COLLINGWOOD pushed its claims on flag contention, North Melbourne obliterated Geelong, while Adelaide and Fremantle put in typically strong performances in the west.
Most importantly, the NAB AFLW competition was back for the first time since March.
AFLW FIXTURE Check it out here
Here's what happened in round one.
Highest scoring match
- St Kilda 8.3 (51) defeated Western Bulldogs 6.6 (42). Both sides played a free-flowing game style, kicking quickly and long into their key forwards in Caitlin Greiser and Izzy Huntington.
- Bec Beeson (GWS), 28
- Alyce Parker (GWS), 28
- Karen Paxman (Melbourne), 25
- Elle Bennetts (GWS), 24
- Erin Phillips (Adelaide), 23
- Georgia Patrikios (St Kilda), 23
Leading goalkicker for the round
- Gemma Houghton (Fremantle), 3.2
- Sabreena Duffy (Fremantle), 3.1
- Ellie Gavalas (North Melbourne), 3.0
- Emma King (North Melbourne), 3.0
- Mua Laloifi (Carlton), concussion
- Annise Bradfield (Gold Coast), knee
- Anne Hatchard (Adelaide), corked calf
- Annalyse Lister (GWS), head knock
- Carlton coach Daniel Harford said his team were caught out by Collingwood's defensive midfield tactics, sitting off the pack and trapping the Blues when they tried to move forward. The Blues were goalless until the third term, looked slow without Chloe Dalton (Olympics) and Brooke Walker (foot), but kept their percentage intact.
- Collingwood would have been thrilled with this performance, finally winning a round one encounter against Carlton. The combination of Bri Davey and Chloe Molloy up forward is a dangerous wildcard, while Stacey Livingstone and Ruby Schleicher were assured in defence. Jaimee Lambert grows in stature with every game she plays.
- A lively start to the year from St Kilda, recording its highest ever AFLW score in the first game of its second season. The Saints seem to have found a few more paths to goal, with debutant Jacqui Vogt and Darcy Guttridge impressing. Nadia von Bertouch and Tarni White (ACLs) were welcome returnees to defence.
- The Western Bulldogs didn't do an awfully lot wrong in this match, struggling somewhat with conversion, but the more costly issue was the number of majors conceded inside the goal-square. Izzy Huntington and Bonnie Toogood worked well in tandem up forward, but the former's move from defence has left a hole.
- The Suns got off to an absolute flyer but struggled to pierce Melbourne's defence as the game progressed. Jamie Stanton's time up forward in the QAFLW in 2020 has paid dividends, while recruit Sarah Perkins and Sam Virgo have given new shape and direction to the Suns' attack.
- If we learnt anything from this game, it's not to leave Karen Paxman unattended. The All Australian captain had 13 touches in the second quarter, propelling Melbourne to what proved to be a match-winning lead. A fully fit Lauren Pearce made a big difference to the Dees' midfield, while Eliza McNamara looks a real find on the wing.
- There were some promising signs of improvement from West Coast, sticking with the well-seasoned Adelaide for the first half of the match. Mikayla Bowen was tireless in the midfield, and draftees Bella Lewis and Shanae Davison had enough glimpses to show they belong at the top level. Composure with the footy still remains an issue, but will hopefully rectify itself in time.
- Erin Phillips, Chelsea Randall and Rhi Metcalfe made a big difference to the Crows upon their return from injury/to full fitness. It was a curious move to place Randall forward, and worked against the Eagles, but she may be needed in defence against stronger sides. Phillips appears to have lost none of her touch, whether at clearances or around goal.
- Geelong was comprehensively outplayed by North Melbourne and struggled to move the ball with any fluency whatsoever. Amy McDonald and Jordi Ivey were bright spots in defence, while Aasta O'Connor kicked her first goal as a Cat, the side having been scoreless until the final term. It was Geelong's equal-lowest score.
- The King is back. Ruck Emma King was at her dominant best in the big win, booting three first-quarter goals while pushing forward. Despite the scoreboard dominance, the Roos had only 48 more disposals, two more inside-50s and incredibly, 10 more tackles. They were simply hungrier and more efficient than the Cats.
- There were enough signs of improvement to send Tiger fans home happy from the first AFLW game at Punt Road. Recruit Harriet Cordner was a rock in defence, and pick No.1 Ellie McKenzie put in a composed effort on the wing, but the Tigers were beaten at the coalface and lacked pressure at ground level inside 50.
- It was a mature performance from a young Brisbane side, generated in part by under-21s Nat Grider, Belle Dawes, Tahlia Hickie and Courtney Hodder. Dawes recorded seven clearances, just two fewer than the entire Tiger team. Emily Bates and Ally Anderson provided good drive, while Cathy Svarc held Monique Conti to just three disposals in the first half.
- The Dockers put the foot down in the second half, with dynamic forwards Gemma Houghton and Sabreena Duffy leading the way, kicking three apiece. Fremantle's depth was just too much for the Giants to handle, while unheralded defender Janelle Cuthbertson was tough to pass.
- The match started on a difficult note for the Giants, with a tribute to teammate Jacinda Barclay, who passed away in October last year. After a month away from home, GWS did well to stick with Fremantle for a half. Alyce Parker was a bull in the middle of the ground, Bec Beeson found plenty of the footy and Aimee Schmidt was dangerous in attack.
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