Round 6 of AFLW season seven saw perhaps the closest round in the competition’s history. The champions flexed their muscles, as the finals begin to fall into place.
The Inner Sanctum takes you through Round 6, complete from A-Z. These are the defining highs, lows and controversies surrounding Round 6 of AFLW season seven.
A is for Ally Anderson makes history: In her 59th AFLW game, Brisbane midfielder Ally Anderson became the first Indigenous player to reach 1000 career disposals. She joins five other AFLW players to have passed the disposal milestone, including teammate Emily Bates. Anderson was prolific against the Bombers, accumulating a game-high 23 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles.
B is for Back to winning ways: Following a shock loss to Richmond last weekend, Brisbane quickly set about making amends against Essendon, capitalising on a dominant opening half to record a convincing 44-point victory. Craig Starcevich’s side offered an under-siege Bombers defence no respite, kicking eight goals from 45 inside 50 entries. If not for some inaccuracy in front of goal, the margin could have been even greater.
C is for Couple of debutants: In a pretty tough game for Port Adelaide in the first ever Showdown, the fans got a look at two more young guns. Ella Boag and Tess Doumanis made their debuts in front of the Port crowd to in tough circumstances. Boag had a decent showing with 10 disposals, five marks and a tackle, while Doumanis will hope that more time at the level will hold her in good stead.
D is for Dazzling Duffin: In a display of pure determination, Jess Duffin snuck in to help make one of three goals that would end up crucial to Hawthorn’s win. With her side struggling to make much impact in the opening quarter, a move to the forward line saw the veteran put on an explosive performance. A three-goal haul helped to turn around Hawthorn’s early misfortunes.
E is for Eliza J all the way: When kicking a goal seemed near impossible for everyone, (9.16 combined for the match) young forward Eliza James managed to swoop on a ball and bend it back from the boundary to put the Pies in front with a minute to play. It was a terrifically executed play that is every child’s football dream.
F is for Fleming’s flying high: Following on from her recent Rising Star nomination, Jasmine Fleming continued her brilliance in Hawthorn’s win against the West Coast Eagles. The young Hawk had 14 disposals, making a solid impact during the game. Fleming’s impressive performance also saw her finish the night with nine handballs and seven tackles.
G is for Glued to your seat: Both Richmond and the Gold Coast Suns would come into their match aiming to secure another win to help secure a finals spot. Right from the opening quarter, it was nail-biting scenes, with the two sides applying pressure early on. A look at the tackle count, with 153 between them, showed the pressure on display in the thrilling encounter.
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H is for Hannah Having a field day: In a hotly contested game, Hannah Stuart was on another level for St Kilda. Stuart was absolutely everywhere, winning clearances, laying tackles, and kicking goals. Her 25 disposals and two goals nearly got her side over the line against a high-quality side in Collingwood.
I is for Inspirational return: Brisbane defender Kate Lutkins completed a remarkable recovery from injury on the weekend, gathering seven disposals during her managed on-field minutes. Lutkins, who was a member of the Lions’ 2021 premiership, sustained an ACL injury in January this year, only to return to AFLW level within just 266 days.
J is for Jumping up the ladder: Three wins in a row sees the Kangaroos knocking on the door of the top four, now just a game out with a better percentage than the Demons and Pies. Next week’s match-up with the Lions at home will prove pivotal to shaping the finals series, with the Roos out for revenge after going down in the reverse fixture by six goals last season.
K is for Kicking nothing, again: After a promising effort against fellow expansion side Hawthorn, Sydney failed to register a major against North Melbourne, for the club’s second goalless game in three weeks. While the young Swans are showing promise, the scoreboard remains a big issue, which wasn’t helped by the absence of Rebecca Privitelli, or a 41-17 inside 50 count.
L is for Late charge: Despite sitting on the back foot for the majority of the game, with the Cats’ lead getting out to as much as 19 points, the Western Bulldogs made a late charge in Ballarat. They booted three quick goals in the late stages of the game through Rylie Wilcox, Deanna Berry, and Elle Bennetts. However, prior mistakes proved costly for the Doggies, as the margin was just too high to drag back in time.
M is for More Pease, please: Giants young gun Emily Pease set Henson Park alight in the first quarter with two goals. Both majors came from re-entries into the Giants inside 50, one of which was a great kick from just inside 50. The two goals were a career-best for Pease, who was drafted to the Giants in the 2020 AFLW draft. She capped off her brilliant match with a Rising Star nomination.
N is for No Georgie? No problem: The talk of the town all week was the suspension of Cats’ superstar Georgie Prespakis. Would they be able to win the midfield battle against a formidable Bulldogs opposition without her? Well, the Cats silenced the doubters, with their pressure at the forefront. Nina Morrison took on more inside midfield minutes and was brilliant alongside Amy McDonald and Rebecca Webster, among others, who made it a difficult day for the Bulldogs.
O is for Oh no: Unfortunately for Saint Nicola Stevens, the chance to be a match-winner turned out not to be, as she missed a straightforward shot at goal that would have put the Saints 10 points up with three minutes to play. It can happen to anyone, and happens plenty of times throughout a football season, so the one play can just go down as unfortunate, but Stevens will still be kicking herself that she couldn’t finish off her side’s great work.
P is for Purcell and Hanks dominant: In a battle between two teams possessed of very different playing styles, one of the game’s main tenets still held true. Control the middle of the park, and you control the game. The Melbourne duo of Olivia Purcell and Tyla Hanks continually gave their team the ball to use, registering 47 possessions and 10 clearances between them in a masterful display.
Q is for Quick start for Fremantle champion: It’s near impossible to think of Fremantle’s AFLW team without thinking of Kiara Bowers. The brilliant Docker started this match like a steam train, with 10 disposals, two tackles and a goal in the first quarter which saw her side go to the first change level with the high-flying Melbourne team.
R is for Rebounding Laloifi: On what was a disappointing day for the Blues, there was a shining light which came in the form of defender Mua Laloifi. She was given the task of trying to stop Giants livewire Cora Staunton, with that in itself a thrilling battle to watch. In the process, Laloifi was able to stop a number of forward 50 entries from the Giants. She finished the game with 16 disposals, three marks and two tackles, and is continuing her strong season seven form.
S is for Showdown Medallist: With three first-half goals (two of which were the first of the match), it was pretty evident from early on that Crows captain Chelsea Randall was tough to beat for best on honours. Winning the Showdown Medal, she becomes the first-ever winner of the award in AFLW history.
T is for Tough as nails: Utilising the intense style of play that we have seen from them all year, the Cats claimed an impressive victory against the Bulldogs. They were the better team around the ground for most of the game, spearheaded by the efforts of Chloe Scheer and Shelley Scott. The pair of forwards were extremely influential in attack, combining for three goals and creating plenty of chances for others on the day.
U is for Unaccepted chance proves costly: Fremantle opened the last quarter against Melbourne with the early territorial advantage, and had a shot from 40 metres out that would have put it in front. That shot ended up falling short, and Melbourne’s Kate Hore followed up with two goals in a minute to open up a 16-point advantage that the Dees were never to relinquish, kicking the only four goals in the final quarter.
V is for Very historic occasion: The Adelaide Crows have won premierships and completed a dynasty. They added a Showdown trophy winning the first ever Showdown against Port Adelaide in front of over 20,000 fans at Adelaide Oval on Friday night. It was a dominant night for the reigning premiers, who keep their state rivals goalless to maintain bragging rights until the next meeting.
W is for Welcomed inclusion: Georgia Garnett was a late inclusion into the Giants side this week after missing the game against the Crows due to injury. It proved to be a handy move, with the young Giant among the best for the match, finishing the game with 17 disposals and 12 marks.
X is for X doesn’t quite mark the spot: North Melbourne constantly created chances at goal, but couldn’t quite convert a number of them despite the big 11-goal win over Sydney. Tahlia Randall, Ash Riddell and debutant Zoe Savarirayan combined for seven behinds between them. Randall did still manage three majors, but could have had an even stronger day out.
Y is for You’re a star, Swanson: While the Eagles fell short of the win against the Hawks, they had a big silver lining in the form of skipper Emma Swanson. She made an immediate impact in the opening minutes of the game, starting things off for the Eagles with the first goal of the night. She also had the most disposals on ground for her side with 28, and kept the pressure high with four tackles.
Z Is for Zero hesitations: It had looked that the Suns were set to take out the win as the tight game against the Tigers drew out to a close. But Emelia Yassir had other ideas. The 19-year-old delivered a stunning goal in the dying seconds of the game to push Richmond into the lead by four points. The last-minute effort gave the Tigers the win, securing them their fourth of the season.
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