in a strong outing. Tahlia Randall provided headaches for a struggling Gold Coast outfit all afternoon on Saturday, booting three majors and taking four marks.

St. Kilda key forward Kate Shierlaw had a career-best showing with four majors from 11 disposals and seven score involvements in the strong win over expansion side Sydney.

In her first game in Essendon colours, dynamic forward Bonnie Toogood showcased why she was one of the most sought-after players in the previous off-season. Toogood finished with 15 disposals, seven marks, and two goals.

Interchange

Essendon boom recruit Maddy Prespakis was the most influential player on the ground in Saturday night’s first club win over Hawthorn. Prespakis gathered 26 disposals, five inside 50s, four marks, and a goal. In the Grand Final rematch, Melbourne star midfielder Eliza West found plenty of the football, picking up 25 disposals and six tackles. Tarni White was involved in every contest in the win over Sydney, certainly making her presence felt. White picked up 17 disposals and laid a remarkable 14 tackles. Karen Paxman was a strong performer in the win over Adelaide, collecting 24 disposals, five inside 50s, four rebound 50s, and kicking the sealer. Despite the loss to West Coast, young Port Adelaide midfielder Abbey Dowrick certainly lost no fans in her first AFLW game. Dowrick picked up 21 disposals, seven marks, and four tackles.

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