AFLW – Round 5 Report
It was another big weekend of AFLW action at the weekend which has seen the Western Bulldogs become the first team to claim outright top spot on the ladder for the year, going one game clear of Melbourne and Brisbane ahead of next weekends ‘moving round,’ which sees do or die clashes right throughout the penultimate round of fixtures.
Cora Staunton, Phoebe McWilliams, Laura Tesoriero, Lauren Spark continued to fly the flag for AFL in Europe with great aplomb, while Laura Corrigan-Duryea & Kate Shierlaw were both rested for the weekend.
Afleurope.org will continue to follow the progress of all six of these listed AFLW players who have ties to AFL in Europe for the remainder of the season, so stay tuned each week for updates on how each of the girls are tracking.
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Phoebe McWilliams – #3 – Greater Western Sydney Giants – Formerly Wimbledon Hawks (2015)
The GWS Giants season remains alive after they registered a huge underdog win on the road in Perth, toppling the Dockers by 18-points as Phoebe McWilliams produced a very lively performance up forward.
McWilliams helped set the tone for the Giants early by taking a strong pack mark ten-minutes into the match and kicking truly to register the first goal of the game and her seventh for the year, which got the ball running for a four goal to one opening half in favour of GWS.
Her presence and interplay with Cora Staunton across half forward proved crucial for the Giants, as McWilliams finished with three shots on goal from her five mark, seven disposal outing to be one of her sides best in a huge win for the club.
The result remarkably catapults the Giants into the top four and sets up a huge Saturday night clash against the ladder leading Bulldogs in Western Sydney where a victory could see them sit second at the end of the round if results go their way.
Cora Staunton – #13 – Greater Western Sydney Giants – Recruited from GAA
Mayo legend Core Staunton was the other link in the Giants AFL Europe led forward line and more than matched the high standards being set by McWilliams, with Staunton proving nearly impossible to stop whenever the ball came near her.
She put her name on the scoreboard with another example of what is quickly becoming her trademark dash and snapped finish, but she was equally as influential defensively with four strong tackles which had the Dockers visibly rattled.
— AFL Women's (@aflwomens) March 3, 2018
The GAA legend continues to grow in confidence and with good reason, with her goal-assist on the weekend taking her to the top of that category across the entire league.
Staunton will continue to play a huge role in the Giants surge for the top two and will need to be at her best this weekend, with Saturday nights encounter with the Dogs the ultimate litmus test for the legitimacy of her sides premiership claims.
— Kristy Williams (@kristywill_1101) March 3, 2018
Lauren Spark – #11 – Western Bulldogs – Formerly Wimbledon Hawks (2015/16)
Top spot is now the Dogs to forfeit in the final two games of the regular season after they moved a game clear at the pointy end of the ladder with their eight-point win over a gallant Collingwood side in Moe.
The performance of Lauren Spark was just as Dogs supporters have come to expect from the former Wimbledon Hawk, proving a key cog in the wheel in the most potent forward line in the competition after being thrust out of the key defensive post which she has made her own this season in order to fill the void left by superstar spearhead Katie Brennan.
Spark had 6 disposals as teammates Ellie Blackburn, Emma Kearney & Brook Lochland starred, taking the Dogs to their fourth win in five games and putting them in a strong position ahead of next Saturdays away trip to Western Sydney, where they will face a Giants side hell-bent on keeping their season alive.
Significant WIN to go clear on top 💪 #AFLPiesDogs
COLL 6. 5. 41
WB 7. 7. 49 pic.twitter.com/IpMQWHmrxQ
— WesternBulldogs AFLW (@BulldogsW) March 4, 2018
Lauren Tesoriero – #7 – Collingwood Magpies – Formerly Wandsworth Demons (2017)
While the trip to Moe was a fruitful one for the Bulldogs, it made for another tough weekend for Collingwood who were resigned to their fourth loss of the season and remain rooted to the foot of the table.
In what is becoming the story of the Magpies season, the girls in black and white were gallant right throughout the match and kept the Dogs within reach for much of the game thanks to strong games from Caitlyn Edwards, Sarah D’Arcy & Steph Chiocci among others.
Lauren Tesoriero did her part for the side in coming off the bench and gathering seven disposals, but unfortunately, it was another tale of too little too late for the Pies as they goaled with ten seconds remaining to bring the margin back to eight points.
All is certainly not lost down at Victoria Park though, with a matchup against the Lions in Brisbane providing the chance for Collingwood to leapfrog their arch-rival Carlton on the ladder which can add to the motivation as they hunt for a second win of the year.
Laura Corrigan-Duryea – #11 – Melbourne Demons – Irish Banshees Co-Captain (2017 International Cup)
The clash between Melbourne and Brisbane loomed as the clear match-up of the round heading into the weekend and what was produced on Friday night certainly lived up to that billing, as the Demons prevailed in a close encounter that ensures only percentage separates these two sides vying for a spot in the Grand-Final.
Laura Corrigan-Duryea was one of four changes for the Dees squad as coaches looked to freshen up the squad who had travelled to Perth & Alice Springs in the preceding fortnight.
While Corrigan-Duryea watched from the sidelines, her teammates engaged in a tight, seesawing affair that developed into one of the games of the season, with the star trio of Paxman, Pearce and O’Dea leading the way for the Dees to counter the efforts of Kate Ludkins & Sabrina Frederick-Traub in the opposition camp.
The Lions had their chances to snatch the four points in the dying stages of the game after some wayward Melbourne kicking for goal opened the door, but the Dees held strong and remained a goal to the good at the final siren.
They now face the struggling Blues at Princes Park next Sunday afternoon, as they look to reclaim their position in the top two ahead of a blockbuster final round game against the Bulldogs.
— Melbourne FC (@melbournefc) March 2, 2018
Kate Shierlaw – #25 – Carlton Blues – Formerly Wimbledon Hawks (2016)
Carlton selectors swung the axe after the Blues big loss to the Western Bulldogs and Kate Shierlaw was one of the five omissions from the side ahead of their clash against the reigning premiers in Adelaide, though the inclusion of superstar recruit Tayla Harris wasn’t enough as Adelaide claimed a 35-point win.
While the result keeps Adelaide’s surge for a top two spot alive with two games to play it spells trouble for Carlton who have now lost three matches on the bounce. Whilst still mathematically possible, it will require a minor miracle for the Blues to mount a late push for the top.
Shierlaw will be looking for a quick recall for this Sunday’s match against Melbourne at Princes Park.