HERE'S a quick look at the final home and away round of NAB AFLW Women's matches this weekend.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY v GEELONG
7.15pm AEDT, Friday, March 15
UNSW Canberra Oval, Canberra, ACT
- Geelong needs to win to guarantee a preliminary final spot. A loss could see the Cats relying on percentage in order to play next week.
- The Cats were beaten around the ball against Fremantle and will be coming up against a strong Greater Western Sydney midfield featuring notable ball-winners including Alicia Eva, Jess Dal Pos, Alyce Parker and Bec Beeson.
- Giant Cora Staunton is more commonly thought of as a forward, but she actually leads the side in metres gained (1579 in six matches), having had to push further afield to get her hands on the ball this year.
MELBOURNE v ADELAIDE
4.45pm AEDT, Saturday, March 16
Casey Fields, Cranbourne East, Vic
- A win would see Adelaide most likely finish top of the Conference A ladder, given its already superior percentage, while Melbourne must win comfortably in order to have any chance of finishing second and claiming a preliminary final berth.
- Melbourne will need to take it up to Adelaide in the middle of the ground if it has any hope of stopping the rampaging Crows. The South Australian team is averaging an incredible 39.2 inside 50s a match, nearly 15 more than last year.
- The Demons' younger players are starting to have an impact on matches, with midfielders Tyla Hanks and Maddy Guerin, forward Eden Zanker and defenders Chantel Emonson and Sarah Lampard (who missed nearly all of 2018 with knee and hamstring injuries) looking more comfortable at AFLW level. But they’ll have to deal with the bigger, more experienced Adelaide, which has tripped up some younger teams this season.
RACE FOR FINALS Where is your team placed?
FREMANTLE v NORTH MELBOURNE
4.10pm AWST, Saturday, March 16
Fremantle Oval, Fremantle, WA
- This is essentially a winner-takes-all affair. North Melbourne is sitting second on 20 points, just 9.9 per cent ahead of Fremantle in third place. The loser will be forced into a percentage battle for a preliminary final spot with Adelaide and Melbourne if the Dees beat the Crows or will not feature at all next week if the Crows triumph.
- The North Melbourne defence will have its work cut out, contending with a dangerous Fremantle forward line with an even spread of goalkickers. Gemma Houghton has hit her straps in recent weeks, with Ebony Antonio, Sabreena Duffy, Ash Sharp and the returning Kellie Gibson (concussion) all capable of scoring.
- The loss of Fremantle key back Alex Williams (right knee ACL) could prove critical to the result, especially if the Roos decide to play ruck Emma King out of the goalsquare. The Dockers don't have a like-for-like replacement for Williams, and King is capable of piling on a few quick goals to break a match open.
COLLINGWOOD v BRISBANE
2.05pm AEDT, Sunday, March 17
Victoria Park, Abbotsford, Vic
- Brisbane must win if it is any hope of featuring in finals for a third consecutive year. A draw or loss will not be enough, while Collingwood is pushing for its first win of the year.
- One area the Lions could get on top is in the midfield. The inexperienced Magpies have struggled to get their hands on the ball at times (although tagger Britt Bonnici is in hot form, winning her own possessions while denying her opponent), with the Lions' middle boasting the likes of Emily Bates, Emma Zielke, Nat Exon and Jordan Zanchetta.
- Creative Magpies defender Ash Brazill looks set to go head-to-head with Sabrina Frederick-Traub. The Pie played on the Lion in her first AFLW game last year and impressed. With another year under her belt, she will be one to watch.
WESTERN BULLDOGS v CARLTON
4.05pm AEDT, Sunday, March 17
VU Whitten Oval, Footscray, Vic
- This is the second AFLW Pride Game, with both sides wearing themed jumpers. Club captains Brianna Davey and Katie Brennan missed last season’s Pride match with knee and ankle injuries respectively and spoke earlier in the week about how special the game is to them.
- No one could have predicted last year's premiers (Bulldogs) and wooden-spooners (Blues) would have been in contrasting positions coming into this match. Carlton could still qualify for a preliminary final even with a loss (depending on other results), while the Dogs are locked into last spot in the stronger Conference A.
- Twins Celine (Western Bulldogs) and Breann (Carlton) could go head-to-head in the ruck for the first time, after Celine was recalled into the Dogs' extended squad.