Despite the empty stands, and the celebratory high-fives and hugs being swapped for fist bumps and elbows, the physicality on-field was just as intense in the semi-finals as it had been all season, producing nail-biting finishes, impressive individual goals and entertaining team song renditions, in what would sadly be the last week of AFLW for the 2020 season.
A bombshell was dropped on Sunday afternoon with the AFL calling for immediate cancellation of the rest of the AFLW finals series due to further lockdown laws surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately meaning that there will be no premiership awarded for the 2020 season.
Despite the fans’, clubs’ and players’ disappointment that the season has ended prematurely, we can and should still enjoy all the best moments from the semi-finals that were played over the weekend.
Our Match of the Week
Despite the fact that the first semi-final was an absolute thriller with North Melbourne just edging out the highly-rated Collingwood by two points, our match of the week goes to Melbourne vs GWS as the game truly went down to the wire.
It was heartbreak for GWS who were 15 points up midway through the last quarter and looked like they had the game in control before the Dees kicked the last three goals of the game, including Mithen’s match-winner.
With less than 30 seconds left on the clock, Lily Mithen took a strong contested mark inside 50 and went back and coolly kicked the winner for the red and blue—just her second AFLW career goal after slotting her first in the second quarter. And didn’t they celebrate!
Our Goal of the Week
Ebony Antonio sold two bags of candy to her Gold Coast opposition after a lovely one-two handball with teammate, Gabby O’Sullivan, before capping off her silky-skills with a lovely goal on a tight angle that saw the Dockers blaze away from the Suns on the scoreboard.
Chloe Molloy also deserves a spot here as she somehow managed to dodge and weave between four kangaroos and calmly slot a goal from 40m out on the run.
Our Mark of the Week
Roxy Roux showed off her skills by leaping into a pack and taking a strong contested mark right on the brink of half-time. She finished her great grab by going back and kicking the goal after the half-time siren, extending the Dockers lead over the brave Suns.
Our Play of the Week
Chloe Dalton showed her impressive foot speed and tackling ability after a run-down chase of Brisbane Lion, Orla O’Dwyer. It was no surprise to see the Rugby 7s Olympic Gold Medallist receive the free kick after O’Dwyer was unable to break the strong tackle.
Our Player(s) of the semi-finals
It was no surprise to see Kiara Bowers again star for the Fremantle Dockers; the midfielder was strong in congestion and clean with the ball in hand. She didn’t stop her trade-mark physicality on the field gathering a massive 14 tackles and 22 disposals for the game to lead her side to a comfortable win in the West.
A very big congratulations to @freodockersAFLW star Kiara Bowers who won our best and fairest for season 2020 (the Erin Phillips Appreciation Award). 99 tackles from 7 games, which would've been 100 if you counted the protester she stopped at the derby, too. What a gun! 💪 #AFLW pic.twitter.com/tnTjmGlnkl— Kick Like A Girl (@KickLikeAGirlFM) March 23, 2020
On the other side of Australia, Karen Paxman was outstanding for Melbourne in their cliffhanger finish against the GWS. She ended the game with 20 touches and six tackles. The classy midfielder stood up when the Dees needed her most and was a big reason as to how they kicked the last three goals of the game to snatch the win from the Western Sydney team.