Irish Watch: AFLW Round Seven Review

Four of our five Irish girls would say goodbye to season 2019 with a bang, as Cora Staunton, Yvonne Bonner, Sarah Rowe and Aisling McCarthy left the AFLW community itching for more after historic seasons. Ailish Considine would be the highlight from round seven, with her two goals helping catapult the Adelaide Crows to a home preliminary final.

For West Clare Waves product Ailish Considine however, the journey continues as she embarks on her maiden AFLW finals series with the ladder leading Adelaide Crows.

AFLW action would hit the nation’s capital for the first time this season as an underwhelming GWS side looked to end their season on a high and play spoiler to Geelong’s finals hopes in the process.

Instilled with a sense of freedom, an inspired Giants outfit would take advantage of a nervous Cats side as they produced their best performance of the year to complete an unlikely upset.

Much like she has for the majority of the season, veteran Staunton was consistently brilliant all night for the GWS in and around the contest as well as around the goals, as they hybrid forward-midfielder saved potentially her best for last in season 2019.

Picking up 16 disposals to go along with a goal and six marks, Staunton proved just how far she has come in two seasons with her unique kicking style and unrelenting approach to the game seeing her quickly become one of the faces of the women’s game.

Her trademark courage would be on display midway through the last quarter at a crucial stage for her side, as she went back with the flight of a ball travelling deep inside 50 to take an inspirational mark before converting from a tough angle to effectively see her side home.

Along with the heroics of her veteran teammate, Yvonne Bonner would also close the season out with some tricks of her own as she again proved to be that critical X-Factor up forward for the Giants.

Claiming ten disposals, four marks and a goal, it was a performance typical of a centre half forward as she attacked the ball with ferocity and presented an attacking option for her side all night.

Exhibiting an almost sixth sense around the big sticks, Bonner’s immense talent would be on show for all to see at the UNSW Stadium on Friday night as she constantly found herself in scoring positions.

An integral part of the Irish Banshees development squad, season 2019 was nothing short of a success for Bonner as she looks to become an AFLW star of the future.

In what was set up as a blockbuster Saturday afternoon clash at Casey Fields, Considine would produce a breakout performance as she fueled the Adelaide Crows to a crushing ten goal win over a helpless Melbourne outfit.

With a win securing their place in the 2019 finals series, Considine would prove a major catalyst for the Crows early as she slotted her first two AFLW goals in the space of three minutes to kick her side into gear.

A piece of magic off the back of a forward 50 stoppage would be a particular highlight of young Considine’s career as she battled a number of Demon’s defenders to break free and soccer through a memorable goal.

From there she would sit back and enjoy the dominance of her side, with her move to the forward line proving a master stroke by coach Matthew Clarke as she always provided excellent pressure and presence within the forward 50.

Ending up with seven disposals to go along with her two goals, Considine showed her worth to the Adelaide side come finals time whilst also illustrating great character to respond with a career best performance following her recall to the team.

Collingwood returned to its spiritual home of Victoria Park for the second time this season, as they played host to a desperate Brisbane side hoping to sneak their way into the finals.

Having not won a game all season, the Magpies would galvanize and produce their best performance of the year in front of their home fans with young Rowe leading the black and white charge.

After taking some time to adapt to the nuances of the game, Rowe has really come into her own over the past few weeks having picked up 13, 17 and 16 disposals in her last three games.

Moving into that role at half forward, she has proved just how valuable she will be for the Collingwood football club for years to come with her hard running and toughness around the contest particular highlights of her game.

In a performance that typified her drastic improvement over the season, Rowe would run the Lions defenders off their feet taking four marks and playing integral in a number of the Magpies scoring opportunity.

The final match of the round would feature another of Melbourne’s famous football venues as McCarthy’s Bulldogs looked to salvage some pride with a win over the finals bound Blues at Whitten Oval.

It was a tight tussle from start to finish, as the reigning premiers put in a spirited performance to push the in form Blues and give their fans some satisfaction to end what has been a dismal season.

One of the shining lights however has been the play of McCarthy, who produced a season best performance to round out what has been an extremely successful maiden campaign.

Collecting 16 disposals, five tackles and a goal, like the other Irish girls, McCarthy would take this final opportunity to prove just how far she’s come in seven weeks and her potential to grow into an elite player in the competition.

Renowned for her pace and athleticism, McCarthy would have a major influence over proceedings at the Whitten Oval as she helped set up a number of Bulldog scores and put one through herself mid-way through the last term to help spark an unlikely comeback.

So, with the season now done for Staunton, Bonner, McCarthy and Rowe it is safe to say that AFLW season 2019 has been a raging success for the Irish, with all the girls proving Ireland to be a plentiful recruiting area as the competition continues to expand.

 

By Zac Standish