AFLW Team of the Week: Debutant in as Roos dominate

NORTH Melbourne is the new powerhouse of the AFL Women's competition, and its 31-point win over the Western Bulldogs has been reflected with five selections in the team of the week.

Adelaide and Melbourne had strong wins, over Geelong and Brisbane respectively, and have four representatives each.

A four-goal debutant also makes the cut.

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

Like the All-Australian team, it has players selected in general categories, rather than in traditional positions. The 16-a-side set-up often means teams play with varying configurations, making set selections (e.g wings and flanks) difficult. 

Defenders: Harriet Cordner (Melbourne), Jess Duffin (North Melbourne), Stacey Livingstone (Collingwood), Meg McDonald (Geelong), Chelsea Randall (Adelaide)

Cordner completely shut Sabrina Frederick-Traub out of the game, Duffin was at her rebounding best while McDonald performed well under extraordinary pressure.

Randall was imperious across half-back while Livingstone had eight rebound-50s in an under-the-pump Collingwood side.

Magpie Stacey Livingstone was dour in defence against the Dockers

Midfielders: Lauren Pearce (ruck, Melbourne), Jenna Bruton (North Melbourne), Nat Exon (Brisbane), Anne Hatchard (Adelaide), Ebony Marinoff (Adelaide), Maddy Prespakis (Carlton)

Pearce had a round-high nine clearances, along with her 15 hitouts and 21 disposals, to just pip Jess Foley for the ruck position.

Marinoff set an AFLW record with 33 disposals and worked well with Hatchard (a career-high 27), while Bruton had 21 touches against her former side.

Exon was a constant thorn in an otherwise dominant Melbourne side, while Prespakis staked a claim for the overall NAB AFLW Rising Star award with 18 disposals and three goals.

Madison Prespakis celebrates a goal during Carlton's drought-breaking win over GWS

Forwards: Yvonne Bonner (Greater Western Sydney), Tayla Harris (Carlton), Courteney Munn (North Melbourne), Aliesha Newman (Melbourne), Erin Phillips (Adelaide)

Munn had a debut to remember with four goals, while Phillips was outstanding in the first half when the game was up for grabs.

Harris returned to her best, marking well and bringing teammates into the game, and Bonner's hard running and stunning goal got her a nod. Brisbane was unable to stop Newman's speed and goal nous.

Kangaroos debutant Courteney Munn is mobbed by teammates after booting four goals

Interchange: Kara Donnellan (Fremantle), Britt Gibson (North Melbourne), Kellie Gibson (Fremantle), Emma Kearney (North Melbourne), Karen Paxman (Melbourne)

For the midfielders on the bench, Fremantle captain Donnellan had a strong four-quarter performance, Kearney was at her wily best against her former side while Paxman had the ball on a string.

Two Gibsons take up the final two spots, with Roo Britt patrolling the backline and laying a goal-saving tackle when the Bulldogs looked like they were about to get a run on, with Docker Kellie creative across half-forward and kicking two herself.

The Regulars:

(Players who have been selected multiple times this season)

Jess Duffin (North Melbourne) – 3
Meg McDonald (Geelong) – 3
Maddy Prespakis (Carlton) – 3
Ally Anderson (Brisbane) – 2
Ellie Blackburn (Western Bulldogs) – 2
Ash Brazill (Collingwood) – 2
Anne Hatchard (Adelaide) – 2
Emma Kearney (North Melbourne) – 2
Emma King (North Melbourne) – 2
Ebony Marinoff (Adelaide) – 2
Karen Paxman (Melbourne) – 2
Lauren Pearce (Melbourne) – 2
Erin Phillips (Adelaide) – 2
Cora Staunton (Greater Western Sydney) – 2
Jess Wuetschner (Brisbane) – 2

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