Obviously hot conditions and plenty of changes, but seemed like a good showing from a few - both regulars and newcomers. We really seemed to control a lot of the match - got on top early and slowly drew away, especially the third quarter. Highlight was the two Irishwomen scoring back-to-back goals within a couple of minutes. Staunton was a good target up forward, and has worked on her straight kicking (3 goals). Yvonne Bonner, her countrywoman, played well both up front and off half back (at times) and kicked a very nice straight goal from a mark. Schmidt impressed up forward too, scoring 3 goals. Zreika stood out several times with her run and attack. The 18-year old Alyce Parker had some good touches, as did Courtney Gum, and Bernadi (from Collingwood I think). Barr, Farrugia, Monahan, and O'Dea all had a couple of nice highlights each. McKinnon was solid in ruck. Hard to tell the backline as individuals (fixed long-range camera angle) but did well to keep Brisbane's forward line at bay. Overall a solid hitout, and seems promising for the season - the midfield were getting plenty of ball and the forward line did something with it to score goals.
The word if caution is we beat them easily at Tom Wills oval in a practice match last year, and then lost the one that mattered. We have them in round 1 this year. I am looking forward to the game on Sarurday week though. I assume FTA in Sydney this year. I can cast to the TV from the app but the quality is strangely poor.
Greater Western Sydney's AFLW team has to do things a bit differently to its counterparts. With a young and still-developing participation base in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, the Giants have had to look outside their natural boundaries to attract players in the short-term.
The part-time nature of the competition – pre-season runs for around 10 weeks, and the season itself for nine (including finals) – means it can be tricky to convince players to move states, even countries, for a five-month competition.
The Giants enjoyed a rapid rise up the ladder in 2018. Under new coach Alan McConnell, they went from wooden-spooners to playing for a Grand Final spot in the final round.
Womens.afl spent three days at the club two weeks before the start of the season. The resulting four-part series, One Giant Family, will explore what makes this AFLW side tick, how it attracts and maintains talent, and the role of McConnell as ringmaster.
GREATER Western Sydney forward Delma Gisu has travelled further than most for her AFL Women's opportunity. "I wanted to be the first Torres Strait Islander girl to make the AFLW," Gisu said. The 22-year-old is from Mer (or Murray) Island. Some 250km off the north coast of Queensland, Mer is one of the most isolated islands in the Torres Strait. Sydney is a world away from Mer Island. Her move south is also an example of the Giants having to look outside the square when it comes to recruiting (Irishwomen Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner are others).
The team's welfare manager, Gail Wykes, has worked closely with Gisu since she arrived in November. Wykes is fondly known as the team mum. Before her time at the Giants, she worked for Softball NSW, even going to the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 as manager of the Australian team. She was also the director of education and training at Fire and Rescue NSW before coming out of retirement to support the Giants. Wykes says she doesn't know much about football, but the players clearly adore her. She is an integral part of making the club a second home. In the space of five minutes, as players wander past, she asks Britt Perry about her grandmother's health, another player about her work shifts, and then commiserates with Staunton, who mock-complains her teammates are still picking on her accent in her second year.
Maddy Collier – GWS Giants – Midfield A breakout contender, Collier has had a relatively nondescript first couple of seasons in AFLW. Playing just four games in 2018 after a solid 2017, Collier enjoyed a really nice season with the Bombers in VFLW, developing her overall game to become better equipped for the big league. Seemingly ready for more minutes and greater midfield time, Collier has all the attributes to standout for the Giants, with her ball use and ability to get involved in scoring chains a positive. Where second-year blues may have been a factor, Collier’s third season should show why she is truly a player to watch in the future. Fans should keep tabs.
Hopefully! Plus Courtney Gum, Alicia Eva, Alyce Parker, Cora Staunton, Yvonne Bonner, Jess Dal Pos ...
Heading into season three of the AFL Women's competition, we've seen the make-up of teams change significantly from season to season. But the GIANTS appear to have a centre-square combination that could make an impact for the next 10 years. Ruck Erin McKinnon, who already has AFLW All Australian honours under her belt at just 20, taps it down to hard-bodied midfielder Alyce Parker, who is just 18 but already adept at the 'don't argue' and clearing kick across her body.
The pair rose through the junior ranks of NSW/ACT football together over the past four years, first playing in tandem at a schoolgirls' under-16 tournament in Sydney in 2014. Although Parker might currently have a few players ahead of her in the GIANTS' pecking order (including Courtney Gum, Alicia Eva and Jess Dal Pos), she shapes as an excellent long-term prospect for the club. The duo are living together in an apartment just a seven-minute walk from the club's training base at the WestConnex Centre at the Olympic Park precinct. "I was extremely lucky in juniors and at state level playing with Erin, who was so dominant," Parker said. "Every year I played with her, not to pump up her tyres, she helped me develop. We would get so much of the ball, because we knew if 'Ez' was in the ruck, she'd win 80 per cent of the time."
McKinnon is excited by the prospect of bringing that bond to AFLW grounds in 2019. "We had a very good connection. I knew where she was running, and I was able to tap it to her. With her contested body work, she'd use her big left foot to snap it into the forward line," McKinnon said. "We have a bit of a joke going that she's the reason I got three (under-18) All Australian nominations," Parker said, not entirely joking.
I love what Courtney Gum and Alicia Eva brought to the team last year - experienced players that they are - but you just have to get excited at the prospect of McKinnon and Parker as long term players for GWS. Hopefully she gets game time this year to learn from Gum (and the others) and show her talent.