WEST Coast ended its 10-game losing streak with a surprise win over Port Adelaide on Friday, while Collingwood and Fremantle also snagged important victories.
Round five was less positive, however, for the Western Bulldogs and Greater Western Sydney who are both still winless, while boom recruits Emily Bates and Greta Bodey faced their old side for the first time.
Each Monday of the AFLW season, Gemma Bastiani will touch on a key talking point from each game, just in case you missed it.
Nina Morrison was worth the No.1 pick
Geelong's first ever selection in the 2018 AFLW draft, Nina Morrison is proving on a weekly basis exactly why she was taken so early. After back-to-back knee injuries slowing the start to her career, she is now consistently finding herself among the best players on the ground. Against Melbourne, Morrison was the one trying to lift her side, registering 30 disposals, eight clearances and kicking an impressive second-quarter goal in a well-rounded performance.
Fremantle can stand up when it matters
This season the Dockers have at times been guilty of allowing opposition to take momentum away from them and struggling to wrestle it back. But against Richmond on Friday afternoon, Fremantle stood up as the home side threatened to snatch away the lead in the final quarter. The Tigers kicked the last three goals of the game to get within seven points, but even on exhausted legs, the Dockers never stopped working and stood tall in the face of the onslaught, even without star duo Kiara Bowers and Ebony Antonio.
Breann Moody, All-Australian forward?
With less time in the ruck this season, reigning All-Australian Breann Moody has still had a huge impact on Carlton's fortunes. Playing as a key forward alongside Phoebe McWilliams and an emerging Mia Austin, Moody has really solidified the side's attack this season. With five contested marks against Sydney on Friday afternoon, she controlled the air beautifully, while also kicking a goal to take her season tally to five at the midway point of the home and away season.
Ellie Blackburn can't be expected to do it all
Western Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn has been her usual, impressive self this season. But the reality is that she cannot win games alone, and not enough Bulldogs are coming to the party to support her. With 31 disposals, 12 clearances and six tackles on the club's return to Whitten Oval on Friday night, Blackburn did everything she could to will her side over the line, but they ultimately fell to the Saints by 18 points. We all know that Blackburn is a remarkable player who will go down in Bulldogs history, but she alone cannot change her side's fortunes this season as they slump to a 0-5 record.
Young Eagles come to the fore
West Coast enjoyed its first win in over a year on Friday evening, holding out against a challenging Port Adelaide. Standing up in captain Emma Swanson's milestone 50th game, it was impressive performances from young players in the dying minutes of the game that got the job done. Shanae Davison's willingness to put her body on the line at the contest, Lauren Wakfer and Ella Roberts' strength in the air and Charlie Thomas' cool head behind the play was all crucial in the result as we're finally seeing the highly talented, but young Eagles putting the pieces together.
Collingwood still has a pulse
Against a dangerous Essendon side on Saturday morning, Collingwood proved that it still has some bite, taking its season tally to two wins from five starts. The return of Lauren Butler in defence was certainly welcome, as the Pies made the most of their wind advantage in the first and third quarters, while preventing the Bombers from doing the same in the remaining terms. With more players still to come back from injury, most importantly Ruby Schleicher to further solidify the defensive line, Collingwood has the opportunity to gather momentum through the back half of the season, with Saturday's win its starting point.
The Giants' defence is the only line that's working
On Sunday afternoon against the Roos, GWS became the first team of 2023 to go goalless in a game. A silver lining, however, was how the backline stood up for a full four quarters to keep the powerful North Melbourne attack to a goal from just 10.5 per cent of its forward 50 entries. Pepa Randall, giving up plenty of height playing on Kate Shierlaw, didn't lower her colours, nor did 50-gamer Katherine Smith who managed to hold Tahlia Randall goalless. Meanwhile, Tarni Evans's strong rebounding season continued as she worked exceptionally hard to clear the danger zone. In a disappointing result for the club, the backline can hold its head high.
A big week can't unsettle Ally Anderson
Spending the week in Melbourne to attend the Brownlow and take part in both the AFL Grand Final parade and motorcade as the reigning AFLW Best and Fairest winner, Brisbane star Ally Anderson would have been forgiven for having a quiet week. But forgiveness wasn't necessary as the midfielder put in a stunning performance against Hawthorn, largely going toe-to-toe with good friend and former teammate Emily Bates. Anderson registered 30 disposals, eight score involvements, eight clearances and 455 metres gained, and while her disposal was a little sketchy at times, she was instrumental in tearing momentum away from the Hawks.
Adelaide's young defence has settled well
Without important defensive leaders Sarah Allan, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Najwa Allen, Adelaide's young backline has shown exactly what it's made of. Keeping Gold Coast to just two goals from 33 inside 50s, the likes of Chelsea Biddell, Zoe Prowse, Kiera Mueller and Sarah Goodwin stood tall against the Suns' contested marking duo of Jac Dupuy and Tara Bohanna as well as goal sneak Jamie Stanton. With the biggest challenge of all to come next week when the Crows face Melbourne, this defensive unit will have gained plenty of confidence from Sunday's performance.