HERE'S a quick look at the round one 2020 NAB AFLW Women's matches this weekend.
RICHMOND v CARLTON
7.45pm AEDT, Friday, February 7
Ikon Park, Carlton North, Vic
- Friday night will mark Richmond's first official AFLW match, with a capacity crowd tipped to attend Ikon Park. The former Western Bulldogs duo of Katie Brennan and Monique Conti is expected to form a powerful midfield combination.
- Carlton will be keen to start the season off on the right note, with midfielder Lucy McEvoy – taken with pick No.2 in the 2019 NAB AFLW Draft – expected to catch the eye this season
- Tip: Coming into its fourth season and off a Grand Final loss, Carlton will be too strong for the fledgling Richmond. Blues by 26 points.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY v GOLD COAST
1.10pm AEDT, Saturday, February 8
Blacktown International Sportspark, Rooty Hill, NSW
- GWS will be eager to record its first ever round one win, with young midfielder Alyce Parker primed to have a break-out season in her second year in the competition.
- We're accustomed to seeing Leah Kaslar anchor the backline for Brisbane, but the new Gold Coast co-captain has spent a fair bit of time up forward this pre-season. Unfortunately, extremely heavy rain has been forecast for the Suns' first AFLW match.
- Tip: GWS' forward line was too much for Brisbane to handle in the practice match and should be again for Gold Coast. Giants by 17 points.
MELBOURNE v NORTH MELBOURNE
3.10pm AEDT, Saturday, February 8
Casey Fields, Cranbourne East, Vic
- Melbourne has been absolutely decimated by injury and unavailability this pre-season, with six of 30 players completely ruled out, and another three facing tests in order to play.
- By contrast, it's been full-steam ahead for North Melbourne with strong performances in both practice matches. Look for Emma King to spend a lot more time forward in 2020.
- Tip: Even with superstar Daisy Pearce returning from pregnancy, North Melbourne will be too much for a decimated Melbourne side. Kangas by 22 points.
BRISBANE v ADELAIDE
4.10pm AEST, Saturday, February 8
Hickey Park, Stafford, Qld
- It will be a very different Brisbane side taking to the field in 2020, after losing 16 players over two years to other teams, primarily through expansion.
- Adelaide will be without superstar skippers Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips (ACLs), but expect its young brigade of Ebony Marinoff, Anne Hatchard, Sarah Allan, Eloise Jones and Danielle Ponter to take another step forward.
- Tip: Injuries aside, Adelaide will kick off its premiership defence with a comfortable victory over a very young Brisbane line-up. Crows by 27 points.
COLLINGWOOD v WEST COAST
1.10pm AEDT, Sunday, February 9
Victoria Park, Abbotsford, Vic
- Collingwood will be hoping its first non-season opening round one game will be a better affair than the three years prior, having failed to record a win in the first week of the season. All-Australian Chloe Molloy is a big inclusion after a season off with a foot injury.
- West Coast will be playing its first AFLW match away from home. The Eagles landed several big-name players during their first list build, including Dana Hooker, Kellie Gibson and new skipper Emma Swanson.
- Tip: This should be a tight affair, but Collingwood's experience might just win out. Pies by seven points.
St KILDA v WESTERN BULLDOGS
3.10pm AEDT, Sunday, February 9
RSEA Park, Moorabbin, Vic
- St Kilda will be playing its first AFLW match and it's the first time top-level football has been played at Moorabbin since round 20 of the 1992 AFL season. The Saints have an even mix of AFLW experience, youth and VFLW players in their new side.
- The Western Bulldogs have a new coach after Paul Groves stepped away and, coincidentally considering their opponents, it's none other than one of St Kilda's favourite sons in Nathan Burke. The Dogs will also look to youth to plug the holes left by Katie Brennan and Monique Conti (now at Richmond).
- Tip: The Bulldogs had an impressive pre-season and will just have the edge, but expect St Kilda to make an impact as the season progresses. Dogs by 15 points.
FREMANTLE v GEELONG
2.10pm WST, Sunday, February 9
Fremantle Oval, Fremantle, Vic
- Fremantle's forward line was dangerous in 2019, and will go to another level in 2020 with the addition of highly rated youngster Roxy Roux, who has a bag and a half of tricks.
- There's one big addition to Geelong's side and she has the ability to drive the Cats' midfield to a whole new level in 2020 despite being just 19 years old. Nina Morrison wowed the AFLW world in her first game in round one 2019, before rupturing her ACL later that week. She's finally back.
- Tip: Without an injured Meg McDonald holding up Geelong's defence, Fremantle's forwards could run rampant. Dockers by 28 points.