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AFLW fixture adjustments mentally draining
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A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size Collingwood coach Steve Symonds concedes the consistently changing AFLW fixture is mentally draining but believes his players will need to get used to it. The Magpies solidified their best start to a season by defeating Richmond by 17 points on Sunday for their third-straight victory. Collingwood were originally meant to be spending the weekend in Brisbane, not taking on their rivals at an empty Punt Rd oval. Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown forced the league to switch around the schedule, only days after the Round 3 fixture was initially locked in. All three games in Melbourne this weekend were played without crowds, while the Geelong-Western Bulldogs at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night took place only hours before Victoria was thrown into another stage-four lockdown. “It’s pretty tough from a mental point of view for the girls,” Symonds said after beating the Tigers. “We had a pretty flat (training) session on Wednesday.  We were trying to put our finger on what it was but we found out just before the training session that again we changed our opponent and venue. “We thought we were going to Brisbane and everything was planned towards that so suddenly another change again. “It’s something our players have to get used. I don’t think it’s ideal preparation for them, we’ve just got to keep adjusting “As we go along they’re getting used to it but no doubt it’s mentally draining.” Collingwood are due to play North Melbourne next Saturday night but Symonds is aware that match-up could change again. The part-time nature of AFLW adds another layer of complexity to the rapidly-changing season. Most players have some form of part or full-time employment outside of football. Fremantle’s Evie Gooch was forced to withdraw from the Dockers’ clash with Adelaide on Sunday due to work commitments. The ladder-leading Dockers were preparing to spend several weeks on the road in order to keep the season alive, but will return home to host Gold Coast next Saturday. Crows coach Matthew Clarke said he was hopeful hubs would not be needed to complete the season. “That would be challenging for the whole league if it gets to that,” he told reporters. “Every team will have players that their employment makes the hubs really challenging and really tough.” The Brisbane Lions will be aiming to join Fremantle, Collingwood and Melbourne as undefeated teams when they host West Coast on Monday to complete Round 3. © AAP
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How Carlton’s first win of 2021 can set them up for the rest of the season
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A Set small text size A Set the default text size A Set large text size After losing their opening two games of the 2021 AFLW season, both by a straight kick, Carlton got their first win against St Kilda on Saturday afternoon. It was an impressive display from the Blues away from home. Carlton are a side considered to have a lot of quality and came up just short in their opening two games. Against Collingwood they were scoreless in the first half before attempting a comeback, and despite keeping Collingwood to only one goal in the second half, they still fell short by a goal in the end. Despite kicking the first three goals against the Western Bulldogs and holding a 12-point lead at the final change, Carlton conceded the only three goals of the last quarter and wasted chances late. They went down by six points in consecutive weeks. So the confidence was there from the Blues, but they lacked some quality within quarters, which proved costly. The effort was there, but they were yet to be rewarded with any wins after two games. Coach Daniel Harford felt that after the first two disappointing results his side needed to “dig deep”. Despite the disappointing start to their 2021 campaign, Harford had faith in Carlton’s ability to address deficiencies and get their season back on track. “We’ve got to probably dig really deep into the numbers, dig deep into the psyche of the players and find out why what is happening, is happening”, he said. Finally, in Round 3, the Blues got their reward for their efforts and showed the quality they can produce in a comfortable 24-point victory over St Kilda in Moorabbin. After conceding the opening goal and a scoreless first quarter, the Blues got the game on their terms over the second and third quarters. They kicked the only three goals of the second quarter. In the second half Carlton remained in control, keeping St Kilda to only one goal in the third term and scoreless in the final quarter. They added another three second-half goals to run out four-goal winners. For Dan Harford’s talented side finally made good on their potential and reaped the rewards of their efforts over the first three rounds. And this win could set them up really well for the rest of the season. The talent that helped get them over the line included Nicola Stevens, who was prolific up forward with two goals, along with new Blue Elise O’Dea, who crossed over from the Demons. She finished the game with 21 disposals and was one of Carlton’s leading performers in her best outing for the club so far. Madison Prespakis got the Blues moving on Saturday, gathering 24 disposals and a goal in Carlton’s first victory of 2021. She is proving a superstar for the Blues. Now the Blues are on the board, they have proven they are a team to reckon with. With a star-studded line-up, they should have plenty of confidence they can challenge for the top six yet again. Some players who are also ready to step up include Tayla Harris, who starred against the Dogs with two goals, ten disposals and four marks, and Darcy Vescio, who has started quietly in 2021 with only one goal so far from three games. Daniel Harford was very pleased with his team’s 24-point win over the Saints on Saturday afternoon. He was hoping that the game against St Kilda would be a turning point for Carlton and, after an impressive week on the track, he was full of confidence that the team would respond in Round 3. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images) “I thought that we trained enormously through the week so I would’ve been disappointed if we hadn’t come out there and put on a show today,” he said. “Our focus shifted towards movement, to defence, to team as well and I think that paid dividends today.” Elise O’Dea really impressed Harford up forward, and he valued her presence in the side after crossing from Melbourne. “I thought she was awesome with her presence in the forward line, coming up at the footy, hunting defenders, creating space for her teammates, presenting as an option,” he said. “She looked like the one we saw three or four years ago today and we have great belief that Elise is going to be a great player for us for a long period of time and I hope she gets a bit of love for what she did today.” Carlton have now got a win on the board, and that win should set them in good stead to attack the rest of season 2021. They have the depth, the talent is there, they’re well coached and if their best players are up and firing, there is no reason why Carlton can’t challenge the top six despite the results not being there in the opening two outings. Next they face Richmond at home in another massive opportunity to square the ledger at 2-2 after four games. Now they’ve got the crucial win, they could be a force to be reckoned with for the rest of the season.
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Why Fremantle’s style is built for AFLW success
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It took a five-goal demolition of fellow premiership contender Adelaide to confirm that the Fremantle Dockers are a legitimate threat for the AFLW flag in 2021. Extending their historic winning streak to ten, the Dockers went through the incomplete 2020 season undefeated. However, without having faced fellow contenders, premiership success simply couldn’t be treated as a fait accompli, to the chagrin of Fremantle’s fans. The 2021 season started off in familiar fashion, with a five-goal win over a GWS team that had been through extraordinarily mental and physical fatigue to participate in Round 1 followed by a workmanlike performance in the wet against the Eagles. Travelling to South Australia, the Dockers stuck to their tactical guns and were far too quick and applied too much pressure going forward against a wayward Adelaide unit. Fremantle’s success has come on the back of a clearly defined plan with players executing extremely well at both ends of the ground. Sabreena Duffy of the Dockers (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images) A direct style that looks to cover ground by foot and relies upon the fitness and speed of its players, Fremantle has a structure behind the ball that is strong in the air and on the ground, ready to counterattack as soon as possession is won. The Dockers possess an incredible 2.52:1 kick-to-handball ratio, well clear of West Coast (2.06:1) in second place and completely foreign to Carlton (1.10:1). Ranked ninth in both total disposals and marks in the competition, the emphasis has been placed on pressure and getting the ball forward, which eliminates the risk of overpossession as the mindset isn’t worried about disposal efficiency. Forgoing possession can be a risky ploy, but as has been seen through the Dockers here and Richmond in the AFL, putting more time into forcing opposition turnovers means that when these teams win the ball, their opponent is out of position and there’s plenty of space ahead. There is simplicity in chaos. Behind the ball Janelle Cuthbertson has been taking enormous strides forward in her game, leading the league for intercept possessions through the first three rounds. Averaging 13 disposals, four marks and 11 intercept possessions per game, Cuthbertson’s role and confidence in the defensive 50 has relieved the pressure on young gun Emma O’Driscoll to develop her own multifaceted defensive game without being exposed. Lauren Pugh is just as important defensively as an unheralded yet vital cog in the defensive machine that does any job asked of her to an elite level. The defensive success of the Dockers, conceding just three goals per game, is built on the pressure up the ground forcing the opposition to kick into the defensive zone set up by the aforementioned players, while midfielders and outside players are more than willing to push back in order to assist in rebound and commencing the counterattack. Many fans would suggest the Kangaroos own the hardest-working midfield in the competition, but the brilliance of that team cannot compare in work rate and ethic to the way the Fremantle centres operate. The way in which the Dockers wants to wear down the opposition and work relentlessly hard in both directions is built for the personnel the team has rather than trying to fit a mismatch of pieces into a jigsaw. Kiara Bowers is an MVP favourite for a reason, increasing her already incredible numbers to an average of 22 disposals, 12 tackles and three rebounds per game through the opening third of the season. Stephanie Cain hasn’t missed a beat since returning from her ACL injury in 2020, working hard on both the inside and in both directions to collect the ball, while Kara Antonio is having a similar effect. Ebony Antonio’s transition into the midfield utility running up and down the wings has been an exquisite fit for Fremantle, playing often on the defensive side of the contest to help get the ball forward to the more attacking midfielders, Hayley Miller and Tiah Haynes, who are thriving as attacking midfielders. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images) All this movement up and down from the midfielders has opened space for the forwards to push higher than their direct opponents up the ground, leaving grass behind them to turn and get goalside. There was a clear directive for players to improve their fitness levels, and with plenty of quiet periods in 2020, some star Dockers took that personally. Gemma Houghton is perhaps the best example, having already been one of the more impressive key-position players in the competition. The 27-year-old posted career-best running in the preseason and has started off 2021 brilliantly, kicking six goals and averaging 14 disposals as a key forward through three games. Ashley Sharp returned for the Crows game and kicked two goals as a beneficiary of the open space in attack, while Roxy Roux has impressively been able to manipulate defences without getting any personal reward, which should only be around the corner. Perhaps the most exciting development goes to the club’s cult hero, Sabreena Duffy. Epitomising the way Fremantle wants to play, Duffy is pushing higher up the ground when the opportunity is available, and her breakneck speed allows the team to adopt a near-Perth Glory kamikaze-style approach, kicking the ball over the top and letting their star youngster run into attacking 50. If Duffy hasn’t yet been studying highlights packages of Michael Walters, you’d be shocked – that is the influence she will have on this team going forward. Once again, there is simplicity in chaos, and Fremantle’s clarity in mindset is what separates them from a host of other AFLW teams. The game against Adelaide proved that the style holds up against the best teams in pressure situations, legitimising everything the Fremantle Football Club is about. The question marks are disappearing and the Dockers do not necessarily need to continue this amazing winning streak to prove they’re a contender. Facing a tough road ahead with an unknown about how long they will continue being able to play games at home, this Dockers team has already bought into their system and each other. We loved the Dockers heading into last season, but 2021 has a different feel to it. This is a side that has decided how to play winning footy, and it holds up. The Dockers are legit, and it’s a sign of things to come.
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AFLW Round 2 takeaways
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There’s been a lot of talk about how the standard of play in Rounds 1 and 2 are the best opening two rounds in AFLW history. Well sure, but that’s not saying much. Problem is, the women are always coming off a ten-month off-season. If the men had a ten-month off-season, their skills would be pretty dreadful in Round 1 also. The AFLW does this to itself by the structure of the competition – they say they can only increase the length of the competition once the standard improves, but for as long as the season remains two months long, the first four rounds of the competition will continue to be well below the actual standard the players are capable of producing. Typically the AFLW skill level increases dramatically by about Round 4 or 5, as you’d expect, because it just takes that long for part-time players to get their eye in. But that’s too late for a lot of potential fans, who often decide to ‘give the AFLW one more shot’ in the first round or two, and are turned off by what they see. My advice to footy fans who haven’t been watching AFLW, but would like to give it another try – wait until the tail end of the season heading into finals. By then not only will the players be one-touching the ball instead of three-four-five touching it, but you’ll know which teams are worth watching this season. Thus far, it’s looking like the Dockers, Crows, Kangaroos and Lions… but the Lions will probably screw it up later in the season by playing 48 players behind the ball and still seeming puzzled when they can’t score, so mostly those first three. And maybe the Pies and the Dees. Sarah Rowe (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images) The lopsided results in many Round 2 games also brings out the usual conversations about how the AFLW has expanded too fast and spread the talent too thin. Well no. I’ve written about this in more detail before, but in short, most people making this argument have no clue what the AFLW’s actually for. Sure, not having huge blowouts would remove those games from TV, but at this point, the AFLW is primarily about development. Big blowout margins are the price to be paid for that development, and it’s a price well worth paying. Would the AFLW be improved if Gold Coast weren’t in the comp to get thrashed by the Lions like they were on the weekend? The Queensland junior all-stars game a few months back showed a huge pool of exciting young talent coming through the Gold Coast ranks. Given the AFLW’s state-by-state system, most of them can’t play anywhere else but Queensland. With the Lions the only team in Queensland, most of them would be struggling for a spot. Would that make the AFLW ‘better’? To remove the huge incentive of an available playing spot on an AFLW list, in your home state, from all those big-dreaming juniors? (Chris Hyde/AFL Media/Getty Images) Would it be better if Richmond weren’t in the competition? Richmond will keep losing until they accumulate enough high draft picks that they start winning. The maths aren’t hard. Unlike in the men’s, the players coming through women’s junior ranks get better and better every year, and it’s technically impossible for AFLW teams, in any state that’s developing great juniors, to stay on the bottom of the ladder for more than a couple of years. My advice to the ‘we expanded too fast’ brigade: get a grip, and be patient. After all, the baby Bulldogs were being written off after Round 1, despite only losing by nine points, and in Round 2 they beat Carlton. Half of that team is barely out of nappies. By Round 9, they could be eating solids and playing finals. RichmondRichmond’s improvement is real, but as I expected, the rest of the competition has improved by at least as much, leaving Richmond languishing down the bottom of the ladder as before. And now they’re playing Ellie McKenzie in the forward line. So all that hope that Tigers’ fans invested in the club, that finally they might have grabbed a second star midfielder in the draft to back up Mon Conti, was apparently misplaced because the Richmond coaching staff think instead that they drafted a forward. I’m sorry? Have they actually seen the Richmond forward line? You know, Brennan, Traub, Wakefield, Bernardi? (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett) That’s the one area of the field where Richmond were actually good. Their problem last year was that their midfield stank and they couldn’t get their forwards the ball. This year, similar deal, because instead of using McKenzie to support Conti in the middle (as would appear blindingly obvious) they throw her forward then wonder why once again they’re getting smashed in the middle and their forwards never see the ball. The bright side for Richmond fans is that the way they’re going, next year they’ll have automatic number one draft pick Georgie Prespakis in the team as well, and she might be even better than McKenzie, which is saying something. The less bright side is that the coach will probably play her in the goalsquare, and Richmond will still get flogged in the middle and lose every game. While we’re at it – I don’t like to be too critical of individual AFLW players, they’re not getting paid huge money, and they’re all doing the best they can under trying circumstances. But for Katie Brennan, I must make an exception. She’s the star forward of her team, but she misses goals, drops marks, opportunity after opportunity goes begging but commentators still have nothing to say but what a big-time player she is. Well, I’ve yet to see it. Most of us are. Either she steps up, or we start referring to her as just another average player, and the club puts their marquee money somewhere else. CarltonCarlton think they’re as fast as last year, and try to play like it, with lots of dinky handballs to unleash the runners. Unfortunately, their fastest player is Chloe Dalton, and she’s headed to the Tokyo Olympics this year (COVID allowing). Her replacement is Elise O’Dea, and whatever O’Dea’s many attributes, speed isn’t one of them. The Blues’ midfield has also been missing Lucy McEvoy with injury, and their forward line has lacked Brooke Walker, who’s nearly as fast as Dalton. While fellow youngsters Mimi Hill and Abbey McKay have been good, thus far into 2021, it’s not the same. Against the Bulldogs, for most of the game the Blues had more handballs than kicks. Only in the frantic final quarter, when they had no other choice, did they start kicking long, ending the match with 130 kicks and 118 handballs. The recurring problem with women’s football is congestion. If you always pass short, you create more congestion, unless you’re super fast. Fremantle are perhaps the one team in the AFLW freakishly fast enough to get away with it, but so far this season Fremantle’s kick-to-handball ratio is more like two-to-one. In other words, Carlton need to start kicking the ball long, and stop relying on midfield speed they no longer have. Does this mean Elise O’Dea is a bad player? No, not at all. Does it mean that her, plus Maddy Prespakis (herself no speed demon) in the midfield together, might create a speed deficit? Absolutely. Carlton will need to change the way they play, put away the endless handballs to players who get dumped in the turf immediately after, and kick long instead. Like Fremantle. Can’t everyone just be more like Fremantle? The AFLW would be so much better if they were. AdelaideThe Crows are back, and it’s beautiful to see. What a difference Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall make, and they haven’t even welcomed back Chloe Scheer, who will one day be spoken of in the same awed tones. Yes, the Crows have a loaded forward line, but it’s their ability to get the ball into that forward line, repeatedly and deeply, that makes it so effective. If only Richmond would learn this lesson. Anne Hatchard (Tamika Walker, AFC Media) Adelaide is the big reason why I’m not fussed at the inequality of AFLW results. Yes, Adelaide are going to trash a lot more teams than just GWS and West Coast this year. But I was at the 2019 grand final where 53,000 fans turned up, and apparently had a grand old time. Crowds like that don’t just turn up for okay teams who beat oppositions two times out of three by an average of a few goals. They turn up for champions capable of grinding good opponents into red mince. The Crows will have a much harder time doing that to Freo and North in 2021 than they did in 2019, but in a time when the AFLW struggles to be taken seriously by some, the Crows remain the most seriously-taken team in women’s football. Adelaide loves them, and not just because they love Erin Phillips. They play fun football, which at its best is watchable for pretty much any footy fan. They’re not at their best yet, because AFLW teams are never at their best before Round 4, but when they are, they’re the most marketable asset women’s football has, and they fly the flag for what the AFLW is capable of one day becoming. That flag is worth flying, even if it means some huge scoreboard blowouts. Final notesLast season, Georgia Patrikios was one of the best players in St Kilda. This year, she’s clearly the best. The speed of her elevation resembles Maddy Prespakis’s ascent at Carlton. That’s probably no accident. Which leads me to a pop quiz. What do Saint Kilda, GWS, Carlton, Richmond and Geelong all have in common? Answer; the clear outstanding star of each team is a recent draftee who was too young to play in the AFLW’s first season -that’s Patrikios, Alyce Parker, Maddy Prespakis, Monique Conti and Olivia Purcell. And were it not for her horror run of knee injuries, Nina Morrison could easily have joined Purcell at Geelong, while next year McKenzie could be right up there with Conti at Richmond. That’s five teams out of 14, and more on the way. With all the kids at the Bulldogs, you’d think the same might happen there very shortly – except that Ellie Blackburn is fast becoming not so much a gun in this competition as a cannon, and my current prediction for AFLW MVP. Any of the Doggies’ kids will have to get very, very good to move ahead of her.
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ครอบครัวเบิร์กชอบเกม AFLW ในประวัติศาสตร์
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ตั้งค่าขนาดข้อความขนาดเล็กตั้งขนาดข้อความเริ่มต้นตั้งขนาดข้อความขนาดใหญ่ Bulldog ตะวันตกของเขาอาจสูญเสียโปรแกรมเปิดฤดูกาล AFLW แต่ Nathan Burke ยังคงมีรอยยิ้มที่ยิ้มแย้มแจ่มใสบนใบหน้าของเขาหลังจบเกมขณะที่เขามีความสุขกับช่วงเวลาที่พ่อภูมิใจของเขา อลิซลูกสาวของเธอเฉลิมฉลองชัยชนะในการเปิดตัว AFLW ของเธอในขณะที่เซนต์กิลดาปิดผนึกการชนะบูลด็อกเก้าแต้มที่น่าตื่นเต้นในคืนวันศุกร์และนาธานก็กอดเธอไว้ที่พื้นหลังจากนั้น เด็กอายุ 18 ปีเข้าแข่งขันในร่างของปีที่แล้วในฐานะพ่อ - ลูกคนแรกของ St Kilda นาธานเป็นตำนานของ Moorabbin ซึ่งเป็นกัปตันทีมในอาชีพการแข่งขัน 323 เกมตั้งแต่ปี 1987 ถึงปี 2003 เขายอมรับว่าการเตรียมการสำหรับการแข่งขันในคืนวันศุกร์นั้นแตกต่างออกไป แต่เน้นมากเกินไปในระหว่างการแข่งขันเพื่อให้ได้ประสิทธิภาพส่วนใหญ่ของอลิซ (ภาพถ่ายโดยไมเคิลวิลสัน / แอฟรูปภาพผ่านเก็ตตี้อิมเมจ) "พอเกมเริ่มมีหลายอย่างเกิดขึ้นฉันไม่ค่อยมีสมาธิกับอลิซ" นาธานกล่าว "ถ้าคุณถามฉันว่าเขาจากไปฉันควรจะดูวิดีโอนี้ "หลังจบเกมเขาบอกว่าชอบเขาดังนั้นหวังว่าเขาจะทำได้ดีพอที่จะได้รับโอกาสอีกครั้งในสัปดาห์หน้าซึ่งฉันจะได้นั่งลงรับบทพ่อ "ฉันรู้ดีว่าบางสิ่งที่ฉันอาจบอกให้เขาทำไม่ใช่สิ่งที่โค้ชที่นี่ (ที่เซนต์คิลดา) ต้องการให้เขาทำดังนั้นจึงเป็นการดีที่สุดที่จะหลีกเลี่ยงสิ่งนั้นและทำงานด้านจิตใจของเขา" อลิซมุ่งเน้นไปที่ฟุตบอลในช่วงวัยเยาว์ของเธอก่อนที่จะเปลี่ยนมาใช้กฎของออสเตรเลียในปี 2018 เธอเริ่มจากม้านั่งและมีส่วนร่วมในการแข่งขันเพียงเล็กน้อย แต่จะดีขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็วในขณะที่เซนต์คิลดาพยายามท้าทายเพื่อเข้าสู่รอบชิง © AAP
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