With just two rounds left in the home-and-away season, round six looms as one of the most important sets of matches this AFLW season. Brisbane’s spot in the top two is held on only by percentage, while Fremantle could still somehow make the Grand Final. All matches this weekend will have a big impact on the ladder, which is exactly what we want to see at this time of the year.
Friday Night – Adelaide (5th) vs Fremantle (6th) @ TIO Stadium
The reigning premiers are only half a game outside second spot, despite struggling at times this season. Erin Phillips has played two full games and her quad is clearly a concern, having sat out the second half of last week’s crushing win over the Blues. Her final availability for the Friday night clash is still up in the air, and if she is absent, it does open the door for Fremantle to pull off another upset.
The conditions at TIO Stadium aren’t footy-friendly, making this contest even more of a 50-50. Fremantle has beaten Melbourne this season, and they’re certainly not afraid to come out fighting against the better teams. Dana Hooker has once again been the team’s best player this season, however the player the Crows really need to keep their eye on this week is Gabby O’Sullivan, who has averaged 13 disposals, six tackles and kicked a goal over the past fortnight. She has pushed higher up the ground and is helping the Dockers move the ball.
With so much on the line in the opening contest of Round six, expect it to be a hard-tackling affair. The conditions lend themselves to a low-scoring match, which may actually help the Dockers. Another shock result may be brewing.
Tip: Fremantle by 8 points
B: S.Thompson 14, S.Allan 39, D.Cox 31
HB: C.Cramey 22, A.Hatchard 33, J.Sedunary 17
C: C.Randall 26
HF: D.Varnhagen 9, J.Hewett 20, A.Foley 3
F: R.Wallace 15, S.Perkins 28, J.McCormick 5
Foll: R.Metcalfe 11, E.Phillips 13, E.Marinoff 10
I/C: M.Rajcic 32, E.Jones 2, R.Lugg 45, J.Mules 23, S.Armitstead 16
Emerg: S.Riley 8, G.Bevan 4
B: A.Williams 9, E.Antonio 12, E.Gooch 8
HB: C.Davidson 33, S.Cain 20, D.Hooker 17
C: K.Donnellan 15
HF: L.Webb 16, A.Lavell 7, M.Caulfield 29
F: T.Bresland 5, S.Barr 10, G.O’Sullivan 22
Foll: A.Janz 30, A.Atkins 37, H.Miller 19
I/C: J.de Melo 28, T.Haynes 6, L.Filocamo 4, L.Mascall 14, T.McAuliffe 25
Emerg: B.Smith18, A.Sharp1
In: T.Bresland, T.Haynes
Out: B.Smith (omitted), E.McGuire (omitted)
Saturday Afternoon – Brisbane (2nd) vs Collingwood (8th) @ Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex
The Lions are hosting Collingwood in what is perhaps the easiest result to predict for Round six. Despite external high hopes, a look at Collingwood’s list during the preseason suggested that the club would struggle in 2018, which is exactly how it has eventuated. There has been a lack of consistency from anyone not named Chloe Molloy or Steph Chiocci, and the latter has now been suspended which only serves to create more issues for the Magpies. Sarah D’Arcy appears to have found a little bit of form recently, however her suspension earlier in the season crushed the club’s hopes before we got into the swing of things.
Brisbane, on the other hand, have been impressive yet again in 2018. A strong defence has been a key reason for the top two positioning at this stage of the season, although it may be masking the lack of scoreboard impact from star player Sabrina Frederick-Traub, who kicked her first goals of the season last week. In the opening four rounds of the season, Frederick-Traub kicked 0.6, however the change in fortunes against the Demons may be a scary proposition for the Magpies.
With the season being so tight, and plenty of clubs chasing that second spot on the ladder, Brisbane must win this match convincingly to boost their percentage. Scoring hasn’t been an issue for Collingwood, meaning the Brisbane defence has to be switched on and ready to limit the likes of Hope and Molloy, who has shifted forward recently.
Tip: Brisbane by 22 points
B: B.Koenen 3, K.Lutkins 13, S.Campbell 20
HB: N.Exon 15, I.Ayre 2, L.Kaslar 11
C: E.Bates 1
HF: S.Conway 12, T.Randall 16, E.Zielke 8
F: J.Wuetschner 23, S.Frederick-Traub 14, K.Ashmore 10
Foll: S.Webb 4, J.Stanton 17, A.Anderson 18
I/C: B.Gibson 25, K.McCarthy 9, A.Clarke 21, E.Pittman 29, M.Hunt 6
Emerg: J.Zanchetta 7, G.Collingwood 28
In: S.Conway, E.Pittman, M.Hunt
Out: N.Hildebrand (injured), G.Collingwood (omitted), J.Zanchetta (omitted)
B: E.Grant 5, J.Duffin 27, A.Brazill 10
HB: C.Molloy 2, C.McIntosh 20, R.Schleicher 18
C: K.Stratton 41
HF: S.D’Arcy 4, J.Garner 43, C.Bernardi 6
F: M.Hutchins 25, M.Hope 23, C.Edwards 1
Foll: E.King 60, J.Lambert 13, B.Bonnici 8
I/C: G.Parker 19, T.Morgan 26, L.Tesoriero 7, A.Barden 38, M.Kuys 9
Emerg: H.Whitford 28, S.Dargan 46
In: A.Brazill, K.Stratton, G.Parker, T.Morgan
Out: I.Ross (injured), S.Chiocci (suspension), H.Whitford (omitted), S.Dargan (omitted)
Saturday Night – GWS (4th) vs Western Bulldogs (1st) @ UNSW Canberra Oval
Having tipped the Giants to finish in the top half of the table and the Bulldogs to win the premiership, this important match between the two clubs is a tantalising proposition. The Bulldogs have somehow managed to keep to play at a high standard without Katie Brennan playing, with players like Brooke Lochland standing up in her absence. Round five indicated there may be a slight concern about the team’s group defence, as they hung on despite a Collingwood second-half surge.
GWS has been relatively impressive in 2018, with only the Round two loss to Carlton standing out as a disappointing result. The team has been full of consistent performers, with Courtney Gum, Alicia Eva and Amanda Farrugia standing out in particular. The last two have enjoyed far more midfield time in 2018 and have over-performed, covering the disappointing return from injury for Renee Forth. Erin McKinnon may be the best ruck in the competition.
The Bulldogs’ scoring power is undeniable and GWS is far more competitive in lower scoring games. This match will be about which strength is superior between the two teams and, with the forecast indicating it will be a perfect evening in Canberra, the Dogs should be too good.
Tip: Western Bulldogs by 17 points
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
B: A.Farrugia 18, T.Hetherington 9, P.Monahan 28
HB: N.Barr 8, E.Swanson 17, M.Collier 14
C: A.Eva 2
HF: J.Dal Pos 7, P.McWilliams 3, E.Brush 10
F: J.Barclay 34, C.Staunton 13, R.Beeson 6
Foll: E.McKinnon 23, C.Gum 26, B.Tully 16
I/C: A.Schmidt 11, E.Bennetts 22, R.Tomkins 1, J.Hicks 5, P.Randall 21
Emerg: A.Saundry 4, M.Freckelton 20
B: H.Wildes 17, L.Birch 18, N.Callinan 10
HB: H.Scott 22, A.O’Connor 4, A.Gogos 36
C: E.Blackburn 2
HF: B.Lochland 1, L.Spark 11, M.Conti 8
F: J.Bruton 35, B.Toogood 28, K.Rennie 24
Foll: T.Ernst 19, E.Kearney 5, K.Lamb 27
I/C: K.McLeod 6, A.Utri 23, D.Berry 7, N.Ferres 16, E.Mackie 25
Emerg: B.Hunt 21, L.Bailey 13
Sunday Afternoon – Carlton (7th) vs Melbourne (3rd) @ Ikon Park
The seasons of the two teams have played out as expected, with Carlton having been poor, albeit having had to deal with Bri Davey’s injury, and Melbourne have been one of the better teams. Despite this, there’s only one game separating the two clubs, making this matchup extremely important.
Melbourne’s major blip came in a demolition at the hands of Collingwood, which may have derailed their season. Sitting third, it’s crucial the Demons win this comfortably to improve their percentage, given they sit equal with Brisbane. Daisy Pearce, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea have been brilliant again — they combined for 72 disposals and 21 tackles in last week’s win over Brisbane, and they’ve found some rippers in Cunningham and Hore. Ultimately, there isn’t much wrong with this Melbourne team.
Carlton has lost its past two games by a combined 108 points, which is about all that needs to be said. The injury to Davey has really hurt the team, and they appear to be running out of legs late in the season. Despite this, they are only, technically, a game outside the top two and upsets aren’t out of the ordinary in this competition.
Can the Blues upset Melbourne and push for a spot in the top two? No. It may be blunt, but Carlton has hit a bit of a slippery slope in recent times and are destined for a bottom two finish. Melbourne needs a big win.
Tip: Melbourne by 33 points.
B: G.Pound 6, K.Gillespie-Jones 5, B.Kennedy 23
HB: M.Gay 8, D.Hardiman 31, T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: J.Hosking 11
HF: N.Stevens 21, T.Harris 22, M.Keryk 4
F: K.Harrington 9, A.Downie 30, S.Hosking 10
Foll: B.Moody 16, S.Audley 26, D.Vescio 3
I/C: T.Cochrane 15, N.Plane 32, K.Loynes 2, S.Li 35, L.Attard 14, C.Gee 19, S.Last 7
In: J.Hosking, M.Keryk, T.Cochrane, N.Plane, L.Attard, S.Last
Out: R.Hicks (rested), L.Brazzale (injured), L.Arnell (injured), C.Webb (rested)
B: A.Guest 17, A.Teague 40, H.Cordner 21
HB: K.Paxman 4, M.Hickey 18, B.Patterson 24
C: E.O’Dea 5
HF: K.Hore 10, R.Cranston 30, L.Mithen 14
F: E.Zanker 29, T.Cunningham 1, S.Scott 12
Foll: L.Pearce 15, D.Pearce 6, K.Smith 13
I/C: M.Downie 2, L.Duryea 11, J.Grierson 19, C.Whitfort 20, A.Newman 16, C.Phillips 35, E.Humphries 3
In: M.Downie, L.Duryea, E.Humphries
Out: B.Jakobsson (injured)