WE'RE halfway through the season, so here's a quick look at the round five 2020 NAB AFLW matches this weekend.
WATCH IT LIVE How to follow the AFLW this weekend
GOLD COAST v GEELONG
6.10pm AEST, Friday, March 6
Great Barrier Reef Arena, Mackay, Qld
- Gold Coast has not been blown out of the water in any game it's played this year; its biggest loss came last week against North Melbourne at just 13 points. Kalinda Howarth and Kate Surman are forming a lively duo up forward.
- Geelong has smashed its highest score in two consecutive weeks now, recording 38 against Adelaide and 67 against Richmond. Most pleasingly for a side that struggled to score last year, the Cats had eight individual goalkickers last week.
- Tip: The first AFLW game in Mackay could be a slog, with storms forecast. Cats to just have the edge in firepower and win by seven points.
NORTH MELBOURNE v ADELAIDE
3.10pm AEDT, Saturday, March 7
North Hobart Oval, North Hobart, Tas
- North Melbourne is starting to build some momentum with three consecutive wins under its belt, but they've come against lower-ranked sides in GWS, Richmond and Gold Coast. The ruck has been an area they've struggled in. Could Emma King spend longer periods away from goals?
- Adelaide was out-coached by Carlton, with the Blues employing a high-marking game, spreading the field as wide as possible. The Crows are significantly down on forward output, averaging three goals a game fewer than their incredible 2019 season.
- Tip: This game poses as a real test for both sides. How much will North's Scott Gowans take from Carlton coach Daniel Harford's game-plan? Roos by 15 points.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY v RICHMOND
5.10pm AEDT, Saturday, March 7
Robertson Oval, Wagga Wagga, NSW
- GWS has had a very inconsistent start to the year, just getting over the line against Gold Coast, falling short to North Melbourne, thumping West Coast and getting thrashed by Brisbane. The Giants are averaging the fewest number of tackles in the competition.
- Richmond's slow starts has cost it numerous times this season, but to the team's credit, its resoluteness has seen it consistently perform much better in the second half despite being a fair way down on the scoreboard.
- Tip: Both teams have big outs, with Yvonne Bonner (ankle) and Katie Brennan (concussion) on the sidelines. The Tigers' lack of depth will go against them here. Giants by 14 points.
CARLTON v ST KILDA
7.10pm AEDT, Saturday, March 7
Ikon Park, Carlton North, Vic
- Aside from a poor loss to Collingwood in round two, Carlton has been one of the strongest sides this year. Forwards Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio seem to have finally found their groove playing with each other, with Vescio now further up the ground.
- It was heartbreak once again for St Kilda, losing in the dying minutes to ladder-leading Fremantle. Kate McCarthy (MCL) and Tarni White (ACL) will be big losses at both ends of the ground. The Saints have struggled to convert, scoring just 26.4% of the time they enter forward 50.
- Tip: Carlton just has too much firepower across every line for St Kilda to handle. Blues by 26 points.
COLLINGWOOD v WESTERN BULLDOGS
1.10pm AEST, Sunday, March 8
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell, Vic
- Last Friday night was costly on a number of fronts for Collingwood, especially losing star defender Ash Brazill to a torn ACL. Ruby Schleicher had also been occupying a tall defensive role, which means some shuffling needs to be done. Does one of Brianna Davey or Chloe Molloy swing back?
- The Bulldogs are crying out for reinforcements, especially after the young side let slip a win against West Coast. Deanna Berry (concussion) and Brooke Lochland (quad) will be a significant boost to the forward line.
- Tip: Collingwood may drop back into the pack somewhat after Brazill's injury, but still has too much midfield depth for the Western Bulldogs to handle. Magpies by 19 points.
MELBOURNE v WEST COAST
3.10pm AEDT, Sunday, March 8
Casey Fields, Cranbourne East, Vic
- Melbourne was back on the winners' list with a very strong victory over Collingwood. The Dees are developing a distinctive game style, ranking third for handballs and third-last for kicks.
- West Coast got the monkey off the back with its first ever AFLW win last weekend. While the Eagles have been struggling to find a path to goal, Irish recruit Grace Kelly is starting to find her feet up forward.
- Tip: Melbourne needs to get as many wins on the board as possible before games against Carlton and Fremantle. Dees by 28 points.
FREMANTLE v BRISBANE
2.10pm AWST, Sunday, March 8
Fremantle Oval, Fremantle, WA
- The Dockers just scraped over the line against St Kilda, and while they're sitting undefeated, the last two wins haven't been comprehensive affairs. Their efficiency hasn't dropped, averaging just 29.3 disposals per goal.
- Brisbane's surprise march continues after losing 11 players to other clubs at the end of last season. This match will be a contrast in styles, with the Lions keen to retain possession of the ball with a short-kicking game.
- Tip: A good old-fashioned battle of attack and defence. The home ground advantage may come into it, with Fremantle having an excellent record at home. Dockers by four points.