Aussie Rules: AFLW Week 3 Preview

Written by Jake Bowtell (@thejbse on Twitter)

DP

The Women’s AFL season enters the third week of play, and already we’ve seen some surprises in the first couple of rounds. Last season’s 12th placed team, the Geelong Cats, claimed top spot after a dominating 27 – 1 win on the road in Fremantle, while the expansion team Essendon Bombers came within 1 point of starting their inaugural season 2-0 against the more fancied Carlton Blues. What can we look forward to in Week 3? Let’s find out!

(2-0) WESTERN BULLDOGS v FREMANTLE DOCKERS (0-2)

Friday 9th Sept @ 5:10pm AUS EST (Friday 9th @ 3:10am US EDT)

The Doggies are perfect through two weeks of play after victories over the GWS Giants and Port Adelaide Power, much better than their 0-2 start to begin their last campaign. Superstar Ellie Blackburn remains the team’s focal point, averaging 20 disposals, 6 clearances and 6 tackles per game.

ABC

After finishing 5th last season, Fremantle is already beginning to see its chances of making finals narrow, having lost twice in two weeks. In a 10 game season, the runway is short, so the Dockers need a turnaround. Offense is a problem, having mustered only 28 points across 2 games. 

Jake’s Prediction: A more spirited Fremantle than last week, but the Dogs too good on home turf. Bulldogs by 13. 

(1-1) ADELAIDE CROWS v NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS (1-1)

Saturday 10th Sept @ 12:40pm AUS EST (Friday 9th @ 10:40pm US EDT)

After losing Week 1 to the Demons, the Crows had to claw back a 7 point ¾ time deficit to grab their first win of the season last weekend against the Richmond Tigers. Anne Hatchard has stepped to the forefront for Adelaide after the off-season departure of Erin Phillips, averaging 25 possessions, 5 clearances and 5.5 tackles per game.

The Kangaroos were on the wrong end of a thriller against the Demons last week, ultimately falling by 2 points at the MCG. Jasmine Garner and Ashleigh Riddell have been exceptional for North, combining for an average of 45 disposals per game, with Garner leading the league with 16 total clearances.

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Jake’s Prediction: Adelaide are the best team North have played this season, and they’ll show it on Saturday. Crows by 7 points.

(0-2) SYDNEY SWANS v GWS GIANTS (0-2)

Saturday Sept @ 2:40pm AUS EST (Friday 9th @ 12:40am US EDT)

The expansion side Swans have had a plucky beginning to their inaugural campaign, but still find themselves the owners of an 0-2 record after two weeks of play. They’ll be hungry to make an impact in their first cross-town derby against the Giants, looking to players like Molly Eastman (leads team in avg. disposals, metres gained, and tackles) to set the tone.

The Giants come into this rivalry game smarting after back-to-back losses to open their season. Irish spearhead Cora Staunton was held goalless in last week’s 47 point loss to the Lions, as the GWS midfield managed to bring the football into the opponent’s defensive 50 on just 14 occasions.

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Jake’s Prediction: While the Swans have been willing combatants through two games, I expect an attacking bounce back for GWS. Giants by 15 points.

(2-0) GEELONG CATS v COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES (2-0)

Saturday 10th Sept @ 4:10pm AUS EST (Saturday 10th @ 2:10am US EDT)

The Cats won just twice in ten games last season, and have already equalled that tally through the opening two weeks of the campaign. Victory has been built off the back ravenous tackling and structural discipline on defense, as well as the continued midfield dominance of Amy McDonald in midfield. 

RoR

Collingwood also head into this clash undefeated, with comfortable wins over the Blues and Swans. Like the Cats, Collingwood have built their early season success around defensive pressure and willingness to tackle, while Stacey Livingston has made an art out of generating intercept possessions down back.

Jake’s Prediction: Geelong are a home underdog of 9.5 points, but I think they can survive this massive test IF they can convert their chances up forward. Cats by 2 points.

(2-0) BRISBANE LIONS v GOLD COAST SUNS (1-1)

Saturday 10th Sept @ 4:40pm AUS EST (Saturday 10th @ 2:40am US EDT)

The Lions have opened their campaign in imperious form, skewering the Dockers by 49 and the Giants by 47 to move to 2-0. Greta Bodey and Dakota Davidson have each kicked 3 goals in two games, while Natalie Grider is averaging 9 intercept possessions per game down back, second-most in the league. 

Lions

Gold Coast have been a mixed back through two weeks, losing by 26 to the Kangaroos in Week 1, before winning by 33 against the Eagles last weekend. Alison Drennan has helped drive the team with 22 disposals and 5.5 clearances per game, but they’ll be looking for a lift from last season’s leading goal kicker Tara Bohanna.

Jake’s Prediction: Brisbane are an absolute machine right now, favoured to win by 36.5 points. Lions by 40 points.

(1-1) CARLTON BLUES v PORT ADELAIDE POWER (0-2)

Sunday 11th Sept @ 12:10pm AUS EST (Saturday 10th @ 10:10pm US EDT)

The Blues escaped with a slim 1 point victory over the expansion team Essendon Bombers in Week 2, having held a 21 point advangate at ¾ time. Mimi Hill has led the way for Carlton after the offseason departure of Madison Prespakis, averaging 23.5 disposals and 5 clearances, while Darcy Vescio has booted 4 goals.

Port Adelaide’s inaugural campaign has been competitive in patches, but ultimately winless through two weeks. Abbey Dowrick has contributed team-highs in disposals, contested possessions, clearances, metres gained, and marks, while the team is still waiting for the first goal from prized off-season recruit Erin Phillips. 

Imago

Jake’s Prediction: Carlton being favoured by just 7.5 points at home against a team that managed just 9 points last week is decidedly weird to me. Blues by 15 points. 

(2-0) ST KILDA SAINTS v MELBOURNE DEMONS (2-0)

Sunday 11th Sept @ 2:10pm AUS EST (Sunday 11th @ 12:10am US EDT)

The Saints have put a couple of expansion teams to the sword in the opening two weeks, outscoring their opponents 119-37, with forward Kate Shierlaw leading the league with 6 goals to her name. Bianca Jakobsson has been an impeccable counter-attacking force, leading the team for Intercepts and Rebound 50s.

Melbourne have moved to a 2-0 record on the back of a big road win against the reigning champion Crows and a victory at home vs a feisty Kangaroos side. Melbourne have four midfielders inside the league’s top 15 for average possessions, lending a dominance around the ground that puts them in great positions every week.

AFLW

Jake’s Prediction: This is a massive test of St Kilda’s steel, but in the battle of Saints and Demons, I see the hellish side triumphing. Demons by 24 points. 

(0-2) RICHMOND TIGERS v HAWTHORN HAWKS (0-2)

Sunday 11th Sept @ 4:10pm AUS EST (Sunday 11th @ 2:10am US EDT)

Richmond will consider themselves unlucky to sit at two losses through two weeks, after falling to the Cats and Crows by only a combined 13 points. Monique Conti has dominated for the Tigers with 24.5 possessions and 6 tackles per game, but scoring has been a problem, with Richmond only managing 5 goals this season.

The Hawks were highly competitive in Week 1 of their debut season, but were blown off the park in Week 2 against the Saints. Tilly Lucas Rodd (21 tackles) and Tamara Smith (15 tackles) typify Hawthorn’s willingness to pressure the opponent, but the Hawks have also found themselves giving away the 2nd most free-kicks in the league.

SGSSL

Jake’s Prediction: As much as I admire the spirit of the Hawks so far, Richmond cannot afford to drop to 0-3. Tigers by 24 points. 

(1-1) WEST COAST EAGLES v ESSENDON BOMBERS (1-1)

Sunday 11th Sept @ 6:10pm AUS EST (Sunday 11th @ 4:10am US EDT)

West Coast escaped a see-sawing encounter against Port Adelaide to claim a win in Week 1, only to get whacked 47-14 on the road against the Suns last weekend. The Eagles are doing a lot of work without having the ball in hand, averaging the 3rd lowest possessions per game while ranking 2nd in the league for tackles per game.

The Bombers were the first of the expansion teams to nab a win in 2022, and almost had a second victory last week before falling 1 point short against the Blues. Off-season recruit Madisen Prespakis has been as advertised, averaging 23.5 disposals, 376 metres gained, 6.5 clearances, 4 tackles and 1 goal per game,

TWA

Jake’s Prediction: A battle between two 1-1 teams over in the West, but I think that Essendon are rightly favoured on the road. Bombers by 5 points.

I hope you enjoy another weekend of awesome AFLW action, I’ll be back next week to recap it all for you on A Football World!

Also, make sure you go on over and check out the work of Australian Football Association of North America who do an exceptional job covering the Aussie game and providing up to date broadcast and time zone information for US viewers! 

Jake is a sports writer and podcaster living a life of sporting  obsession in the backwoods of rural Australia. You can listen to him on The Jake Bowtell Sports Experience and The Chaps Chat Cats.

Feature Photo: ABC

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