Huge upsets, close finishes and draws – the AFLW has it all and it’s only Round 4!
With the season reaching the half-way point, this weekend could make or break a number of teams seasons.
On top of that, one team will finally record their first win for the season… unless there’s another draw.
It’s set to be another fascinating round of footy and we’ve got Round 4 of the AFLW covered right here in our preview and tips.
Friday 28 February, 5:40pm, Marvel Stadium
Originally scheduled for Vic Park, the Magpies and Dees kick-off what is going to be a special night of football at Marvel Stadium as the curtain raiser for the State of Origin Bushfire Relief match.
But there’s nothing reserves, curtain raiser or charity about this match, this could easily be considered game of the round.
Melbourne goes into this game coming off a shock five point loss to St.Kilda in what could prove yet again to be a costly loss for them come finals time.
The Dees dominated all over the ground last week winning the inside 50s 31-17, in the first quarter they got 14 out of 18 inside 50s along with scoring shots nine to four but not where it mattered, goals.
Bad kicking is bad football, especially in the AFLW where scoring can be low as was the case for Melbourne last weekend.
Melbourne now sit fourth on the Conference B ladder and can’t afford to keep producing these results if they want to finally crack into finals football.
The Dees have kicked eight goals and 20 behinds so far this season but it’s worth factoring that they’ve played in windy conditions at Casey Fields and Moorabbin so playing under the roof at Marvel Stadium will give them the perfect chance to get a few through the big sticks.
Collingwood were close to getting the job done over Freo in Perth last week only to fall short by three points.
The Pies found themselves with plenty of footy and the likes of Jamiee Lambert had 32 disposals and a goal but were simply outclassed by Freo as they were able to convert when it mattered.
It’s been a really impressive start from the Magpies who have gone from last season’s overall wooden spooners to sitting in second spot of the Conference B ladder three rounds in and playing some of the most entertaining football in the league.
Collingwood can really stake a claim as a finals contender in this game and while Melbourne go in as favorites, the Magpies have shown they can really take it up to the AFLW’s best.
Back Collingwood @ $2.50
Saturday 29 February, 3:10pm, Queen Elizabeth Oval (Bendigo)
Bendigo plays host to the Owen’s as the 0-3 Richmond takes on the 0-3 Geelong in this Conference A matchup.
It’s obvious that Richmond (who are in their first AFLW season) are a developing team and the Cats have had their chances in all three matches but have fallen short each time.
Geelong almost got their first win of the season last week remaining within five points of Adelaide until the final minutes of the game.
It was a gallant loss for the Cats as their intensity really lifted in the second half of the match.
The last minute was an absolute thriller and had Maddy McMahon not been paid a deliberate rushed behind, they may have had enough time to get the ball down to the other end to seal the game.
Geelong has shown in the first three rounds of AFLW that they can really play some top football but keeping it consistent for four full quarters has been a struggle.
For the Tigers, they were schooled by premiership favourites North Melbourne going down to them by 56 points.
Richmond has shown they can be competitive, especially early in the matches but the game was over by the second quarter as North put on 13 inside 50s to just one for the Tigers along with five unanswered goals.
It took until the third quarter of last weeks match for the Tigers to score a goal and in all three of their first AFLW matches, Richmond has only scored two goals per match.
Despite both teams going into this game without a win this season, Geelong go into the match clear favorites and should be able get the job done over Richmond who are still a work in progress.
Back Geelong to beat the Line (-13.5) @ $1.90
Gold Coast Suns
Saturday 29 February, 5:10pm, Arden Street Oval
It’s another nostalgic and sentimental homecoming in the AFLW as North Melbourne play their first match at Arden Street for premiership points of any sort since Round 20, 1985 in the then VFL.
It’s also somewhat ironic that North’s Arden Street homecoming involves playing the Gold Coast Suns – the club formed in the aftermath of the Roos saying no to an offer to relocate to Queensland 12 years ago.
History lesson and nostalgia aside, this Conference A match is set to be one of the more fascinating of AFLW Round 4.
North Melbourne have established themselves as one of the teams to beat in AFLW 2020 having smashed the Tigers last weekend by 56 points, keeping them goalless in the first half and the girls achieving their highest ever (and very accurate) AFLW score of 12-4 (76)
The Kangas have plenty of talent and depth and Ash Riddell’s efforts particualy in the first half last weekend with 17 disposals did some serious damage to Richmond as she dominated all over the ground.
After losing by only two points in Round 1, North have bounced back with solid wins over the Giants and Tigers to sit second on the Conference A ladder.
A win over the Gold Coast Suns at Arden Street will give them a buffer to remain in the hunt to play finals as the expanded competition and conference system works in their favor.
In only three games of their AFLW existence –the Gold Coast Suns have suffered a one point loss to GWS, an 11 point win over Richmond and a draw in the historic first Q Clash with the Brisbane Lions last weekend.
There hasn’t been a dull moment in any of the Suns AFLW games and you could argue they are the most entertaining team to watch.
Kalindia Howarth has proven to be a star for the Suns and kicked three out of the four Gold Coast goals last weekend.
The bookies have the line at -18.5 in favour of the Kangaroos, but backing the Suns at the line has proven to be one of the best value bets so far in AFLW 2020 and the 18.5 start is quite generous.
If the Suns can put some pressure on North, they might be able to give them a little scare in their Arden Street homecoming.
Back Gold Coast Suns to Cover the Line (+18.5) @ $1.90
West Coast Eagles
Saturday 29 February, 7:10pm, Leederville Oval
It’s a must-win for the Western Bulldogs if they want to keep their season alive as they travel to Perth to play expansion side West Coast in this Conference B matchup.
The Bulldogs started the season well with a big win over St.Kilda but have since suffered back-to-back losses to Melbourne by 20 points and Carlton by 21 points, both at their home ground and finding themselves fifth on the Conference B ladder desperately needing a win to stay in the hunt.
The Dogs midfield has been a highlight for them this season and they pushed Carlton right until the end but were simply outclassed.
Conceding the first three goals of the game was never going to help their cause last weekend either.
West Coast were schooled by GWS last weekend going down to them by 28 points.
The Eagles remained scoreless until the fourth quarter of the match and never looked in it from the start.
As is to be expected, West Coast are a work in progress in their maiden AFLW season and it would be nice to get their historic first win in front of their home fans on the weekend, but with the more experienced Bulldogs unit with their backs against the wall and a road trip makes for a very dangerous combination.
The Western Bulldogs should win this and get their 2020 AFLW campaign back on track.
Back Western Bulldogs to beat the line (-12.5) @ $1.90
Sunday 1 March, 1:10pm, Richmond Oval
The Crows and Blues meet for the first time since last years AFLW Grand Final when the Crows demolished the Blues by 43 points in front of a record crowd of 53,034 at Adelaide Oval.
In what is a cross conference match, both teams are coming off solid wins in Round 3 and have shown they are in the mix for the business end of the season.
Adelaide’s quest for back-to-back premierships gained some serious momentum with a thrilling 11 point win over Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.
Danielle Ponter kicking four goals and Ebony Marinoff with 25 disposals played a vital role in the Crows victory as they now have a 2-1 record and still managed to get the job done without superstar Erin Phillips in the team.
Carlton are also shaping up nicely.
The Blues sit third on the Conference B table with a healthy percentage.
Last weekend’s 22 point win over the Western Bulldogs saw the youth of the Blues really shine with Georgia Gee kicking three goals and 2019 Rising Star Madison Prespakis a ball magnet with 24 disposals.
18 year old Lucy McEvoy is also showing she going to be quite the player with 19 disposals and a goal to her name.
Adelaide will go into this match favorite but have been pushed in both their wins this season.
While it won’t replace the hurt of going down in the Grand Final, Carlton have been gearing themselves to get one up against the Crows and the form line suggests this is the perfect opportunity.
The Blues make for a great value bet at the head to head market at $2.50 and worth a shot.
Back Carlton @ $2.50
Sunday 1 March, 3:10pm, RSEA Park (Moorabbin)
Coming off their historic first AFLW win against Melbourne, the Saints are back at Moorabbin to take on the undefeated Fremantle in this Conference B matchup.
Freo escaped an upset loss to Collingwood last week, getting the job done by three points.
The Dockers were smashed in the inside 50s, particularly in the first half but managed to make the most of it when it counted and managed to keep the Pies to one goal in the second half.
Fremantle are now the team to beat and it’s a daunting task for St. Kilda even if the game is at Moorabbin.
The G-Train is back at the Saints, but in AFLW form in the name of Caitlan Graiser, who kicked two-goals in their historic first win over the Demons last weekend.
After trailing for most of the night, Graser’s mark from the boundary line and bomb from 50 meters proved to be the matchwinner for the Saints.
In the first three games of their AFLW story, St.Kilda has shown improvement each week and they’ll go into this game with plenty of confidence.
This is also the first time Freo have played outside of Perth this season and the Saints will relish the challenge.
The market has the line -10.5 in favour of the Dockers but if the Saints can keep up their momentum they’ll push them to their limits.
Back St. Kilda to cover the Line (+10.5) @ $1.90
Sunday 1 March, 5:10pm, Hickey Park
Round 4 finishes off with the Lions playing host to the Giants in this Conference A clash.
While many had written off Brisbane, they currently sit top of the conference ladder with two wins and last weekend’s draw with intrastate rivals the Gold Coast Suns.
Brisbane has established itself as a fast-finishing team this season, however they were kept at bay last weekend, held to just one behind by a dogged Suns defence and squandering a 15 point lead.
Most of the football was in Brisbane’s 50 in the last quarter but the Lions just couldn’t convert, with the game resulting in a draw.
They will need to return to the fast-finishing ways we saw in the first two weeks of the competition if they are going to get the job done over GWS.
The Giants did it easy over West Coast last weekend, keeping them scoreless until the final quarter with the likes of Alyce Parker, Bec Privitelli and Jacinda Barclay being amongst their best in their 28 point win.
Both the Lions and Giants play a very similar fast finishing and fast ball movement style of football and you should expect this one to go down to the wire.
Tip wise – it’s best to play it safe and back the Lions to get the job done. Just.
Back Brisbane @ $1.55
We’re already at the half way mark of the 2019 AFLW season and we have a serious problem on our hands – the conference system.
The AFL’s decision to split the AFLW into two conferences with five teams in each and the top two in each conference playing off in finals is a disaster with all five sides in conference A clearly the better teams of the competition.
No team in conference B has beaten a conference A side so far this season and the competition is facing the real prospect of a finals series where teams ranked 7th and 8th this season play teams 1 and 2, making the 3rd and 4th placed teams miss out if current trends persist.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
The standard of football has improved significantly this season and there are five great matches set to take place this weekend where our tips can be found below.
Saturday 23 February, 4:45pm, GMHBA Stadium
Coming off their first win in over a year Carlton heads down the highway to face the Cats at the venue formally known as Kardinia Park.
Not only have Carlton won their first game in over a year, they now sit on top of the conference B table with Geelong second.
That’s right, this is a top of the table clash.
This would normally be impressive, however, if it were the normal AFL ladder it would be a clash between sixth and seventh in a 10 team competition.
Blues young gun Maddy Prespakis has proved her worth in her first couple of matches and is on track to win the AFLW Rising Star Award and had four marks, three goals and 21 disposals to her name in the Blues 29 point win over GWS.
Carlton’s final score of 10-5 (65) was their biggest in their AFLW history.
Tayla Harris was also dominant for the Blues, but she will miss this match with a one-match suspension for rough conduct.
The Cats were dominated by the Crows in their first AFLW interstate trip.
Geelong had 16 inside 50s compared to Adelaide’s 41 with the Crows also gaining 254 disposals to the Cats 170.
Mel Hickey and prized recruit Richelle Cranston were back for Cats but Adelaide was simply too good for them going down by 29 points.
While normally, one should never back against Geelong at the Cattery, Carlton has been clear improvers over the first three rounds under their new coach Daniel Harford and should prove too good for the Cats in what should be a close encounter.
BACK CARLTON TO BEAT THE LINE -5.5 POINTS @ $1.88
Saturday 23 February, 7:15pm, Whitten Oval
With both sides coming off losses last weekend, the Western Bulldogs host Brisbane at the Whitten Oval in another cross-conference matchup and a re-match of last years AFLW Grand Final.
Not one Group B team has beaten a Group A team so far in AFLW season 2019.
In a clash between the premiers and the contenders, the Doggies came off second best going down to North Melbourne by 31 points in Launceston last Friday night.
With zero goals scored in the first quarter, North Melbourne kicked five unanswered and had a 30 point lead at half-time.
The Bulldogs never looked in the game despite keeping the Roos scoreless for the second term.
Skipper Katie Brennan was moved up the ground to try and get the Dogs back in the game but it denied their forward line a suitable target.
The Brisbane Lions also struggled in their match against Melbourne at home last week.
Melbourne kicked five unanswered goals and the Lions trailed by 40 points at half-time.
The two-time Grand Finalists have seen some significant changes in their playing list and it shows.
With six debutants already this season the Lions are trying to find their groove and need some of their top end, experienced players to step up if they are going to find themselves back in the business end of the season.
Despite this, thanks to the conference system Brisbane find themselves 3rd on the B table and still in a chance.
As has been the trend with all of the “cross-conference” matches this AFLW season, the Western Bulldogs should be simply too good for the Lions on their home deck.
BACK WESTERN BULLDOGS TO BEAT THE LINE -7.5 POINTS @ $1.88
Saturday 23 February, 9:05pm, TIO Stadium
Adelaide plays host to Fremantle in Darwin in what is arguably the match of the Round.
Both sides couldn’t be more impressive in their respective matches last weekend.
In an impressive display of high scoring, attacking footy Adelaide easily accounted for Geelong by 29 points.
Last year’s AFLW rising star, Crows midfielder Ebony Marinoff was a ball magnet with 33 possessions to her name along with Anne Hatchard with 27 touches.
The ever-reliable Erin Phillips put on a masterclass for the new girls in town the Cats with three goals.
The Crows score of 10. 6 (66) was the Crows highest so far this season and the highest of Round 4.
Fremantle couldn’t have started season 2019 any better with three wins from three games but this upcoming match against the Crows will be their biggest test yet.
The Dockers easily accounted for a struggling Collingwood at home last weekend booting 7-9 (51) and are currently the highest scoring team so far in AFLW 2019.
Freo’s forward line of Ashley Sharp, Kellie Gibson, Ebony Antonio and Gemma Houghton have proven a force to be reckoned with.
Currently, Fremantle is second on the AFLW Conference A ladder with the Crows sitting in fourth place under the controversial system.
Both sides should be in finals contention and given the attacking high scoring and attacking style of footy they play this is set to be a cracker of a match.
In what is a toss of a coin, Freo’s style of play has made them one of the best AFLW teams to watch and they should be able to prove they mean business in season 2019 with a win on the road this weekend.
BACK FREMANTLE TO WIN @ $2.10
Sunday 24 February, 2:05pm, Morwell Recreation Reserve
Two of the more disappointing teams so far in season 2019 meet in Morwell in regional Victoria this weekend.
Despite both sides yet to register a win after three games Collingwood and GWS remain in finals contention in a seven-round competition thanks to the conference system.
It has been a shocking start to the season for the Magpies.
Collingwood is undermanned and struggling mostly thanks to good players jumping ship to North Melbourne and Geelong and injury.
Cross-Code Netballer/footy player Ash Brazill has been working hard in the backline for the Pies and ruck Eliza Hynes and Brazill combined to win the hit-outs 36-15 as they went down to Freo.
The good news is Collingwood was able to double their score after Round Two.
The bad news is that score was 2. 6 (18) compared to 1. 3 (9) the previous week.
GWS became the first team to lose to Carlton in over a year last weekend in Blacktown.
Four unanswered goals from the Blues in the second quarter put the Giants out of contention for the rest of the match.
Irish import Yvonne Bonner was a standout for GWS with 13 disposals, eight marks and put herself in contention for goal of the year with an awesome left-foot snapshot in the second quarter.
The GWS forward line has plenty of players that on their day can be a formidable force.
Cora Staunton, Christina Bernardi, Yvonne Bonner and Jacinda Barclay can be attacking and get the footy down quickly.
The Giants were still in striking distance trailing by 18 points at three-quarter time.
They will want to show no mercy this Sunday by taking full advantage of Collingwood’s weak forward and midfield stocks and they should easily get their first win on the board for season 2019.
BACK GWS GIANTS TO WIN 25+ POINTS
Sunday 24 February, 4:05pm, Casey Fields
Melbourne hosts North Melbourne in a clash of conference A heavyweights this Sunday at Casey Fields.
The game will also be the first time North Melbourne’s AFLW team has actually played in Victoria.
Both sides are coming off big Round Three wins.
North Melbourne proved to the AFLW world that they are the premiership favourite easily accounting for the Western Bulldogs by 31 points in Launceston.
After a goalless first quarter from both sides, the Kangaroos piled on five unanswered goals in the second term giving them a 30 point lead at the main break.
The debutant Courtney Munn dominated for the Roos.
With four goals to her name she proved that North’s list stacked with talent bats deep.
It was a similar story for Melbourne last week as they easily accounted for Brisbane by 39 points.
The Dees also got on a run of five unanswered goals in the second quarter and forward Aliesha Newman played a big part in that.
Newman kicked three first half goals and was amongst the Dees best.
Melbourne also dominated in the midfield with Karen Paxman getting 24 disposals and Lauren Pearce with 31 touches.
It’s already clear that North Melbourne is the team to beat this AFLW season.
Melbourne should be able to match it with them but should North find an extra gear, it will be hard for the Dees to play catch-up Football.
BACK MELBOURNE AGAINST THE LINE +8.5 POINTS @ $1.88
It’s round 4 of the AFLW season and we’re already at the halfway point of the season. With the exception of Collingwood, every team has a win on the board and the premiership race is wide open especially after Fremantle’s upset against Melbourne and the thriller between the Crows and the Dogs last weekend.
We have analysed all four games set to take place this weekend and our complete AFLW Round 4 tips can be found below.
Friday 23 February, 7:05pm, Whitten Oval
Bulldogs 86 – Carlton 13
Friday night’s clash looms as a must-win for both sides if they are to keep their Grand Final hopes alive.
Both the Bulldogs and the Blues are coming off their first defeats of the seasons with losses to Adelaide and Brisbane respectively last week.
Carlton was disappointing against the Lions at home last week with the Blues only able to kick two goals for the entire match going down by 22 points. So far in AFLW season, 2018 Carlton have only kicked a total of eight goals.
The Western Bulldogs nearly defeated Adelaide on the road last week going down by only seven points in what was an exhilarating contest dominated by Crows superstar Erin Phillips.
Along with the close loss to the Crows, the ankle injury of their captain Katie Brennan will be a major out for them but the depth of their list with the likes of Ellie Blackburn, Emma Kearney and Asling Utri should put them in good stead for this Friday’s game.
For Carlton, Tayla Harris is out this week after being suspended for one match for striking along which is another significant out for the Blues after their captain Brianna Davey went out for the season with a knee injury in round two.
Expect both teams to come out fighting this Friday night, but the Bulldogs should be too strong on their home deck.
Back Western Bulldogs To Beat The Line (-5.5 Points)
Saturday 24 February, 4:35pm, South Pine Sports Complex
Brisbane 22 – Fremantle 15
Coming off a big win over premiership favourites Melbourne last week, Fremantle head to Brisbane to take on the top of the table Lions.
The Dockers have been able to be kept scoreless in the first quarter two weeks in a row and go on to win their past two matches and have been one of the big improvers this season after only winning one match/one draw last season.
Along with having the longest road trip in AFL and five days between games the Dockers will have to face Brisbane who has been one of the inform sides of the AFLW competition since it started.
The Lions easily accounted for Carlton in the dim lighting at Princes Park last week with a 22 point win and at the current rate look every chance to avenge their grand final loss of 2017, sitting on top of the ladder on percentage.
Brisbane should be too good for Fremantle this Saturday at home and should be able to remain in the top two at the halfway point of the season
Back Brisbane Lions To Beat The Line (-8.5 Points)
Saturday 24 February, 6:40pm, TIO Traeger Park
Melbourne 24 – Collingwood 58
Collingwood remains the only team yet to register a win this season and they face a Melbourne side desperate to make amends for their loss to Fremantle in Perth last week.
The Magpies were able to start strong in their game against GWS last week but the Giants fast running and attacking game style was able to see Collingwood go down by 13 points at their home ground.
Sarah D’Arcy comes back into the Collingwood squad back from her two-week suspension and should add some spark to the Pies forward stocks along with a gradually improving Mo Hope but they may struggle in the heat of Alice Springs and their inaccurate kicking has been a weakness for the team so far this season.
Despite going down to Freo by five points last week, Melbourne will want to bring out their very best as they missed out on playing in the 2017 Grand Final by percentage last season.
It will be the Dees objective to get a higher score as possible and get their season back on track to ensure that history does not repeat itself this year sitting second on the ladder only on percentage.
With the competition tight in this AFLW season, Melbourne cannot afford to drop this game or win a close one.
They should be too good for the Pies in Alice Springs this Saturday.
Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (-12.5 Points)
Sunday 25 February, 4:35pm, Blacktown ISP
GWS 19 – Adelaide 19
The Giants come off an impressive 13 point win on the road against Collingwood and the Crows registered their first win of the season with an Erin Phillips inspired win over the Western Bulldogs.
GWS captain Alicia Eva was an inspiration for the team last week with 23 disposals and being named best on the ground and has been an absolute ball-magnet for the Giants this season.
The game was also the first senior AFL win for their coach Alan McConnell who had a record of eleven losses as senior coach in two separate stints as Fitzroy caretaker coach in their last years of 1995 and 1996.
Crows captain and 2017 AFLW MVP Erin Phillips missed the first two games with injury and made her impact felt on the team on her return last weekend. Phillips dominated the game and was able to steer the Crows to a sensational five-point win over the Western Bulldogs.
The Giants will be able to put up a challenge, but the class and skill of Adelaide, especially with Phillips, should be too good for GWS on Sunday.
Back Adelaide To Beat The Line (-5.5 Points)