A soggy old day at Moorabbin did nobody any favours, but the GWS Giants were able to make the most of the torrid conditions to leapfrog the St Kilda Saints on the ladder.
1. GWS overcome adversity AGAIN to go 3 from 7
The weather was atrocious at Moorabbin and much of the contest on display showed just how tough the going was as clean possession was a premium. Yet despite GWS having made the most of the downpour, they had less than ideal preperation before the match.
Flying down from New South Wales to Victoria is usually a short, nondescript trip of barely an hour - not even enough time for a movie. However before this game the Giants were left floundering on the tarmac at Kingsford Smith for three hours before they were cleared to fly south due to issues with landing in the conditions.
It was just the latest in an exhaustive list of speedbumps, crises and dilemmas for the side sitting 11th before Round 7. That they have managed to eke out three wins from their seven hitouts and technically still be a chance for finals is nothing short of miraculous under the circumstances.
2. Saints have fallen away after impressing early
Their first round win was one for the ages against the highly competitive Western Bulldogs, but since then the Saints have hardly set the world on fire. After an entertaining debut season alongside the Gold Coast Suns in 2020, both sides have confounded expectation to succumb to the second year blues.
Coach Peta Searle is never one to mince her words, but was particularly sharp in the criticism of her playing group when it came to its willingness to compete for the ball.
"It was a lost opportunity...the intent wasn't there," she said. "Their want to win the ball was there. Ours wasn't. If you want to turn up and play footy, you've got to want to spoil and put some body on!
"A journey's a journey, but this is a game we should win. I don't care what conditions are like."
The Saints have also beaten the Geelong Cats, a side who has been winless to this point and is also missing some of its best players whilst being significant impacted by the effects of the pandemic on its key staff.
A youthful side learning its craft is one thing, but a lack of intent is never a good look. The side has two more chances to impress before one hell of a long off season.
3. Young guns get the ball, but wily older heads know how to win games
It wasn't a day for pretty play, but the class of Alyce Parker from GWS and Georgia Patrikios from the Saints was plain to see. Both ball-winners shared the spoils for most touches with 27 each; Patrikios got off to a flyer while Parker steadily accrued possessions in all the right places.
Despite the show from the 20 and 19 year olds, it was the cany and resolute Cora Staunton who turned the sleet to her advantage the most. One of the most prolific scorers in AFLW season five, whose age is the sum of the two aforementioned ball-winners,
Staunton's third major of the day was a wet-weather special that drew on all of her experience across the smorgasbord of football codes she has played at the highest level.
Coach Alan McConnell said it best: "The Gaelic Football skills came out at the end! She's strong, conditions probably suit her a bit, but you've got to take your chances and she's quite amazing at 39 to be doing what she does.
"I'm quite in awe of how she prepares and how she plays."