AFLW Season 7: Round 9 Talking Points – Finals picture becomes clearer
Image credit: James Elsby/AFL Photos
ROUND 9 of the AFLW’s final season bounced back on Friday night, with a pair of matches with final ramifications on the penultimate home and away weekend. Kicking off proceedings, Adelaide released a fantasy thriller against fellow fantasy side Geelong, while Gold Coast kept their top eight prospects alive while wiping out Carlton’s.
By: Elly Kirlis
In a match played at a final-like intensity, the Adelaide Crows held on to keep their top four prospects alive, earning a two-point win over Geelong. The Cats gave him a brave fight, being calm and controlling the game, before the Crows lifted their charge around the contested in the final minutes to win, 4.6 (30) to 4.4 (28).
Credit Cats for their fight
Geelong have shown why they deserve to make the final this season, even more so after leveling them with the league’s most successful side. The Cats were able to control the game by the second quarter, leading the elimination and halftime scoring categories. They had chances in front of goal and cherished possession of the foot, but couldn’t quite convert it into the crucial four points. However, they should certainly be proud of the game plan they applied, especially applying pressure that challenged the Crows.
Geelong stars are shining
While it was the battle, the Cats adopted a good game plan by being able to stop the easy run and transition that the Crows love to run. The likes of Amy McDonald and Nina Morrison were superb, as usual. One person who contributed one percent on the defensive side was Claudia Gunjaca, disrupting Crows forwards and playing a key interception game well.
Key players rise in Randall’s absence
While the likes of Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were business as usual, many other Crows stepped in and played their parts. Danielle Ponter produced big moments in the front half, Rachelle Martin provided more sparks than ever in midfield, while Madison Newman, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Chelsea Biddell, Abbie Ballard and Caitlin Gould lifted when the match was on the line. As Chelsea Randall remains out, load sharing for the Crows will be key to the series finale.
By: Michael Alvaro
Gold Coast remain in the hunt for the finals after a blistering 27-point win over Carlton on Friday night. The Suns trailed after a low-scoring first half on the greasy Metricon Stadium deck, but were quick to get going afterward to wipe out Carlton’s top eight prospects, winning 6.6 (42 ) to 2.3 (15).
Comes the hour, comes the Kalinda
Although the damage is far from done, Gold Coast needed an immediate spark in the second half after being beaten for much of the first and conceding the ascendancy of the scoreboard. Enter Kalinda Howarth, who cracked and scored under 30 seconds into the third term to immediately draw her side level. Her evasiveness and clean hands at ground level suited the conditions perfectly, as she threatened herself by getting involved in the goals of Kaylee Kimber and Tahlia Meyer.
There’s a first time for everything
With the fifth win of Season 7, Gold Coast ties the points with North Melbourne (seventh) and the Western Bulldogs (eighth). Both Victorian teams have a game in hand, but the Suns’ practical increase in percentage sees them remain the only team outside the current top eight with a realistic chance of sneaking past. A matchup with GWS awaits, and the Suns may be keen for North’s spot as the Roos face tough tests against Collingwood and Richmond to see out the season. It would be the club’s first-ever appearance in both the AFLM and W finals.
Just think back a season earlier and you’ll remember Courtney Jones scoring in the navy as Carlton’s top goal kicker. She is now a sunshine in the Gold Coast skies and reminded her former team of her quality on Friday night. The spirited striker finished as the only multiple kicker on the pitch, grabbing it first to put Gold Coast ahead before scoring the game’s final score in what was the icing on the cake for her side’s victory.
Schaap, crunch and goal
It took more than 10 minutes into the second half for the game stalemate to be broken, with Carlton scoring the opening goal. Coming into the squad for her first game of Season 7, it was small forward Poppy Schaap who produced the goods, netting a smooth set-piece to cement her team’s deserved halftime lead. It was the 19-year-old’s first major in the top flight, landed on only her second senior outing. Unfortunately for the Blues, that was really all they had to show for a strong first half, with their goalscoring issues proving worrying and ultimately costly.