Round 2 showed us just why the favourites are so favoured in most cases and provided an unenviable record for one side.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“That’s a captain; lifting and dragging a team with her when it was needed.” Beaming Western Bulldogs’ coach Nathan Burke when asked about the performance of skipper Ellie Blackburn after her second best on ground in consecutive weeks squeaked her side past the more favoured Carlton Blues.
THE BIG ISSUE
It feels like Covid-19 could play a role every week in this section, but aside from the last minute announcement of crowd-free games for the four sides that played in Western Australia last week, thankfully its impact was minimal.
No huge issue this week, but one that got a few tongues wagging (including a little controversially the St Kilda Saints’ coach Peta Searle mid-press conference) was the gap in competitiveness between teams at either end of the table.
Five comprehensive wins (and a somewhat weather-assisted result for the West Coast Eagles in their loss to the Fremantle Dockers) from the seven games made for difficult viewing for fans of the vanquished.
Of course the extenuating circumstances are well known and few would believe there is a significant issue unfolding, but Searle made note of some of the inherent and perhaps more ‘charitable’ advantages enjoyed by the Saints’ opponents North Melbourne-Tasmania Kangaroos and left the rest of her words hanging for others to connect the dots.
Twin talls Jesse Wardlaw and Dakota Davidson combined for eight goals in a towering display of sheer goal-kicking prowess for the Brisbane Lions. The Gold Coast Suns offered at times a barely token defence, but as any footballer knows: you still have to go back and kick them. The 21-year-old Wardlaw was particularly impressive, using her height and agility to perfection to grab six marks and slot goals both formulaic and fantastic in a game suitably rewarded with best afield honours.
Depends on who you ask, or what constitutes pressure. At the start of the season, many had Carlton in their calculations for a grand final berth. The Blues now sit win-less and well off the unblemished pacesetters. With 2021’s unified ladder, they would most likely only be able to drop one more of their remaining seven games to lock in finals footy. They’ve done it before so don’t write them off yet, but Daniel Harford will be hoping things click mighty quickly.
Another side which has made finals before is the Gold Coast Suns. Last year’s most accomplished expansion side boast an exciting list of local talent, bolstered notably by the fan favourite and sublimely skilled Sarah Perkins (formerly of the Adelaide Crows and Melbourne Demons). After putting in a promising effort in Round 1’s narrow-ish loss to the Demons, the Suns were humiliated by big sisters the Brisbane Lions. The lowest score in competition history (a mere two behinds) told part of the story; but it was the shock of seeing leading lights Kahlinda Howarth, Sam Virgo and another high profile recruit in Alison Drennan scramble behind the ball deep in the Suns’ defensive half that really drove home the gulf between both sides. Every side has bad days, but this was a low point for the famously spirited Coasters.
Another week, another hastily derived fixture for all fourteen sides. It wasn’t until late on Monday that sides were provided with the who/when/where of their Round 3 games, but it is what it is; you won’t hear a peep of criticism from the still very grateful to be playing clubs.
Adelaide vs Fremantle heads a roster of heavyweight clashes in Round 3 at Norwood Oval on Sunday. Both sides are yet to drop points and the prospect of Roxy Roux and Gemma Houghton taking on the trio of Erin Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall is mouthwatering for any footy fan.
St Kilda vs Carlton, Brisbane vs Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne vs North Melbourne-Tasmania all vie for second billing; while the Richmond Tigers vs West Coast game may not promise the same level of entertainment on paper, but it should be a close one between last year’s stragglers.