AS WE bear down on the midway point of the 2023 home and away season, just two undefeated teams remain, while another three are still searching for their first win.
As St Kilda and Collingwood played out another thriller, the Lions became the first team to beat North Melbourne in Tasmania and Gold Coast snagged a third consecutive win for the first time in its history.
Each Monday of the AFLW season, Gemma Bastiani will touch on a key talking point from each game, just in case you missed it.
Melbourne is the most disciplined team of the season
In the face of some immense pressure in the last fortnight, Melbourne has proven just how well-drilled it is at the contest. Maintaining their structures like few other teams, the Demons will rarely sacrifice too many players to the contest, instead keeping outlets available for the handball receive and a well-organised defence behind the play. It is for this reason that the side is able to work through highly pressured situations to create some really damaging attack. Melbourne is only team able to play in such a way due to its trust between teammates, and willingness to play for one-another.
Alyce Parker never stops working
In the face of an onslaught from Adelaide, on the way to the second-highest score in AFLW history, Alyce Parker's endless work not just at stoppage but around the ground for the Giants was impressive. Finishing the game with 31 disposals, 10 clearances and six score involvements, Parker played 100 per cent of game time, remarkable given her main role as an inside midfielder. And all of that was despite needing to be helped from the ground last week with an injury concern.
Carlton's ruck duo is the best in the competition
The one-two punch of Breann Moody and Jess Good in the ruck for the Blues has been a powerful asset this year as the club works to re-establish itself. Against Richmond on Saturday the pair combined for 44 hitouts, 27 disposals, six tackles and two goals, offering a dominant presence in the air both through the middle of the ground and in attack. Forcing opposing rucks Gabby Seymour and Poppy Kelly to be really accountable, Moody and Good set their teammates up particularly well at stoppage.
The Cats know how to win the footy
Against Port Adelaide on Saturday afternoon, Geelong won the disposal count by a whopping 110, and the uncontested possession count by 78, proving just how much control it was able to get against its less experienced opponent. The Cats boasted the top six ball winners on the ground, including Nina Morrison and Amy McDonald who gathered 32 and 30 touches respectively. After winning the footy, they controlled it beautifully, taking 53 marks for the game. If teams allow Geelong to maintain such control of the ball, it will slice through defensive units with its neat ball use and wealth of forward marking targets.
Ally Morphett is building an All-Australian season
Swans ruck Ally Morphett once again proved just how far she has come against West Coast on Sunday. Winning nine disposals, 15 hitouts and four clearances in the first quarter alone, Morphett finished the game with 20 disposals and a game-high 33 hitouts and 10 clearances, playing a vital role in Sydney's second-ever win. Her athleticism to move from the tap to essentially becoming an extra midfielder for the Swans has totally changed the dynamic of the side's midfield group and is allowing it to maintain control in games for longer periods of time.
Lily Postlethwaite is back and better than ever
After consecutive ACL injuries and nearly three seasons on the sidelines, Lily Postlethwaite's return to AFLW this season hasn't just been good for the Lions, but it's been good for footy. Playing an important role across the forward line and midfield, Postlethwaite's ability to link the lines was vital in Brisbane's first ever win in Tasmania. Registering five score involvements from 12 disposals, five tackles and a goal, Postlethwaite might be flying under the radar, but is a key cog in the Lions machine this season.
Outside footy looks good on the Bombers
In a game that was always going to be a clash of game styles, Essendon's ability to match the Dockers at the contest, but then move the ball efficiently out into space was what landed it the win. Led by co-captain Bonnie Toogood (21 disposals, nine tackles, two goals), the Bombers overwhelmed Fremantle, winning 143 uncontested possessions and 58 marks. Essendon's class when it finds space is impressive, and it was all without important forward Daria Bannister. It is for this reason that the Bombers were the best performing expansion side last season, and currently sit inside the top eight.
It's all about a four-quarter performance
All season both St Kilda and Collingwood have shown patches of impressive football in-game, but neither side has been able to put together solid footy for a full four quarters. That is, until Sunday afternoon where they went head-to-head. The Saints' ability to remain hopeful and maintain their work rate as the game wore on saw them kick their highest ever single-quarter score to run over the top of the Magpies. Their five-goal final term was built on the relentless pressure across the course of the day, ultimately becoming too much for the visitors and earning St Kilda a much-deserved first win of the season.
Girvan might be the most underrated draftee of the year
Once again, Suns defender Meara Girvan had a huge impact in her side's win over the Western Bulldogs on Sunday evening. With 10 intercepts from 14 disposals, including some crucial late marks as the Dogs were threatening to snatch the win, Girvan looked cool, calm, and collected behind the ball when Gold Coast needed her most. Taken with pick No.10 in the supplementary draft earlier this year, Girvan's addition to the Suns' first-choice 21 has been unheralded, but crucial to their three consecutive wins for the first time in club history, and has solidified the team's structure in defence.