A third of the way through the season and some teams are still hunting for a breakthrough, while others finally got on the board.
The Inner Sanctum takes you through Round Three, complete from A-Z. The defining highs, lows and controversies surrounding Round Three of AFLW Season Seven.
A is For Another Noffy game: There’s not much to say about Ebony Marinoff that hasn’t already been said but she continued her stellar career with another best-on-ground performance against the Kangaroos. Early in the match, when North Melbourne had the ascendency in the midfield, ‘Noffy’ lifted her team with a classy performance including 29 disposals, 13 tackles, six clearances and seven inside 50s.
B is For Blues milestones: While their 50th games didn’t end up finishing how each of them would’ve hoped, Breann Moody, Elise O’Dea, and Jess Dal Pos all got to have their own moments, kicking a goal each on their milestone day in front of the Blues faithful at Ikon Park. Had it been paired with a win, it would have been the perfect day for the trio.
C is For Contested marks make the difference: In a dominant first-quarter performance, Naarm set the tone against St Kilda, taking huge contested marks left, right and centre. Tayla Harris and Lauren Pearce finished with five between them, as the Dees utilised their aerial presence to take a strong early lead, which they never gave up.
D is For Defensive Domination: The Cats-Pies game ebbed and flowed, with the teams taking terms to dominate territory. Despite dominant patches at either end with repeat entries, the defences of both sides were magnificent. One-on-one, pure footy with countless spoils, intercepts and goal-line saves. With such dominant defences, both sides should find themselves fighting for the win each week and be serious finals threats.
E is For Endless pressure: After a quick start from the Blues, the Power put their foot on the accelerator and did not let off all day. The pressure displayed was outstanding and while the Blues did find their way back into the contest, the defensive work from the Power was enough to at least secure two points for their efforts.
F is For Frantic Finish: In an intense ending to the contest, both Carlton and Port Adelaide fought tooth and nail to secure a victory. However, it wasn’t meant to be for either of them, with the game ending in a draw following strong stints from both teams throughout the game.
G is For Gabby Comes in clutch: Bulldog Gabby Newton was front and centre when it mattered for the Bulldogs, kicking the game-sealing goal against the Dockers on Friday night. Newton also took a contested mark in the dying minutes of the game to seal the game.
H is For High score: After losing the first two games of the season, GWS were in desperate need of a win, and they did so in a big, big way. With two goals apiece to Zarlie Goldsworthy, Cora Staunton and Nicola Barr, not only did the Giants overrun the Swans, but they recorded their highest score since 2020.
I is For Is there a synonym in the thesaurus for ‘dominance’? If there is, that word may well be ‘Conti’. From the opening moments of this match, Monique Conti was everywhere, and everything she did was a danger to a Hawthorn side still trying to find its feet at this level. A final tally of 23 disposals and three goals underlines that dominance perfectly.
J is For Jordan? Try Jordyn! With the game on the line, Jordyn Allen stood up to deliver the knockout blow, putting the Pies in front for good. Allen finished with 17 disposals and five marks, but her clutch goal proved the difference in a hard-fought contest.
K is For ‘Killer’ Wales: Essendon’s Steph Wales proved just why the club was just so desperate to take her as early in the draft as it did in the massive win over West Coast. Kicking her first goal to open the goalscoring, she wasn’t content with just one. After launching a 45-metre bomb for her first, she took a huge contested mark to claim her second, before unloading another rocket to make it three in her third AFLW game.
L is For Luck of the Irish: Irish Gaelic football star Vikki Wall slotted her first goal in the AFLW in the Kangaroos’ loss to the Crows on Saturday. She was influential in the first five minutes with a few trademark booming kicks into the forward line. Her goal topped off a hot start by her side which was cut down by the Crows after three-quarter time.
M is For Maiden Sydney Derby victory: They’ve waited seven seasons for this moment, and GWS can now claim bragging rights over its new cross-town rival. The Giants won the inaugural AFLW Sydney Derby by a whopping 47 points over the Swans.
N is For Not All Doom and gloom: It was their first game at the SCG, and despite it being their third loss in a row, there was a highlight for Sydney in Lexi Hamilton scoring the clubs’ first goal of the game and their first at the SCG. Unfortunately, it wasn’t their day, as they fell to a 47-point loss.
O is For Off the mark: Richmond has been admirably competitive in the opening two rounds of the AFLW season, going down to Geelong by four points and to premiers Adelaide by nine. Once they took the lead early in the first quarter here, they were never going to be denied against Hawthorn, their first four points of the season hinting that there may be more of the same, and soon.
P is For Purring Prespakis: Georgie Prespakis has started the season strongly, and in the side’s narrow loss to Collingwood, this was no exception. 18 disposals and nine tackles may not sound dominant, but she was easily the Cat’s best midfielder, winning vital clearances time and time again, whilst also making it challenging for the Pies to get much flow in their game with her consistent, elite pressure.
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Q is For Q Clash to forget: After claiming their first win over the Eagles last weekend, the Suns will want to quickly forget their devastating loss to the in-form Lions in the fourth edition of the AFLW Q Clash. The Suns never really got going, as the premiership fancies piled on goal after goal to cruise to a devastating 73-point victory. The Lions well and truly have the edge over their state rivals, winning the last three match-ups by over 10 goals.
R is For Rebounding O’Driscoll: Emma O’Driscoll played a crucial role in defence for Fremantle in its match against the Bulldogs. O’Driscoll was able to cut off many of the Bulldogs’ attempts going inside 50. She finished the match with 13 disposals and three marks.
S is For Some legacy: There is no doubt about it, Crows star forward Danielle Ponter was born to be on the big stage in Indigenous Round. The niece of Essendon legend Michael Long and the cousin of Cyril Rioli, she has always excelled in front of goal for the reigning premiers. She kicked two crucial goals to get her side the win on Saturday after being behind for three quarters.
T is For The Hipster Brigade: Part of growing the profile of the AFLW involves the creation of personalities that the supporters can follow, and obviously, Hawthorn has found one in the form of Bridie Hipwell. Every time Bridie took possession a small but noisy cheer squad made their presence felt on the outer wing. She did not get a lot of the ball but was able to show enough to suggest that her first game for Hawthorn won’t be her last.
U is For Under the Wardlaw: Brisbane forward Jesse Wardlaw enjoyed every second of the Q Clash smashing, kicking a career-high four goals. After an inconsistent season six, she now sits equal second on the goal-kicking tally, having put away seven majors alongside teammate Greta Bodey.
V is For Visual feast: They may one of the competition’s newest teams, but there’s no doubt about it – the Bombers are playing some of the most visually attractive football of any team in the AFLW at the moment. Their 13.6 against was not only the highest score by an expansion team in their first season but also the seventh highest score in the history of the competition. With dynamic and precise ball movement, every Essendon showing has been a treat for the eyes.
W is For Wilcox Magic: There was plenty of excitement around Ikon Park on Friday night when it came to one young pup in Rylie Wilcox. Adding to her 11 disposals was her first AFLW goal where she was able to use her speed to get in front of her opponent then set sites for the big sticks.
X is For X-treme angles: West Coast fans didn’t have much to celebrate in Sunday’s loss to the Bombers, but Imahra Cameron’s return to goalkicking form still drew a huge cheer regardless. The 25-year-old snapped from the most impossible of angles to open the Eagles’ scoring late into the second term. The occasion was even more special for the proud Noongar woman in Indigenous Round, playing on Noongar/Whadjuk land.
Y is For Yield to none: St Kilda’s poor first quarter showing could have been the end of its loss against Narrm. But even after giving away six goals, the Saints’ midfield continued to battle, breaking even for clearances and dominating the tackle numbers. Georgia Patrikios and Olivia Vesely were impactful offensively, while Rosie Dillon brought the pressure all day long.
Z Is For Zank the tank: Eden Zanker had a massive influence in Narrm’s win over St Kilda, playing a half ruck/half forward role with great aplomb. She kicked two goals in the first term, including a phenomenal snap out of the pack, while giving Lauren Pearce a chop out to get around the ground in the match-up against Erin McKinnon.
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