AFLW finals cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic
Sunday, March 22 2020 @ 08:30 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
The AFLW season has been cancelled and AFL season has been postponed to May 31st, due to the coronavirus pandemic taking hold of the world.
And we all knew that the axe that has fell on sport globally was eventually going to fall on the AFLW and AFL.
It's disappointing that the AFLW season has come to an abrupt end, after such an exciting finals series and enthralling home and away season, but this coronavirus is bigger than sport and through these trying times globally we have to accept that there are more important things than sport right now.
The first week of the AFLW finals certainly delivered with four cracking matches and who would have thought they would be the last women's football matches in 2020.
Image Source: @NorthAFLW
North Melbourne and Collingwood began the semi finals and it was a ripping start to the finals, Melbourne broke the hearts of the Giants about 25 seconds before the siren sounded, Fremantle thumped Gold Coast and Carlton were too strong for the Lions.
North Melbourne vs Collingwood:
North Melbourne held on against Collingwood to win narrowly by two-points in a pulsating semi final on Saturday afternoon at Ikon Park.
For North Melbourne, the third term proved to be the difference in the end as it helped them to gain back the lead and the Pies could not topple them with North victorious 5.4 (34) to 5.2 (32).
In an intense final quarter, both teams scored a goal each with North Melbourne's Sophie Abbatangelo snapping through a goal from the boundary and then the always reliable Jordan Membrey calmly kicked the goal.
Membrey is yet to miss a goal from 10 attempts.
Both teams missed their chances when they were inside forward 50, especially Collingwood in the final minutes with a miss from veteran Jaimee Lambert and young star Chloe Molloy had a shot on goal, but it fell short.
It was such an exciting final, with Collingwood getting an early break in the match in the second term with a flurry of three goals to go into the main break with a 10-point advantage.
The Roos played well in the premiership quarter kicking the only two goals, as they did not allow the Pies to get any momentum or flow into their game limiting their inside 50s to three and took a three point lead into three quarter time.
North's Sarah Wright kicked truly after she took advantage of a 50-metre penalty and Ellie Gavalas booted through the goal on the siren for three quarter time.
Emma Kearney was stellar for North Melbourne, playing a huge match as skipper with four inside 50s, 17 disposals and four tackles and Ash Riddell was superb again through the midfield accumulating 22 disposals along with six tackles.
For the Pies, Jordan Membrey was impressive up forward with two goals from her eight touches and she was the lone multiple goal scorer in the match, while Jaimee Lambert and Brianna Davey both combined for 44 disposals and 10 tackles.
GWS Giants vs Melbourne:
Melbourne caused a giant blow, as they came from behind to win by three-points on Saturday afternoon against the GWS Giants.
Lily Mithen kicked the match winning goal with only 25 seconds left on the clock in the match to break the Giants hearts, especially because the Giants were in complete control halfway through the final quarter with a 15-point lead until the Dees turned their fortunes around with three goals.
The Giants shot themselves in the foot with their inaccurate kicking in their maiden final and were shattered after Mithen's goal all but ended their finals with them going down 4.5 (29) to 3.8 (26).
A surprising stat was Mithen had not scored an AFLW goal until this semi-final with her kicking two goals.
Melbourne were the more experienced side, but the Giants took it right up to them.
The Giants took their game up a notch in the third booting through two goals, while also keeping the Dees scoreless in a solid defensive quarter and held a 14-point advantage at three quarter time.
In a tense last quarter, Melbourne were able to get a run on with three consecutive goals courtesy of Shelley Scott, Sarah Perkins and Mithen.
The player who had the greatest impact in the match with her smart ball use was Alyce Parker who collected 23 disposals and Alicia Eva was massive with her 10 crunching tackles.
In the Giants defensive 50, Jess Dal Pos, Tanya Hetherington and Elle Bennetts were influential and stood strongly defensively while up forward Aimee Schmidt and Irishwoman Cora Staunton kicked one goal apiece.
Dees' veteran Karen Paxman continued her strong All-Australian form with 20 disposals and six tackles and captain Daisy Pearce made her impact felt in the contest with 22 disposals and three tackles.
Both teams played a cracking final and there was plenty on the line yesterday afternoon with one team progressing to the preliminary finals, but so much changed in one day.
Fremantle Dockers vs Gold Coast Suns:
Fremantle smashed the Gold Coast Suns by 70-points on Saturday afternoon at Fremantle Oval.
Sabreena Duffy was massive inside 50 for the Dockers scoring three goals from her 11 disposals, while Gemma Houghton, Irishwoman Kate Flood and Gemma O'Sullivan nailed through two goals each.
It was a overpowering performance from the Dockers and they well and truly sent a powerful message to the rest of the competition.
Also for the Dockers, Kiara Bowers was huge racking up 22 disposals, 18 kicks and 14 tackles and Ebony Antonio made her presence felt in the match with 20 disposals, three tackles and a goal.
It was an overpowering performance from the Dockers and they well and truly sent a powerful message to the rest of the competition, as they kicked two goals in the opening term followed by three in the second and third quarters and then they ended with four massive last quarter goals.
Carlton vs Brisbane Lions:
Carlton ranout 29-point winners over Brisbane Lions in their semi-final on Sunday afternoon at Ikon Park.
The win for the Blues was bittersweet, as Tayla Harris was reported for a sling tackle on the Lions' Emily Bates in the third quarter and Harris was an influential part in the 6.8 (44) to 2.3 (15) victory.
Harris made her impact felt in the contest and her ability to find the small forwards in her team.
The Lions were dominant until the second term when Darcy Vescio lifted her game with seven disposals and a goal and this shifted the game and momentum to the Blues.
For the Blues, a lot of their players stood up especially Georgia Gee who booted through two goals in the third term after only three touches in the opening quarter to give the Blues a 16-point lead heading into the last term.
Gee was superb finishing with three goals and was the lone multiple goal scorer from the match.
Young star of the competition and Carlton midfielder, Maddie Prespakis was huge with 18 disposals, until she injured her ankle at the end of the third quarter.
After seven weeks of exciting AFLW football, in a season that offered so much for many, the season has finished with no premier.
It came to a disappointing end, but all of us have had to come to terms with the decision, as its correct due to the unprecendented challenging times we are currently facing.
And to quote AFL CEO "this is the most serious threat to the game in 100 years, but also to the wider community", but the AFL and AFLW will get through this.
Till then, we are all in this together and keep safe everyone.