AFLW Team of the Week - Round One
AFL Women’s footy is back for the first time in ten months and Round One was a perfect way to welcome it back.
After a long build up and some shaky moments, Round One finally came and it certainly did not disappoint. First, providing us with a big Thursday night opener against two of footy’s biggest rivalries, before an epic father versus daughter clash was on display on Friday night.
Then the weekend’s action saw both the Crows and the Kangaroos establish themselves as genuine premiership threats. The Demons faced off against the Suns for the first time in AFLW history, the Dockers continued their unbeaten run, and for the first time since the 1960s, Richmond football returned to Punt Road.
Carlton have only lost two of their last ten matches, but both times it has been Collingwood that have knocked them off. This time it was a costly four goal to zip second quarter that hurt the Blues, forcing the to play catch up for the remainder of the match. To Carlton’s credit they did manage to bring the Magpies to within a kick—but the siren sounded as they were lining up for their final goal of the day, falling 4.3 (27) to 5.3 (33).
Then on Friday night, St Kilda’s first father-daughter selection, Alice Burke, daughter of St Kilda Hall of Famer, Nathan Burke, made her debut against the same club that her father was coaching. After what was a high scoring opening half, the Saints managed to break away by piling on three second quarter goals to just the Dogs two behinds. The Bulldogs managed to come within a kick of taking the lead but a late goal by Darcy Guttridge sealed the deal for the Saints, 8.3 (51) to 6.6 (42).
Saturday saw, for the first time in the AFLW’s history, the red and blue of the Demons face off against the red and gold of the Gold Coast. Things were looking worrying from the Demons perspective early, as Jaime Stanton kicked a goal after just thirty seconds of play—then after the siren to end the opening term, Sarah Perkins kicked truly to hand the Suns a seven-point lead, but from then on it was all the Demons. Melbourne went onto score five goals while only conceding two behinds during the second term and would cruise towards a 5.5 (35) to 9.2 (56) win.
Playing in hot temperatures and away from home, the Crows welcomed back a star-studded line up with a convincing win over the Eagles. West Coast, who were bleeding several debutants including their first pick of the 2020 Draft, Bella Lewis, and South Australian, Amber Ward, were no match for Adelaide who welcomed Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall into the line-up. These two stars combined for 42 disposals, while Erin kicked off where she had left off by booting two goals.
Sunday’s match up between the Cats and the Kangaroos seemed to be over as soon as it began, thanks to three first term goals by Emma King. Geelong was no match for the pressure that the flag favourites had around the ball nor their almost impenetrable defense, as the Roo’s amassed twenty-four Rebound 50s during the match and kept the Cats scoreless for three quarters to win, 1.3 (9) to 11.5 (71).
Sunday also offered a trip down memory lane as Tiger football returned to Punt Road for the first time in decades, and at their spiritual home ground, the Lions found it hard to shake Richmond early. Yet, trailing by just a goal at halftime, Brisbane made the most of the wind advantage to put the pressure on the Tigers—to which they had no answer to as they fell to a 1.6 (12) to 5.11 (41) defeat.
The final game of the round saw the Dockers continue their unbeaten record. Houghton and Duffy combined for six of the Dockers eight goals as they managed to continue their unbeaten streak into 2021 with an impressive, 8.10 (58) to 4.4 (28) win.
We have taken all the best performers of the round and put them into out AFL Women’s Team of the Week. All positions in the team are based purely by that round’s performance—and the positions are kept as close as to where they were named on the team sheet.
Captain: Erin Phillips Vice-Captain: Gemma Houghton
The biggest winners of Round One, North Melbourne, and travelling Demons, lead the way with three named players; closely followed by Adelaide, Fremantle, St Kilda, GWS and Collingwood, all of whom sit with two named players each. It was a tough weekend to pick best players, especially through the midfield—however, two standout forwards made themselves known and because of it, they have been named as the leaders of this week’s side.
Adelaide star, Erin Phillips, and dominant Fremantle forward, Gemma Houghton, have been named as the Captain and Vice-Captain of our AFLW Team of the Week Round One, respectively.
Scroll down for a breakdown of each named player for the Round One Team of the Week.
Emma King (North Melbourne)
Emma King certainly helped North Melbourne’s stellar start to the 2021 AFLW season. The tall forward kicked three goals in the opening quarter, just one goal shy of her 2020 total of four goals. In total, she went onto finish with ten touches, three marks and two tackles.
Gemma Houghton (Fremantle)
Gemma Houghton helped the Dockers keep their unbeaten record with three goals during their five-goal win over the Giants. But she did not just impress with her goal tally, as she also managed to collect an impressive total of twenty disposals and nine marks.
Sabreena Duffy (Fremantle)
Another Fremantle forward that enjoyed a standout start to the 2021 season, Sabreena Duffy booted three goals and collected eleven touches during the Dockers big Round One win—hopefully setting the tone for more to come.
Erin Phillips (Adelaide)
The Captaincy of the Round One side fittingly goes to the biggest name in the AFLW, Erin Phillips. During Adelaide’s big win, she collected a game-high total of twenty-three disposals while also hitting the scoreboard with two impressive goals. Add too this, six tackles and five marks, and it is easy to see why she was named as our Round One Captain.
Ellie Gavalas (North Melbourne)
Ellie played all of North Melbourne’s seven matches during 2020 and kicked just the one goal. Now, just one game into 2021 and she has already tripled that total. Ellie collected a total of nineteen disposals and three tackles while also booting the earlier mentioned three goals.
Mikayla Bowen (West Coast)
The young number one was impressive for the Eagles early while the game was still up for grabs—and the fact that she went toe to toe with some of the biggest names in the AFLW, makes her Team of the Week worthy. In total, Mikayla collected thirteen disposals, four marks and a goal during West Coast’s season opener.
Jasmine Garner (North Melbourne)
What a start to the year it was for Jasmine Garner as well as for North Melbourne. During the Kangaroos thumping win, Jasmine collected eighteen disposals, six tackles and three marks, while also hitting the scoreboard with two goals of her own.
Eliza McNamara (Melbourne)
The only debutant to be named as a starter for our Round One Team of the Week. The hard-running Eliza impressed on debut, so much so that it was hard to even tell that she was a debutant. She finished her first match in the red and blue with an impressive total of eighteen touches, three marks and two tackles.
Gabrielle Seymour (Richmond)
The sole Tiger to make our Round One Team of the Week, Gabrielle led the way for the Tigers with a team-high total of sixteen touches. The twenty-four-year-old also made her presence felt in the air and on the ground, collecting three marks and two tackles.
Karen Paxman (Melbourne)
She was one of the players in the running to be named as the Captain of our Round One side, and for good reason. Karen was unstoppable during the Demons win over the Suns, finishing the match with a game-high total of twenty-five disposals while also collecting four tackles and three marks.
Alyce Parker (GWS Giants)
Alyce Parker can hold her head high despite her side not getting the result they were after. Facing off against tough opponents, Alyce managed to collect a round-high total of twenty-nine disposals as well as three tackles and two marks.
Amy McDonald (Geelong)
The sole Geelong Cat to make our Round One Team of the Week, Amy McDonald had a good but tough time in the Cat’s backline. She finished with a team-high total of eighteen disposals while she also managed to collect five tackles during what was a tough game to be a Cat.
Charlotte Wilson (Carlton)
Charlotte Wilson did not have a huge number of possessions during their nail-biting loss to the Magpies, but when she did get her hands on it, it was during a crucial stage. Finishing the match with eight disposals and five marks, the defender showed her well-known ability to intercept the ball.
Isabel Huntington (Western Bulldogs)
Isabel Huntington can play forward or back, and while she was originally named in the backline for the Bulldogs opening match—she showed her forward skills as she booted two goals on Friday night. As well as hitting the scoreboard, Isabel also gathered nine disposals and seven marks.
Stacey Livingstone (Collingwood)
The reliable and consistent defender continued where she left off—this time against rival, Harris. Playing a key role in Collingwood’s defense, Stacey collected fifteen disposals, five marks and two tackles during the ‘Pies big Thursday victory.
Tarni White (St Kilda)
The young Saint was impressive down back during a pressure-filled Friday night clash. Playing in just her fifth game of AFLW football, she stayed consistent all match while on her way towards a total of twenty touches and seven marks. The twenty disposals is made especially impressive considering that her average was eight during 2020.
Ellie Blackburn (Western Bulldogs)
Ellie Blackburn was very unlucky not to be a starter for our Team of the Week, but at least we know the fans are happy with her Round One performance. Ellie finished with a team—high total of twenty-one disposals while she also managed to make her presence felt on the scoreboard, kicking two goals.
Chelsea Randall (Adelaide)
Easily could have had Chelsea at half back of this team but because she also spent some time up-froward—we could not decide which position she impressed at more. In total, Chelsea enjoyed her welcome back game with nineteen disposals, four tackles and three marks.
Georgia Patrikios (St Kilda)
We had high hopes for her second season of AFLW football, and so far she has done nothing but exceed them. Kicking off 2021 in style, Georgia collected a game high total of twenty-three disposals, while she also managed to gather four marks, four tackles and one goal during the Saints Friday night win.
Isabel Dawes (Brisbane)
The best game that we have seen from the Lions young gun, and she did it during Round One. Isabel finished with a game-high total of twenty-one touches, while she also managed to gather five marks and three tackles. She proved to be a valuable target all day for the Lions while also being a huge headache for the Tigers.
Brittany Bonnici (Collingwood)
Brittany Bonnici was on fire during Collingwood’s statement making win during the season opener. She kicked off her season with a similar disposal that saw her disposal average 19.6 disposals a match during 2020. This time, her Round One match saw her collect 22 disposals as well as five marks and four tackles.
Lily Mithen (Melbourne)
Very unlucky not to be a starter in this week’s side. Lily Mithen followed up her final’s winning performance of 2020 with an impressive Round One performance, collecting twenty-two touches while also showing that she can still find the sticks adding to her goal tally with one major.
Sarah Perkins (Gold Coast)
We originally had Sarah Perkins in our starting forward line, only to be pipped out by the big performers of Sunday’s games. Finishing with two goals and eleven touches, Sarah’s goal after the siren was an important one early on—but unfortunately for the Suns it wasn’t enough to hold off the Demons.
Tyanna Smith (St Kilda)
One of two debutants to make our Round One Team of the Week, the eighteen-year-old did not look out of place as she collected sixteen touches, four marks and three tackles while also registering a goal on her debut. Making it one extremely promising debut for the young Saint.
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Special Thanks to all those who nominated players for the Team of the Week.