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Joel Shepherd

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Joined October 2017

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Professional SF writer. Amateur sport watcher.

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I also forgot Kim Rennie, another tall ex-basketballer who looked good for them at the end of last season. Plus Izzy’s played in the midfield as a junior, Aisling Utri looks to me as though she could make a midfielder… this team just has so much versatility and so many options, I’m prepared to bet they’ll find a way to make the midfield work. The main danger is that it’s such a short season — the men can take three or four bad games to figure out the best lineups, but if the women do that, the season’s over.

Conti was a mid for most of her junior football and basically played like she’d brought her own ball. You wouldn’t want her doing Kirsty Lamb’s job and getting beaten up play after play because there’s not much of her, but if she can be Kirsty Lamb’s first handball option, she’ll win the Dogs so many stoppages just by making defenders miss tackles.

AFLW 2019 preview: Western Bulldogs

Thanks for reading them, Tom!

AFLW 2019 preview: Western Bulldogs

I’d argue that given most of Carlton’s problems were in the midfield, it’s not really the same team at all — Prespakis, McKay and Barden will do much of the heavy lifting this year. Plus the Blues really only fell apart after Davey did her knee, which tells you how much she’s worth to the team. And lastly, the Dogs were pretty ordinary in their first year, then won the whole thing a year later with just a few new players and a change of strategy. If the Blues get a good run with injury, I’d be astonished if they didn’t at least make the finals.

AFLW 2019 preview: Carlton Blues

Well I think there’s five now. Maybe the AFLW didn’t place much emphasis on the Irish at first because they didn’t think so many would want to come half way around the world to get paid peanuts… but apparently they do. Doubling would take the number of Irish players to ten… you only need twenty to have a proper international game. Just a thought.

AFLW 2019 preview: GWS Giants

Yeah, there aren’t many clubs with a great home ground experience, that has to change.

I think there will still be some gems being uncovered, but mostly from code hoppers — Sharni Layton might do something, 6-2 and mobile is like 6-8 and mobile in the men’s game, it’ll get you a walkup start in the VFL at least. And there’s still room for retiring 30-year-olds to jump sports and make an impact.

AFLW 2019 preview: GWS Giants

At her age in a mature competition she might struggle, but in this competition she can play until she drops. The only question is if kids like Prespakis and Parker will get better than her before she finally retires.

AFLW 2019 preview: Adelaide Crows

Jasmine Hewett’s from NT! I can usually only mention a quarter of the players or the article gets too long.

AFLW 2019 preview: Adelaide Crows

They were my most accurate prediction last year — losers in the GF. So I can’t be accused of systemic anti-Brisbane bias at least!

AFLW 2019 preview: Brisbane Lions

That’s possible, but WA has a unique problem with the WAWFL, which seems to be run so badly that the stench drives players away in droves. I haven’t heard anything about the Queensland competition having those problems, and as the local talent pool gets stronger, that competition will become better as well.

Also, GWS shows that non-traditional AFL states can land lots of big name players from other states (or countries) if they try. And the Lions haven’t done too poorly there, with Fredrick -Traub, Bella Ayre, Nat Exon, McKenzie Dowrick and Jess Wuetschner (Tasmania and then East Fremantle). Also, the Lions have Craig Starcevich, and the importance of a good coach in drawing new recruits can’t be overstated.

AFLW 2019 preview: Brisbane Lions

I think both Queensland teams will struggle for a couple of seasons after Gold Coast enter, but after that they’ll be fine. Next year’s Queensland draft will be amazing, there are about five or six players who’ll be stars — even if most of them go to Gold Coast, AFLW contracts still only last for one year and there will be a lot of back and forth evening things out pretty quickly. Plus Gold Coast will only get preferential access to the draft for one or maybe two seasons, then you’ll have two Queensland teams sitting atop a talent gold mine… assuming the Queensland drafts just keep getting stronger, as logically they should.

Compared to Victoria, where I reckon all the remaining AFL teams will get women’s sides sooner rather than later, so ten teams fighting for talent — and there’s a lot more in Victoria, certainly, but divided by ten? WA’s talent pool is sluggish by comparison, and in SA it’s too early to tell, and NSW/ACT has its usual problems with AFL, so I think it’s too early for Queenslanders to start panicking about the future.

AFLW 2019 preview: Brisbane Lions

One improvement this season is the semi-finals — last season it all just came down to luck and percentages, 7 rounds wasn’t enough to determine who really deserved to be in the GF, but this year you’ll at least have the best four playing off and making it inarguable. So if the Lions or any team can make the final four, they’ve got a chance and it won’t just come down to ‘flip a coin’.

But I don’t really see any soft draws this season — Brisbane get GWS in Brisbane for round one, and if I’m GWS I’m almost expecting to win that (their midfield is brutal this year). If the Lions can get that one, plus Freo in Freo, I’ll start believing.

AFLW 2019 preview: Brisbane Lions

Molloy is a big loss, but the draft this year was roughly five times better than last, so there’ll be plenty of new stars to fill the gap. Maddy Prespakis and Alyce Parker could make at least as big impacts as Molloy did last year, and probably a few others as well — Morrison, Dowrick, Hanks, etc.

AFLW 2019 preview: Collingwood Magpies

Thanks Tom, I appreciate it. My review of Brisbane’s coming up pretty soon…

There’s a lot of great backlines in the comp this year though, will be interesting to see what happens to scoring. Hildebrand and Allen, plus the return of Guttridge, make the Pies pretty tough back there, despite losing Molloy… who’d probably have played forward this year anyway.

AFLW 2019 preview: Collingwood Magpies

I’ve seen some VFLW games on youtube, I rarely make it past one or two quarters, the standard is much lower. The NT Thunder were allowed a higher number of AFLW players in their lineup recently and started the season murdering everyone by a large margin. A mid-season readjustment cut those AFLW numbers back, and the NT Thunder fell back to the pack accordingly. Based on that, I think the best VFLW team last year would have lost to the worst AFLW team by a large margin.

AFLW 2019 preview: Geelong Cats

More? Yep, I’ve done preview for each team this season. Will try to do some regular season stuff too, as much as I can fit in without straining my actual job.

AFLW 2019 preview: Fremantle Dockers

That’s Akec Chuot, apparently she’s playing for Carlton in the VFLW now. I thought she looked okay too, but if the Vics aren’t drafting her either, it can’t just be Freo’s opinion.

AFLW 2019 preview: Fremantle Dockers

To emphasise on Prespakis; she just played her first ever VFL game today (for Melbourne Uni) and was named among the best. No adjustment period necessary for her.

Winners and losers from AFLW expansion

There’s a large movement at the moment in the AFL to have fewer games. I think it was Patrick Dangerfield I saw recently on some show (might have been Footy Classified) saying, as AFLPA President, that there was an emerging consensus that the men have to play too much footy. It’s causing injuries, it’s making players worn out, it hurts the quality of football later in the season and it shortens careers. So what might be brewing is a plan to start the men’s season three or four weeks later, but keep the grand final date the same, and eliminate the pre-season competition entirely. Which would coincidentally open some extra space for the women.

A wishlist for AFLW season 2019

If Nine hadn’t bought the tennis, I think they would have had considerable interest in acquiring the AFLW. They’ll be much less interested now, though.

Playing any time in summer is pretty silly, but there’s no way the AFL will consider putting AFLW against the men for another four or five years at least, so this is what we’re stuck with. Yes January’s hot, but February/March are also very hot, especially in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, and a few degrees here and there won’t make a huge difference. Better grounds with better lights would help with more night games, but getting out beyond ten teams will make scheduling problems — they can’t all be played at night. Maybe they could look at Thursday or Monday nights?

It will be a long time until the women start playing regularly at Docklands, if ever. But the difference between Whitten or Norwood Ovals, and Olympic Park Oval or Casey Fields, is night and day.

A wishlist for AFLW season 2019

Definitely true. But I hear rumblings about player dissatisfaction with the way WA women’s football is run, and you have to question why so many WA players were so keen to leave. The Eagles and Dockers will want to get that sorted out between them, or there won’t be enough good players to go around.

Bulldogs' breakthrough flag can be the beginning of an AFLW dynasty

I think the setup of a team like Brisbane relies on putting so many players behind and around the ball that it becomes really hard to get enough forward to score. They try to force turnovers first, then run forward to score on the rebound, but it’s a lot of work and their players get tired faster than the opposition. Brisbane had an awesome defence all season, but didn’t turn it into goals.

If you want to get excited about Geelong, check out the Geelong Falcons in the Tac Cup. Equal top of the ladder right now, lots of highly rated players — Lucy McEvoy is team captain at only 16. No idea how many Geelong-based players will end up playing for the Cats, but given the advantages of a ‘home base’ in the AFLW where players aren’t getting paid much, it could be a lot.

Bulldogs' breakthrough flag can be the beginning of an AFLW dynasty

Mine is a libertarian argument. ‘Libertarian’ and ‘progressive’, on today’s political spectrum, are generally (but not always) opposite. Try again. And your attempt at baiting about women’s injuries only shows that you don’t understand the argument. How I feel watching women getting hurt is irrelevant. I know people who would be pleased to see a world without football (or combat sports or motor racing, etc) because they don’t like watching men getting hurt. Most don’t care what they think, because they agree the participants are adults and can take that risk if they choose to. Same should apply here.

AFLW makes Jeff Kennett uncomfortable - so what?

I read that article on SEN, but it doesn’t completely sum up what he said — I couldn’t get a complete transcript, but apparently Daisy Pearce heard the whole thing and summarised it in her article in The Age. My understandings of what Kennett said in full are taken from that article.

https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/why-is-it-any-different-when-women-get-injured-playing-contact-sport-20180216-p4z0lu.html

But my main point isn’t to beat up on Jeff, it’s the extent to which his comments fall into a broader pattern of people lecturing female footballers as though somehow their own free choice to play the game isn’t the end of the matter, which it should be.

AFLW makes Jeff Kennett uncomfortable - so what?

They’ve had a lot of injuries too. If their skills keep sharpening up, and they can get one or two of those injured players back, it could get real interesting. And even more so next season — there’s a bunch of kids coming through, led by McKenzie Dowrick, who could make a real impact.

Winners and losers from AFLW Round 3

Thanks Maggie!

Winners and losers from AFLW Round 3