A Nicola Barr behind in the dying stages has secured the Giants a thrilling victory in an instant classic against Hawthorn.
Young gun Bridie Hipwell calmly slotted a set shot for the Hawks late in the game to put her side in front, but a quick response from Giants jet Georgia Garnett (20 disposals, eight marks) tied scores with only a couple of minutes remaining.
The final two minutes of the game saw stoppage after stoppage deep in the Giants 50, yet the Hawks were able to repel attack after attack.
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Eventually the dam wall burst as Barr found space on the outside of a stoppage which resulted in a shot on goal, ultimately the deciding factor in a tense encounter at Henson Park.
Midfield duo Alyce Parker (30 disposals) and Alicia Eva (21 disposals) ran riot in the middle of the ground for the Giants, who dominated the possession count 230-164.
However, the Hawks were impressive once more, coming agonisingly close to their fourth consecutive win.
The Hawks’ surge playstyle threatened the Giants on several occasions, with the likes of Aileen Gilroy, Kaitlyn Ashmore and Akec Makur Chuot using their pace to break the game open.
Makur Chuot kicked a goal of the year contender when she drifted inside 50 to cut off a GWS switch play, threading the eye of the needle to kick just her second ever career goal.
Hawthorn assistant coach Lou Wotton said that her side “were up for the fight” and it’s fair to say that the Hawks certainly won’t have lost any admirers from that performance.
Lions flex might with win over Crows | 01:05
Forget star in the making, she’s a star of the now.
Carlton coach Daniel Harford has compared Hawthorn’s prized draftee Jas Fleming to Geelong Cats superstar and former Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield.
When the Hawks recruited lifelong fan Jas Fleming at pick two in the AFLW draft, the club was thrilled and after seeing her first eight matches in Brown and Gold, fans and coaches alike will have loved what they have seen.
The daughter of Australian cricketer Damien Fleming and elite netballer Wendy O’Donnell clearly has sporting prowess running through her blood.
When the heat was on in a contested first quarter, Fleming’s burst out of stoppage and pace was a real weapon for the Hawks.
Carlton captain Kerryn Peterson said she “makes defenders look silly” when she “explodes” out of the contest.
She finished the day with 11 disposals, pushing through a minor knee injury she suffered in a tackle late in the third term.
Having made her name as a defender throughout her AFLW career, Jess Duffin has moved forward in recent weeks to great success.
Duffin’s contested marking ability caused Cam Bernasconi’s troops headaches all day, forcing the Giants into moving veteran Tanya Hetherington onto Duffin.
Duffin, a former All-Australian defender, booted the first goal of the game and looked dangerous all day.
Jenna Richardson’s emergence as a key defender has meant that Duffin can plug a hole wherever coach Bec Goddard thinks she is required the most.
After recording ten intercepts in just her second AFLW match last week, Richardson was again a stalwart in defence, involved in a thrilling battle with Giants gun Cora Staunton.
Her defensive efforts throughout the match were inspiring for her Hawthorn teammates, whilst she also offered some drive off half-back for the Hawks.
GIANTS 1.3, 3.5, 3.7, 4.10 (34)
HAWKS 2.0, 4.1, 4.2, 5.3 (33)
Giants: Parker, Garnett, Eva, Barr, Goldsworthy, Evans.
Hawks: Fleming, Lucas-Rodd, Brown, Baskaran, Richardson, Makur Chuot.
Giants: Evans, Mowbray, Barr, Garnett.
Hawks: Duffin, Fellows, McDonagh, Makur Chuot, Hipwell.
INJURIES Giants: nil. Hawks: nil.
UMPIRES Compton-Robins, Jankovskis, Nippress
VENUE Henson Park
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
3 A. Parker (GWS)
2 G. Garnett (GWS)
1 A. Eva (GWS)
Kangaroos fight back to defeat Port | 01:03
PIES PUSHING FOR TOP TWO AFTER WESTERN WIN
Collingwood’s Sabrina Frederick may have finally found her groove in attack in Season 7.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Magpies.
Frederick went into the Round 8 clash against Fremantle with just 0.8 against her name for the season.
After a goalless opening term, for both sides, Frederick’s two majors in the second term set the Pies on their way to their 29-point win over the Dockers at Fremantle Oval.
The first of those two goals came after an earlier shot from 40m out fell way short. And Frederick dropped a simple chest mark just before teammate Ash Brazill dished off a handball to release her.
She snapped truly and the lift in her confidence was physically evident.
Less than one minute later she dribbled one through the big sticks from a difficult angle in the pocket.
Brazill was causing Fremantle all sorts of trouble in attack and was unlucky not to have kicked a couple of first-half goals herself. But her two shots on goal each hit the post.
She finally got one on the board midway through the final term, when she gathered one off the hands of Frederick.
The 4.8 (32) to 0.3 (3) win over a Dockers side clearly short of personnel, sends the Magpies into third spot on the AFLW ladder with just two rounds to play.
They are right in the hunt for a top-two finish, with a big clash against the Kangaroos coming in Round 9.
The Magpies will head into their fourth consecutive finals series the most miserly team in the top eight.
That has been due mainly to the fact they are yet to lose a second half this season.
After eight games, they have had only 6.20 kicked against them in second halves. They have given up an average of just seven points in second halves over this season.
Teams won’t lose too many games with that sort of record.
Fremantle managed only 0.3 of that tally on Sunday, the Dockers entire score being posted in the final term, having been kept scoreless in the opening three quarters.
So, after eight games, the Pies have conceded just 2.8 in third quarters – the premiership quarter.
Fremantle finally hit the scoreboard in the final term, but despite looking dangerous for much of it, couldn’t get one through the big sticks.
That takes a total of 4.12 kicked against Collingwood in fourth quarters this season.
They now boast having kept their opposition goalless in 12 of 16 final terms.
In fairness, Collingwood has hardly been easy to score against the first halves either. Sides have averaged on 9.5 points per game over the first two quarters.
And for the past two weeks, the Dockers and Greater Western Sydney have both gone into half time without one point on the scoreboard.
CENTURY UP FOR BOWERS
Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers first tackle of the third term against the Magpies was her seventh for the game.
It was also her 100th for the season.
The Dockers skipper has been a tackling beast for a number of seasons.
She finished Sunday’s game with 11, which is eight tackles shy of the 19 she put on Adelaide players last week.
Bowers leads all comers this season with more than 13 tackles a game; her best average over her five seasons at the top level.
It’s not the first time she has reached 100 tackles in a season, having set a competition high of 110 tackles in AFLW Season 5, at an average of ‘just’ 11 per game.
Coach Trent Cooper said she sets a standard for her teammates to follow.
“She has worked really hard in the past three weeks to do, it’s a bit ironic, the team thing and get more easy ball,” he said.
“But at the same time, she still finds a way to tackle as well.
“You’ll hear occasionally someone say, she’s always second to the ball, that’s why she leads tackles, but she’s leading the clearance as well.”
Bowers did lead the game in that stat on Sunday as well, with seven clearances, spot on her season’s average.
BUILDING AND DANGEROUS
Collingwood coach Steve Symonds warns that his team is building at the right time of the season.
After beating Fremantle on Sunday, for the first time since 2017, where his side kept the Dockers team goalless, he highlighted a general consensus from the pre-season that his side might slip a bit in Season 7.
He said that they’ll focus on getting things more productive in attack, but promised his side would continue to hang in there.
“We are building,” he said.
“We started off with our ball movement a little bit slow early in the season.
“We’re starting to get more speed in our game.
“We’re standing up well in defence; I’m really pleased we didn’t concede a goal today.
“Now we just have to build our attacking aspect off that.
“At the start of the year, because we had a few of our key players out, some people wrote us off.
People thought we might slip a little bit.
“The character of our group, we’re still competing and we’re hanging in there.”
Stacey Livingstone was again rock solid in defence, when the Dockers got it down that end, which was only 22 times.
Collingwood went forward 36 times, but managed just four goals.
They need to turn those opportunities into more scores over the next couple of weeks when they play finals contenders North Melbourne and ladder leaders Brisbane, before finals start.
DOCKERS 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 (3)
MAGPIES 0.2 2.4 3.6 4.8 (32)
Dockers: Bowers, Pugh, Runnalls, Strom, Miller, Verrier.
Magpies: Lambert, Livingstone, Molloy, Schleicher, Cann, Brazill.
Magpies: Frederick 2, Lambert, Brazill.
INJURIES Dockers: O’Driscoll (hand). Magpies: Nil.
UMPIRES Mollison, Jones, Simmonds
VENUE Fremantle Oval.
3 Lambert (MAGPIES)
2 Livingstone (MAGPIES)
1 Bowers (DOCKERS)
Bombers still in finals hunt | 01:27
DOGS’ DREAM ALIVE AFTER SALUTING AGAINST SAINTS
“I want to play finals footy.”
Western Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn has declared that her side won’t stop at anything on their path to the season seven finals, after a hard-fought 15-point win against St Kilda.
After three losses in a row, the Dogs have found their bite again.
Despite conceding the first two goals of the contest in the opening five minutes of the game, the Dogs rallied to take control of the contest.
The daughters of the west won the disposal count by 44, highlighting both their possession and territory dominance.
The Dogs booted four of the last five majors as they gradually wore down a valiant St Kilda outfit.
Youngster Keely Coyne sealed the deal with her first AFLW goal, following a 50m penalty that brought her to the goal line.
Blackburn was instrumental through the middle of the ground once more, racking up a game-high 23 disposals.
The rebound of Eleanor Brown (16 touches) was crucial in the back half, whilst Deanne Berry (14 touches) had one of her best AFLW games in recent memory.
Saints captain Hannah Priest (13 touches, five marks) battled hard for her side alongside defender Bianca Jakobsson (20 touches), who has been impressive all season.
The victory sends the Dogs back inside the top eight with just two rounds remaining before finals.
Western Bulldogs senior coach Nathan Burke achieved an elusive milestone against his former club St Kilda, reaching a total of 400 matches as a player and coach.
Burke has become a well-loved figure within the Bulldogs playing group and masterminded yet another victory in his milestone match.
But it was Burke’s daughter, Alice, who plays for the Saints, who stole the show in Ballarat.
The Saints youngster showed tremendous courage in the second quarter when she backed into a contest fearlessly, putting her body on the line in order to halve the contest.
Burke finished the day with eleven disposals and four tackles, but it was her effort and ability to execute one-percenters that would have pleased coach Nick Dal Santo the most.
Is Alice Edmonds the best ruck in the competition right now?
The Bulldogs ruck absolutely dominated St Kilda’s makeshift ruck department, amassing 38 hit outs (12 to advantage), nine tackles and eight disposals.
Her ability to give the Bulldogs midfield brigade first use was a key factor in determining the result of the contest.
The former Basketballer has made a significant impact on the competition despite having played just 23 AFLW games in her career to date.
Does a first All-Australian blazer beckon for Edmonds?
BULLDOGS 1.1, 1.7, 2.9, 4.11 (35)
SAINTS 2.1, 2.2, 3.2, 3.2 (20)
Bulldogs: Edmonds, Blackburn, Brown, Berry, Fitzgerald.
Saints: Jakobsson, Priest, Vesely, Patrikios.
Bulldogs: Bateman, Moody, Georgostathis, Coyne.
Saints: Greiser, Patrikios, Stevens.
INJURIES Bulldogs: nil. Saints: nil.
UMPIRES Birch, Devenish, Young
VENUE Mars Stadium, Ballarat.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
3 A. Edmonds (WB)
2 E. Blackburn (WB)
1 E. Brown (WB)