Full AFLW R7 preview: Blockbusters galore as top eight do battle

FOUR blockbusters dominate the round seven NAB AFLW fixture, with the top eight teams set to face off against each other.

Brisbane v Collingwood looks to be the pick of the bunch, while at the other end of the table, Geelong has a chance to break its duck against West Coast.

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Friday, March 12

Gold Coast v Richmond at Metricon Stadium, 6.40pm AEST

  • The Suns will be thrilled to be back on their own home deck for the first time since round one, having had games in Brisbane, Sydney, two in Perth and last week in Adelaide. Jamie Stanton (fractured ankle) is a huge loss, but Maddy Levi (knee) should add some flexibility in the ruck and up forward.
  • The Tigers were completely blown out of the water in the first half against North Melbourne, but held them much better in the second. The return of Mon Conti (hamstring tightness) will be a huge boost for the team, and they've got steady bookends in Courtney Wakefield and Harriet Cordner.
  • Tip: Richmond blew a golden chance to record its first ever win when these two teams met, back in round two last year. They won't let a victory slip again. Tigers by 23 points.

WATCH IT LIVE Suns v Tigers

Watch it LIVE: Suns v Tigers from 6.40pm AEST. Picture: AFL Media

Saturday, March 13

St Kilda v Greater Western Sydney at RSEA Park, 3.10pm AEDT

  • All four of St Kilda's wins over the past two seasons have come at their training base of RSEA Park. The Saints know the ground (and the tricky wind) inside and out. St Kilda averages the second-most marks, but tellingly, the rest of the top eight occupy top eight slots on the ladder. Balancing with some run-and-carry should help.
  • The Giants made a statement at selection last week, dropping senior faces Lou Stephenson and Bec Privitelli. Despite being blown off the park in the first half against Brisbane, the Giants did well to stem the flow, conceding just 1.2 after the main break. Bulldog Ellie Blackburn made an interesting point in commentary, saying she found their stoppage structures to be fairly predictable when she played against them the previous week.
  • Tip: A real coin toss. The winner will still hang on to the faintest of finals hopes, and while the Saints have a home-ground advantage, the Giants might just have the edge here. GWS by eight points. 

WATCH IT LIVE Saints v Giants

Watch it LIVE: Saints v Giants from 3.10pm AEDT. Picture: AFL Media

North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs at North Hobart Oval, 5.10pm AEDT

  • North Melbourne is well and truly back on the winners' list after consecutive victories over Carlton and Richmond. Against the Tigers, the Roos dominated play for the first half, absolutely controlling the footy through a strong kick-mark game. They had 80 more disposals and 22 more inside 50s.
  • The Bulldogs managed to stick with Collingwood for a half, holding them up around stoppages and not letting them settle into their controlled ball movement. But the young Dogs wilted in the heat, and couldn't maintain the intensity, and with Izzy Huntington and Bonnie Toogood well held, kicked just two goals
  • Tip: This will be a tough ask for the Bulldogs, who have been impressive this season but don't quite have the firepower yet to match it with the top sides. Roos by 26 points.

WATCH IT LIVE Kangaroos v Bulldogs

Watch it LIVE: Kangaroos v Bulldogs from 5.10pm AEDT. Picture: AFL Media

Melbourne v Adelaide at Casey Fields, 7.10pm AEDT

  • More than any other team, Melbourne demonstrate the cliché "good kicking is good football". The Dees were much more accurate in front of goal last week, and got the win over a disappointing St Kilda. It'll be interesting to see if Daisy Pearce once again features up forward, or considering Adelaide's firepower, is sent back to defence.
  • Adelaide is very much a death by a thousand cuts team, wearing opponents down under an extraordinary weight of inside 50s. They'll be without Nikki Gore in defence, after the youngster fractured her ankle. Fellow defender Najwa Allen has slipped under the radar somewhat this year, now averaging a career-high 12.3 disposals in a rebounding role.
  • Tip: The Demons have a horror run home and will find the going tough against a multi-pronged Adelaide attack. Crows by 19 points.

WATCH IT LIVE Demons v Crows

Watch it LIVE: Demons v Crows from 7.10pm AEDT. Picture: AFL Media

Sunday, March 14

Carlton v Fremantle at Ikon Park, 1.10pm AEDT

  • Carlton looked much more like the Blues of old last week against Geelong, finally shaking off its first-quarter horror starts and winning comfortably. Mimi Hill (ACL) will be a loss to a young midfield, while Grace Egan is gradually working her way into her top form after a relatively slow start to the season.
  • Fremantle bounced back in style after its first loss in 12 games, tearing apart a hapless West Coast. Once again, the sheer number of forward threats coupled with a fierce defensive game (the Dockers average the most tackles in the competition) looks to be a winning formula for Trent Cooper.
  • Tip: These sides have a history of brutal encounters and will meet for the first time since the 2019 preliminary final, which Fremantle will be keen to avenge. Dockers by 15 points.

WATCH IT LIVE Blues v Dockers

Watch it LIVE: Blues v Dockers from 1.10pm AEDT. Picture: AFL Media

Brisbane v Collingwood at Hickey Park, 2.10pm AEST

  • Brisbane just keep on keeping on, jumping out to a commanding lead against GWS in the first half to record its fifth win for the season. As has been the case for the last few years, the Lions are very much a high kicking team, averaging second for kicks but ninth for handballs.
  • Collingwood is yet to taste defeat in 2021, winning six straight and even notching up a practice match victory. Stacey Livingstone and Ruby Schleicher have garnered plenty of attention for their strong work in defence, but Lauren Butler has performed admirably as the second key tall.
  • Tip: Both these teams have very, very strong defences, so it'll be a matter of who breaks first. This is every chance to be quite a low-scoring affair, but the Lions might just have the edge. Brisbane by four points. 

WATCH IT LIVE Lions v Magpies

Watch it LIVE: Lions v Magpies from 2.10pm AEST. Picture: AFL Media

Monday, March 15

West Coast v Geelong at Mineral Resources Park, 2.10pm AWST

  • This game has been pushed back to Monday due to WA border restrictions and will be played in the afternoon to allow the Cats to return home that night.
  • West Coast were blown off the park against Fremantle and will be much happier facing a team around its own level of development. The club's first draftee last year, Bella Lewis, is growing in confidence by the week, recording a career-high 17 disposals against an experienced Dockers midfield.
  • It's been a nightmare year for Geelong, but at least the Cats recorded what was comfortably their highest score for the season last week (31 points). Concerningly for a side who is yet to win a game, the Cats average the fourth-fewest tackles in the competition.
  • Tip: This should be a closely fought affair. The Eagles have the home ground advantage, but the Cats are building. Geelong by four points.

WATCH IT LIVE Eagles v Cats

Watch it LIVE: Eagles v Cats from 2.10pm AWST. Picture: AFL Media

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