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AFLW Team of the Week: Three debutants in

AFLW wrap: Dogs and Lions on the hunt Nat Edwards and Marc McGowan take a look at all the action from round one of the AFLW
Melbourne's Erin Hoare contests the ruck with Giant Maddy Boyd - AFLW,Chloe Molloy,Erin Hoare,Courtney Gum
Melbourne's Erin Hoare contests the ruck with Giant Maddy Boyd

THREE players making their NAB AFL Women's competition debuts are inclusions in the inaugural AFLW Team of the Week.

Collingwood's Chloe Molloy, Melbourne's Erin Hoare and Greater Western Sydney’s Courtney Gum were impressive in their first games at the top level.

Check out the round one AFLW coaches' votes

The Brisbane Lions lead the way with seven players selected, while Melbourne (five) is also well represented.

At the other end of the scale, Adelaide and Collingwood have just one player each, with Fremantle the only team not to have a representative.

The team is selected to mirror the All-Australian format: five defenders, six midfielders (including a ruck), five forwards and five interchange players.

Players are picked in general categories, rather than in traditional positions. The 16-a-side set-up often means teams play with different configurations, making set-positon selections (e.g., wings and flanks) challenging.


Defenders: Brianna Davey (Carlton), Meg Downie (Melbourne), Leah Kaslar (Brisbane Lions), Chloe Molloy (Collingwood), Jamie Stanton (Brisbane Lions)

Kaslar continued her enthralling rivalry with Adelaide's Sarah Perkins, keeping the spearhead goalless. Her teammate Stanton provided great run off half-back, finishing with 21 touches and three tackles.

Davey (16 touches) and Molloy (20) were their teams' respective architects out of defence, the ball occasionally pin-balling between the two in their Friday night clash.

Downie made a dominant return to football after managing just two matches last year due to a torn hamstring, continually cutting off the Giants' forward-50 entries.

Midfielders: Erin Hoare (Melbourne, ruck), Ellie Blackburn (Western Bulldogs), Emma Kearney (Western Bulldogs), Daisy Pearce (Melbourne), Chelsea Randall (Adelaide), Emma Zielke (Brisbane Lions)

Hoare's height (194cm) gives her an immediate advantage in the ruck, but she showed an impressive ability to place the ball perfectly for her teammates.

The Bulldogs' dynamic duo of Blackburn (a round-high 23 disposals plus one goal) and Kearney (18 and eight clearances) completely wore down the Dockers’ midfield.

Pearce broke free from a tough Britt Tully tag to will Melbourne to victory. She took several important marks late, finishing with 19 disposals, seven clearances and five inside-50s.

Randall and Zielke almost ran off each other and were highly influential for their respective sides.

Melbourne star Daisy Pearce is tackled during the opening round clash with GWS. Picture: AFL Photos

Forwards: Katie Brennan (Western Bulldogs), Richelle Cranston (Melbourne), Sabrina Frederick-Traub (Brisbane Lions), Phoebe McWilliams (Greater Western Sydney), Jess Wuetschner (Brisbane Lions)

Brennan hit the ground running in her long-awaited AFLW return, kicking three goals from her 12 disposals.

A much leaner Cranston was the match-winner for Melbourne, kicking two of her three goals in the last quarter, including the final goal in the six-point win. At the other end of the field, a lively McWilliams kicked three from her six shots, moving well up the ground.

Frederick-Traub relished the freedom of being the one big key forward after the off-season departure of Tayla Harris, pulling in 10 marks, seven of which were contested. Only her poor kicking (0.3) let her down. Teammate Wuetschner was as irrepressible as always, finishing with two goals.

Interchange: Ally Anderson (Brisbane Lions), Courtney Gum (Greater Western Sydney), Tayla Harris (Carlton), Kate Lutkins (Brisbane Lions), Elise O'Dea (Melbourne).

Anderson had the best game of her short career through the midfield, picking up 15 touches and laying 12 tackles, much higher than her 2017 average of seven and three respectively.

Gum showed exactly why the Giants took a punt on a 35-year-old, the inside midfielder finishing with 17 disposals and four clearances in an impressive debut.

Lutkins was a steadying presence in defence for the Lions, her intercept marking and ability to set up play being highlights.

Carlton recruit Harris was a dominant force up forward, pulling in several stunning contested marks and kicking a goal in an extremely low-scoring affair.

Melbourne lost Karen Paxman early to a back injury, but O'Dea stepped seamlessly into her midfield spot after quarter-time, amassing 17 touches and five inside-50s.