“We gave away some pretty simple scoring opportunities to Essendon in that second half, which we will take a lot of learning from and acknowledge that we’ve got a group of girls who are 18, 19, 20 [years old] and it’s really their second exposure at this level.
“[I was] really happy with our ability to execute our game style and put out our strongest team in that first half.”
Essendon, on the other hand, took some time finding their feet during the opening half but returned from the main break with increased ferocity and intensity, and were rewarded for it on the scoreboard.
Maddy Prespakis got busy in the midfield, while premiership player Toogood was a source of both leadership and star power, and newbie Paige Scott labelled herself as one to watch, both defensively and offensively.
Renee Tierney proved a reliable marking target, taking grabs in both forward pockets, while Amber Clarke, who went in the draft at pick four, was a good link up at half-forward and Federica Frew proved dangerous in front of goal with two majors in the final quarter. When Port were in attack, Essendon’s defence did a good job of holding strong, much to the credit of Mia van Dyke.
Inexperienced Swans go down to Pies
In Blacktown, Sydney suffered a five-goal loss to Collingwood on Saturday as they made their AFLW start, but were able to sustain pressure for long bursts against the much more experienced opposition, including around the contest.
The Swans’ list doesn’t feature a lot of previous AFLW experience, making coming up against a finals-experienced team in Collingwood a tough ask. However, the new kids on the block kept things looking pretty even until half-time, before the Pies took control in the second half as the Swans’ defence began to falter.
Sydney coach Scott Gowans said he was pleased with the plenty of positive signs he saw from things the team have been working on at training.
“When Collingwood got momentum in that second half, we were struggling to stop it and that’s something we will be working on next week,” said Gowans.
“What do we do, what are the mechanisms we can use just around things like communication, on-field leadership as far as the collective group, players being able to get their teammates up and going, those types of things.”
“We have touched on team defence but not a lot and it showed so that it’s something we need to spend more time on but I was really pleased with that first half. I thought there were some really good elements to it, clearances, time in forward half etc.”
Hawks held to one goal in loss to Tigers
On Sunday, Hawthorn fans were treated to a first taste of what’s to come for the inaugural women’s team as the Hawks took on Richmond in the first instalment of a double-header at the MCG.
Richmond held Hawthorn to just one goal and two behinds in their 44-point victory, and overrun the newly put together side.
Hawthorn put up some good defensive pressure, especially from Jess Duffin and Jenna Richardson, and held off a fierce and more-experienced Richmond for the majority of the game, before the Tigers really put their foot down in the final term and unravelled the Hawks’ structure.
Coming up against the Tigers’ elite midfield – which includes Monique Conti, Jess Hosking, Ellie McKenzie and Grace Egan – Hawthorn’s prized new draftee Jasmine Fleming, paired with captain Tilly Lucas-Rodd, put up a good fight. Kaitlyn Ashmore was also ferocious, laying some crunching tackles and applying pressure to Richmond’s attack, but it wasn’t enough.
Overall Hawthorn looked the part of a new side, patchy in game style and missing some connection but had some good passages of play and linking teamwork that showed promise. They just need to find some avenues to goal.
In other news, Fremantle star forward Ebony Antonio injured her right knee in Saturday’s clash against West Coast and was helped from the ground.
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