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Opinion

AFLW review: Conference A (bottom three)

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Roar Rookie
28th April, 2020
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After calling the season quits with games still to play, AFLW 2020 season was one filled with highs and lows.

Let’s look at Conference A’s bottom three.

5. Geelong Cats: Two wins, four losses at 80.8 per cent
Geelong’s season in a few words: inconsistent yet glimpses of brilliance. They had a nail-biting loss to the North Melbourne Kangaroos – one that could’ve helped them push up the ladder. When the season was cut short due to the coronavirus, the Cats were two points away from fourth and four points from third.

Had the season continued, they could’ve pushed for those top-four positions.

Although they only had two wins, the best win of the lot, funnily enough, came against the Suns, who ended this season two points ahead of them. That win kept him in the hunt for the finals. It was a tough game from the beginning – one they had to come from behind to win.

One of the best things that Geelong coach Paul Hood did was pushing one of his midfielders into a crucial halfback role. Maddy Keryk’s ability to read the game is exceptional and she has brilliant skills in the air and on the ground. She trusts her abilities and knows when to make the call to leave her player to spoil or intercept marks.

Her growth alongside the other defenders will continue and the more they gel together the more that defence can be dangerous.

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They need to improve going from that back 50 into the midfield going forward. The Cats turn the ball over in the middle of the ground, putting more pressure on their defenders. Finding the right system and getting the midfielders in open space to create an easy flow out of defence is an area that needs improvement over the offseason.

Whether that is a change in the in-game style or creating different strategies when running off halfback going forward to score.

It was a season of ups and downs and if it had continued it would’ve been hard to crack the top four to make the finals. They would’ve needed other results to go their way with other teams losing.

Season rating: 5/10.

6. Adelaide Crows: Two wins, four losses at 80.4 per cent
A season nowhere near their winning best, the premiers failed to get to their grand final form of 2019. Adelaide only managed to win two games out of the six played.

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The momentum just wasn’t going their way and injuries just didn’t help them at all. Some positives about those injuries would be that they’re giving more game time to the younger recruits at the club.

Anne Hatchard

(Tamika Walker, AFC Media)

The best win was their first for the season, defeating St Kilda by 13 points. With the Crows trailing all game, it came down to the final quarter for the Crows to run away with it, kicking three goals and adding two points to St Kilda’s two points to win them the game. St Kilda was just outrun and outplayed in that final quarter.

The Crows were fourth overall for average disposals per match and showed they found plenty of the ball but when going forward they lacked that polish that the injured stars could’ve given them. They lost one of their biggest stars in Erin Phillips for four weeks due to more injuries and if she can continue to improve her fitness it’ll help them going forward.

Now in the offseason, if their injured players can get back and running with no further setbacks, they could potentially return to their premiership form. With four players gone the entire season, they will have the fire in the belly to return bigger and better.

Season rating: 4/10.

7. Richmond: Zero wins, six losses at 35.7 per cent
This season’s biggest disappointment. Richmond brought in serval big-name recruits from various other teams for their first AFLW season. They were the only team in the 2020 season to not record a win.

Richmond recruit Katie Brennan poses with the football.

(AAP Image/Daniel Pockett)

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They went in all guns blazing and missed the mark completely.

Having not recording a win, their ‘worst’ lost for this season was their last game of the season where they failed to kick a goal all game, only managing three behinds for the entire game while St Kilda ran riot, winning by 39 points and finishing the game 6.6.42 to 0.3.3.

Had the Saints kicked straight they could’ve won by a whopping 69 points. At that would have looked bad on the recruiters and whole playing staff. Thankfully the Saints missed so it slowed the bleeding.

Their midfield group seemed to be happy and work well. However, they struggled to have depth and support on the outside run. Although having a strong midfield group is good, if you don’t have that support then realistically you’re going to struggle when going forward.

There is a lot to improve for next season and their defence needs help. They need to find a tall defender and players that can be able to run off halfback and help the midfield with their run. As it is only their first season in the AFLW if this group can remain unchanged going into next year they can continue to grow and develop off each other, learning how everyone plays and working as a team to improve those areas they struggle in.

They’re a young team that can someday be in the finals contention if they can work together to build a solid system of gameplay to help them win games and not get outplayed.

Season rating: 1/10.