AFLW What we learned in the first round
There’s always a lot of anticipation ahead of the first round: rookies have changed sides, the latest signings are entering the arena, impressions from new coaches have yet to be seen (and judged) and all of the pre-season efforts must be deployed.
Moreover, the fans waited a long time to shout “Go referee!” on the floor/screen (a proven fun activity). And the conclusion of the first round gave us a lot to talk about.
Notably, the scale seems more unpredictable than before; Reigning premiers Brisbane landed bottom after the Crows got revenge in the Grand Final rematch, while flag favorites Melbourne picked up a convincing victory over the Western Bulldogs and went through among the top four – a position most would think they wouldn’t make.
A sniper from Richmond racked up the third-highest percentage in the round (behind Adelaide and Fremantle) against St Kilda, while Geelong and Gold Coast trail in the middle of the standings after gallant performances.
Of course, nothing can be certain after the first round, but the matches give some indication of what’s to come this season.
So with everything that’s happened, here are some of the biggest lessons we learned on the pitch during and after the first round.
Footy can be a cruel game
If there was a slogan of the round, it would be this: football can be such a cruel game. The footy gods appeared to have given up on some stars’ knees as the weekend saw a series of injuries that touched fans’ collective hearts and left somber accents at the end of the round.
First, Bulldogs star Izzy Huntington fell to the ground clutching her knee in the clash against Melbourne and, as a player whose ACL had previously torn both knees, gave a air of conscious devastation. Fans reacted with grief and the sense of worry was palpable from the stands.
The following day, Brisbane’s ever-reliable Kate Lutkins also suffered an innocuous knee injury in the Grand Final rematch against Adelaide and Collingwood co-captain and best and fairest winner of 2021 Bri Davey , did the same, being helped a tearful Ikon Park in the latter stages of the rivalry game against the Blues. If that wasn’t enough, before the knees, GWS star and new rookie Chloe Dalton looked broken when a shoulder injury ruled her out of the game against the Suns, a game in which she sat. proved to be crucial.
The highs in #AFLW are so high. But the stockings break you down.
— Lucy Race (@Racey19) January 9, 2022
I don’t think I can handle many more of these injuries this weekend 💔 #AFLW
— Kaitlyn Ashmore (@kaitashmore) January 9, 2022
The injuries have caused an outcry on social media, with many fans calling for answers on players’ duty of care, especially as they are part-time athletes with other jobs outside of the sport. summer sports.
Frankston is a good place for football
You’d be forgiven for thinking there wouldn’t be many people at the Skybus stadium in Frankston for the season opener between St Kilda and Richmond. Not because it wasn’t supposed to be an exciting game or that city dwellers had to travel to Melbourne’s Bay Area for it, but rather earlier today the suburbs were experiencing flash flooding and COVID cases were on the rise. .
But even when the first siren sounded, there was a queue to get in and crowds bustling for a place at the border. Fans flocked to the stadium eagerly and eagerly.
You could hear the sentiments of “how good is the footy in Frankston?” and “Damn, the stadium looks good, doesn’t it” from the boundary, demonstrating that expanding the rotation of stadiums in which games are played isn’t a bad idea.
Frankston Oval proved to be a more than adequate ground to host the season opener fanfare and pretty much explained why more games should be played out of town. Good food, good beer and a very boisterous crowd that seemed happy to be there (maybe more Tigers fans than Saints fans).
This season there will be no easy victories
The first round showed us that there will be no easy victories this season.
When North Melbourne met Geelong in the first round last season, they beat the Cats by 62 points. This time, however, the Roos came away with a hard-fought eight-point victory.
Geelong displayed relentless pressure that kept their opponents scoreless in the second term and into the third and boasted a competitive midfield that showed plenty of promise for the season ahead.
Likewise, the Suns were seen as an easy win last season (understandable as the club didn’t pick up a single win) but exited in the first round with a more competitive team. They were locked in a tussle with GWS for most of the game, exhibiting much-contested and persistent pressure, before succumbing to a 15-point loss.
One thing is for sure – you don’t want to be even slightly off your game in 2022.
50m penalties can be very expensive
When new rules come into effect, it is always important that players are familiar with them.
This is especially the case when breaking them costs 50-yard penalties, which can cost games. After the round, it’s something Carlton is acutely aware of as some lapse in discipline saw them given three separate 50-yard penalties, all of which resulted in Collingwood goals.
It’s far too heavy a price to pay in a league where goals can still be scarce.
The Blues were their worst enemy in the 6.8-3.7 loss.
Oh yeah, Georgie Prespakis is really that good
When Geelong took the field against North Melbourne, all eyes were on the hugely publicized No. 2 draft pick, Georgie Prespakis. Ten of the 14 skippers in the competition predicted Carlton’s sister Maddy would win the Rising Star award – as did four of ESPN’s six staffers in our season predictions.
It was clear that the conscript on the block at the cattery was going to be good, but this round was a test of only how good is this. To which this answer was ‘very’.
In his Arden Street debut, the prolific and often-damaging midfielder racked up 20 takedowns (12 over) and six tackles, and led the Cats with seven clearances, five inside 50 and 402 yards gained – not bad for a first player! Notably, its long sleeves were also a hit.
Now let’s all take a break, pray for the knees and rest for Round 2.