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The Round Up: AFLW Round Seven 2021

With plenty of matches in AFLW Round Seven leaving finals questions up in the air, it was a comeback from the Dockers that stood out.

Daisy Pearce played in the forward line again for the Demons in AFLW round seven. Image: Rachel Bach / By The White Line
Daisy Pearce played in the forward line again for the Demons in AFLW round seven. Image: Rachel Bach / By The White Line

Gold Coast v Richmond – Friday @ Metricon Stadium

Gold Coast 1.0.6 | 1.0.6 | 3.1.19 | 4.2.26
Richmond 1.0.6 | 3.3.21 | 4.5.29 | 6.5.41

Goals

Gold Coast: Maddison Levi (2), Kate Surman, Sam Virgo
Richmond: Katie Brennan (3), Christina Bernardi, Ellie McKenzie, Courtney Wakefield

Injuries

Gold Coast: N/A
Richmond: N/A

  • Heading into round seven, the Suns were without two of their most-experienced goal kickers in Sarah Perkins and Jamie Stanton, meaning they were desperate for someone to take control of that forward 50. In her sixth game, Maddison Levi proved to be that person. Starring with two goals, it was her ability to apply ground level pressure that really helped the Suns control territory early in the game. Her nine tackles were the most on the ground, and Levi also assisted in the ruck. Her strength forced Harriet Cordner to play more accountable footy, limiting the attacking run we’ve seen her enjoy in recent weeks.
  • Alongside Levi up forward, co-captain Sam Virgo played her best game as a Sun. Her 12 disposals and six marks tell some of the story, but it was the incredibly clever way in which Virgo reacted under pressure, bringing her teammates into the game and keeping the ball moving forward where her leadership was apparent, and she was rewarded with her first goal in the AFLW in the dying stages.
  • At the other end of the ground, Richmond showed evidence of improvement, not just since last year, but within the season. Their biggest issue in the first half of the season when challenging Collingwood and Carlton was their decision-making going forward. The way they used the ball in attack was impressive, and it was led by Sabrina Frederick’s five inside 50s.
  • This also led to Richmond making the most of their marking targets inside 50—something we’ve rarely seen from them. They took 11 marks inside 50—the only time they’ve taken more this season was in their win over Geelong. Katie Brennan was responsible for three of these, resulting in her three goals. Brennan has now kicked nine goals in the past four weeks, making this her most prolific season in front of goal yet.
  • Battling strongly against this improved chemistry from the Tigers was Lauren Ahrens, who hasn’t skipped a beat since her debut last year. With a career-high 21 disposals, Ahrens had five intercepts and four rebound 50s, working well in tandem with Jade Pregelj. Ahrens is playing with an air of confidence, willing to take a more attacking approach when she wins the ball, and this is seeing her push up the field far more.

St. Kilda v GWS Giants – Saturday @ RSEA Park

St. Kilda 0.1.1 | 2.7.19 | 2.7.19 | 3.7.25
GWS Giants 4.0.24 | 4.0.24 | 6.3.39 | 7.3.45

Goals

St. Kilda: Caitlin Greiser, Darcy Guttridge, Kate Shierlaw
GWS Giants: Rebecca Privitelli (3), Cora Staunton (3), Katherine Smith

Injuries

St. Kilda: Rosie Dillon (suspected fractured pharynx)
GWS Giants: N/A

  • There seemed to be some confusion around Alan McConnell’s decision to omit Rebecca Privitelli for last week’s match, but he has been rewarded with the forward’s performance against the Saints. Across rounds three, four and five, Privitelli took just one contested mark and kicked one goal. In round seven, however, Privitelli took two strong contested marks and kicked three goals. In a side that has struggled to find consistency up forward, it’s important now for Privitelli to play with this sort of confidence on a regular basis.
  • It has been interesting to watch new players Georgia Garnett and Libby Graham really cement themselves in defence for the Giants. Both have really held their own, and it has released Elle Bennetts to play higher up the field. Garnett’s seven one percenters and four intercepts really helped solidify the defensive 50, while Graham’s 83% disposal efficiency set the Giants up well when looking to rebound.
  • St. Kilda’s tackling was certainly on show, with a massive 103 for the match. Incredibly, four Saints registered in the double digits—Alice Burke and Georgia Patrikios (10), Catherine Phillips (12) and Tyanna Smith (14).
  • That being said, they certainly struggled to find any control of the ball with just six players gathering more than ten disposals—four of those six being the aforementioned tacklers. They seemed to worry themselves into turning the ball over at particularly inopportune times, keeping their defensive group under almost constant pressure.
  • It seems like the Saints are limping toward the end of the season. They’ve battled impressively without key player Olivia Vesely all year, but an injury to tough midfielder Rosie Dillon might tip them over the edge. Vesely and Dillon greatly complement the style of Georgia Patrikios—and this year, Tyanna Smith—but without them, the balance has been thrown out.

North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs – Saturday @ North Hobart Oval

North Melbourne 3.0.18 | 4.2.26 | 5.7.37 | 5.7.37
Western Bulldogs 0.1.1 | 2.3.15 | 2.4.16 | 3.8.26

Goals

North Melbourne: Emma Kearney (2), Daisy Bateman, Emma King, Ash Riddell
Western Bulldogs: Isabel Huntington (2), Bonnie Toogood

Injuries

North Melbourne: N/A
Western Bulldogs: Kirsten McLeod (head knock)

  • North Melbourne find dominance through the uncontested ball, but specifically through their kicking efficiency around the ground. It was the times that the Dogs were able to pressure poor field kicking that they gained control of this contest, they simply weren’t able to maintain that for long enough to win this game.
  • It was a genuine arm wrestle, with neither team able to find many of those breakaway moments we’ve seen from them this year. When either team got on top, it was barely, and they certainly proved how evenly matched they were. But in the small moments, North Melbourne had the maturity and polish to come away with the points. While the loss will be frustrating for the Dogs and their supporters, the knowledge that their young, relatively inexperienced side was able to push the North Melbourne machine to such lengths will be encouraging.
  • Much of North Melbourne’s best play was led by Jasmine Garner, yet again. The star Roo had 13 clearances—breaking the all-time AFLW record—while also gathering 28 disposals, eight tackles, six rebounds and 469 metres gained. The way she covers the ground is impressive, impacting the play both defensively and offensively, bringing her teammates into the game in the process.
  • Another very important—and consistent—piece of the North Melbourne puzzle is Ash Riddell. She is impressively evasive, but what stands out is how clean she is even when on the run. Riddell regularly hits contests at speed and takes the ball in a single grab. Very few players across the competition have the ability to do this, let alone as consistently as Riddell. She ended the game with 18 disposals, six tackles, three clearances and a goal.
  • Battling strongly for the Bulldogs was Kirsty Lamb, who threw her body at absolutely everything. She led the Dogs with 21 disposals, four clearances and five inside 50s. Lamb also applied defensive pressure with five tackles and three intercepts. With Blackburn having a hard time trying to impact the game the way we know she can, Lamb proved to be the rock in the middle for the Western Bulldogs

Melbourne v Adelaide – Saturday @ Casey Fields

Melbourne 1.2.8 | 3.3.21 | 5.6.36 | 6.7.43
Adelaide 1.1.7 | 1.2.8 | 1.3.9 | 2.3.15

Goals

Melbourne: Kate Hore (3), Tyla Hanks, Lauren Pearce, Eden Zanker
Adelaide: Rachelle Martin, Chelsea Randall

Injuries

Melbourne: N/A
Adelaide: Danielle Ponter (groin, replaced in selected side by Jess Sedunary)

  • For the first time this season, a team was able to dominate the territory battle against Adelaide. Melbourne was able to limit any chance of a clean exit from defence for the Crows, and didn’t let up on that pressure all game. Sarah Allan worked hard, winning 17 intercepts across the backline, but Melbourne’s set up simply didn’t allow the quick turnover run Adelaide has used to score heavily for much of the season. The inside 50 count tells some of the story, with Melbourne dominating 40-22.
  • Much of this was created by the defensive structure Melbourne was able to set up behind the ball—all the more impressive given the relative inexperience lining up there for them. Guided by Libby Birch, Lauren Magee, Gabby Colvin and Brenna Tarrant held their own while Sarah Lampard and Sinead Goldrick played a confident, attacking style. In fact, Lampard had a career-best 21 disposals and 11 intercepts.
Sarah Lampard has a career high 21 disposals against the Crows in AFLW Round Seven. Image: Rachel Bach / By The White Line
Sarah Lampard has a career high 21 disposals against the Crows. Image: Rachel Bach / By The White Line
  • Once inside 50, the Demons were able to apply 24 tackles to create repeat opportunities to score, seven of which were thanks to Shelley Scott—who laid a total of ten tackles for the match. This resulted in 18 shots at goal compared to Adelaide’s eight, and the eventual scoreboard disparity.
  • Yet again, Tyla Hanks solidified her claims for this year’s Rising Star award. She is so clean with the ball—even given the slippery conditions early in the game—and in a midfield lineup including Karen Paxman, Ebony Marinoff, Anne Hatchard and Erin Phillips, Hanks stood out thanks to her skill and awareness. She had a career-high 25 disposals, five intercepts and kicked her first goal since 2019.
  • Meanwhile, Erin Phillips was held goalless for the first time this year, and was needed up on the ball for much of the game as compared to most of the season so far. The star won five clearances, but her impact was largely quelled by the Demons’ onballers. To further make life tough for the Crows, Ebony Marinoff was worried into poor ball use, meaning the Crows really didn’t get the benefit of her 24 disposals.
Tyla Hanks strengthened her claims for the 2021 Rising Star award. Image: Rachel Bach / By The White Line
Tyla Hanks strengthened her claims for the 2021 Rising Star award. Image: Rachel Bach / By The White Line

Carlton v Fremantle – Sunday @ Ikon Park

Carlton 3.4.22 | 3.5.23 | 5.5.35 | 6.5.41
Fremantle 0.1.1 | 2.3.15 | 3.7.25 | 6.9.45

Goals

Carlton: Nicola Stevens (2), Georgia Gee, Serena Gibbs, Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio
Fremantle: Sabreena Duffy (2), Jasmin Stewart (2), Stephanie Cain, Gemma Houghton

Injuries

Carlton: N/A
Fremantle: N/A

  • Carlton took control of this game almost immediately, and their ability in close really limited Fremantle’s ability to get the ball out into space as they are wont to do. This was thanks to a real team performance from the Blues, not relying on just one or two players to get the job done out of the middle. Just one Blue failed to lay a tackle, and thirteen players had ten or more possessions.
  • It wasn’t just at the ground level that the Blues controlled the game, their aerial game was the strongest we’ve seen from them this year. Winning the marks 42-29, it was in the contested marking that they really dominated, doubling Fremantle’s count 8-4. Breann Moody was important, with six marks—three contested—19 disposals, four inside 50s and 22 hitouts. In the forward line, Nicola Stevens and Darcy Vescio combined for nine marks—four inside 50—and three goals.
  • In defence, Carlton played more accountable footy, marking their opponent in one-on-ones rather than attempting to zone off and guard space. This effectively played Gemma Houghton out of the game until the final quarter, and made any foray forward particularly difficult for the Dockers. This setup allowed Kerryn Harrington to again play her rebounding style, generating a lot of attack for the Blues. Along with her 22 disposals, Harrington had ten intercepts, ten rebound 50s and 475 metres gained.
Charlotte Wilson was strong in defence for the Blues. Image: Megan Brewer
Charlotte Wilson was strong in defence for the Blues. Image: Megan Brewer
  • It wouldn’t be a wrap up of a Fremantle match without discussing Kiara Bowers. Yet again, the star led by doing, leading the field with 28 disposals and ten clearances, while also laying ten tackles. Her work throughout the game—particularly while Carlton had control—absolutely kept Fremantle in a position to stage their remarkable comeback.
  • A three-minute lapse in concentration from the Blues late in the game saw all of their hard work for the previous three quarters unravel. For much of the game Carlton had restricted Fremantle to a single wing, unable to hit clean kicks to open up the ground, but with five minutes remaining, a Matilda Sergeant kick out of defence to Kara Antonio alone in the corridor spelled danger for Carlton. It was a sign that what they had done exceptionally well all day—restrict any movement into space—had broken down. This kick set up a goal to put Fremantle within two points, and within reach of their eventual win.
Roxy Roux provided the Dockers with a point of difference in the ruck for AFLW Round Seven. Image: Megan Brewer
Roxy Roux provided the Dockers with a point of difference in the ruck. Image: Megan Brewer

Brisbane v Collingwood – Sunday @ Whitten Oval

Brisbane 2.8.20 | 3.8.26 | 4.10.34 | 4.11.35
Collingwood 1.1.7 | 2.4.16 | 2.4.16 | 4.8.32

Goals

Brisbane: Shannon Campbell, Courtney Hodder, Cathy Svarc, Jess Wuetschner
Collingwood: Aishling Sheridan (2), Sophie Alexander, Joanna Lin

Related—The Round Up: AFLW Round Six 2021

Injuries

Brisbane: Greta Bodey (head knock)
Collingwood: Jordyn Allen (foot), Lauren Butler (hamstring)

  • All year, Collingwood’s defence has wreaked havoc on oppositions’ composure, and presented as the biggest on field challenge for the Lions. The Pies were short-handed for much of the game, with Jordyn Allen and Lauren Butler ruled out, but it was the way in which Brisbane approached their forward entries that really limited Collingwood. The Lions weren’t drawn into just kicking long inside 50, they changed angles, hit up leads rather than a pack of players, and lowered their eyes. More importantly, once the ball was in that dangerous zone, Brisbane’s forward pressure maintained that territory—something very few sides have managed to do against the Pies this year.
  • In an attempt to steady the ship, Collingwood coach Steve Symonds threw Chloe Molloy—who to that point had struggled to get involved in the game—behind the ball. Molloy was certainly the right player to do so, but with a little more control thanks to her support in defence, the Pies’ forward line struggled to make the most of the attack they did generate. Although Molloy did return to the forward line in the final quarter, she was held goalless for the first time since round four last year.
  • Cathy Svarc yet again played a key role for the Lions, this time going head-to-head with the Pies’ best player Brianna Davey. Svarc is fairly unique in her combination of power and speed, which made her more suitable than most to curtail Davey, who is notoriously difficult to tackle. Svarc held the Collingwood co-captain to just 14 disposals—Davey’s fewest touches since round one last year, where she played only half the match before succumbing to injury. Svarc herself had ten disposals, five tackles and kicked a goal.
  • While Davey was preoccupied with Svarc, Jaimee Lambert did all she could to maintain Collingwood’s midfield. Her 22 disposals, five tackles and five clearances only tell part of the story. Lambert played with tenacity and aggression to lift her teammates around her, and it seemed like they were getting on board as the Pies surged late to come within three points of the Lions.
  • What Brisbane did—and have done all season—particularly well was the small things. The awareness of where their teammates are, and what positioning will best benefit the side is impressive. This proved to be crucial late when Collingwood closed the gap on the scoreboard. Lauren Arnell led this, with a number of seemingly inconsequential decisions on the half back line in the final quarter—taps ons and handballs along the ground—proving vital to Brisbane’s ability to hold Collingwood at bay. Dakota Davidson was another who stood out in this respect. Her repeat efforts, and the fact that she’s never flat-footed, means she is never out of the contest. While Davidson technically registered just one tackle for the game, her pressure and willingness to close space in repeat contests forced panic from the otherwise neat and composed Magpies.

West Coast v Geelong – Monday @ Mineral Resources Park

West Coast 0.4.4 | 4.4.28 | 6.4.40 | 8.5.53
Geelong 0.0.0 | 0.1.1 | 1.1.7 | 2.2.14

Goals

West Coast: Imahra Cameron (3), Grace Kelly (2), Niamh Kelly (2), Melissa Caulfield
Geelong: Georgia Clarke, Amy McDonald

Injuries

West Coast: N/A
Geelong: N/A

  • This was the Eagles’ most well-rounded performance in their two years, and this was reflected on the scoreboard. West Coast kicked their highest score ever, eclipsing their 5.4.34 of two weeks ago. Coming into the round, no Eagle had ever kicked multiple goals in a game. Against the Cats, however, Imahra Cameron, Grace Kelly and Niamh Kelly each hit the scoreboard more than once.
  • The key to this attack was West Coast’s speed right across the ground. Once they got the ball into the hands of players like Aisling McCarthy, Isabella Lewis or Mikayla Bowen, the Cats simply couldn’t go with them or limit that run and carry.
  • Out of defence, Chantella Perera proved why the Eagles were so keen to recruit her to their inaugural list last year. Perera reads the ball exceptionally well, but what stood out this week was her intercept marking. She wasn’t simply equalling the contest, but causing the turnover. She had a career high 16 disposals, nine intercepts and five marks for the game, and made Geelong’s rare attempt to attack all the more difficult.
  • Leading from the front was captain Emma Swanson, who set the tone for the Eagles and put in a genuine four-quarter performance, not letting up until the final siren—something the team have struggled to do this season. Her six marks and eight tackles led the field, and it was a huge—legal—bump on Georgie Rankin late in the game that showed her fierce intent.
  • As good as it was for the Eagles, things are looking worrisome for Geelong. There seemed to be a real lack of repeat efforts across the field outside of a handful of players, which was disappointing given their strong performance against Carlton last week. Amy McDonald continued her breakout season, leading the field for disposals (24) and clearances (nine), while also kicking one of Geelong’s two goals.

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