The finalists for the 2017/18 NTFL season will be decided by one particular final-round match next weekend, and the equation is simple – the winner of the clash at Tracy Oval between the Tiwi Bombers and Waratah will play finals. The loser will commence planning for next season. After weeks of jostling, a final round epic will decide fifth place.
Both teams lost over the weekend, to make things even more interesting, but the Tahs lost by less and hold the psychological edge over the Bombers after stealing fifth place from them. With all other finalists now guaranteed, the script is now perfectly written for a thrilling finish.
Waratah answered the eternal question on the weekend as to whether there is such a thing as a “valuable” loss. The answer was a resounding “Yes” with their narrow three-point loss to ladder leaders, Southern Districts, being enough to leap-frog the Bombers. Waratah were after a win, and played that way. They hurled everything at the Crocs. After a first half where the teams needed to be prised apart with a crowbar, Waratah then kept the Crocs goalless in the third term to snare a 22-point lead. However, Crocs fought back with a big final quarter to steal the match with a goal on the final siren to break Waratah hearts, but not their spirit.
The Western Bulldogs overcame the Lions in hot conditions in front of 5,300 football fans. In the second season of the AFLW the Dogs remain undefeated and the Lions have zero wins to start this season. The Dogs had been fantastic all day and their slick ball movement and gameplay all over the ground getting them get over the line. They unfortunately let themselves down in front of goal, as they were only able to score three goals for the entire match.
Image Source: Twitter @BulldogsW
It was a tight opening term with the first score a behind only coming with 6 mins left on the clock from Katie Brennan. Izzy Huntington played tough in and around the contest, as she cracked the packs and took strong marks. At quarter time the Lions led the Dogs by one point with neither team able to score a goal in the opening term. It was a real arm wrestle in the heat. Ally Anderson from the Lions was able to rack up nine possessions in the first. She was the only player able to get more than four disposals.
The Fremantle Dockers won by 13 points over the Pies in front of a massive record crowd of 41, 975 at their new home the Optus Stadium. This crowd was the biggest crowd in the history of Women's sport in Australia.
For the first half of the first quarter, Collingwood were on top in all areas especially slick and clean in their forward half. As a result, they were able to kick two goals. Emma King from the Pies slotted the first goal at Optus Stadium and shortly after Christina Bernardi was able to score goal number two for the visitors. However in a tight and open first quarter, the Dockers led by six points at the end of the first after three goals in a row.
Melbourne were dominant at Casey Fields this afternoon with a percentage boosting win over the reigning premiers Adelaide in front of 3,800 footy fans. The Dees were all over the Crows who were not able to put a halt to the Dees immense pressure.
It did not start well at all for the Crows, because before the siren even sounded for the match to begin there banner fell apart on one end with the post falling off on the right due to the strong breeze and the crowd could not believe it. This trend unfortunately continued for the Crows who were unable to get on top of a Demons team that was exceptional and played top notch football.
After the weekend’s round of matches, three clubs will be fighting for two remaining finals berths as the battle for finals hots up. St Mary’s, Waratah and the Tiwi Bombers will go into the final two rounds of the home and away season very aware that if they blink they can miss finals. What makes it even more compelling is that each of the three play against at least one of the others in the run home.
The Bombers have two cutthroat games to make the finals. They play both St Mary’s and Waratah – their rivals for a finals spot. St Mary’s have perhaps the better run home, playing against the Bombers next weekend but then meeting the Palmerston Magpies in the final round and a chance to lock away another finals challenge. Waratah have the toughest draw, up against ladder leaders – Southern Districts - and then a final round clash for likely fifth spot with the Bombers. It is a fascinating script.
The Bulldogs were victors over Freo by 26 points Sunday afternoon in front of 8,500 fans at the home of the Western Bulldogs the Whitten Oval. A woeful Freo were only able to trouble the scorers in the third term, as they were only able to score their first goal at the 3 and a half minute mark of the third via Amy Lavell.
Katie Brennan starred for the home team with 3 goals and Lavell slotted 2 goals for the Dockers. Ellie Blackburn was the leading possession winner for the Dogs with 23 touches. 2017 best and fairest winner Dana Hooker along with Kara Donnellan had 12 disposals each for the Dockers.
This match showed the rest of the teams in the AFLW competition that the Dogs will not be a team to be taken lightly this year.
The Lions took home the chocolates in their Grand Final rematch against the Crows at Norwood Oval in front of 11,120 fans at the home of the Crows on Saturday evening. This match was a tight tussle like the previous two matches to open the 2018 AFLW season.
The Lions did not want a repeat of last year’s Grand Final and to ensure that history did not repeat itself they kept the Crows scoreless in the last stanza to win by 12 points.
Chelsea Randall ended the match with 18 disposals and led the possession count for the Crows and Jamie Stanton from the Lions accumulated an impressive 21 touches. Jess Wuetschner from the Lions was the only multiple goal scorer on the ground with 2 goals and Chelsea Randall, Eloise Jones and Ruth Wallace each kicked a goal apiece.
The Melbourne Demons won in a cracker of a match against the 2017 bottom placed GWS Giants this afternoon at the Casey Fields, the home of the Melbourne Women's Football Club. Both sides put on an entertaining see soaring contest from the first ball up till the end of the match.
For the whole match you could not pick a winner in this match due to both teams playing with a high amount of intensity and pressure. It was a great spectacle of women's football for the 5,100 fans who were there to see it. In particular many of the Melbourne fans who came to support their beloved Dees ladies play in their opening round match.
Before the match the young Melbourne Demons fans formed a guard of honour for the Melbourne players to run through. The Giants team ran through the banner first before the Demons who had two African drummers play the drums before there team song blasted through the grounds speakers. When the Melbourne theme song started playing the home crowd became loud to cheer their ladies onto the ground. The two captains Daisy Pearce and Amanda Farrugia tossed the coin in the centre and the Giants won the toss. Farrugia chose to kick to the left of the ground with the breeze and the Dees to the right of the ground.
The AFLW season opened once again with the clash of arch rivals Collingwood and Carlton. The match was held at Ikon Park, the home of the Carlton Football Club on a Friday night with an offical attendance of 19,852.
Image Source: Twitter @CarltonFC
About two hours before the match the crowds poured into the ground in their thousands and about 20 minutes before the first bounce the ground was almost full. The atmosphere at the ground was building with fans coming in their thousands. The Pies started the match by kicking to the eastern end of the ground and the Blues to western (Legends Stand) end of the ground.
Collingwood had a lot of the ball and ascendency in the first quarter but were unable to make the most of their opportunities when they had possession. In the first quarter Jasmine Garner for the Pies kicked the first goal of the match and she has now slotted through the first goal two years in a row against the Blues.