AFLW Team of the Week, round nine

MELBOURNE has stormed into the finals after knocking off three fellow finalists, and the charge is reflected in round nine's Team of the Week.

The Demons have three players – Lauren Pearce, Eden Zanker and Shelley Scott – named, the most of any club in a relatively even round across the competition.

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The team is selected to mirror the All-Australian side: five defenders, six midfielders (including a ruck), five forwards and five interchange players.  

Like the All-Australian team, it has players selected in general categories, rather than in traditional positions. The 16-a-side set-up often means teams play with varying configurations, making set selections (e.g wings and flanks) difficult. 

Versatile Dog and Lions ruck named R9 Rising Stars

01:32 Mar 29. 2021. 5:00 PM

The Western Bulldogs' Eleanor Brown and Brisbane's Tahlia Hickie are the NAB AFLW Rising Stars for round nine

DEFENDERS

Lauren Ahrens (Gold Coast), Eleanor Brown (Western Bulldogs), Harriet Cordner (Richmond), Kerryn Harrington (Carlton), Ruby Schleicher (Collingwood)

Ahrens once again found plenty of the footy in her final game for the season, recording 17 disposals and five intercepts, and Harrington (20 and 11) starred for the Blues.

Schleicher (22 and 10 intercepts) battled hard against Adelaide, while Cordner (15) and Brown (19 and 14 intercepts) dominated at either end of their match.

Magpie Ruby Schleicher gets tackled by Crow Chelsea Randall in the round nine clash on March 28, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

MIDFIELDERS

Lauren Pearce (Melbourne, ruck), Brianna Davey (Collingwood), Anne Hatchard (Adelaide), Georgia Patrikios (St Kilda), Ash Riddell (North Melbourne), Eden Zanker (Melbourne)

Pearce's strong late-season form continued with 25 hitouts, 17 disposals and four clearances against Brisbane.

Riddell (33 touches, nine clearances) was a ball-magnet against Fremantle, as was Patrikios (30 and seven score involvements) up against West Coast.

Brianna Davey (22, 10 tackles, eight clearances) tried her heart out, Anne Hatchard (22 and five inside 50s) dictated play while Zanker (25 and five clearances) shone in her new midfield role.

St Kilda's Georgia Patrikios celebrates after kicking a goal against West Coast in round nine on March 28, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

FORWARDS

Katie Brennan (Richmond), Kalinda Howarth (Gold Coast), Shelley Scott (Melbourne), Cora Staunton (GWS), Darcy Vescio (Carlton)

Brennan kicked another bag of three, this time against her old side, while Scott also booted three goals in a match-winning turn playing Brisbane.

Vescio (11 disposals, two goals) took out the competition's leading goalkicker award, Howarth (two goals from 13) was back to her lively best and Staunton (13, seven score involvements, two goals) nearly dragged her team over the line.

Blues star's first goal of the day lands her coveted prize

00:43 Mar 28. 2021. 4:31 PM

Carlton's Darcy Vescio scores her 15th goal of the year to wrap up the 2021 AFLW goalkicking crown

INTERCHANGE

Bec Beeson (GWS), Kiara Bowers (Fremantle), Jess Matin (St Kilda), Amy McDonald (Geelong), Cathy Svarc (Brisbane)

Svarc laid an astonishing 21 tackles as Brisbane fell short against Melbourne, Bowers (19 and five clearances) was instrumental in the Dockers' fightback and Beeson (27 and five clearances) led from the front.

McDonald brought her much-improved season to a close with 17 touches and eight tackles, while Matin was deadly in front of goal with 3.1.

Freo keeps the heat on to stay in the game

00:42 Mar 27. 2021. 2:26 PM

The Dockers take advantage of a stoppage as Kiara Bowers goals

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