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AFLW late mail: Giants unveil priority pick

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 23: Louise Stephenson of the GWS Giants in action during the GWS Giants Womens open training session at Olympic Park on November 23, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Louise Stephenson will play her first AFLW game for the Giants against the Demons

Greater Western Sydney v Melbourne
5.05pm (AEDT), Friday, March 3
Blacktown International Sportspark

The Giants might not have won a game yet, but they have a lot to look forward against Melbourne. They will unleash priority pick Louise Stephenson for her first AFLW game after she suffered a knee injury in a pre-season practice match against the Brisbane Lions. 

Stephenson, a forward/ruck recruited from VFL Women's team Melbourne Uni, said she was excited to finally run out onto the field with her teammates.

"It's quite surreal, being up here [in Sydney] for so long and not having played yet," Stephenson told

"I've never been this nervous for a game before, even in grand finals, but … it's my round one."

The Giants also selected forwards Jacinda Barclay, who missed last week due to suspension, and Codie Briggs.

Forward Stephanie Walker and defender Alex Saundry were omitted, while defender Mai Nguyen will miss the remainder of the season after suffering an ACL injury in the first quarter of the loss to the Lions.

The Giants face a Melbourne side full of confidence after winning its third straight game last week. 

The Demons will be facing a new challenge on Friday night when they play their first game interstate. 

Defender Harriet Cordner said the team was looking forward to the challenge.

"[Playing interstate] will be a different experience, but looking forward to it," she told

"We're trying to treat it like any other game, but enjoy the experience, because a lot of us haven't done it before.

"It's really exciting."

Melbourne made two changes, with utility Shelley Scott (shoulder) and defender Brooke Patterson (hamstring) unavailable due to injury. Forwards Sarah Jolly and Aliesha Newman were added to the team. 

Carlton v Western Bulldogs
11.35am (AEDT), Saturday, March 4
Ikon Park

Carlton will be looking to revive its season after suffering two straight defeats.

Midfielder Shae Audley said the Blues have moved on from their loss to Melbourne last week and will be looking to stop the Bulldogs' midfield.

"With Emma Kearney and Ellie Blackburn through the middle, we have to make sure we shut them down," she told

The Blues will have to do it without marquee player Brianna Davey who will miss for a second week with a lower back injury. 

Carlton named an unchanged line-up to take on the Bulldogs, who are feeling the pressure to perform after suffering their third straight defeat against Collingwood last week.

Speaking on radio station SEN on Tuesday, Dogs coach Paul Groves said while the team wasn't getting the results they wanted, they were still competitive. 

"It's just a bit disappointing for our girls [that they're] not getting the reward for the effort that they are putting in on the scoreboard," Groves said. 

"But we're certainly thereabouts in most of the games."

The Bulldogs will be bolstered by the return of experienced ruck/defender Aasta O'Connor, who missed last week's loss due to knee soreness. 

The Bulldogs also selected midfielder Romy Timmins for her second AFLW game, with forward Ellyse Gamble and ruck Courtney Clarkson left out.

Captain Katie Brennan is yet to overcome the ankle injury she suffered pre-season and re-injured in round two. 

Fremantle v Collingwood
10.35am (AWST), Saturday, March 4
Rushton Park

Fremantle will be looking for its first AFLW win when it hosts Collingwood. 

Coach Michelle Cowan said it was important the Dockers found more leaders to stand up alongside captain Kara Donnellan. 

"She's an incredible leader … [but] we certainly need more girls to stand up and [fewer] passengers," Cowan said after the loss to Adelaide.

Fremantle midfielder Dana Hooker said the team's priority was to put in a four-quarter performance. 

"We need to play four quarters of hard footy and not just a good half or a good three quarters," Hooker told

Fremantle named injury replacement player and former netballer Alicia Janz to make her AFLW debut, with midfielder Stephanie Cain omitted.

Collingwood will have momentum going into the game, having picked up its first win last week. 

Midfielder Lauren Tesoriero said the goal for the team was to back up its performance and create a winning culture.

"Last week was an unbelievable experience. To get that win … was rewarding," Tesoriero told

"I don't want last week to be a one-off. I want winning to be a regular thing for us."

The Magpies made two changes to their team, with forward/midfielder Sophie Casey returning from a two-game suspension for a high bump on Melbourne's Meg Downie. Forward Christina Bernardi was also picked after missing last week's game with concussion.

They replace Kate Sheahan, whose season is over after tearing her ACL, and midfielder Georgia Walker, who was omitted.

Adelaide v Brisbane Lions
6.40pm (ACDT), Saturday, March 4
Norwood Oval 

The competition's two undefeated teams will meet in a game that could determine who will host the AFLW Grand Final on March 25. 

Adelaide co-captain Erin Phillips told Fox Footy on Thursday the Crows were looking forward to the challenge.

"It's obviously going to be a tough contest but the girls are feeling really confident," Phillips said.

With no finals series and the top two teams qualifying for the Grand Final, Phillips said a win was crucial. 

"[It would] definitely help to get that separation from another top-of-the-table contender, for sure," she said. 

Adelaide recalled key defender Anne Hatchard after missing last week's game against Fremantle, while utility Tayla Thorn was dropped.

The Lions kept their undefeated streak intact with a comfortable win over GWS last week, but face their biggest test on Saturday night.

Lions coach Craig Starcevich said the key for his team would be to embrace the finals-like atmosphere of the game.

"We spoke to the playing group about what a great opportunity [it is]… to play something that is as close to a final as you can get," Starcevich said. 

"We spoke about embracing it and enjoying it. 

"[It will be] a great experience for them in terms of their footy education."

The Lions selected key defender Tahlia Randall for the important clash, after she missed last week with a shoulder injury. Kate Deegan, who replaced Randall last week, was left out.