Win or Lose, Look To Your Stars

From shielding my eyes due to the low level, poor lighting at Ikon Park last Saturday night, I found myself then constantly covering them with both my hands. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.


Carlton continually turned over the ball to their Brisbane opponents. The Blues were outscored, out run, out played and certainly, out coached. By game’s end it was clear that this Brisbane team is not a one hit wonder from last year and the Lions will almost certainly make the grand final again based on the brand of footy they play.


Carlton on the other hand will struggle. They have as good a list as any team in the competition, having built on the 2017 version with Harris, Stevens, Li, Gee plus Jess Hosking. They are yet to play their stock players from last year, namely Maddie Kerrick.


So, what ails you so, Blue lassies from Princess Park? Yes, the game plan must be tweaked, that’s a given. But the glaring and obvious was the hole was that was left by Brianna Davey. She doesn’t kick many goals, she doesn’t take speckies or show spectacular dash. What she does as a defender is mop up, creates attacks, nullifies opponents, … she is brilliant. She is worth two players.


The AFLW is a fledging competition and has only a finite number of high level players. They were shared around as ‘marquee’ players to begin the draft process in 2016. These players generally, stand head and shoulders above the rest in the competition. The second level of players back them up and depending upon the depth of this level, the team can function well when the marquees have an off day. The third level are competent but are not line breakers, goal kickers or standouts.


And this is the point of my article. Take out a marquee player and the team struggles. Simply look at Collingwood and Mo Hope – a hundred goal player in the VFLW in 2016 but couldn’t put it together in Season 1. In the same year Katie Brennan and her ankles left the doggies floundering despite good second tier players.


Round 3 of 2018 was confirmation of their impact. No Davey and the Carlton team were a shambles. Take the Drummoyne game out (where she ruptured her ACL late in the third quarter) and stats show the blues have never won a game if she left the field or did not play.


On the other side of the coin, Adelaide struggled in the first two rounds until the game’s super star Erin Philips returned to bag four and post the team’s first win. If Philips didn’t play then one gets the feeling that the Doggies would have won the game easily.


However now the Dogs must face the dilemma again of finishing a season without Brennan leading the charge after another ankle injury sustained in this game. The rest of their 2018 Season will be a challenge without her and number 1 draft pick Isabel Huntington (out with a season ending ACL injury from Round 2) as targets up forward.


No one wants any of these women to incur season ending injuries (no matter what level they are) but if a key player goes down, the results can be devastating. Melbourne would have a huge hole if Pearce or Hickey couldn’t play, imagine the Lions without Frederick-Traub or Fremantle without Kara Donnellan.  These marquee players can’t be replaced with what the clubs have on their lists in 2018.


By 2020 and beyond as talent develops, there will be stars across the field. Until then, when crunch moments happen, shield your eyes.




  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    So true Dave. There are the superstars and some super young players, but the clubs may need larger lists. It’s become predictable – lose a star, lose a season. Though Brisbane have picked up a few that have made up for the loss of Harris. Let’s all hope for an injury free round 4. I don’t think we’ve had one of those yet.

  2. You have hit upon some salient points here, Dave.

    I admit to “shielding my eyes”, given the high number of ACL injuries this season. For the spectator, it has the affect of causing grave concern any time a player goes down. Cannot begin to imagine what teammates and family are feeling/fearing when a player hits the deck.

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