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Adelaide finishes top of ladder, Collingwood charges into finals series


Tayla Harris has opened up on her struggles last year and how she is rejuvenated at the Dees.
Tayla Harris has opened up on her struggles last year and how she is rejuvenated at the Dees.

Adelaide kicked its highest score of the season as it locked up top spot, a week off, and home finals with a commanding 39-point against St Kilda.

The Crows entered Sunday’s game with the possibility of finishing in any of the top three spots on the ladder, but usual suspects Eb Marinoff, Anne Hatchard and Erin Phillips made sure finishing atop the AFLW pile was never in doubt.

It was the perfect tune-up for the Crows ahead of finals, but the win might come at a cost after forward Justine Mules left the ground with her left arm cradled in her jumper.

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Crows coach Matthew Clarke said Mules had a contusion to her elbow after being helped from the ground by trainers late in the game.

“It looks OK … a big corkie,” Clarke said.

“It’s a bit stiff and a bit sore but the doctors are pretty confident she’ll be OK (for the preliminary final).”

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With nothing to play for, St Kilda looked like throwing a spanner in the works, but the Saints couldn’t sustain their early rage.

Adelaide had the better of the territory battle in the first quarter and had 25 more disposals and seven more inside-50s, but failed to create any clean scoring opportunities, spraying difficult shots at goal for a return of three behinds.

It was a credit to St Kilda’s defence they held up against the slick Crows’ corridor ball movement, and they were rewarded with a late goal from captain Hannah Priest.

Priest won a free kick 55m from goal and a wayward throw back to her handed the 29-year-old a 50m penalty and simple shot.

Adelaide players celebrate their win against the Saints. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Adelaide players celebrate their win against the Saints. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The Crows continued their dominance in the second quarter and finally broke the Saints’ defence, kicking three unanswered goals.

Ash Woodland showed why she’s been the most potent forward in AFLW this season, kicking two goals, while Erin Phillips benefited from a 50m penalty to help the Crows kick away.

It was the big names leading the way for the Crows, with Marinoff (15-disposals), Phillips (14) and Hatchard (12), while Caitlin Gould followed up her ruck work with 10 touches.

St Kilda evened up the territory battle in the third quarter as midfield star Tilly Lucas-Rodd started to get her hands on the ball around stoppages.

But Adelaide’s scoring power was too much for the Saints to handle, and a Jess Matin goal was cancelled out by Gould before Stevie-Lee Thompson kicked a goal following a scuffle that ensued after a late Kate McCarthy hit.

Danielle Ponter got the party started for the Crows in the last quarter with the goal of the game, bringing her kick back from an angle to split the middle.

Rachelle Martin got in on the act to take Adelaide’s score to their highest of the season with a late goal.

GOALKICKING ACE

Ash Woodland needed just one goal to tie Tayla Harris and Cora Staunton at the top of the goalkicking charts.

It came three minutes into the second quarter. Eleven minutes later she stood alone as the best goalkicker in 2022.

It was fitting the goal that took the 23-year-old to the lead came after a strong mark and perfect set shot from 30m out, two things she has made her bread and butter this season.

Justine Mules laves the field late with an arm injury. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Justine Mules laves the field late with an arm injury. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

WHAT THE RESULT MEANS

Adelaide has locked up top spot on the AFLW ladder for the second year in a row.

The Crows will have a week off before playing a home final against the winner of North Melbourne and either Collingwood or Fremantle for a spot in the grand final.

If the Crows win through, they will be playing for their third premiership, and it would be Adelaide’s fourth grand final.

BEST ON, AGAIN

Eb Marinoff snared her last chance for three votes with a dominant midfield display.

The 24-year-old is one of the favourites for the AFLW best-and-fairest award this season and would’ve claimed maximum votes against the Saints.

Marinoff finished with 25 disposals, 12 tackles and 403m gained.

SCOREBOARD

SAINTS 1.0 1.0 2.2 2.2 (14)

CROWS 0.3 3.7 5.9 7.11 (53)

MOTTERSHEAD’S BEST

Saints: Lucas-Rodd, Jakobsson, Priest, Vogt.

Crows: Marinoff, Hatchard, Phillips, Gould, Woodland.

GOALS

Saints: Priest, Matin.

Crows: Woodland 2, Phillips, Gould, Thompson, Ponter, Martin.

INJURIES

Saints: Nil. Crows: Mules (arm).

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

JAMES MOTTERSHEAD’S VOTES

3. E. Marinoff (Adel)

2. A. Hatchard (Adel)

1. E. Phillips (Adel)

Erin Phillips gets a handball away under pressure. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Erin Phillips gets a handball away under pressure. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Record-breaking Roo’s game for the ages

A record-breaking performance from North Melbourne’s star AFLW midfielder Ashleigh Riddell has seen the Kangaroos take a giant step towards sewing up a home qualifying final next week.

Riddell set a league record 42 disposals, smashing the previous mark of 35, as North Melbourne crushed lowly West Coast by 39 points at Arden Street on Saturday, in what served as a welcome tune-up for the finals.

Riddell also registered 15 contested possessions, nine clearances (three centre), seven marks and five inside 50s to round out one of the great individual performances the AFLW has ever seen.

The Kangaroos will face either Fremantle or Collingwood in their first-up cutthroat final, but will more likely take on the Dockers who meet Gold Coast on Sunday in Perth.

In order to jump to fourth spot and host North Melbourne next week, Fremantle will now have to make up a whopping 16.6 per cent on the Kangas.

Ash Riddell on her way to a record-breaking 42 disposals.
Ash Riddell on her way to a record-breaking 42 disposals.

The 9.5 (59) to 3.2 (20) result consigned West Coast to their first wooden spoon. The Eagles have now won just four of 25 games since entering the competition in 2020.

The underdog Eagles stunned North Melbourne early, kicking two of the first three goals to lead by five points after 10 minutes.

But that’s as good as it would get for the visitors as the Kangaroos kicked the next eight goals, extending their lead to 47 points at one stage as they kept West Coast scoreless in the middle two quarters.

Jasmine Garner was also a chief architect of the result with 26 touches (nine contested), 10 marks, seven tackles and two goals while Emma King (two goals) dominated the airways in the first half, taking four contested marks up forward. Emma Kearney, Ellie Gavalas and Mia King also stood out in the massive win.

Emma Swanson played a lone hand for West Coast with 26 disposals (10 contested) and six clearances while Kellie Gibson also tried hard with 13 touches and a goal.

KANGAS CLINIC

The game was already over at halftime by which time the Kangaroos had opened up a 28-point lead. The Kangaroos’ pressure on West Coast’s defence was relentless. Inspired by the likes of Riddell, Garner, Kearney and Mia King, North recorded 28 of the first 36 inside 50s and finished the first half with 59 more disposals (162-103) and double West Coast’s marks (50-24). North would end up with 33 more inside 50s (47-14), 111 more disposals (308-197) and 48 more marks (95-47), while they also dominated the contested possessions (113-84).

RANDALL MAGIC

North Melbourne forward Tahlia Randall opened up the goalscoring in spectacular fashion after she engaged in a one-two with Jasmine Garner before running along the pocket boundary and threading the eye of the needle from a severe angle.

RANDALL DOES IT AGAIN

Randall wasn’t done wowing the crowd, though. Early in the second quarter, after accepting the handball from Riddell from traffic, Randall went for a run, took a bounce and from 40m out bounced home another superb six-pointer to give the Kangaroos a 22-point lead.

SCOREBOARD

KANGAROOS 4.2, 6.4, 9.5, 9.5 (59)

EAGLES 2.0, 2.0, 2.0, 3.2 (20)

LERNER’S BEST

Kangaroos: Riddell, Garner, Em. King, Kearney, Gavalas, M.King.

Eagles: Swanson, Gibson, Lewis.

GOALS

Kangaroos: Em. King 2, Randall 2, Garner 2, Bannister 2, Abbatangelo.

Eagles: Gibson, G.Kelly, Lewis.

UMPIRES

Gibson, Jago, Rodger

VENUE

Arden Street

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

LERNER’S VOTES

3 A.Riddell (NM)

2 J.Garner (NM)

1 Em. King (NM)

Vescio miss lets Dees off hook in nailbiter

Melbourne has finished a memorable season with a nailbiting win after holding off a spirited Carlton by a single point on Saturday night.

Carlton star Darcy Vescio had a chance to win the game with a set shot from a tight angle with only 20 seconds to play, but pushed the ball across the face as the Blues fell agonisingly short of a boilover victory.

It would have been an impressive come-from-behind win after Carlton overturned a 15-point quarter-time deficit but all eyes will turn to Melbourne’s march into finals as the Dees jumped to top spot on the ladder.

Veteran Demon Daisy Pearce said the frenetic finish was solid practice for her side’s premiership pursuit.

“We’re heading into the stage of the year where we’re going to play plenty of games like that, so (it’s) good practice,” Pearce told Channel 7.

Daisy Pearce is tackled by Vaomua Laloifi as Melbourne withstands a late surge by Carlton. Picture: Getty Images
Daisy Pearce is tackled by Vaomua Laloifi as Melbourne withstands a late surge by Carlton. Picture: Getty Images

“I was proud of our girls. Carlton threw their best at us, they were really hard at the contest.

“Their ball movement really challenged us, so (it’s) good practice for what’s ahead.”

Carlton applied notable pressure all night with 85 tackles for the match, as Madeline Guerin (12 tackles) and Nicola Stevens (three goals) almost sparked a stunning win.

The match was highly anticipated for Tayla Harris, who was playing against her old side and had a chance to seal the league’s leading goalkicker gong.

But the Melbourne spearhead was kept to a quiet performance with only a behind and finished the season on 18 majors, equal with Giant Cora Staunton and one clear of Adelaide’s Ashleigh Woodland, with the latter set to line up against St Kilda on Sunday.

Harris shook hands and shared a smile with Carlton defender Paige Trudgeon at the start of the match but pleasantries between the sides ended there as a momentum-swinging first half unfolded.

The Blues battled in the first term, failing to register a score by quarter-time as the Dees built an early lead.

Tayla Harris hugs some of her former teammates after the game. Picture: Getty Images
Tayla Harris hugs some of her former teammates after the game. Picture: Getty Images

But momentum shifted in the second quarter thanks to a bout of Stevens brilliance.

The forward put the Blues on the board with a long-range goal under pressure early in the quarter before soccering off the ground for another major minutes later, and by halftime, the deficit had been stripped back to only two points.

An arm-wrestle of a third quarter kept the game in the balance but the opportunistic Stevens put Melbourne under pressure again in the last term with her second soccer score, putting the Blues a sole point down with minutes to play.

The Demons added a point through Kate Hore at the other end but the result would eventually land in the hands of Vescio deep in Carlton’s forward pocket.

She had the chance to give Carlton its fourth consecutive win and first of the season over a side above it on the ladder.

But even for the skilful Vescio, the angle proved too tight.

Melbourne’s position atop the AFLW ladder will now hinge on whether the Crows account for St Kilda on Sunday.

Darcy Vescio missed a set shot in the dying seconds which would have given the Blues victory. Picture: Getty Images
Darcy Vescio missed a set shot in the dying seconds which would have given the Blues victory. Picture: Getty Images

Magpies sound huge warning to AFLW contenders

Steve Symonds says teams will be “nervous” if they have to face his Collingwood side in AFLW finals.

The Pies have hit their hottest patch of form at the right time of the year, finding their free-flowing groove on the eve of their third finals appearance in a row.

Collingwood dismantled Richmond by 38-points on Saturday, and following a season of setbacks, Symonds said his team had rediscovered the love of the game again.

“There’s no secret we’ve been trying to get our game back a little bit over the last few weeks and part of that is being a bit more up tempo,” Symonds said.

Steph Chiocci takes a strong mark as the Magpies assert their authority over Richmond. Picture: Michael Klein
Steph Chiocci takes a strong mark as the Magpies assert their authority over Richmond. Picture: Michael Klein

“We got going again with our game style and sometimes we overdo it or make it up as we go, but the girls love playing that way and it gets a bit of excitement with the way they play.

“We’ve just got to get the balance of when to go fast and when to go slow and if we get that balance right we’re going to be dangerous in the finals.

“I have no doubt there will be teams who will be nervous if we play against them.”

The Pies have been cruelled by injury, losing All-Australian midfielders Britt Bonnici and Bri Davey to season-ending ACL injuries, while an unfavourable fixture left them playing just four home games for the season.

But Symonds says the adversity has galvanised Collingwood and helped build spirit among players.

“They’ve got fight in them and we found that spirit and connection back together and they’re enjoying themselves,” he said.

“The girls keep on stepping up and they’re enjoying the way they’re playing.”

Jaimee Lambert was best-on-ground and had 31-disposals and 448m gained for the Pies, and Symonds said the 29-year-old was a lock for All-Australian honours this season.

Best-on-ground Jaimee Lambert clears as she is tackled by Richmond’s Monique Conti. Picture: Michael Klein
Best-on-ground Jaimee Lambert clears as she is tackled by Richmond’s Monique Conti. Picture: Michael Klein

“I say this every year, I know everyone rates her, but I think Jaimee Lambert is severely underrated in the competition,” he said.

“In my mind she’s a top five or six player in the competition.

“She steps up when she needs to, she’s smart with the ball, puts her head over the ball all the time… her ability to set us up is really strong.”

Mikala Cann had the unenviable task of going to-to-toe with Tiger star Monique Conti. Who won the contest probably depends on who you support, but Cann at the very least held her own, if not beat Richmond’s best player.

“She’s come along so, so well,” Symonds said.

“Mikala has been one of the pleasing stories with the injuries we’ve had.

“Mikala and Conti I thought had a great battle today head-to-head. From a spectator’s point of view I’d like to go back and watch a replay of that because I thought the two of them was an outstanding contest.”

Pies on a roll and dangerous

The equation was simple for Collingwood — win and play finals.

On the back of a vintage Jaimee Lambert midfield masterclass they had booked their ticket by three-quarter time.

The Pies ran out 38-point winners against Richmond, but it was the continuation of their red-hot form that will have their finals’ opponent worried.

Collingwood dominated the first quarter but a strong breeze blowing across the ground made quality entries inside 50 few and far between.

It wasn’t until after the siren the Pies got reward for their efforts with Chloe Molloy judging the wind to perfection and kicking a goal from 35m out.

Sarah Rowe was one of the best for Collingwood. Picture: Getty Images
Sarah Rowe was one of the best for Collingwood. Picture: Getty Images

Jaimee Lambert allayed any worries about sore ribs and had 10-disposals and 122m gained, while Ruby Schleicher continued her hot form from last week with seven touches and 103m gained.

Richmond’s biggest chance came after young star Ellie McKenzie brushed aside two Collingwood players with a baulk and stiff arm in the middle of the ground, but the 19-year-old couldn’t connect with a forward.

Abbi Moloney has been a late-season revelation for the Pies in their forward line, and she kicked their second after going back with the flight and taking a strong mark.

Sophie Casey will find herself under MRO scrutiny after a high hit on Taya Stahl. There was no malice from Casey, but Stahl went lower for the ball as they players came together.

Tigers’ captain for the day, Monique Conti, tried her best to bring Richmond back into the game and had 13-disposals at halftime, but 10 of them were handballs and her side desperately missed her precision use by foot.

Goals from Eliza James and Sabrina Frederick cancelled out the Tigers’ first goal of the game, kicked by Emelia Yassir, to put the Pies within touching distance of another finals appearance at three-quarter-time.

Mikala Cann had 18-disposals, six clearances and four tackles to the last break.

Two last quarter goals to Sophie Alexander put the icing on what was a black and white cake.

WHAT THE RESULT MEANS

Collingwood will finish the home and away season in fifth position if Fremantle loses to Gold Coast, and sixth position if the Dockers win.

If they finish fifth they will play North Melbourne.

They will play whoever finishes third on the ladder if they finish sixth, which could be a trip to Brisbane or Adelaide, or a game in Melbourne against the Dees, in the first week of finals.

With Melbourne heavy favourites against Carlton, and Adelaide expected to beat St Kilda on Sunday, a rematch of last season’s preliminary final against Brisbane appears the most likely outcome for the Pies.

Aishling Sheridan marks the ball in front of her opponent. Picture: Getty Images
Aishling Sheridan marks the ball in front of her opponent. Picture: Getty Images

CANN YOU BELIEVE IT?

Despite playing with a hairline fracture in her toe, Mikala Cann continues to put her name up in lights.

The 21-year-old found herself going toe-to-toe with Monique Conti at stoppages, and not only did Cann hold her own, but she also arguably beat the Tiger superstar.

Cann had 23-disposals, seven clearances and five tackles.

ALL-AUSTRALIANS IN WAITING

Jaimee Lambert will feature heavily in the AFLW best-and-fairest vote count in April and must be a lock for the All-Australian team.

Ruby Schleicher played most of the season with a banged-up knee but somehow managed to put together a better season than her All-Australian effort last year.

And it is hard to believe Monique Conti is just 22 years old. Like Lambert, the midfield star must be a lock for selection this season having carried the Tiger engine room at times.

TIGER TRAIN BUILDING

Richmond is a team on the move and took giant strides forward this season.

The heaviest scoring side in the bottom eight, the Tigers only won three games for the season, the same amount as in 2021, but were box office whenever they played.

Coach Ryan Ferguson has his team playing a style that will have them making a serious push for finals next season.

Coupled with the immense growth of inexperienced players like McKenzie and Tess Lavey, as well as stars such as Sarah and Jess Hosking, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti starting to gel, Tigers fans have a lot to look forward to.

SCOREBOARD

PIES 1.3 2.5 4.7 6.11 47

TIGERS 0.1 0.3 1.3 1.3 9

MOTTERSHEAD’S BEST

Pies: Lambert, Schleicher, Cann, Sheridan, Rowe, Chiocci.

Tigers: Conti, McKenzie, Miller, Shevlin.

GOALS

Pies: Alexander 2, Molloy, Moloney, Frederick, James.

Tigers: Yassir.

INJURIES

Pies: nil.

Tigers: Bernardi (knee).

VENUE

Victoria Park

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

JAMES MOTTERSHEAD’S VOTES

3 J. Lambert (COLL)

2 R. Schleicher (COLL)

1 M. Cann (COLL)

‘Hi I’m Tayla’: How Harris’ broke ice after ‘distressing’ year

Tayla Harris walked into her third club with these three simple words: “Hi, I’m Tayla”.

That was her way of breaking the ice after completing one of the biggest, and most controversial, moves in the short history of AFLW.

Harris parted ways with Carlton when contract talks spectacularly broke down in May last year.

The big-marking forward had wanted to stay with the Blues despite diminishing returns but the breakdown in communications led to an ugly exit from Ikon Park just shy of a year ago.

Some within the Carlton walls questioned her application and suggested she was a divisive presence.

Harris labelled her four-goal 2021 season an “outlier”, blaming her mental struggle on being isolated from her Queensland-based family due to Covid restrictions.

But as Melbourne prepares to face off against Carlton this Sunday, a lot has changed.

Tayla Harris has been back to her high-marking best this season. Picture: Getty Images
Tayla Harris has been back to her high-marking best this season. Picture: Getty Images

Harris described the way the events played out as “distressing”, “disappointing”, and “upsetting”. She admitted to an “immature mindset”.

She felt her priorities – which had included a vast array of off-field business interests, media commitments, the fallout from “that” kick, and dedicated boxing training amid a hectic schedule – became skewed following an “absurd” rise from the obscurity of local football to the front pages.

The move to Melbourne proved exactly the tonic she needed.

Harris, 24, is the current leading goal kicker in the competition, thriving alongside Demons superstar Daisy Pearce in a formidable forward line that last week became the first in the game’s history to crack 100 points, and is one of the most valuable players in the game to her team.

“I probably got a bit distracted … in terms of having too many commitments,” Harris told the Lil & Ben podcast.

“I’ve got my priorities right now – footy is absolutely No.1. Family as well. And then other things. That’s something that I’ve shifted.”

Melbourne forward Kate Hore can attest to Harris’s mindset. She has a front-row seat.

“I think the main thing is that she’s happy,” Hore told the Herald Sun.

Tayla Harris is just so happy as a Demon, those close to her say. Picture: Getty Images
Tayla Harris is just so happy as a Demon, those close to her say. Picture: Getty Images

“She’s genuinely enjoying it fully. She loves the people around and she wants to go out and compete for the jumper.

“When she crosses the white line, like I wouldn’t want to get in her way.

“She’s the most athletically gifted, powerful person I think I’ve ever come across … just watching her in the gym and watching the way she launches at the footy.

“I’d obviously seen it on TV and whatnot but experiencing it in a team environment and like watching it so close … I don’t think there’s any other player in the women’s game like her at the moment.”

Harris said she was excited at the prospect of stringing strong seasons together.

“Last season was an outlier,” she said. “Of course I could sit here and explain why and it would make total sense … I’m only moving forward.”

At the time of the Blues split, Carlton coach Daniel Harford lamented Harris’ lack of consistency, and the “gap was too big” in both money between the two camps.

Once the drama heated up, there was no coming back for either party, despite Harris’ wish to stay a Blue and prove her value to a team that is argued perhaps didn’t see value in her.

It is understood there was frustration, too, that when things turned sour there was little support from others around her, despite her willingness to be a strong voice for female athletes, particularly on the topic of social media trolling.

Tayla Harris at Carlton in January 2021. She would leave the club just four months later. Picture: Mark Stewart
Tayla Harris at Carlton in January 2021. She would leave the club just four months later. Picture: Mark Stewart

Melbourne was the first club that spoke with Harris’ manager Alex Saundry once it became evident she would be available. A deal was quickly struck — one year, with an awareness that Harris would have to prove herself.

And she has, with 18 goals already this season, a finals berth calling and her powerful marking ability back to its best with a close relationship with coach Mick Stinear.

Only being on a playing contract with no marketing ability meant a drop in the realm of a 65 per cent cut in wage, or thereabouts.

Saundry must be hotly anticipating renegotiating her deal as likely All-Australian selection looms large.

Melbourne’s Libby Birch wrote this week of the misconceptions she harboured when Harris arrived, and Hore acknowledged that it’s something Harris must deal with often.

“I think she definitely is misunderstood and misrepresented at times,” she said.

“But she’s the most down to earth, humble person – just a really quirky character. She just loves playing footy and loves her teammates.

“She’s pretty simple in terms of that kind of stuff.

“As soon as you have any type of interaction with you realise that your whole opinion just changes on her. Which is crazy — it’s just it shouldn’t be like that.

Harris and Daisy Pearce are as thick as thieves. Picture: Getty Images
Harris and Daisy Pearce are as thick as thieves. Picture: Getty Images

“I think she’s a classic case of don’t judge a book by its cover.

“She is one of the most like genuine people that I’ve ever come across. I’ve loved my time with her so far.”

Harris’ relationship with Pearce – cultivated in the 2016 exhibition series and reignited with a phone call before she became a Dee again – has been one of influence and understanding.

“Daisy is like having a coach out there, which I think has helped Tay a lot as well,” Hore said.

“’Dais’ being out there helping her … I think that would have helped her a lot with her development.”

For Harris, who says she has finally found the consistency she sought for so long – which had been a challenge to maintain at Carlton – it’s only about looking forward … to finals after a pile of work on her mental game.

“I refuse to have any excuses for any other seasons,” she said.

“Who really gives a shit, to be honest? Who cares? This season is all that matters.

“If you’re looking back, then you’ll get left behind.”

ROUND 10 WRAP

GIANTS REBOUND TO SCATTER CATS

Injury-hit Greater Western Sydney have finished their 2022 AFLW season on a high after upsetting Geelong by 18 points at Kardinia Park on Friday night.

With both teams already knocked out of the finals race ahead of their final-round meeting, pride was the only thing on the line, but despite missing star midfield trio Chloe Dalton (suspension), Alyce Parker (concussion) and Rebecca Beeson (concussion), the Giants came out on top 8.5 (53) to 5.5 (35).

The Cats dominated play for much of the first half and shot out to a 14-point lead in the second quarter, but couldn’t end the contest early as they were let down badly by their forward inefficiency.

Geelong left the door ajar for the Giants, who didn’t need a second invitation to walk through as they kicked six of the last seven goals to turn the contest on its head.

After recording 19 of the first 24 inside 50s, Geelong ended up winning the stat 29-22 but only managed a goal 17 per cent of the time when they entered their attacking zone, compared to the Giants’ 36 per cent.

It meant all of the hosts’ hard work further afield counted for nothing as they finished on top in contested possessions (106-97) and clearances (30-23).

Not only was it an entertaining clash, but it was also a very physical contest with a combined 154 tackles laid, GWS leading the way 80-74.

Geelong pair Georgie Prespakis (13) and Amy McDonald (11) came out on top in that category ahead of the Giants’ Ally Dallaway (10).

Cora Staunton was the star for GWS, booting four majors and grabbing the equal lead of the league goalkicking (18).

Nicola Barr was also influential with 23 disposals while ruck Erin McKinnon registered 47 hit-outs, breaking the all-time AFLW record.

McDonald was her industrious self for the Cats with 25 touches (19 contested) and nine clearances, while Prespakis (19 touches — 10 contested) and Chloe Scheer (11 possessions), who kicked two goals, also were among Geelong’s best.

Jessica Doyle (left) Giants celebrates a goal at GMHBA Stadium. Picture: AFL Photos/via Getty Images
Jessica Doyle (left) Giants celebrates a goal at GMHBA Stadium. Picture: AFL Photos/via Getty Images

DOYLE DOUBLE PUTS GWS IN FRONT

Jessica Doyle kicked two goals in the space of two minutes in the third quarter to put the Giants up for the first time. In the first instance, she kicked the easy six-pointer from the goalsquare after taking an uncontested mark which finished off a chain of disposals that were sparked by Prespakis’ second 50m penalty. Doyle’s second goal was much more spectacular as she gathered the loose ball, baulked Jordan Ivey, wheeled around onto her left foot and split the big sticks from 25m out.

STAUNTON ICES TASTY CAKE

With 45 seconds left in the contest, Staunton paddled the ball to herself, absorbed the contact from her opponent, collected the loose ball and snapped an absolute ripper from 25m out in the pocket, curling it around to perfection to seal the contest.

CATS BLOW EARLY DOMINANCE

It took Geelong less than three minutes to better their final score against St Kilda from last week (0.9.9) as they opened up a 13-point lead with three of the first four goals. Powered by their strong clearance work (10-5) and sizeable advantage in contested possessions (34-23), the ball lived in the Cats’ forward half in the opening term with the hosts quadrupling the Giants for inside 50s (12-3). But despite their domination of the territory battle, Geelong could only manage one more goal than the visitors by quarter-time.

Nina Morrison was one of Geelong’s better players. Picture: AFL Photos/via Getty Images
Nina Morrison was one of Geelong’s better players. Picture: AFL Photos/via Getty Images

SCOREBOARD

CATS 3.1 4.3 5.5 5.5 (35)

GIANTS 2.0 4.2 6.4 8.5 (53)

LERNER’S BEST

Cats: McDonald, Prespakis, Scheer, Webster, Morrison.

Giants: Staunton, Barr, McKinnon, Eva, Zreika, Doyle.

GOALS

Cats: Scheer 2, Webster, Darby, McWilliams.

Giants: Staunton 4, Doyle 2, Loynes, Garnett.

INJURIES

Cats: McWilliams (back/coccyx).

Giants: Nil.

Late change: Rebecca Beeson (concussion) replaced in GWS’s selected line-up by Jasmine Grierson

UMPIRES

Bailes, Chrystie, Mitchell

VENUE

Kardinia Park

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

LERNER’S VOTES

3 C.Staunton (GWS)

2 A.McDonald (Geel)

1 N.Barr (GWS)

ROUND 10 TEAMS

North Melbourne v West Coast

Arden Street, Saturday 5.10pm AEDT

KANGAROOS

B: D.Hardiman 31 J.Ferguson 20

HB: B.Brown 36 E.Kearney – C 9 A.Gilroy 8

C: K.Ashmore 10 M.King 23 I.Eddey 3

HF: G.Campbell 43 D.Bateman 11 E.Gavalas 22

F: E.King 60 T.Randall 16

Foll: K.Rennie 26 J.Garner 25 A.Riddell 7

I/C: S.Wright 17 S.Abbatangelo 1 J.Bruton 35 D.Bannister 2 N.Bresnehan 12

Emerg: A.Hamilton 21 T.Craven 5

In: E.King

Out: A.Hamilton (Omitted)

EAGLES

B: C.Thomas 3 A.Ward 33

HB: B.Schilling 30 S.McDonald 35 B.Smith 14

C: A.Schmidt 7 E.Swanson – C 13 M.Bowen 1

HF: N.Kelly 12 S.Lakay 23 C.Rowley 5

F: E.Gooch 31 G.Kelly 15

Foll: P.Laurie 25 I.Lewis 6 K.Gibson 2

I/C: A.Atkins 9 H.Bullas 24 E.Bennett 27 S.Davison 28 A.Hill 16

Emerg: L.Gauci 26 M.Caulfield 10

In: A.Ward, C.Rowley, K.Gibson, E.Bennett, S.Davison

Out: M.Caulfield (Omitted), C.Guard (Omitted), D.Hooker (Injured), A.Gilmore (Injured), I.Cameron (HS Protocol)

Melbourne v Carlton

Casey Fields, Saturday 7.10pm AEDT

DEMONS

B: L.Birch 9 G.Colvin 32

HB: S.Goldrick 23 M.Gay 3 S.Heath 30

C: K.Paxman 4 T.Hanks 5 L.Mithen 14

HF: A.Bannan 16 K.Hore 10 M.Fitzsimon 24

F: D.Pearce – C 6 T.Harris 7

Foll: L.Pearce 15 O.Purcell 2 E.West 11

I/C: S.Lampard 8 E.McNamara 22 T.Gillard 17 C.Sherriff 18 S.Scott 12

Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 J.Parry 19

In: T.Gillard

Out: E.Zanker (Injured)

BLUES

B: V.Laloifi 8 G.Pound 6

HB: K.Sherar 25 P.Trudgeon 26 D.Walker 23

C: M.Hill 10 A.McKay 5 K.Harrington – C 9

HF: D.Vescio 3 J.Good 15 C.Jones 22

F: N.Stevens 21 M.Guerin 18

Foll: B.Moody 16 M.Prespakis 4 G.Gee 19

I/C: E.O’Dea 46 G.Egan 1 N.Plane 32 J.Dal Pos 2 L.McEvoy 13

Emerg: L.Brazzale 12 B.Walker 7

In: L.McEvoy

Out: B.Walker (Omitted)

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