AFLW – Round 6 Report
It came down to the final quarter of the final home and away game of the season, but the two teams contending the 2018 AFLW Grand Final have been decided, after a thrilling final weekend that perfectly encapsulated the evenness that typified the entire season.
The Western Bulldogs and Brisbane will fight out Saturday’s Grand Final after they came out on top of their respective do or die matches, with the Lions also having Collingwood to thank for causing another upset victory over the Crows to guarantee their place in the top two.
Lauren Spark will be the sole representative of AFL Europe in the big dance for the Bulldogs, after the seasons of Phoebe McWilliams, Cora Staunton, Lauren Tesoriero, Laura Corrigan-Duryea & Kate Shierlaw ended earlier than they would have liked over the weekend.
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Lauren Spark – #11 – Western Bulldogs – Formerly Wimbledon Hawks (2015/16)
The Dogs coughed up their chance to lock in a spot in the Grand Final last weekend but didn’t make the same mistake at the second time of asking, coming up trumps over Melbourne in a seesawing game at the Whitten Oval.
With the stakes as high as they can be in a regular season match, Spark was close to best afield in defence marking the dangerous Demon Tegan Cunningham, remarkably managing to keep her opponent completely stat-less whilst gathering eleven disposals of her own.
A strong breeze dictated much of the match early on but when Karen Paxman crucially became the first goalscorer against the wind just prior to half-time, the balance of power swung the Demons way. The second half was hotly contested and Emma Hoare’s goal in the final term to give the Dees the lead guaranteed it would go down to the dying stages, but at the moment the Dogs needed a hero it was Brook Lochland who responded with a snap that put her side ahead by two points.
The Bulldogs now have the advantage of staying in Melbourne for what is virtually a home final against the Lions at Princes Park, though their task has been made tougher by the suspension of star skipper Katie Brennan after her appeal was thrown out by the AFL tribunal overnight.
Great team effort by all pic.twitter.com/nQDO6UUhGe
— Lauren Spark (@lozsparky11) March 17, 2018
Laura Corrigan-Duryea – #11 – Melbourne Demons – Irish Banshees Co-Captain (2017 International Cup)
While Spark enjoyed the spoils of the weekend with her teammates, it was a tough result for the Melbourne Football Club and Laura Corrigan-Duryea, with her side missing a spot in the Grand Final only by percentage for a second straight year, rubbing salt into the wound after the men’s Demons also missed the finals on percentage in 2017.
Duryea didn’t feature for the Dees as the side was very gallant in defeat, with the star trio of Pearce, O’Dea, Paxman once again a huge presence on the game. Once again though, Melbourne will spend an off-season ruing what could have been.
A devastating end to our season. 😔
The full match report from our loss to the Bulldogs. 👇
— Melbourne FC (@melbournefc) March 17, 2018
Cora Staunton – #13 – Greater Western Sydney Giants – Recruited from GAA
It was Friday night heart-break for Cora Staunton and her GWS Giants as their highly anticipated match-up against the Brisbane Lions in Bankstown ended in a 40-point defeat.
Effectively needing only to win the game to book themselves a place in the Grand Final, the Giants were obliterated early by a rampaging Lions side led by Sabrina Frederick-Traub, who kicked three of her sides five first-quarter goals to the Giants one.
Staunton continued to display her growing prowess with the oval ball and hit the scoreboard once again, but she was powerless to stop Brisbane as they charged into a second consecutive AFLW Grand Final.
While the loss brings a close to the Giants season and Stauntons maiden voyage into Australian Rules Football, club officials are reportedly extremely keen to get the GAA legend back to Western Sydney for next season, which is sure to excite plenty of fans.
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) March 16, 2018
Phoebe McWilliams – #3 – Greater Western Sydney Giants – Formerly Wimbledon Hawks (2015)
Phoebe McWilliams was a shining light for the Giants at Centre Half Forward despite the defeat, gathering ten disposals and taking three strong marks, as well as providing the assist that saw Courtney Gumm kick the sides second goal of the game.
That stopped a run of seven unanswered goals the Lions and looked capable of sparking a mini-comeback when Cora Staunton goaled not long after, but it was too little too late for GWS, as Brisbane pushed on to an all-important percentage boost which ultimately proved crucial.
T-Minus 2 HOURS! Don't miss a minute when @GWSGIANTS leading goal kicker Phoebe McWilliams & the best intercept defender of 2018 @lionsaflw Kate Lutkins take to the field as their teams fight for their potential place in the #AFLWGF! 💥 #AFLWGIANTSLions pic.twitter.com/frA1gyZGFx
— AFL Women's (@aflwomens) March 16, 2018
Lauren Tesoriero – #7 – Collingwood Magpies – Formerly Wandsworth Demons (2017)
Collingwood ended their season on a huge high with their 21-point win at Olympic Park, which ended the season of the reigning premiers Adelaide sooner than they would have liked.
The Crows had the better of the early going and looked like challenging Brisbane’s hold on the second Grand Final spot when they slotted four goals in a row, but for the second week running the Magpies were ferocious in their resolve and able to keep the margin in check.
Despite trailing by 11-points late in the third term, the Pies kicked two late goals prior to the final change through Christina Bernardi that became the straw that broke the camels back, as Adelaide struggled to contain Collingwood’s momentum in the final quarter.
Lauren Tesoriero was lively on the day with eight disposals and even got amongst the goals to give her side some breathing room late on in the piece.
— AFL Women's (@aflwomens) March 18, 2018
While the win meant nothing more than pride for the Pies, it certainly meant plenty for the girls in Brisbane.
— Josie Fielding (@josiefielding7) March 18, 2018
Kate Shierlaw – #25 – Carlton Blues – Formerly Wimbledon Hawks (2016)
Carlton have finished their season with a competitive loss across Nullarbor against the Dockers, with the home side claiming an eleven point victory to resign the Blues to bottom place on the ladder.
Kate Shierlaw did not feature in the Carlton lineup, though her teammates managed to put a scare up the Fremantle camp with a tough display that saw them lead throughout much of the match before being overrun in the final term.
It shapes to be a new look Carlton side in 2019 after coach Damien Keeping parted ways with the club, with injured skipper Bri Davey also said to be looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) March 17, 2018