The Roar
The Roar

Joel Shepherd

Roar Guru

Joined October 2017

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Professional SF writer. Amateur sport watcher.

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Yeah, there’s a flood of talent coming downstream but the next year or two might be thin before it arrives. That’s bad news for the Eagles — they may even have a case for a priority pick next year. Next year’s top Freo draft picks will be struggling to get a game, the Eagles’ picks will be starting.

AFLW Round 2 wrap: Coaching reaches the next level

I thought Hooker and Swanny were good under the circumstances — it’s hard being on an outclassed team, all your teammates are getting smashed and your structures breaking down. The worry for me is that the next WA draft looks a little thin — lots of skilful 17 year olds but not many AFLW-type athletes. Hopefully some new ones will emerge over the next WAFLW season. If the Eagles can get three genuinely good new kids each year for the next three years, plus whatever new rookies and internationals they can develop, I reckon they could be competing for finals by 2023… but only if those new kids are good, everything rests on that.

Meanwhile your Dockers haven’t got Alex Williams back yet, and I’m hoping Emma O’Driscoll can get a game soon, I’m kinda pissed the Eagles didn’t draft her late, I think she’s good.

AFLW Round 2 wrap: Coaching reaches the next level

Direct quote from the article, ‘Katie Brennan struggled with just ten disposals, and the Tigers demonstrated once again why expansion teams recruiting big-name forwards instead of midfielders is a mistake.’

And in my Richmond Preview I said I was sceptical of Katie Brennan in the midfield, and I said in my Bulldogs Preview that I thought Gabby Newton would be a better player than Katie Brennan possibly as early as this season. In fact I’ve consistently said for as far back as I can remember that Katie Brennan hasn’t lived up to expectations so far… but then she’s been injured a lot, so thus far I’ve given her some slack. Your profile says you’ve been a member on The Roar since February, which is twelve days. I’ve been writing here since 2018.

Also, I don’t get off on slamming players who work two jobs and get paid peanuts. If AFLW players were making $400,000 a year like the men are, then fine. But most of them are making $19,000, or about $2500 per game, and working two jobs, and get to train two or three hours every evening after work in a short season. Katie probably makes closer to $40,000, but that’s still ten percent what the men make.

Most people reading these articles are well aware that the average female standard isn’t that good compared to the men. You’re not the first person to realise this. Needing to shout it out every five minutes is a bit like the child at the mall who sees a very overweight person and yells ‘look Mum, look how fat that person is!’ Yes, we can all see the person is fat. We just don’t need to shout it at the top of our lungs because we’re not children.

Everything I’ve written in The Roar is an attempt to figure out why the women’s standard is where it currently is, and how it might improve, and I’ve been very blunt about the current level. But again, you’ve been here twelve days.

Carlton and Dogs impress in wet and windy AFLW opening round

Again, who should I have criticised? Be specific, I’ll give you a specific answer.

Carlton and Dogs impress in wet and windy AFLW opening round

Who should I have criticised?

Carlton and Dogs impress in wet and windy AFLW opening round

VFL, SANFL and WAFL teams don’t struggle to kick it more than 35 meters. I didn’t say it was the only factor, just one factor.

Carlton and Dogs impress in wet and windy AFLW opening round

I’d guess about a half — it’s always pouring in Sydney and Brisbane this time of year, Melbourne and Perth are usually windy, etc. Will be interesting to add up the scores in sheltered grounds this season and compare them to the average — Carlton and Richmond could be getting a big home game advantage at Ikon.

Carlton and Dogs impress in wet and windy AFLW opening round

The problem with writing these in advance is that with the season approaching, facts change and I’ve been too busy to change the article. Since I wrote it, Ruth Wallace has dropped out, and it’s now emerged that Phillips will miss at least round one, and Scheer probably more, and now Deni Varnhagan will miss a few games as well. But I stand by the prediction, I think there’s a lot more good players in this side than just Philips and Randall.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Adelaide Crows

As an Eagles fan, I must remind you that AFLW contracts are only two seasons long. Plus there’s a Mandurah kid named Courtney Rowley who just won Peel Thunder B&F at 16, which is crazy — she’s naturally in the ‘Freo zone’ but the Eagles will almost certainly get her because we’ll still be picking 1st in 2022 (Freo’s going to flog us for a couple of years). Freo would love to get Rowley, Eagles would love to get Roxy, plus our midfield probably won’t need Rowley if we get Abbie Dowrick next year. Could be a swap in 2022?

AFLW 2020 season preview: Fremantle Dockers

Roxy runs very hot and cold, in her first season I’d expect her to have games where she does very little, followed by a game where she produces some of the biggest highlight plays in AFLW so far. Consistency will take a while, but she’s only 18 and it’ll be a fun journey to watch.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Fremantle Dockers

This was written before Aine Tighe did her ACL, obviously. But Freo’s ruck situation could still be okay, because Mim Strom is excellent… will still be a heck of a big burden for an 18-year-old to carry.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Fremantle Dockers

Re: the last bit, I wrote an article on that here; https://www.theroar.com.au/2019/11/19/six-things-i-want-to-see-in-aflw-season-2020/

Freo were cooked in that semi, lots of their stars were injured going into the game, and they had another three or four major injuries just in the first half. I think they might be the best coached team in the comp, could be huge this year.

Complete AFLW 2020 season preview

In a season where everyone else’s offence looks to be improving, I haven’t yet seen proof that Brisbane can score rapidly — something they struggled with even in Season One. They didn’t kick a goal in their entire first practise game. Until I see that change, I won’t rate them highly no matter who’s on their list.

Complete AFLW 2020 season preview

I think you should get Richmond pretty comfortably… but then, early season form in the AFLW is always unpredictable. Collingwood could be very close — it’d be great to have a genuine Carlton vs Collingwood blockbuster, so far in AFLW they’ve all been duds. The other player I could have mentioned is Brazzale — Harford was saying she’s apparently had a huge offseason, which reminded me that she had 26 possessions in last year’s semi-final. So many players with big upsides in Carlton.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Carlton Blues

I didn’t pick the photo 🙂

AFLW 2020 season preview: Collingwood Magpies

It could just be that North reckon this is their window. If they have a breakout year and win the title in the next couple of years, which is not impossible, it could be genius. But you look at where Adelaide’s improvement’s come from — it’s the transformation of young players like Hatchard, Marinoff, Jones, Scheer, Allen, etc, on top of all their great seniors. North will be very strong for a few more years at least following this method, but I’m not sure you can win a flag like that. And in a couple of years, teams like the Bulldogs, Carlton, even Collingwood, having built up all their young talent, could have reached a level far above North.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Kangaroos

I think they’re one of the cleverest/smartest teams, very well coached, lots of wise heads and cool decision-makers. They’re also very physically strong, lots of big bodies around the ball. But I think there are young players coming through, and new styles of play, that are a bit more electric and fast-paced. Will be interesting to see how North measures up.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Kangaroos

Practise match scores were very high, the Geelong-Bulldogs match was 47-59, between two teams that last year averaged 20 and twenty-something (can’t remember, but it was low). Will be interesting to see if North has the speed — great lineup but not as quick as Adelaide, Freo, Carlton or Bulldogs, I think.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Kangaroos

The short season makes it harder, certainly. It’s one of the things that makes predictions harder — the teams are always playing much better in the second half of the season than the first, and it’s hard to tell what a team’s actual form will be.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Geelong Cats

They’re as good a chance as anyone not-Adelaide — my predictions inside the top five are with very little confidence, they’re all good. Should really have mentioned Ash Riddell’s good form too, making that midfield even tougher.

AFLW 2020 season preview: Kangaroos

Yep, the AFLW’s going to have to keep an eye on the struggling Victorian teams tanking in the last rounds of 2021, just because they’ll know the first pick before 2022 will be Georgie Prespakis.

The AFLW's breakout stars of 2020

I watched the GWS-Brisbane practise game feed. Alyce Parker was best on ground by such a huge margin it wasn’t funny, and that includes over great players like Alicia Eva and Emily Bates. Good chance for league MVP, she’s a beast.

The AFLW's breakout stars of 2020

There’s no expansion for the next two years, so teams will keep all the talent they’ve currently got. Just looking at the top Victorian U18 girls, I reckon every Vic team will get at least 2 genuine guns next draft, irrespective of where they pick. Add the rookies, the code-hoppers and the mature-age girls emerging through the VFLW, the lineups are going to get very deep very fast. WA and QLD should be about the same — if the Eagles get Abbie Dowrick and Shanae Davison next draft, that’d be a good start.

AFLW 2020 season preview: West Coast Eagles

How long do you think it’ll be until the best of them start hitting the top level?

AFLW 2020 season preview: West Coast Eagles

The difference between state leagues and AFLW is enormous. Mo Hope was a VFLW superstar. Sarah Perkins still is. Neither can make an AFLW list.

AFLW 2020 season preview: West Coast Eagles