Published on August 9, 2018 9:43 pm

PREVIEW: VFL Women’s Round 14

The leading four finals contenders are looking increasingly solid at the top of the table with three Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s rounds to play, but there are still a number of key battles in Round 14 that may well upset the status quo.

 

By Meg Saultry

 

CASEY DEMONS vs MELBOURNE UNI – Saturday 11.30am @ Casey Fields

[LIVE on Casey Radio]

 

FORM COMING IN

Following a fortnight of losses, the Demons (8th, 5-6) scored their fifth win of the season when they beat Carlton by 10 points last week. Melbourne Uni (11th, 3-8) lost to Collingwood by 19 points in Round 12 before sitting out last week with a bye.

 

KEY QUESTION

Can Casey get all their key players firing for a second week? The Demons have a raft of their list coming from their AFLW club affiliate Melbourne, and while the VFLW side may not boast some of Melbourne’s key midfielders in Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman or Lily Mithen (all at the Darebin Falcons this season), they have several players who can make an impact. Last week’s win over Carlton saw several AFLW players at their best: Katherine Smith laid 12 tackles and kicked a goal, Kate Hore gathered 18 disposals and Shelley Scott finished with 15 and five tackles. Bianca Jakobsson was impressive with 15 disposals and seven marks across the back line, while Eden Zanker took further steps as a key forward by kicking three goals. If all these players can continue to fire in unison, Casey could prove difficult to beat.

 

KEY STAT

Melbourne Uni’s inaccuracy in front of goal plagued the side against the Magpies in Round 12. With the same amount of the scoring shots, the Mugars kicked 2.6 to 6.2. The biggest offender was 2018 AFLW Best and Fairest Emma Kearney, who kicked 1.3 for the day.


COLLINGWOOD vs NT THUNDER – Saturday 12pm @ Victoria Park

[LIVE VIDEO STREAM on vfl.com.au + listen on WARF Radio]

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2018 Rd 8 @ TIO Stadium: Collingwood 6.8 (44) d NT Thunder 4.4 (28)

 

FORM COMING IN

Collingwood (1st, 10-0-1) continued its undefeated ways last round, knocking off Essendon by 26 points. Since losing to the Magpies in Round 8, the Thunder (2nd, 10-2) have gone on to win their last five matches, including a 45-point victory over Williamstown last week.

 

KEY QUESTION

Can NT even the score against Collingwood? The Magpies are one of two teams to beat the Thunder this season, when NT held a slim lead across the first half before four Collingwood goals (three from Sophie Alexander) in the third term blew out the match. The Thunder trailed the Magpies in disposals, marks and inside-50s that day but seem to have gotten back to their high-scoring ways in recent weeks, failing to post a score below 50 in their five games since.

 

KEY STAT

Adelaide AFLW premiership player Anne Hatchard was the standout in NT’s win over the Seagulls last week. The 20-year-old, who has mostly played as a defender in the AFLW, was unstoppable in the forward line with four goals, 15 disposals and five tackles.


DAREBIN FALCONS vs SOUTHERN SAINTS – Saturday 12pm @ Bill Lawry Oval

 

FORM COMING IN

Darebin (5th, 7-4) edged out Hawthorn in a thrilling four-point victory last week but still sits two wins outside the top four. The Saints (7th, 5-6) broke their four-game losing streak with a comfortable 31-point win over the in-form Western Bulldogs in Round 13.

 

KEY QUESTION

Can the Saints back it up with another victory? The Saints have been unable to win more than one match in a row since Round 4, but when they play their best footy they can beat anyone – as shown in their wins over the NT Thunder and Bulldogs. Senior coach Peta Searle’s side dominated disposals and inside-50s against the Bulldogs and were boosted by having Ali Brown (28 disposals and seven tackles) back in the side for a second week after three weeks out through injury, while Tara Bohanna’s growing confidence in the forward line has been exciting to watch. Her three-goal haul last week moved her to fourth overall in the Choose Tap VFL Women’s Leading Goalkicker table (14 majors).

 

KEY STAT

Melbourne AFLW star Elise O’Dea was again at her best for the Falcons in their win over the Hawks last week, with the midfielder notching a match-high 26 disposals. The 26-year-old also took eight marks and finished with a goal in an impressive overall performance.


GEELONG CATS vs ESSENDON – Saturday 4.30pm @ GMHBA Stadium 

 

FORM COMING IN

The Cats (4th, 8-2-1) posted their largest winning margin last week, defeating Richmond by 59 points to make it three victories in a row. On the other side, Essendon (13th, 1-10) has lost its last three games, defeated by 26 points by league leader Collingwood last round.

 

KEY QUESTION

Can the Bombers get off to a better start against Geelong? Essendon conceded four first-quarter goals to the Magpies last week, and while the Bombers were able to respond to win both the second and fourth terms, the damage had already been done. They will need to be careful about giving any leeway to the Cats, who last week got the fast start over the Tigers by kicking four unanswered first-half goals – and had 10 on the board before Richmond could score its first.

 

KEY STAT

It was a consummate team performance for Geelong in their win over the Tigers last week. Jordan Ivey was back to her best after returning from an ACL injury with a match-high 23 disposals. Mia-Rae Clifford excited with four goals, while Maddie Boyd proved a strong target up forward with eight marks and two goals. Hayley Trevean applied the pressure with her 10 tackles, supported by Richelle Cranston (eight) and Madeline Keryk (nine).


RICHMOND vs WILLIAMSTOWN – Sunday 12pm @ Swinburne Centre

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2018 Rd 4 @ Williamstown Football Ground: Williamstown 8.4 (52) d Richmond 3.3 (21)

 

FORM COMING IN

Richmond (10th, 3-9) has lost its last six matches and last week suffered its biggest loss of the season against Geelong to the tune of 59 points. Williamstown’s (12th, 1-10) only win this season came against the Tigers in Round 4, with the Seagulls falling to seven straight losses since. Their most recent was a 45-point defeat by the NT Thunder last round.

 

KEY QUESTION

Which team will break through for the win? Both Richmond and Williamstown are suffering through a long drought between wins and both had big losses last week. They each recorded significantly fewer disposals and inside-50s than their opponents, although the Tigers – through Emma King – were able to win the ruck battle over the Cats. Only four players had 10 or more disposals for the Seagulls, compared to 10 Richmond players. However, Williamstown proved more efficient with their inside-50s, scoring five times from 22 entries, while the Tigers went inside 50 on 18 occasions for a return of only three scoring shots.

 

KEY STAT

While the Seagulls were well beaten by NT on the scoreboard last week, Jenna Bruton and Jess Duffin fought hard, with Bruton gathering a team-high 22 disposals and 12 tackles and Duffin finishing with 20 disposals, nine marks and a goal.


HAWTHORN vs WESTERN BULLDOGS – Sunday 2pm @ Box Hill City Oval

[LIVE on WARF Radio]

 

FORM COMING IN

After winning their last four games by nine points or less, Hawthorn (3rd, 9-2) was subjected to a heartbreaking loss last week when the Darebin Falcons pipped the Hawks by four points. The Bulldogs (6th, 6-5) impressive six-game winning streak was broken last round when the Southern Saints defeated them by 31 points.

 

KEY QUESTION

Can the Bulldogs win without their star midfield? After a long unbeaten run, the Bulldogs looked flat against the Saints last week. With Ellie Blackburn, Naomi Ferres and Hayley Wildes missing, they lacked class through the middle. Ashleigh Guest and Angelica Gogos worked hard, while the loss of Libby Birch in the second quarter was detrimental as she provided much of the team’s early rebound and drive forward. Against the Hawks – who boast ball-winners Rebecca Beeson, Meg Hutchins and Jayde Van Dyk – the Bulldogs face a hard-working line-up, though the absence of skipper Emma Mackie over the last two weeks has been a missing link for Hawthorn.

 

KEY STAT

Libby Birch played less than 45 per cent game time for the Bulldogs last week, as her day ended following a head knock with the Saints’ Kelly Thompson. Birch’s dominance in her limited minutes was clear though, the defender racking up 10 disposals early on and her clean hands also on show with a match-high four marks.

 

* ROUND 14 BYE – Carlton

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