A week of celebration for the contribution of Indigenous peoples to the AFLW and women's footy more generally left some teams celebrating louder than others.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"To be able to run out there on Indigenous Round and have on the back of our shirt our tribe name written across it, it just means so much and I will always wear that jumper with pride." Fremantle Docker Gemma Houghton outlines her thoughts on the meaning of the round to her teammate Jasmin Stewart. Houghton's father is of the Yindjibarndi, from the Pilbara region.
THE BIG ISSUE
For overwhelmingly positive reasons, the biggest issue of the week was the wonderfully celebrated Indigenous Round – a first for the league. Drawing on stories and histories from first nations cultures right across the land, each side wore a specially designed jumper, often with direct input from players themselves. Brisbane Lions trio Courtney Hodder, Ally Anderson and Dakota Davidson added design elements based on their familial totems – a turtle, emu and swan respectively, while the North Melbourne-Tasmania Kangaroos’ Kaitlyn Ashmore and Mia King helped put together a strip based around the kangaroo paw in collaboration with men’s teammate Jy Simpkin and artist Emma McNeil. For Davidson and Ashmore, the week’s theme was especially poignant, as both revealed that they had discovered their own links to Indigenous relatives and ancestors only recently.
Hard to go past the unbeatable Collingwood Magpies. Despite the low-hanging fruit of another Chloe Molloy shoutout hot on the heels of last weekend’s interview - though Molloy was at her excellent best - it would really be a disservice to rest of her side after they almost toyed with the Melbourne Demons at times. Which aspects of the result can be put down to morale, home ground advantage, skill and execution etc is impossible to quantify, however it was plain to any observer of Sunday’s game that the Magpies’ ability to spread from the contest, hold important marks and lockdown their opponents with brutal tackles was unmatched. The chorus of ‘flagpies’ is growing – while any conversation about Collingwood and premierships is fraught with hubris, fear, loathing and the spectre of the dreaded ‘Colliwobbles’ - things are a slightly different in the AFLW and one suspects many neutrals are secretly enjoying the ride so far.
No longer does the albatross of being winless in 2021 remain around the necks of the Richmond Tigers and West Coast Eagles; their last opponents the Geelong Cats and Gold Coast Suns are not so fortunate. It looks like their woes may continue in Round 6, with the highly rated Fremantle and Adelaide Crows waiting to host them. The pressure of finals is certainly off the table, but should the droughts remain unbroken, rumblings will grow louder about the path ahead in 2022 for the sides; both were significantly more competitive in past seasons.
A highly anticipated clash looms large between two of the form teams in the competition – Collingwood on five wins without loss and the exciting Western Bulldogs who are unbeaten since they fell agonisingly short in Round 1’s game against St Kilda. Neither was widely rated for the ultimate success in 2021 before a ball was kicked in anger, but both have now looked finals aspirants in the eye and bested them to sit high on the ladder. Ellie Blackburn and Brianna Davey have been two of the best ballwinners all season - likewise Chloe Molloy and Izzy Huntington have dominated closer to goal. Put Sunday afternoon's matchup in your reminders.