It’s all do or die from here on out in AFLW season seven, with only six teams and five matches remaining.
Two massive semi-finals will take place this weekend to decide who will take on Melbourne and Brisbane in the prelims. Here’s the major storylines The Inner Sanctum have chosen to look out for this weekend.
Tigers and Roos meet again
The last meeting between these two teams was an all-time classic, and Saturday could see another epic, this time on a much bigger stage.
It’s been just 13 days since Richmond and North Melbourne shared the points at Arden Street, with that draw confirming a double chance for Ryan Ferguson’s side in their first ever finals campaign.
Their first final though saw them go down to Brisbane despite a slight comeback towards the end of the match. Katie Brennan stole the show up forward with all three Richmond goals, surpassing the 50 goal mark along the way.
The Roos though come into this match with plenty of confidence off the back of a gritty win down in Geelong. In spite of not kicking a goal after quarter time (alongside Geelong) and some hard pressing from the Cats, they held firm to live to fight another week.
Unlike last time, this meeting will be played on Richmond’s home deck of Punt Road Oval. It will not only be the first final played there, but also the first time in over a month since there was an AFLW game played.
With a preliminary final spot against highly-fancied Melbourne on the line this time around, the sold-out Punt Road could be in for another rollercoaster.
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Can the Crows survive another final without their captain?
Adelaide has been forced to try and make it to its fifth AFLW Grand Final the hard way, and now it could be an even tougher task with captain Chelsea Randall out.
Suffering a head knock late on against Melbourne last Friday night, Randall was all set to play this weekend. However after new footage of the incident emerged, the Crows decided against playing her in this crunch match as she entered concussion protocols.
This season has seen Randall return to her lofty heights in midfield and up forward, averaging a career-high 17.8 disposals, 4.8 tackles, 2.9 inside 50s, 3.3 marks, 3.7 clearances, 3.7 score involvements as well as kicking seven goals.
Whilst the Crows still boast the likes of Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard in the midfield, Randall’s presence as well as her leadership could still be missed against a defence starting to find its feet again.
After conceding 50-plus points in their two games leading up to finals, the Pies brick wall defence managed to hold firm against a fast-finishing Bulldogs outfit to also keep their finals dream alive.
Adelaide will be looking to avoid a straight sets exit, and a win here could see its confidence boosted with the return of Randall against rivals Brisbane.
Jess joins sister in passing 50
They’ve done many things together both on and off the field, and now the Hosking twins will become the first set of sisters to have both played 50 AFLW games.
Sarah was the first to pass the 50-game milestone in Round 2 against Adelaide at home, with Jess set to pass it this weekend in front of the sell-out crowd at Punt Road.
Starting out at Carlton alongside her sister, Jess established herself alongside Sarah as two of the hardest and toughest midfielders in the AFLW.
Originally it was Sarah who moved to Richmond at the end of the 2020 season, before Jess was then traded to the Tigers nearly a year later. And since debuting for them this year, she’s only missed two games, establishing herself in a strong midfield.
Though there haven’t been as many accolades for the star duo, they’ve both played key roles for their two clubs. They’ll need to be at their best as the Tigers look to pick up their first finals win to face the Demons for a spot in the Grand Final.
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