After just two rounds of the AFLW, some surprise stories have already emerged with a couple of bolters making the early running and grabbing the top-two spots on the ladder.
Channel 7’s star commentator and former AFLW gun Abbey Holmes has cast her eye over all the action and looks at the key round two take-outs. Check it out.
WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: AFLW’s big five from Round 2
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1. All eyes on the teams on the rise
Geelong currently sit on top after two rounds with a massive percentage of 350, and for the first time in the Saints’ short history, they have won two consecutive matches to start their season and look set to climb their way up the premiership ladder. We are starting to see a lot of Nick Dal Santo in this St Kilda outfit. The second-season coach has now had time to develop his game-plan and the desired execution is starting to shine through. The Saints are a highly skilled side who want to possess and retain the football off the half-back. Their fundamentals have really improved from Season 6 to Season 7 which is allowing them execute, and it certainly helps having key-marking targets such as Kate Shierlaw and Caitlin Greiser in some hot form inside 50.
2. Fit Lions hungrier than ever to get back to the top
They’ve tasted that pure elation of winning a premiership just last year in Season 5 , and it’s very evident early in Season 7 that the Lions are desperate to be the side that once again holds up that premiership cup. They have won their first two matches by a combined total of 96 points and are, in my opinion, the fittest side in the competition. Orla O’Dwyer, now in her fourth AFLW season since being signed as a rookie from Ireland ahead of the 2020 season, is set to take her game – and her team – to a whole new level. They run hard, work for one another, and keep the ball in motion as much as possible. That round four match-up between the Lions and the Dees at Casey Fields will be an absolute cracker – put that one in the diary NOW!
3. Young draftees are showing they are genuine football talent
How good is it that after just seven seasons of the Women’s competition, we are now seeing genuine footballers coming out of the draft each and every year. Obviously, over the first few years of league, we were seeing a lot of cross-coders with women switching sports from netball, basketball, soccer, etc, to play Aussie Rules. Now, much like their male counterparts, there is a perfect pathway for young girls and women that starts Auskick and runs all the way through to the elite level. It’s never been more evident this season. Sydney’s No.1 pick Montana Ham is likened to that of Patrick Cripps in the midfield. The powerful 179cm midfield-forward has excellent ball-winning capabilities on the inside, but also the speed and agility to match it on the outer. Hawthorn’s Jasmine Fleming is another perfect example. These are young women who have never been told they weren’t allowed to play football.
4. New talent quickly finding their feet
With four new clubs and 120 additional list spots available, 61 players made their AFLW debuts across Round 1 with the big occasion really exciting and overwhelming for many. Hawthorn had an incredible 12 debutants in round one. That is a lot for any one side , but it was evident from week 1 to week 2 that many of these players had now settled into the level and intensity of the highest level in the game. These players will get more and more comfortable over the next few weeks and we will really be able to see what they are made of.
5. Why mind-blowing Monique could be our first 250-gamer
Best on ground in a premiership side in 2018. A three-time All-Australian. A four-time club best-and-fairest winner. It’s hard to believe Monique Conti is only 22 years of age and, the scary part is, we could continue to see her dominate the big stage for the next 10-15 years should she keep footy as her No.1 sport.
It was yet another best-on-ground performance at Punt Round Oval on Saturday and she almost led her side to a win against reigning premiers, Adelaide, but the Tigers just got overran in the last. Conti is renowned for her ability to step around any opposition with ease and she has a willingness to tuck the ball under the arm and go for it through the middle of the ground. She is hands down one of the best players in the competition. Oh, did I mention she’s only 22?! (Mind blown…)