THEY SAID IT: “The four points was important. But then for the players to get that belief, to be able to play against the best and come away with the win … it’s quite significant.” – Melbourne coach Mick Stinear after his Demons downed reigning premiers Adelaide in a reversal of last season’s grand final result.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND: Maddy Prespakis will be under pressure to perform all season after her high-profile move from Carlton to Essendon but handled it with aplomb in round one against Hawthorn. The lifelong Bombers fan starred with 26 disposals, six clearances and a goal to steer the club to a win on its AFLW debut. Prespakis’ effort was even more meritorious for the fact she suffered a heavily corked thigh during a practice game and didn’t train for a fortnight in the build-up to round one, passing a fitness test on the eve of the game.
THE MOMENT: Hawthorn youngster Sophie Locke lost her mother to cancer two weeks before her AFLW debut and gave an emotional tribute after kicking the club’s first goal in the competition. Locke received a free kick at the top of the goal square, easily converted, kissed her black armband and pointed to the skies before being mobbed by her teammates. Coach Bec Goddard later declared 21-year-old Locke “a remarkable young person” and the Hawks’ best forward on the night.
STATS THAT MATTER: A crowd of 12,092 at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night justified the round-one fixture between Essendon and Hawthorn being moved from the smaller ETU Stadium – also known as North Port Oval – after a “#MoveItToMarvel” campaign led by Hawks coach Bec Goddard.
TALKING POINT: It took less than a full round for serious knee injuries to raise their head again. Experienced Eagle Kellie Gibson departed West Coast’s win over Port Adelaide in the first quarter with a knee injury and was later in a leg brace. Brisbane defender Lily Postlethwaite, playing her first AFLW match in 553 days following an ACL reconstruction, went down in the first quarter against Fremantle on Sunday with a right knee injury. Sydney’s prized No.1 draft pick Montana Ham went to ground and immediately clutched at her knee in the dying stages of the Swans’ loss to St Kilda. Although she was later cleared of an ACL injury, the length of her time on the sidelines remains to be seen.
INJURIES: K Gibson (WC, knee), E Phillips (Port, corked leg), J Cuthbertson (Frem, broken nose), J Low (Frem, concussion), L Postlethwaite (Bris, knee), R Kearns (Geel, shoulder).
TRIBUNAL WATCH: Giants defender Pepa Randall could be assessed by the match review officer for a first-quarter sling tackle on the Bulldogs’ Richelle Cranston. GWS’s Tait Mackrill could also come under scrutiny for knocking Ellie Blackburn to the ground behind play in the third quarter. Richmond’s Beth Lynch is in trouble for a tackle that sidelined Geelong opponent Rachel Kearns with a shoulder injury.
WHAT’S NEXT: In the highlights of round two, Melbourne take on North Melbourne ahead of the Demons’ AFL qualifying final in a tantalising clash. Essendon will have their first taste of playing an original AFLW team when they take on Carlton.