24/05/2024
The AFLW A-Z of Round Eight

There was more than just booking a finals berth to celebrate this round. Pictures @lionsaflw @CollingwoodAFLW @MelbourneAFLW

Round Eight of AFLW saw team milestones and club milestones go hand in hand as the season ticks down, and finals berths are nearly booked.

The Inner Sanctum takes you through the round, complete from A-Z. The defining highs, lows and controversies surrounding Round Eight of AFLW Season Seven.

A is for As tough as nails: Ebony O’Dea was among the best for the Power and proved to be a key cog in the Port Adelaide defence. Her ability to put her body on the line for her side was a highlight from Port Adelaide’s game, O’Dea finished with 11 disposals, three tackles and three marks. 

B is for Behind, behind, behind: Despite having a massive 15 more inside 50s than their opposition in their game against the Saints, the Western Bulldogs just couldn’t turn opportunities into scores. While they brought the win home, they managed just a dismal 4.11, including kicking six behinds in the second quarter alone.

C is for Cann stepping up for the Pies: With star playmakers Brianna Davey and Brittany Bonnici sidelined for the season, Mikala Cann is putting together a fine season for the Magpies with another consistent performance against the Dockers. Known as ‘The Bull’ by her teammates, Cann is loved for her unwavering intensity and sheer passion for the game which was on display as she gathered 20 possessions and laid four tackles.

D is for Dream start: Many teams couldn’t get a better start than what the Eagles did in their game against the Cats on Saturday night. The Eagles were able to burst out of the middle sending the ball inside 50, with young gun Ella Roberts able to get the Eagles on the board with a goal. 

E is for Experience in attack: When the Bombers were on the backfoot, trailing by 10 points at half-time, it was an experienced group of players that stood up in front of goal to get them over the line. Daria Bannister, Sophie Alexander, and Catherine Phillips all kicked two goals in an impressive display, while Bonnie Toogood slotted a brilliant captain’s goal at the end of the third quarter. The work of these players spurred the team on to victory, and their experience was invaluable in the dying stages.

F is for Fallen Suns: Gold Coast Suns’ finals aspirations took a hit after their crushing defeat against the Dees. After struggling to fight against their opponents’ strong offence, the Suns found a silver lining in the second quarter with a goal from Jac Dupuy. But following this goal, there was no turning point for the Suns. Gold Coast could only manage a number of behinds, as they struggled to make further impact on the scoreboard. 

G is for Goals are overrated: Cometh the moment, cometh the champion in Nicola Barr. The Giants’ clash with the Hawks looked certain to end in a draw with the Giants almost ruing inaccurate kicking. However, a behind in the last 10 seconds of the match from Barr scrapped GWS over the line despite kicking one less goal than the opposition.

H is for Happiest of birthdays: Playing her first AFLW game would’ve been enough to make it a great 21st birthday for Sydney Swan Zoe Hurrell. But it was what happened with her first ever kick of the football that made it a special afternoon for the youngster. Receiving a 50-metre penalty on centre wing, Hurrell jogged into the forward-50, and upon realising there was nobody standing on the mark she bolted in towards goal and slotted the major. Despite the loss, it was a moment that Hurrell will never forget. 

More AFLW News

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I is for Inaccuracy almost killed the Cats: It wasn’t the best day in front of goal from Geelong, despite maintaining possession for majority of the match. The Cats just couldn’t convert in front of goal, scoring four goals and 10 behinds to take out the win by nine points over the Eagles. 

J is for Jasmine Fleming on the run: 17-year-old Jasmine Fleming demonstrated her explosiveness against the Giants, breaking away from multiple packs through the match. The most impressive display led to the Hawks opening goal when Fleming spread from the centre of the ground, took two bounces and delivered a 45-metre dime to veteran Jess Duffin.

K is for Kiara leading by example-  In Fremantle’s 29 point loss to the Magpies, there was one shining light for the Dockers and that was the performance of star onballer Kiara Bowers. Bowers was everywhere, gaining 28 possessions, and laying 11 tackles. Her attack on the footy was tremendous and despite no longer being in the leadership group, Bowers continues to lead by example.

L is for Look at her go: Tayla Harris made it rain goals once again at Metricon Stadium. The Demons star continued her impressive run of on field performances, this time finishing off the evening with three goals. After her stunning goals on Saturday night, Harris has now moved ahead of Carlton’s Darcy Vescio (55) and Giants star Cora Staunton (54) as the AFLW’s leading goalkicker. 

M is for Making the eight: While still mathematically capable of dropping out of the top eight, Richmond has all but solidified itself a spot in AFLW finals for the first time after defeating Carlton on Friday night. Sitting just behind Geelong with percentage and a win shy of Collingwood, the Tigers can still crack the top four if they win their final two games, and other results will still need to go their way.

N is for Nothing Stopping Garner: North Melbourne star Jasmine Garner was once again on song in the Kangaroos match against Port Adelaide on Saturday afternoon. The Power just didn’t have an answer for the North Melbourne star, with Garner able to burst out of the stoppage and use her speed and class to her advantage. Garner finished the match with 27 disposals, nine clearances and two goals. 

O is for On a roll: It was a night to remember for Melbourne’s Daisy Pearce when the star Demon lined up for her 50th game against the Gold Coast Suns. Not only did she light up Metricon with an impressive goal, but the celebration would have been made all the more sweeter with Melbourne claiming the win by 49 points. 

P is for Performing under pressure: Going into the game as the clear favourite, many expected that the Bombers would have a much easier task in front of them than what Sydney made it on Saturday afternoon. The Swans were extremely efficient early on, taking advantage of opportunities and battling Essendon on the scoreboard. They went into the half-time break with a 10-point lead, however the Bombers came back out with a point to prove. They composed themselves and fought their way back into the lead, eventually claiming the victory. The Swans can be lauded for their efforts though, and they will continue to fight for that elusive maiden AFLW victory. 

Q is for Quiet collapse: After starting season seven with plenty of promise, St Kilda has silently faded away, slumping to 14th on the ladder after looking capable of breaking into finals early in the season. While the Saints have been hurt by injuries across the middle part of the season, they’ve only been in a game across all four quarters once across their six losses straight, when they lost to the Pies by two points.

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R is for Return of Georgie: Geelong star Georgie Prespakis returned to the Cats side this week after missing the last two matches due to suspension. It looked like Prespakis didn’t miss a beat, slotting straight back into the Cats midfield. Prespakis finished the match with 21 disposals, eight clearances and a game-high 12 tackles.  

S is for Skipper Switch: With the Kangaroos struggling to put away a strong Port Adelaide side in the opening half of the match on Saturday, coach Darren Crocker had a trick up his sleeve to combat the Power. This switch that he implemented for the second half resulted in bringing skipper Emma Kearney into the midfield where she proved to be a key player in North Melbourne’s second-half surge, finishing the game with 20 disposals. 

T is for Tarni Evans from outside 50: Tarni Evans showed the inaccurate Giants how it’s done by launching a bomb from outside 50 on the run. Her first career goal reset the Giants and brought them back into a game that looked an early blowout.

U is for Unbelievable Sabrina: Coming into Round Eight star forward Sabrina Frederick hadn’t registered a goal all season, but that changed in a matter of minutes in the second quarter. Frederick kicked the first goal of the game with a beautiful snap and moments later followed it up with an unbelievable goal from the boundary, one of the goals of the season.

V is for Very comprehensive victory: The Brisbane Lions enjoyed a thumping win of the reigning premiers on Friday night at Metricon Stadium to stay up the top of the AFLW ladder. Pressuring the Crows with the ball, the Lions suffocated them which meant their upper hand with clearances didn’t make any difference as they coughed it up to the Lions players who were able to cash in on the scoreboard.

W is for Wow, Wakefield! Starring in Friday night’s win over Carlton, Richmond key forward Courtney Wakefield kicked a career-best four goals. It’s been a brilliant season for the 35-year-old after an injury-interrupted season six. She’s now kicked 11 goals, in what has been her most consistent campaign yet.

X is for X-tra sticky hands: Western Bulldogs’ ruck-turned-key forward Celine Moody seemed to clunk every kick that came her way in the win over St Kilda. While she had her jitters inside 50, like most of her teammates, she finished with three marks and a goal.

Y is for Year over: Sitting two games and percentage out of the top eight, it would take a miracle for Carlton to make finals, with the club’s season seemingly over after the loss to Richmond. The Blues disappointed across the middle patch of the season, having managed just one win and two draws since their victory over the Bombers in Round Two. It has been an overall disappointing campaign for coach Daniel Harford and his side.

Z Is for Zero sleep for Matthew Clarke: Adelaide Crows Head Coach Matthew Clarke will be worried all week about how he can replace his star captain Chelsea Randall in the Crows side for Round Nine. Randall injured her ankle in the final quarter in their loss to the Lions which will see her miss three to five weeks and could throw a spanner in their campaign to go back-to-back. 

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