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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Couldn’t comment on individual players’ fitness, but as I see it, Hooker and Swanson are elite, Bowen and McDonald have great potential, the Kelly sisters too (Niamh in particular), Gibson is good but only plays well when surrounded by good players, Cameron, Perera, Davidson, Laurie and Smith are solid B-grade players, and the rest either have question marks or worse (Brianna Green still hasn’t played a game and there’s been no explanation why save that it seems to be medical, so she’s still unknown). That’s 12 players, but only 2 of them are really good NOW, 3 if you count Niamh’s better games. They can all put on big physical pressure (that’s how we beat the Bulldogs) but most can’t really use the ball. Unless the WAFLW junior pipeline really gets cracking, the only way the Eagles will be competitive anytime soon is with several years of priority picks granted by the AFLW.

AFLW Round 6 wrap

Fair enough.

AFLW Round 6 wrap

I should add — got the dates wrong for when Ham and Prespakis will be entering the competition, it’s one year earlier (good). Always mentally muddling because the draft and the season take place in different years.

AFLW Round 5 wrap

Thanks Matt! Now wondering if we’ll actually get to see the season finish.

AFLW Round 5 wrap

Niamh was awesome on the weekend too. She improves every game, she’s starting to learn where to run and how to beat tackles, and when she gets loose she’s seriously quick.

AFLW Round 4 wrap: If these trends continue....

Their skills are still behind the more established clubs (obviously, considering how inexperienced their playing list is) but their physical pressure is great, they’re tough and well coached. Give them a year or two to polish the skills, and get some new kids in (the Suns’ academy has four kids in the national academy who’ll be draft age next year, including Madison Levi who’s a scary combination of tall and fast) and they could start doing some real damage.

AFLW Round 4 wrap: If these trends continue....

Kalinda Howarth is a player. Amazing just how many good players the Suns have.

AFLW Round 4 wrap: If these trends continue....

Ooooh yeah. Very loud noises when Grace kicked her goal. Shows what getting an actual home game can do.

AFLW Round 4 wrap: If these trends continue....

Their midfield is struggling more without Hooker than I’d thought they would — Bowers’ disposal numbers are down, Cain did her ACL, Grieve and Stewart are good, but not that good. I think Antonio (Donnellan) is only getting good but not amazing numbers, so they don’t really have a dominant 20-possession per game midfielder right now.

The Lions advantage there could be big, and it’s where most games are won and lost.

AFLW Round 4 wrap: If these trends continue....

Thanks Jason! I actually think the Tiges will be okay in the long run, their backline in particular is young and will improve, and they’ve got a couple of forwards in Bernardi and Wakefield that means Fredrick’s lack of mobility doesn’t hurt too badly. It’s in the midfield where they’re getting smashed, Conti’s just getting no help, but if they stack up on midfield draft picks, particularly with pick 1 in the Vic draft next year (which they’ll probably get since St Kilda should finish higher) then they could be at least competitive next year, and good the year after.

The dead horse I’m always beating on The Roar is that focusing on young players usually pays more dividends than older ones. The Tigers and Eagles both recruited more mature-age players, the Saints and Suns went younger.

AFLW Round 3 wrap: So, who's the best?

So you’re tipping the Pies to only win 1 more game for the season? Big call! Especially when their last two games are Geelong and St Kilda.

I can only call it how I see it, but for me the Pies played the best footy of the season so far against Carlton. Also, beating Carlton at Ikon is a much bigger deal than flogging some expansion team, or, it seems, Geelong. And they did it without Davey. And no, I haven’t seen anyone else being as efficient around the contests yet — it’s the bane of my existence watching AFLW, I’m always shouting ‘handball!’ at the TV when players take possession in the stoppages, but they rarely do ,they’ll look for a kick (impossible in close) or get flattened leading to another stoppage. Collingwood are the first team I’ve seen who usually get the ball out and kept it moving.

AFLW Round 2 wrap: Coaching reaches the next level

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