‘Complete domination’ caps off epic weekend for Cats, and the upset of the season changes everything

The AFLW competition played second fiddle to the men’s grand final – but with an incredible upset, a series of massive statements and a record win, there was still plenty of action to sink our teeth into!

Here’s how your team fared in Round 5.

West Coast

The Eagles played really well this week; they applied pressure on the Dockers in all moments of the game, and it was actually a really enjoyable game to watch. The derby really lived up to its hype for once.

The Eagles have improved a fair amount this season, and I really like when they play this high-pressure style of footy. Aisling McCarthy had 17 disposals and five tackles but was pushed up the ground to play more in the midfield, which I quite enjoyed.

Isabella Lewis was the Eagles’ best player, kicking a goal and touching the ball 25 times. Lewis gets better with every game: I’m excited to watch her take on the Hawks next week.

Fremantle

The Dockers, similar to the Eagles, applied a high amount of pressure all game long, which was exemplified by superstar Kiara Bowers’ ridiculous 18 tackles. Bowers had more tackles than possessions – it’s also the tenth time she’s had more than 15 tackles in a game,

I just don’t know how you would stop her from ripping your team apart every week.

I was incredibly impressed with Aine Tighe, who kicked two goals straight this week and played a very solid game; I was worried she would drop her head after last week’s shock miss in the draw against Carlton, so I’m delighted she did not let that affect her.

Geelong

HUGE YES!

The Cats continue to prove me correct; and more importantly, they continue to improve. This game against the Saints was complete domination, in all aspects.

Crucially, the Cats improved their offense – they had been lacking goals in every game they have played this year, so I was super impressed to see them pile on the points. Amy McDonald had a mind-blowing 34 disposals, the most of any player this season, and honestly, there wasn’t a passage longer than two minutes where I wasn’t seeing her with the ball. She is on fire at the moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed Nina Morrisons’s game, too; she has been a quiet achiever on the Cats this season, so keep your eyes peeled for number nine, Cats fans.

St Kilda

The Saints were incredibly disappointing; they are so much better than the performance they put together against the Cats. They made so many silly errors, missed way too many easy kicks and really did not take advantage of their limited chances.

It was promising that they never dropped their heads and continued to play all four quarters despite very obviously losing the game by a long way. I say it every week, but again Kate Shierlaw was the Saint’s best player – it wasn’t because she kicked another bag this week, but because she worked back down to defense and played a very good game from down there. (She did still somehow manage to hit the scoresheet with a goal, though.)

western bulldogs

There are a few teams in the competition this season that the media appears to be bullish about that may not actually be all that good. The Bullies are certainly one of those teams.

They have a very strong midfield with Kirsty Lamb and Ellie Blackburn, their twin tower forwards Celine Moody and Gabby Newton are solid most weeks, and their defensive pressure has made most of their opponents struggle, including the Kangas this week.

Unfortunately – and I’ve alluded to this before – the Dogs cannot play a full four quarters of football, which really hurt them this week. There was just one goal in it at three-quarter time, but it quickly turned into a 15-point loss. The Dogs have a pretty tough run home against some formidable sides – I am fearful that their 4-0 start turns into a losing record.

North Melbourne

The Kangas flew out of the gates this week at the beginning of every quarter. I loved how electric they look in the opening couple of minutes of each term; it really helps set the tone for the rest of the term.

Vicki Wall gets better with every game she plays, and Jasmine Garner is tearing up the competition this season; she’s yet to play a game with less than 22 disposals. Garner had 26 against the Dogs and used them all quite beautifully to help set her team up for their win.

collingwood

The Pies looked a little bit shaky in their game against the Dons, but luckily their experience shone through in the end. Lauren Butler was the standout player of the game and was far and away the best on ground. She had 16 disposals and booted a goal, her dela first dela in the AFLW. She was a stalwart in defense and helped the Pies rebound the footy from their defensive 50 multiple times.

Eliza James was an unexpected star of the game, with two goals from just nine touches. Underrated was her ability to tackle in the forward half and apply the forward pressure that is so popular nowadays.

Essendon

The Bombers were quite unlucky not to pull away with a sneaky win on the road, because they definitely had their chances. Madison Prespakis (yes, I talk about her dela every week) was again exceptional, with 31 disposals and a goal to keep her team in the game.

I liked the cheeky little game from Stephanie Wales, who had a solid 12 disposals but has really improved and built her game since that dominating three-goal performance against the Eagles. I love when players use one-off superstar games to improve themselves, and not just reside the one-hit-wonders.

sydney

The Swans came out of the gates with a BANG. They blazed away to a 26-point lead in the first quarter, and I thought I was finally going to see the young, energized Sydney that I’ve seen glimpses of all season.

But alas, the Swans went right back into their shells after quarter time and let their foot off the gas, giving up the chance to have the club’s first victory.

Brooke Lochland kicked three impressive goals early and looked excellent over the rest of the game. As per usual, Cynthia Hamilton played well, leading her team in disposals after being moved into the midfield for a few spells.

Hawthorn

The Hawks dominated the last three quarters, clawing their way back into the game and never once letting the Swans have another chance after their lackluster first start. Tahlia Fellows starred with three goals, but Akec Makur Chuot was best on ground for mine, with 13 touches and a number of impressive little plays around stoppages.

Most notably for the Hawks was their passage that led to a goal with four minutes remaining in the third term. If you haven’t yet watched it, I highly recommend you check it out below – it was elite.

Carlton

The Blues looked heavily outmatched all game, and the final score really showcased that.

Mimi Hill had a personal high of 33 disposals and always looked dangerous when she had the ball, while Breann Moody hardly lost a ruck tap all evening.

Melbourne

The Demons proved way too good for the Baggers. Their ball movement from defense to offense was incredibly silky, and anytime they headed forward, they usually had the dominant Tayla Harris on the end of the footy. She looked like she had the ball on a string, taking three stellar one-on-one marks, which lead to three even better goals.

Olivia Purcell had a mind-blowing 30 disposals, the first time she’s done that in her career. Making it even more impressive is the fact that Melbourne’s midfield is so loaded, there really shouldn’t even be that many touches for a single player to get to go around.

Richmond

Wow. Just wow.

I am currently working on a piece about how upsets are solddom in the AFLW competition and why that might be. I think the Tigers really put my article to bed with that performance over the Lions.

From start to finish, the Tigers played their usual game style and didn’t once let up the pressure. They didn’t get tired, or let the Lions move the ball with their usual freedom. There were too many standouts in the Richmond side even to mention them; honestly, it was such a magnificent team performance that can be built on and taken into November.

Watch out for this young Tigers team, they have taken it to some of the top teams in the AFLW this season, and now they finally know how to beat them.

brisbane

The Lions looked shell-shocked when at halftime, they hadn’t managed to kick away and lead by a reasonable margin, as they’ve become accustomed to this season. More to the point, the Lions were unable to move the footy around the ground like they usually do; the pressure Richmond applied to them all game was suffocating.

Jesse Wardlaw was a very obvious omission for the Lions – I think she will prove to be more of an important piece than many Brisbane fans might have already thought. The Lions just couldn’t seem to get the ball into the goals (which is Wardlaw’s specialty).

Dakota Davidson made a serious blunder on the goal line, late in the game, playing on from a set shot which could have given her team the win and seeing it smothered. Davidson has played well this season, so I’m looking forward to a bounce-back game from her next week against the Bombers.

Gold Coast

The Suns got off to a slow start against the Power, but meticulously moved the ball forward and ended up scoring 46 points in total. Their tall forwards were often too much for Port’s defence, with Tara Bohanna slotting three set-shot goals and Jac Dupuy kicking two of her own. Very impressive stuff.

Speaking of impressive, superstar Charlie Rowbottom accumulated 27 disposals and again laid more than five tackles in the game; a feat she’s been able to accomplish every single game this season. With brother James losing the AFL grand final to Sydney, at least one member of that family had a good weekend.

port adelaide

The Power convincingly won the first quarter (without really troubling the scoreboard) and put on a bit of a show in the final term, but were unable to secure victory. It appears as if the Power just refuse to show up for all four quarters of a game, and it really hurts their ability to win.

Alex Ballard was a stalwart in defence, taking a ridiculous ten intercept marks. Had it not been for her, Port might have lost by a much greater margin.

adelaide

The Crows really piled on the points against the Giants – but if you just happened to look at the scorecard and didn’t watch the game, you might have the wrong idea. Adelaide played incredibly well, yes, but the Giants played incredibly poorly, which I think the Crows just did a really good job of capitalizing on.

A myriad of goal kickers for the Crows in their record-breaking win, with McKenzie Dowrick slotting four and Anne Hatchard and Ash Woodland both booting three apiece. The highlight of the game came in the dying moments when debutant Jess Waterhouse kicked a superb goal after reading the fall of the ball better than everyone else (something she had done all game). Impressive for a first gamer.

Waterhouse is one to watch… but you can’t really miss her with her amazing mullet.

GWS

The Giants were again disappointing this week, and they let the Crows walk all over them. The Giants were unable to have the ball really ever, with any kind of time or space, and anytime they did have the ball, they usually just bombed it long, and it came right back down their throats.

My primary flu is actually how they were consistently unable to pick the ball up off the ground. The conditions were wet, I get that, but the Crows didn’t seem to have too many problems, and so the question really remains, what were the Giants players doing?

They need a huge bounce-back game, and it’s going to have to come against the Blues at home next week, who are also looking for a response. Might just be one to watch next Saturday.

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