As the halfway point approaches, the usual suspects are leading the charge towards the finals, while another expansion club broke the duck.
The Inner Sanctum takes you through Round Four, complete from A-Z. The defining highs, lows and controversies surrounding Round Four of AFLW season seven.
A is For A few casualties: In a bruising, physical encounter, neither Collingwood nor Adelaide escaped unscathed. Collingwood was a player down for the second half with Aisling Sheridan limping off with a knee injury, while Niamh Kelly, unfortunately paid the price for a brilliant piece of play with a shoulder injury ending her afternoon.
B is For Blackburn and Lamb lead the way: After a scoreless opening term, the Bulldogs needed a spark in damp conditions at Box Hill City Oval. Enter Kirsty Lamb and Ellie Blackburn. The pair were instrumental in their side’s 30-point victory over Hawthorn, combining for 47 disposals, 10 clearances and two goals. Lamb also celebrated her 50th AFLW game on the day.
C is For Clinical finishing: Despite the heavy rain, the Bulldogs were potent in front of goal, kicking 6.1 in what was a fine display of forward craft. At one stage, Nathan Burke’s side had kicked five straight goals without registering a behind. Both Heidi Woodley and Isabelle Pritchard slotted their first-ever AFLW goal, whilst Ellie Blackburn finally opened her account in season seven.
D is for Death, taxes, and Alyce Parker disposals: There are few universal certainties. However, you can generally rely on Alyce Parker amassing 20+ disposals per game this season. The catalyst to GWS’ midfield engine added to her league-leading disposal rate with another 26 in a losing effort.
E is For Electric Rowbottom: Gold Coast needed a spark following its disappointing defeat against cross-town rivals Brisbane last week, and they got that with Charlie Rowbottom. The Suns midfielder collected a game-high 30 disposals and laid nine tackles, as her team got themselves back on the winners’ list.
F is For Fleming shines in the wet: Selected with pick 2 in the 2022 AFLW Draft, Hawthorn midfielder Jasmine Fleming reminded the footy public of her supreme talent against the Bulldogs. Where others fumbled, Fleming was exceptionally clean below her knees, amassing an equal game-high 25 disposals.
G is For Glorious Georgie: Despite the loss, Geelong midfield superstar Georgie Prespakis put in her most remarkable performance yet and continued her strong run of form this season. She finished the game with 32 disposals, nine tackles, and six clearances, and while that wasn’t enough to spur the Cats on to victory, it was another impressive game from the youngster who is quickly becoming one of the league’s superstar players.
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H is For Hore on fire early: If there is one player that you don’t want to get on a run from an opposition perspective, it’s Kate Hore. Hore was on fire early for the Demons, kicking two first-quarter goals in quick succession to get Naarm off to the perfect start.
I is For Inaccurate, Inefficient, but In front: With 36 inside 50s to 15, and a scoreline of 2.9 for the day, Adelaide would be glad to have gotten away with victory over the Pies. Although they got away with this one, thanks to some desperate defence but they will not want to make this a habit.
J is For Jesse with the toe poke: Jesse Wardlaw showed off her soccer skills in the Lions’ win over Naarm. The Lions forward added two goals to the scoreboard, including the Lions’ first of the afternoon with both coming from toe pokes in the goal square.
K is For Kauffman with the party tricks: Coming up with the tricks in the first quarter, Megan Kauffman provided a party trick of her own inside the Dockers’ forward 50, Kauffman used her exceptional speed and athleticism, scooping the ball in front of her and with a tough finish getting tackle, finishing it off with a goal.
L is For Launch from a hometown hero: Sauntering into the forward-50, it was fate that Launceston’s own Brooke Brown would straighten up and slot a beautiful goal for the Kangaroos at UTAS Stadium. It was her first goal for the club, and given that it happened in the city where she grew up, it will be a moment that Brown will cherish forever.
M is For Mua Laloifi magic: Whilst the Blues didn’t get the win, Laloifi has continued her strong defensive game, finishing the game with 12 disposals, seven contested possessions, eight intercepts and three rebounds inside 50.
N is For Next generation star: After a solid debut outing in Round One ended with a knee injury, Montana Ham played a largely lone hand in their efforts against a rampaging Port Adelaide this week. In her return game, she starred kicking a point to go with her 20 disposals, four marks, four clearances and five tackles.
O is For Out the back: The tide started to turn in favour of the Lions in the final quarter against Narrm with back-to-back goals for the Lions coming from players getting free out the back on the pack. Both Sophie Conway and Courtney Hodder were able to capitalise and lead Brisbane to victory.
P is For Part of history: Port Adelaide’s AFLW team wrote themselves into the history books on the weekend with a maiden victory in front of the faithful at Alberton Oval. With a three-goal first quarter, Port was off to a super start which ballooned out to 66 points at the end of their game against the Sydney Swans.
Q is For Queen conquered. One winning streak has fallen. The Pies suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the reigning premiers, the Adelaide Crows at Victoria Park. Although much more efficient than the Crows during the match, it was the sheer volume of entries that ensured the Pies would taste defeat for the first time in 2022.
R is For Raining cats and roos: The conditions were terrible at UTAS Stadium on Friday night, with a pool of water hosting the game between the Kangaroos and the Cats. It was a back-and-forth encounter in the early stages, and North was the first to find a breakthrough in the contest. Despite a late charge from Geelong, the Kangaroos defended strongly and held on for a 12-point victory.
S is For Swanson’s Silky Skills: The West Coast Eagles defeated the GWS Giants with complete team performance, but it was a former Giant, Emma Swanson, who stood above the rest. Swanson collected a team-high 23 disposals, nine tackles, and a goal to stifle the big big sound at GIANTS Stadium.
T is For Two draws in a row: Whilst the Blues struggled to find their flow in the first half, the Blues trailed for the majority of the match, trailing as much as 20 points. Whilst the Blues struggled to put points on the board, fightback was there in the second half, having plenty of chances to seal the win resulting in their second draw in a row.
U is For Under the pump: Heading into the halfway mark of the season, there’s mounting pressure on St Kilda. After starting season seven off with two wins in a row, the Saints are now 2-2 following losses to Melbourne and Gold Coast.
V is For Very special occasion: After 46 games with the Adelaide Crows and now four with Port Adelaide, Erin Phillips notched up her 50th game with the maiden Port Adelaide win at Alberton Oval. Coming into the first quarter, the Port Adelaide captain was obviously desperate for the win peppering for goal on numerous occasions. She ended the game with one point, 16 disposals and three marks.
W is For West Coast’s first win in New South Wales: After a tough two weeks, West Coast got to sing the song with a victory over the GWS GIANTS. The GIANTS midfield ran roughshod over the Swans the previous week, but couldn’t find space against West Coast’s crushing high-pressure game.
X is For X-treme hang time: There were freakish displays of athleticism on display at North Port Oval on Sunday, as Tigers players flew through the air to deliver spectacular marks. Ellie McKenzie and Laura McClelland both lept over huge packs of players, drawing huge reactions from the crowd.
Y is For You’re a freak, Mon Conti: Just when we all thought Richmond’s Monique Conti couldn’t get any better, she continues to deliver. Fresh off a career-best three-goal performance last week, she kicked one of the best goals the AFLW has ever seen. With a bending snap from the pocket, it was a vital bit of execution in a day where the goals didn’t come easy.
Z Is For Zippy start, slow burn: After making a fast start the focus last week, Essendon once again took a lead into quarter time against Richmond. But with a poor second term, the club was left chasing once again, with shades of the loss to Carlton in another close finish. The young side will need to put together a consistent four quarters to challenge some of the best teams in the competition in Collingwood and Brisbane in the coming weeks.
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