29/02/2024

Stars young and old stood up in Round 6 of AFLW season seven. (Photos: GWS Giants; Adelaide Crows AFLW/Twitter; North Melbourne FC)

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week comprised of the best performing players from Round 6 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.

You can read last week’s team here.

The team selected is…

The Inner Sanctum’s AFLW Team of the Week for Round 6. (Design: Will Cuckson)

Defenders:

Vivien Saad hadn’t quite found her feet in Gold Coast’s backline in season seven, but was one of the club’s best on ground in the narrow loss to Richmond. With 16 disposals and seven marks, she was important in limiting the dangerous duo of Katie Brennan and Courtney Wakefield to just one goal between them.

In a year that keeps getting worse and worse for Carlton, Mua Laloifi has been a shining light in defence, and earns another Team of the Week selection for her 16 disposals and three marks.

Brisbane’s Nat Grider shredded through Essendon’s defensive structures off half-back on Sunday afternoon. When the Lions weren’t winning the ball out of clearance, she was creating opportunities by rebounding out of the backline.

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Right next to her, Shannon Campbell locked down star Essendon forward Bonnie Toogood while collecting nine disposals and four marks of her own.

In stellar form, Brooke Brown is making her case to be in All-Australian contention. In just her 17th AFLW game, she was a driving force off half-back, collecting 17 disposals for 328 metres gained.

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Midfielders:

She’s the competition standard for hit-outs to advantage, and Alice Edmonds earns selection as the Team of the Week ruck once again. With 35 hit-outs, 19 of those to advantage, along with four tackles and three clearances, she dominated the match-up with Olivia Fuller.

Ebony Marinoff was a force to be reckoned with by Port Adelaide’s midfield, as she bullied her way through to 24 disposals, 11 tackles, five clearances, and a goal. She was at her very best, applying pressure when she wasn’t getting the ball to the advantage of her forwards.

She’s picked up steam through the middle part of the season, and tackling machine Kiara Bowers was brilliant once again against Melbourne. 26 disposals, 12 tackles, six clearances, and a brilliant snap to open the Dockers’ scoring was a great day out.

In just her sixth AFLW game, mature-age recruit Hannah Stuart had her breakout performance in the narrow loss to Collingwood. St Kilda’s new midfield marvel collected 25 disposals (10 contested), five tackles, four clearances, and kicked two goals.

Sophie Conway is without a doubt the competition’s best winger in season seven, and earns her second Team of the Week selection. 17 disposals and a goal don’t quite tell the story of how she broke apart Essendon’s structure with her pace and drive by foot.

On the other wing, Aileen Gilroy helped to propel the Hawks to another nail-biting win, this time over the Eagles on Friday night. In addition to her 15 disposals and two shots on goal, the Irishwoman laid a massive 10 tackles and had four clearances, getting involved on the inside too.

Forwards:

Georgia Garnett‘s aerial presence was the difference in GWS’ win over Carlton, taking 12 marks to go with her 17 disposals. Her forward move has paid off in spades, providing the link between the midfield and forward lines that the Giants have been desperate for.

Who else could have taken out the first AFLW Showdown Medal? Chelsea Randall had the award sealed by quarter time, kicking two of her three goals early on to set the tone. She ended the match with 27 disposals, seven clearances and six marks in a clear best afield performance.

Not content with just being the competition’s best midfielder, Jasmine Garner was challenged by coach Darren Crocket with greater forward time this week. She absolutely delivered, kicking two goals and finishing with 18 touches, 10 tackles and six clearances for her fifth appearance in the Team of the Week.

Jesse Wardlaw could have easily had four goals against the Bombers, but with Dani Marshall and Ash Van Loon hanging off her at every entry, she still managed a solid 2.3 along with two marks. She’s now equal first in the AFLW goalkicking, alongside Kate Shierlaw.

Jess Duffin was thrown forward for the first time in a very long time, and delivered when Hawthorn needed her most. The veteran not only kicked her first AFLW goal since 2019, but delivered three of them, guiding the Hawks to their second victory in as many weeks.

Interchange:

Monique Conti was the most influential midfielder for her side as always, collecting 23 disposals, eight tackles and five clearances in a must-win match against Gold Coast.

Kate Hore has finally found her kicking boots after a few inaccurate weeks, slotting three goals straight along with her 13 disposals, both impacting the scoreboard and setting up teammates to do the same.

Tahlia Hickie has firmly cemented herself as one of the league’s elite rucks, and try as the Bombers might, none of Jacqui Vogt, Steph Wales or Megan Ryan were able to get the better of her as she collected 31 hit outs, 12 disposals, six tackles and a goal.

Having the luxury of Maddi Gay‘s run off the half-back line speaks to just how strong Melbourne’s recruiting has been. The pacey Dee rebounded everything that came her way, finishing with 19 disposals and four marks.

Bella Lewis may not be able to pip skipper Emma Swanson for the club best and fairest, but she’s doing her best to give it a shake. The young star collected 24 disposals, 10 tackles, nine clearances, and kicked a goal against Hawthorn.

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