The Inner Sanctum has selected a Team of the Week for AFLW Round 1, comprised of the 21 best performers of the round. (Design: Will Cuckson)

The Inner Sanctum has selected a Team of the Week comprised of the 21 best performers from Round 1 of the 2022 AFLW season.

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week comprised of the best performing players in Round 1 of the 2022 AFLW season.

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

Lauren Ahrens held firm down back for the Suns even as they began to leak goals late, keeping Rebecca Privitelli to just a goal while having 14 disposals at 71 per cent efficiency, eight intercept possessions, five rebounds 50s, and four marks. Belinda Smith was tied equal first in the competition for intercept possessions with nine, and second for rebound 50s with six, one of the round’s best counter-attacking players.

Jess Duffin came to life in the second quarter against Geelong and cut off every attack, with nine intercept possessions and taking five marks. Louise Stephenson was the round’s strongest key defender, keeping the Suns to just three goals. Libby Birch read the ball to perfection and set up attacking plays for the Demons all game long, picking up 18 disposals, nine intercept possession, taking five marks, and launching four rebound 50s.

Alicia Eva lit up the wing with 21 disposals, seven inside 50s, and 298 metres gained, but also worked just as hard defensively with an equal-second competition high 11 tackles. When the game was there to be won, Ash Riddell lifted the North Melbourne midfield group around her, collecting a round-high 35 disposals and 22 contested possessions, eight intercept possessions, seven clearances, six inside 50s, two rebound 50s, two score involvements, and 478 metres gained in a complete midfield performance. Tessa Lavey was key to Richmond’s quick ball movement, finding the perfect space for one-two handball chains, finishing 19 disposals and six inside 50s.

Breann Moody took advantage of Collingwood’s ruck struggles, finishing with a competition second best 25 hit outs while working between the arcs with two inside 50s and two rebounds 50s. Monique Conti came bursting out of the gates in Round 1, leading the Tigers’ midfield from clearances and in all key statistics. She collected a career-best 29 disposals, nine clearances, and seven tackles. Eden Zanker was a contested ball-winning machine, finishing with 17 out of her 20 disposals along with nine intercept possessions, six score involvements and five inside 50s.

Eloise Jones thrived in a half-forward linking role where she could find more ball in hand, finishing with 16 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s. Kate Hore ran circles around a depleted Bulldogs backline, taking four marks to go with six score involvements, three inside 50s, and two goals. Ebony Antonio kicked three goals in a game for the first time in her career, and each was nearly better than the last.

Courtney Wakefield was a lead up marking machine, finishing with an equal competition high three contested marks to go with her two majors. In a game where goals were hard to come by, Ashleigh Woodland kicked four, reading tumbling balls out the back of packs and snapping around her body with style.

Cora Staunton came to life when the game was on the line, kicking truly for two goals. Gabby Seymour was the best ruck at assisting her midfielders, finishing the game with 15 disposals, five tackles, and five intercept possessions along with her 13 hit outs. Jordyn Allen couldn’t have asked for a better return from injury down back, cutting off play (six intercept possessions) just as effectively as creating it (four rebound 50s). If you give Alyce Parker an inch she takes a mile, registering an equal competition-high nine clearances. Hayley Miller stood up in a true captain’s performance when the Western Derby was there to be won, kicking two crucial goals for the first time out of the midfield, where she collected 11 contested possessions.

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