AFLW – Round 3 Report

AFLW – Round 3 Report

The AFLW season has been busted wide open after a weekend of upsets which saw all three of the previously unbeaten sides in Carlton, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs defeated to see the top five sides separated only by percentage on two wins each. The round will be most remembered though for the stirring return of last year’s league best and fairest Erin Phillips, who reminded fans why she was the competitions pre-eminent force last season with four goals in the standout performance of the round.

Laura Corrigan-Duryea, Kate Shierlaw, Cora Staunton, Lauren Spark & Laura Tesoriero continued to fly the flag for AFL in Europe, with all five women stepping out for their respective sides and turning in strong performances which have been dissected below. will continue to keep a close eye on the progress of all five of these listed AFLW players who have ties to AFL in Europe right throughout the season, so stay tuned each week for updates on how each of the girls are tracking.


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Cora Staunton – #13 – Greater Western Sydney Giants – Recruited from GAA

The Gaelic stalwart was in the thick of the action once again this weekend as the Giants faced Collingwood at Olympic Park in Melbourne, with the former Mayo star helping inspire her side to their first victory of the season despite suffering a nasty broken nose.

Staunton was busy throughout the first half as Collingwood made the early running, kicking three behinds of her own in the second term which would have made a good performance spectacular had she been accurate, before a nasty clash with her opponent Sophie Casey just prior to half-time temporarily sidelined the 36-year-old. 

Staunton played on in the second half sporting some extensive bandaging around her head and was a key factor in the Giants resurgence in the second half, gathering 13 disposals for the match as GWS ran away with a 13-point-victory. 

The Giants host Adelaide next Sunday in another big game where a win will be imperative for both sides if they are to mount a charge up the table in the second half of the season.


Laura Corrigan-Duryea – #11 – Melbourne Demons – Irish Banshees Co-Captain (2017 International Cup)

Laura Corrigan-Duryea once again featured at full-back for the Demons over the weekend in their challenging trip out West, with the task of facing a Fremantle side full of momentum following their big win in front of over 40,000 fans last round time out against Collingwood no easy one.

The ever-reliable Duryea was a pillar in defence for the Dee’s as they gained the early ascendency, with her earth-shaking hip and shoulder on Gabby O’Sullivan late in the first term sending gasps through the crowd and certainly a moment for the end of season highlights reel.

Despite their dominance around the ground, the Demon’s inaccuracy in front of goal throughout the first half came back to bite them, as Fremantle launched a spirited fightback on the back of two scintillating goals from debutant Emily McGuire which proved crucial.

Melbourne trailed by five points with the ball deep in their attacking fifty in the dying stages of the match, but were beaten by the buzzer before Elise O’Dea could get her shot on goal away to resign Melbourne to their first loss of the season.

They will be out to make amends this Saturday night as they travel to Alice Springs to host their struggling neighbours Collingwood in the red centre, with the chance to reclaim top spot on the ladder on offer.


Lauren Spark – #11 – Western Bulldogs – Formerly Wimbledon Hawks (2015/16)

As the #SparkyArmy continues to gain momentum in social media circles, Lauren Spark continues to go from strength to strength as the rock in the defensive fifty for the Dogs, though her efforts were not quite enough to keep her side from suffering their first defeat of the season over the weekend as they fell to Adelaide in a thriller at Norwood Oval.

After Laura Corrigan-Duryea held the dangerous Crows full-forward Sarah Perkins goalless last round, Lauren Spark stuck true to her own hot form to start the year and doubled the treatment on Perkins, blanketing her impressively again while gathering seven disposals of her own and generating plenty of rebound for the Dogs from the back half.

Her defensive exploits were aided up the ground by strong performances from Ellie Blackburn, Emma Kearney and skipper Katie Brennan, which saw the Bulldogs control the early running and maintain the lead throughout the majority of the match.

Just as the Dogs looked to have the reigning premiers on the ropes prior to three-quarter time, up stood the reigning competition best and fairest winner Erin Phillips on her return from injury to snatch the ascendancy and lift the Crows over the line in a compelling finish. She finished with fifteen disposals and four goals, including this go-ahead snap that will challenge for the goal of the year.

Spark and the Bulldogs are now separated only by percentage from Brisbane, Melbourne, Carlton & Fremantle in a top five who all share two wins apiece, with Friday nights clash against the Blues at the Whitten Oval looming as the match of the round as both sides get their chance to grab a top two spot.


Kate Shierlaw – #25 – Carlton Blues – Formerly Wimbledon Hawks (2016)

It was a tough weekend for Kate Shierlaw and the Blues as they were beaten convincingly at home by the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night to become yet another side to have their unbeaten run ended.

After heading into the round on top of the table, the Blues struggled to get into the game with Shierlaw and the other Carlton forwards left wanting in a low-scoring first half as the Lions kicked to the lead at the main break.

It would take almost three quarters before Carlton registered their first goal of the game through Maddison Gay, finishing from point-blank range after Shierlaw was involved in the build-up. That was about as good as it got for the Blues as Brisbane put a margin on their opponents in the final ten minutes of the match to run out 22-point winners.

Carlton will be forced to play without two of their stars next week with Tayla Harris joining injured skipper Bri Davey on the sidelines after being suspended for landing a blow to Leah Kasler, and they now face the huge task of a blockbuster matchup against the Bulldogs on Friday night which could make or break their season.


Lauren Tesoriero – #7 – Collingwood Magpies – Formerly Wandsworth Demons (2017)

Tesoriero held her place in the Collingwood line up this week after coming back from injury in last weekend’s loss to Fremantle at Optus Stadium but was unable to help the Pies get their first win on the board for season 2018, with the Giants running over the top of the home side in the second half to keep Collingwood winless.

Tesoriero was a part of the Collingwood midfield who held their own with the Giants across most of the key statistical areas, though they lacked the same potency going forward and were comprehensively beaten 37-18 in the inside-50 count which was the key difference in the match.

Collingwood will be desperately hoping to break their duck for the season when the side travels up to Alice Springs to face their neighbours Melbourne on Saturday night, and the Pies would love nothing more than to cause an upset to curtail the Demons premiership charge.


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