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2023 NAB AFLW Season 8
Gold Coast SUNS v West Coast Eagles
Round 2 •
99 15.9
Full Time
26 4.2
SUNS Won By 73

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    Full R2 preview: Lions on the warpath, can Swans go back-to-back?

    Gemma Bastiani previews what promises to be an intriguing round two in the AFLW

    Brisbane players run out ahead of the R1 AFLW match against Richmond at Brighton Homes Arena on September 3, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

    AFTER a big opening round of the 2023 AFLW season, with some impressive individual and team performances, round two is shaping as even more intriguing.  

    With big wins already to their names, Melbourne, Geelong and North Melbourne will be out to further stamp their authority on the competition this week, while the likes of Brisbane, Gold Coast and Collingwood will be out to atone for round one losses. 

    FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

    Richmond v Adelaide at Ikon Park, 5.05pm AEST 

    Richmond and Adelaide have only faced off once before, in round two last season. The Tigers took an unexpected lead into three-quarter time before the ultimate professionals that are the Crows put the foot down to win by nine points. This year, however, is a different prospect. Richmond has confidence after reaching its first ever finals series and backed it up with a win over Brisbane last week, while Adelaide had a chance to test some changes in round one's Showdown. 

    03:11

    The Tigers found more outside ball last week than they averaged last season, playing their own game rather than focusing heavily on taking away their opponents' strengths. Richmond laid just 48 tackles – the fewest of any side across the weekend – and 51.1 per cent of its possession was uncontested, using the speed and space of Springfield to its advantage. Adelaide also showed off a slight shift in game style compared to last year. Still a high-possession team, it is trying to use the ball by hand a little more and make better use of its outside runners. As a result, this game should be quick with plenty of run and carry. 

    Tip: There is no harder game to tip this weekend. Richmond by one point. 

    Richmond players sing the team song after the R1 AFLW match against Brisbane at Brighton Homes Arena on September 3, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

    SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

    Gold Coast v West Coast at Heritage Bank Stadium, 11.05am AEST 

    The Suns and Eagles have played four times, with the former taking the win in three of those games including round two last season. Alison Drennan's 24-disposal, seven-clearance performance earned her the maximum 10 coaches votes and three AFLW best and fairest votes. But that was over a year ago and both sides look quite different whether by list change, or development of young players. 

    Both Gold Coast and West Coast are coming off disappointing round one losses, games in which neither side was able to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal. The Suns goaled from just 11.1 per cent of their forward 50 entries, and the Eagles from just 8.7 per cent. This one will be high pressure, as both are tackle-heavy teams, and will really come down to whoever can be more efficient once in attack. Gold Coast's forward marking combination of Tara BohannaJac Dupuy, and Jordan Membrey looms as the difference in the game, ready to challenge Eagles defenders Sophie McDonaldCharlie Thomas and Belinda Smith

    Tip: The Suns will get their first points on the board. Gold Coast by five points. 

    Jamie Stanton celebrates a goal with teammates during the R1 AFLW match between Gold Coast and Carlton at Ikon Park on September 2, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

    Port Adelaide v Brisbane at Alberton Oval, 12.35pm ACST 

    Brisbane premiership player Lauren Arnell will coach against her old side for the first time as Port Adelaide hosts the Lions at Alberton on Saturday. Arnell's Power, while disappointed with a round one loss, will be buoyed by their improvement compared to their inaugural season a year ago, while the Lions will be on the warpath to bounce back from their last-gasp loss. 

    In the ruck, impressive teenager Matilda Scholz will have her hands full with Brisbane's Tahlia Hickie, who put in a commanding performance last week, while a likely match-up between new Power forward Ashleigh Saint and last season's Grand Final best-on-ground medallist Shannon Campbell is a mouth-watering prospect.  But it will really come down to the midfield battle, with the Lions losing the clearance count last week after relying heavily on Ally Anderson and Hickie to do the bulk of the work, while Port Adelaide boasts impressive duo Erin Phillips and Abbey Dowrick around the ball. 

    Tip: The Power will once again start brightly but fall away. Brisbane by 12 points. 

    Erin Phillips tries to slip a tackle from Jessica Allan during the R1 AFLW match between Port Adelaide and Adelaide at Norwood Oval on September 2, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

    Geelong v Sydney at North Sydney Oval, 1.05pm AEST 

    Sydney is riding the high of its first ever win, but a recalibration of expectations is in order for the coming weekend as it prepares to face Geelong, which put 100 points on them when they met last season. For the Swans this game becomes about finding patches of control against a side that's only improved since they met in October last year. 

    On the small ground of North Sydney Oval, Geelong looks particularly dangerous coming out of stoppages and sending the ball into its stacked forward line. With so many marking targets in the Cats' attack, like Chloe ScheerJackie Parry and new face Aishling Moloney, it is vital that the Swans slow Geelong's ball movement going forward to give their defenders half a chance. It is likely that Sydney will lean on a high-pressure game in an effort to force messier disposal from the Cats, who sliced through the Dogs last week with their neat disposal. 

    Tip: The Swans will make up some ground, but not enough to claim victory. Geelong by 40 points. 

    00:24

    SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

    Western Bulldogs v Hawthorn at Mars Stadium, 1.05pm AEST 

    When these two sides met for the first time last season, it was a wet, slippery day at Box Hill City Oval where the Bulldogs won by 30 points and held the Hawks to their equal-lowest score to date. Kirsty Lamb rose to the top with 25 disposals and seven clearances, thriving in the wet, but came into the 2023 season a little underdone thanks to a problematic calf. As a result, Hawthorn's midfield is well-placed to take on the Dogs' midfield combination of Lamb and captain Ellie Blackburn and wreak some havoc. 

    Last week the Hawks' No.1 ruck Tamara Luke won 42 hitouts, but this week comes up against the damaging Alice Edmonds who has taken yet another step up this year, so won't be as easy to contain. But for the Bulldogs, it all comes down to getting the ball into the hands of forwards Gabby NewtonCeline Moody, and Sarah Hartwig if they're to get off the mark for the season. 

    Tip: An upset is on the cards. Hawthorn by three points. 

    Bridie Hipwell celebrates a goal during the R1 AFLW match between Hawthorn and Essendon at Kinetic Stadium on September 2, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

    Collingwood v Fremantle at Victoria Park, 1.05pm AEST 

    Without Kiara Bowers last week, the Dockers were still able to bring the pressure thanks to Gabby O'SullivanMegan Kauffman, and Ange Stannett. That pressure will be important again this week as the Pies, at their best, move the ball swiftly into space and can look dangerous in attack. Against Melbourne last week, Collingwood was able to transition the ball neatly into its forward line for the first half, before the Demons got going. And the Dockers do like playing at Victoria Park, famously ending Collingwood's eight-game winning streak at the venue when they met there back in season six. 

    Meanwhile, Aine Tighe looms as a dangerous player from a Collingwood perspective. Tall, agile, and smart, she may be a little too athletic for Stacey Livingstone to contain, so the immense job might just fall to the hands of fifth-gamer Selena Karlson, but it becomes a team effort to limit the supply to Tighe.  

    Tip: Fremantle will push, but the Pies will bounce back. Collingwood by two points. 

    00:33

    North Melbourne v Carlton at Arden Street Oval, 3.05pm AEST 

    From North Melbourne and Carlton's three meetings to date, the Roos have claimed victory each time by an average of 29.3 points, with Ashleigh Riddell particularly enjoying outings against the Blues. Carlton's defence stood strong in round one despite being without captain Kerryn Peterson, but were still susceptible to the Suns' marking forwards. That presents as the big challenge for Carlton this week with Tahlia RandallKate Shierlaw and Emma King all excellent contested marking forwards. 

    Last week each side played very contrasting styles. The Blues wanted to bring the forward pressure and trap the ball in attack, while North Melbourne was all about the uncontested footy in a kick-mark game. If the Blues can make the game scrappy and slow the Roos' clean ball movement forward they are in with a shot, but this game certainly presents as a dangerous one for Carlton. 

    Tip: The Roos are going to keep on winning. North Melbourne by 30 points. 

    00:39

    Essendon v St Kilda at Windy Hill, 3.05pm AEST 

    The Bombers return to Windy Hill for their first elite game in 11,720 days, making the venue their home this AFLW season. Yet to play an AFLW game at the venue, it won't be the only first of the day, as they face St Kilda for the first time. Bonnie Toogood's masterful performance last week gave Essendon the perfect start to the season, and the Saints will be wary of what the Bombers co-captain is capable of. 

    Last week against North Melbourne the Saints really struggled to win consistent control of the footy, registering just 24 inside 50s and two goals for the game despite adding last season's leading goalkicker to their forward line. Meanwhile, Essendon had the opposite experience, getting the ball inside 50 42 times, goaling from 16.7 per cent of those entries. If the Bombers are allowed to play a forward-half game, which their midfield assets will likely allow them to do, they will run out comfortable winners in their homecoming. 

    Tip: The Bombers will make it two from two. Essendon by 20 points. 

    Bonnie Toogood celebrates a goal with Daria Bannister during the AFLW R1 match between Essendon and Hawthorn at Kinetic Stadium on September 2, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

    Greater Western Sydney v Melbourne at Manuka Oval, 5.05pm AEST 

    In the five meetings between these two sides, the Giants have won just once – in their very first game back in 2017. Since then, it's been all Melbourne and that trend looks likely to continue. Last week GWS became the first side to fall to Sydney, while the Demons flicked the switch at half-time to prove their potential for yet another Grand Final in an ominous sign for those in orange. 

    The match-up to watch is certainly gun Giant Alyce Parker and underrated Demon Shelley Heath. When the sides played off in season six Parker was dominant through the middle until Heath went to her in the second half, and it looks like something Melbourne coach Mick Stinear may lean on again should the Giant start to win control. In defence, however, is where GWS will be most vulnerable. Given Melbourne's breadth of attacking options, the Giants' key defensive trio of Pepa RandallGrace Hill and Cambridge McCormick will have their hands full, as Tarni Evans will be better used playing more of an intercept role rather than stuck in a one-on-one. 

    Tip: The Demons will go again. Melbourne by 40 points. 

    Tayla Harris and Georgia Campbell after the AFLW R1 match between Melbourne and Collingwood at Ikon Park on September 01, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

    Stanton slots six as red-hot Suns thrash Eagles

    The Suns have proven far too good for the Eagles

    Jamie Stanton celebrates a goal during Gold Coast's clash against West Coast in round two, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

    GOLD Coast forward Jamie Stanton has celebrated her 50th AFLW game in magnificent fashion by kicking six goals in the Suns' record-breaking 73-point win over West Coast.

    The Suns not only kicked their biggest score in the 15.9 (99) to 4.2 (26) hammering on Saturday, but also the third biggest in League history.

    SUNS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats

    The final margin was also Gold Coast's largest – comfortably surpassing its previous best of 34 points against Sydney last season.

    In fact, by half-time, Gold Coast had already surpassed its previous best score of 7.7 (49) as it found itself on 8.5 (53) and 51 points clear of West Coast, which had to wait until the seven-minute mark of the third term to kick its first goal.

    05:53

    Stanton had not kicked multiple goals in a game in any of her first 49 matches, yet after 12 minutes the former Lion and Kangaroo had three to her name in a flash. 

    She headed into the match with just eight career goals and emerged from it as just the fifth player in AFLW history to kick five goals or more in a match, falling one short of Brooke Lochland's all-time record of seven majors.

    01:49

    Gold Coast kicked the first nine goals of the match, three of which were booted by Jacqueline Dupuy (19 disposals) who teamed up with Stanton and captain Tara Bohanna (four goals) to form an ominous attacking triumvirate.

    But the forward line wasn't the only area where the Suns dominated the Eagles, who were completely outplayed all over the park.

    04:39

    Gold Coast smashed West Coast in disposals (295-182), contested possessions (141-88), clearances (43-16) and inside 50s (52-18) to ensure the lopsided scoreline.

    The chief instigators behind that obliteration were star midfielders Claudia Whitfort, who finished with 33 disposals (15 contested), six clearances and a goal, and Charlie Rowbottom who registered 33 touches (24 contested), 10 tackles and a whopping 16 clearances.

    04:22

    Compounding the result for West Coast was Eleanor Hartill suffering a concussion and spending majority of the second half on the bench. 

    ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS

    GOLD COAST          4.2     8.5     10.8     15.9 (99)
    WEST COAST          0.0     0.2      1.2        4.2 (26)

    GOALS
    Gold Coast: Stanton 6, Bohanna 4, Dupuy 3, Whitfort, Membrey
    West Coast:
    Gibson 3, Smith 

    BEST 
    Gold Coast: Rowbottom, Whitfort, Stanton, Dupuy, Bohanna
    West Coast:
    Lewis, Roberts, Swanson, Gibson 

    INJURIES 
    Gold Coast: Nil
    West Coast:
    Hartill (concussion)

    Reports: Nil

    Crowd: TBC at Heritage Bank Stadium

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