Just like Robbo when he does it for the AFL, The Doc does it for AFLW… only better. I mean, he genuinely knows what he’s talking about and pays attention.
This might just be Georgie’s world
Take some time to process that this is still Georgie Prespakis’ first year in senior football, and that she’s currently third in the coaches’ association player of the year and only trailing the pair of Jasmine Garner and Maddy Prespakis – her sister – by a solitary vote. As far as her statistics go, she had 32 disposals, nine tackles, six clearances, 10 intercepts and 464 metres gained against North Melbourne on Friday night and is currently averaging 21.5 disposals, 14 contested possessions, 5.3 clearances and 7.8 tackles per game so far in season seven.
The Cats didn’t get the chocolates on North Melbourne as their inefficiency in their forward half did them in again. The Cats are now on a bit of a slide at 2-2 but for better or worse for Geelong fans this season, they can at least hang their hat on just how good this teenager is going to be once she reaches her prime.
But Charlie might have a word about that…
We’re going to be talking a bit about the career trajectories of both Georgie Prespakis and Charlie Rowbottom over the next decade or so. Picks one and two from the 2021 Draft class are similar types of players. On the body of work prior to the Draft, you’d herald Georgie as the better player, but Charlie does just as much, and has the potential to go forward and impose herself as a scoring threat.
The Suns should’ve smashed the Saints in their clash at Mackay, but after being given a thorough belting at the hands of their same-state rivals Brisbane in the Q-Clash last week, they’d be happy with a big win over a Saints side that have been very impressive overall in the first few weeks of the season. Rowbottom was perhaps the best player in Mackay by a long way: 30 disposals (17 contested), nine tackles, six clearances, seven score involvements (including one goal assist) and 316 metres gained.
The Roos look like a top four side
They joined Geelong at 2-2 on Friday, but North Melbourne should consider themselves a bit stiff to be at that ledger. As myself and my two colleagues on the A3 Footy Podcast said on our recent AFLW episode, North Melbourne’s next three games are must-wins: Geelong is a tick, next week is the Western Bulldogs which will be massive as the Dogs remained unbeaten against Hawthorn on Saturday and following that is the Swans at Arden Street, which they should win quite comfortably.
Why are North a top four side? Because they still managed to find a way to win, despite Geelong beating them in a lot of categories. The Roos were -33 in disposals, -5 in inside 50 entries, -10 in clearances and -13 in the contested ball in a wet and soggy conditions at Launceston. The Roos were dominated in the last quarter as Geelong controlled territory, but the likes of Emma Kearney (10 intercept possessions), Erika O’Shea (nine intercept possessions) and Sarah Wright (seven one-percenters and six intercept possessions) did plenty in defence to hold the fort to stave the Cats off.
West Coast’s Master and Apprentice
The scoreline from the West Coast win against GWS won’t read too flattering, but I don’t think anyone from the blue and gold camp are going to care too much about scoring for now. In their previous three seasons, they’ve only managed two wins in a season once and after four weeks, they’re 2-2: Last week against Essendon, they were disappointing, but they bounced back this week against a Giants side who were thoroughly disappointing after showing promising signs the first three weeks.
West Coast destroyed the Giants in the clearances +7 overall and 5-1 in the centre bounces. It must’ve been something that they identified during the week as something that they needed to work on because Maddy Prespakis was allowed to do what she pleased last week on the Eagles’ home turf. Between the pair of Emma Swanson and Bella Lewis, they had 13 clearances to three-quarter time and the Giants as a collective only had 13 to their name.
We know that Swanson’s a consistent contributor and has churned out solid game after solid game since crossing to the Eagles from the Giants, but Lewis is the one who’s going to drive the Eagles forward for the next decade. She had five clearances and 16 disposals, but was prominent around the stoppages early.
A day to remember for Flippa
Erin Phillips’ 50th game resulted in Port Adelaide’s first win in the AFLW. When we look back at the AFLW down the track when it becomes more of an established competition and has more than three sides genuinely competing for a premiership, we’ll look back at some of the players that helped pave the way for the future stars of the competition and we’ll refer back to how Erin Phillips dominated games when she was in the Adelaide colours.
Her start to her Port Adelaide career has been a little underwhelming, but when the side hasn’t registered a win prior to this week, there are more issues than just her not standing up. But this felt like a vintage Erin Phillips performance. They couldn’t get her a goal in this one, but I think she’d take a 11-goal win for the team than an individual performance, but she had a hand in three direct goal assists and a further five score involvements on top of that in what was miserable conditions at Alberton.
Is Issy Pritchard this season’s most improved player?
If not, then she hasn’t done a hell of a lot wrong to suggest that she’ll be in the frame this season. As a Bulldogs supporter, I’ve caught every game so far this season and her significant improvement has been one of many things I’ve enjoyed watching about this mob this season. There are other glaring factors to get excited about at the Whitten Oval: Gabby Newton is owning the forward line, the 17-year-olds are proving to be great pickups and the decision to thrust Alice Edmonds as the number one ruck has been paying off dividends so far this season.
But for mine, Pritchard’s abilities across the midfield have been something the Dogs are crying out for to assist Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb. Jess Fitzgerald is slowly working her way to being a top-line midfielder, but Pritchard’s vision and skills with the wet footy in this game stood out like a chocolate bar in a swimming pool. She kicked a sweet long-range goal in the last term, but also added another 17 disposals (nine contested) to go along with four clearances, four score involvements and three intercepts to what has been a very impressive campaign thus far.
It was a tough scrap at North Port Oval, but for the Richmond Tigers, this was a game that they simply needed to win and avoid being 1-3 after four games. There were two critical matchups that helped secure the win for them. One was Libby Graham on Bonnie Toogood. After Toogood got the Bombers up and running with the opening goal of the game, Graham kept her to just 11 disposals without looking like too much of a threat to goal.
But the one that will get wide praise is Sarah Hosking’s job on Maddy Prespakis, who has dominated all before her in the lead-up to this game. Prespakis averaged over 23 disposals prior to Sunday’s game and Hosking kept her to just 11 and zero clearances in a spectacular lockdown display. Hosking herself finished with 14 disposals and four clearances.
We’ll be talking about how Mon Conti was again brilliant in the wet and how massive Eilish Sheerin was again in the clinches, but it’s imperative that we don’t forget the roles of both Graham and Hosking. That went a long way to securing the Tigers a crucial win ahead of their big clash against Brisbane next Saturday.
Where to for Geelong?
Two losses on the trot to top four contenders might have the Cats a bit rattled: 1.5 last week against the Pies and 2.4 this week to North Melbourne. I’ve lamented on their inability to kick a winning score and again this was a root cause to their defeat on Friday evening: 25 percent efficiency going inside 50 against North Melbourne and that’s just simply not going to win games of football.
The next three weeks are going to be indicative of where the Cats are well and truly going to sit in amongst the AFLW pecking order. St Kilda at home, the Bulldogs in Ballarat and Essendon at Warrnambool are all winnable games for them. But they need to find someone who is willing to split packs open and I am just not sure if the Cats have capable marking options forward of the ball.
Granted the conditions for this game is not suited for the talls, but even then, they haven’t looked likely all season. Jackie Parry is emerging as an option, but no one else around her looked even close to being dangerous: Georgia Clarke had three disposals, Chloe Scheer with seven and Mia Skinner in her first game since being re-drafted by the club had two touches too.
If there was ever a performance that indicates the Swans are in trouble, this is it. Against a fellow expansion side in Port Adelaide, the Swans were inept and second to the footy. They were -34 in the contested ball and could only muster just 12 inside 50s for two behinds and the kicker was that Port Adelaide, first to the ball all afternoon, also outtackled them by 26.
There’s not a doubt in my mind that Scott Gowans is an excellent coach and has been for the longest time, but not even the greatest coaches of our generation could get something out of this team. There are too many players who are just not ready or equipped to take on the top league.
But it’s not those first-year state players or teenagers that I’m disappointed in. It’s the senior listed players who are failing to impact the games. Privitelli was handed a bath by Hannah Dunn every time the ball went forward, Lisa Steane had just five disposals and Ally Morphett, who was expected to take care of Olivia Levicki quite easily, was beaten in the hitouts by her counterpart.
Fremantle blow it
I’m sure Fremantle fans are sick of seeing their team in dislikes section, and to be quite honest, I am too. They are turning the corner in their season, but when you have two shots to complete the come-from-behind win and muck up both chances completely, there’s not much more I can say about it. Their cross-town rivals West Coast have two wins after four rounds and Fremantle are still searching for their first win. The Derby is next week, and you can sense that they won’t get a better opportunity to seize a win than this.
Say what you will about the decision to award Aine Tighe the free kick in the last minute – for what, I have no idea. If it was a front-on contact free kick, then it was as soft as it gets. Very little in a hold either. But from the top of the goal-square with very little angle to speak of, it should be elementary for any player to dob that in, but she skewed it horribly right. In a corresponding ruck contest deep inside the attacking 50 just seconds later, all she needed to do was throw herself into the ruck contest and get the ball forward for a rushed behind, and it would’ve earned them their first victory.
While on the drawn result
The Blues are bloody frustrating and have been since the 2019 Grand Final. There were similar inconsistencies last week when they drew with Port Adelaide in their draw this week with Fremantle. Only significant difference is that it took them a full half of football to get going this week. Good thing Abbie McKay picked this week to have a breakout mammoth game (10 clearances and eight tackles to go along with 29 disposals) otherwise the Dockers would’ve decimated them around stoppages.
The Blues are on the precipice of being irrelevant again this season the Blues and the sad thing is that it’s not Jess Dal Pos or Darcy Vescio or Phoebe McWilliams that are stepping up when they need to. It’s the same contributors every week: McKay, Kerryn Peterson, Breann Moody, Keeley Skepper, Mimi Hill, Gab Pound and Mua Laloifi. Vescio disappears too frequently when the game is not on their terms and does Jess Dal Pos have a role in this team?
Melbourne’s fourth quarters
Started strong and faded late. Sound familiar? You might have read it last week here on the Mongrel that St Kilda beat them in the last three quarters. Well after a very positive start against the red-hot Brisbane Lions at Casey Fields on Sunday evening with which they kicked three of the first four goals of the game, the Demons were put to a halt and only registered just one goal for the remaining three.
It should go without saying that Brisbane are a mighty side and will be hard to beat, but Melbourne’s last quarters over the last three weeks has brought a return of 1.6 and that’s just not acceptable for a side supposedly contending for a premiership. It’s not a fitness issue because unfit sides don’t get to a Grand Final and get close to toppling the Crows. The Demons are one of the worst teams in the competition in terms of accuracy, slotting 19.29 after the first four weeks of football.