THE NAB AFLW season has now abruptly ended as a response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic – without a premier decided – but the final four matches played over the weekend were high-quality affairs.
All were semi-finals, and the winners would have faced each other in preliminary finals (North Melbourne v Carlton and Fremantle v Melbourne).
While the AFLW is over for 2020, it's still worth looking back over the last group of matches, which turned out to be the first and only week of finals in a truncated season.
Highest scoring match
- Fremantle 12.8 (80) defeated Gold Coast 1.4 (10). Fremantle beat up on a very tired and off-the-pace Gold Coast – the Dockers recording 20 scoring shots against the Suns – who were on their fourth consecutive road trip.
- Alyce Parker (GWS), 23
- Kiara Bowers (Fremantle), 22
- Brianna Davey (Collingwood), 22
- Jaimee Lambert (Collingwood), 22
- Daisy Pearce (Melbourne), 22
- Ash Riddell (North Melbourne), 22
- Jacqui Yorston (Gold Coast), 22
Leading goalkicker for the round
- Sabreena Duffy (Fremantle), 3
- Georgia Gee (Carlton), 3
Overall leading goalkicker (home and away season)
- Caitlin Greiser (St Kilda), 10
- Tiarna Ernst (Gold Coast), concussion
- Jasmyn Hewett (Gold Coast), concussion
- North Melbourne conceded a few uncharacteristic goals in the second term, with Collingwood's pressure causing turnovers in defence, but the Kangas came out firing after half-time. Ash Riddell and Emma Kearney were tireless, while Ellie Gavalas' composed set-shot on the stroke of three-quarter time got back the lead.
- Heartbreak for the hard-working Collingwood. The Pies took a 10-point lead into half-time but were behind by the final quarter. They didn't give in, peppering their 50 and the goals in the final minutes, before former Magpie Jasmine Garner took a game-saving mark in defence.
- Definitely the one that got away for GWS. The Giants had more shots on goal and held a 15-point lead midway through the final quarter before conceding three late goals and the match. Midfielders Alyce Parker and Bec Beeson were the team's best.
- An undermanned Melbourne was down to its very last player – development coach Brooke Patterson was its only emergency – but showed great fight to kick three fourth-quarter goals. Lily Mithen, who had never kicked an AFLW goal, booted two, including the winner.
- Fremantle steadily kicked a few goals each quarter to pile on the pain for Gold Coast. The Dockers won everything – disposals, clearances, inside 50s, even tackles – with Sabreena Duffy and Kate Flood taking their chances up forward.
- A disappointing end to a promising season from Gold Coast. The Suns had previously travelled to Melbourne, Mackay and Perth in consecutive weeks before returning west, and it showed. Hard to pick a winner, but young midfielder Jacqui Yorston performed well against much more seasoned opponents in Kiara Bowers and Kara Antonio.
- Carlton reasserted itself after a torrid opening half, where it only had a six-point lead to the main break. The Blues were able to swing the ball out to the open expanses of Ikon Park, with the silky Georgia Gee both kicking goals and setting up teammates.
- An unexpected finals berth caps off a surprisingly good season for Brisbane, considering the quality of players lost to expansion sides over the past two years. The Lions piled on the intensity early but struggled to pierce their way through the Blues' tough defence.