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The Round Up: AFLW Preliminary Finals 2021

Presented by WARF Radio, the 2021 AFLW Preliminary Finals set us up for a remarkable grand final: a rematch of the inaugural 2017 grand final.

The Lions are into their third AFLW Grand Final. AFLW Preliminary Finals Image: Megan Brewer
The Lions are into their third AFLW Grand Final. Image: Megan Brewer

Adelaide v Melbourne – Saturday @ Adelaide Oval

Adelaide 1.0.6 | 2.1.13 | 4.2.26 | 5.3.33
Melbourne 0.2.2 | 0.3.3 | 0.5.5 | 1.9.15


Adelaide: Erin Phillips (2), Anne Hatchard, Eloise Jones, Chloe Scheer
Melbourne: Kate Hore


Adelaide: Chelsea Randall (concussion)
Melbourne: Eliza McNamara (concussion)

  • Immediately, Adelaide’s pressure had Melbourne on the back foot. They quickly closed space and ran hard to regularly create an outnumber. In turn, Melbourne’s panic and inability to present outlets to the ball carrier compounded Adelaide’s defensive work right across the ground. The Crows simply didn’t provide space for their opposition, winning the uncontested possession count 125-97. This is the first time in 2021 that Melbourne has lost this metric.
  • Ebony Marinoff absolutely led the way in this respect, doing plenty both with and without the ball. The Adelaide stalwart equalled teammate Anne Hatchard’s disposal record with 35, while also laying 13 tackles and delivering the ball forward seven times.
  • Adelaide’s attacking line works most efficiently when they’re able to clear out their forward 50 and find one-on-one matchups, or run the ball in. This allows them to drop numbers across their back half to intercept the ball and, therefore, generate more attack. Melbourne played right into Adelaide’s hands in this respect, too. Kicking long to an outnumber, with no representation at ground level. This allowed the Crows to either intercept in the air, or bring the ball to ground and win it there, and the Demons simply had no answers to this for the whole game.
  • Under plenty of pressure, unheralded Melbourne defenders Shelley Heath and Gabrielle Colvin stood strong. Heath’s speed, repeat efforts and competitiveness in the one-on-one made life very difficult for the Crows’ small forwards. Meanwhile, Colvin competed very well in the air, and pushed up quite high in an effort to maintain some territory for her side.
  • For the second time this season, Melbourne has had more scoring shots than their opponents but lost the game. Early in the season it seemed that the Demons had rectified this issue that has existed since their very first AFLW game in 2017, but it reared its ugly head again and Adelaide took full advantage.

Related—Women made this happen

Brisbane v Collingwood – Saturday @ Gabba

Brisbane 1.1.7 | 5.1.31 | 5.2.32 | 7.3.45
Collingwood 2.3.15 | 3.3.21 | 5.4.34 | 6.5.41


Brisbane: Dakota Davidson (3), Greta Bodey (2), Orla O’Dwyer, Jess Wuetschner
Collingwood: Sophie Alexander, Ash Brazill, Tarni Brown, Jaimee Lambert, Sharni Norder, Ruby Schleicher


Brisbane: N/A
Collingwood: N/A

  • While the midfield battle was an enthralling one, it was Brisbane’s bookends who really made the difference in this game. In defence, Breanna Koenen and Shannon Campbell played tough, unrelenting games. Koenen’s positioning was outstanding, and key to stunting a lot of Collingwood’s forward momentum—particularly late when the game was on the line. Campbell played her typical repelling game, with 384 metres gained from her 13 disposals, including three inside 50s, five intercepts and five one percenters. At the other end of the ground, Dakota Davidson caused all sorts of headaches for Collingwood’s defence. Playing mostly on Stacey Livingstone when deep, Davidson’s ability to get up the ground, make an impact, then push hard forward to be an option had the Pies a little disorganised, and her 12 disposals resulted in three goals and five marks—including the Lions’ only two marks inside 50.
  • Brisbane’s forward pressure further troubled Collingwood. The Lions are +43 for tackles inside 50 for 2021, including winning the count 15-3 in this game. Lauren Arnell, Greta Bodey and Courtney Hodder combined for nine of those, simply not allowing Collingwood any time or space in defence.
  • We were treated to another bout of the Cathy Svarc v Brianna Davey matchup. When they met in round seven, Davey was held to just 14 disposals. This time around, the matchup might not have been quite as tight, but it was equally enthralling. Essentially, Davey was a powerhouse in and under, winning the ball, while Svarc did well to hit contests with speed and move the ball forward.

Head to head:

DisposalsTacklesInside 50sClearancesInterceptsMetres Gained
Brianna Davey234336319
Cathy Svarc118624257
  • Brisbane has clearly studied how Chloe Molloy goes about her footy. They’ve held the Collingwood forward goalless twice this year—the only times she’s been goalless in 2021. In her two outings against the Lions this year, Molloy has managed an average of five disposals and 1.5 marks, while averaging 9.3 disposals and 2.7 marks for the rest of the season.
  • This game was a real clash of game styles, with Collingwood wanting to control the ball with a clean kick and mark style—evident in the uncontested possession (85-98) and marking (33-49) numbers—while Brisbane looked to run the ball forward, registering ten bounces for the game. Orla O’Dwyer, Greta Bodey and Cathy Svarc’s speed seemed to worry Collingwood, and it’s really what helped Brisbane maintain their lead late.

Presented by:

During finals, the Round Up is presented by WARF Radio
During finals, the Round Up is presented by WARF Radio

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