AFLW Round 1 – Carlton v Collingwood: Here we go again

We’re not even close to the end of summer and I’m not too sure I’m ready for a winter sport. I’m still revelling in the strange feeling of satisfaction that the unexpected Richmond premiership brought, the WNBL season has come and gone (with the Melbourne Boomers falling at the last hurdle in an exciting grand final series) and there’s been enough cricket on TV to let me completely ignore the existence of tennis. But now, the AFLW season is here, carving out its place in the busy summer sport schedule.


This week, I’ve had to adjust to being back at work after a long summer holiday. Sitting still in front of a computer has proved difficult, and by Friday, as the afternoon dragged on, any pretence of work disappeared. I turned off SEN, fed up with the talkback callers mansplaining how I should be feeling about tonight’s game. Instead I worked on a Spotify playlist of favourite songs from the past few decades, taking myself back to another time when Morrisey was king.


With the work week finished we head to Princes Park to see long lines snaking out from the gates. The doors have only just been opened and in no time at all we’re settled in our seats gazing out over a pristine green oval and relaxing in the summer outdoors. Last year I had no idea what to expect. This year, I’m keen to see the development in the game and the players. I just want to enjoy the footy. I don’t want to buy into the arguments on social media and the futile comparisons with the men’s game.


I have no strong allegiance to any of the eight teams currently in the AFLW and I find myself following players rather than teams. Similarly, my dislike of some AFL men’s teams has not translated to AFLW (mainly because Hawthorn don’t have a team). I’m leaning towards Carlton tonight, but I’m not especially invested in the outcome.


One big point of difference from the men’s game is the crowd. At first glance we are in a different time; people are drinking beer and UDLs from cans. But the real difference is the variety: parents, kids, friends and couples of all ages and from all walks of life. There is no one demographic here; all facets of the community are represented. This brings life to the crowd and, like last year, there is an excited buzz in the crowd of almost 20,000 people.


With the game underway it seemed like we were in for a treat. Jasmine Garner (again) kicked the first goal of the season, giving Collingwood an early lead. Both teams moved the ball well at times and we’d seen five goals in the first half. I don’t know a lot about most of the players but we’d seen Chloe Molloy as a development player (bench warmer) for the Melbourne Boomers the past few seasons and were looking out for her. We weren’t disappointed. Molloy is tough and has a beautiful kick – on the footy field she truly shines and was clearly best on ground. I look forward to seeing more of her.


While the players’ skills have improved from last year, they are still sometimes dropping marks and having trouble picking the ball off the ground. They need to focus on the task at hand rather than think three plays ahead, but this will come with time. Brianna Davey and Tayla Harris play well for the Blues, while Steph Chiocci and Jaimee Lambert play well for the Pies.


In the second half, congested footy won out. Neither team could move the ball freely and scores were limited to two points to Carlton and one point to Collingwood. The crowd tried to will the ball through the goals, but the game that had started with so much promise fizzled out (but this was not indicative of the competition as the Melbourne v. GWS game showed the following day). A low point of the game was when Sarah D’Arcy was reported for kicking Sarah Hosking in the third quarter and lost a set shot at goal.


With the game over, the crowd dispersed into the streets of North Carlton with air of celebration: AFLW is back.


CARLTON              2.1   3.1   3.4   3.4   (22)

COLLINGWOOD    1.0   2.1   2.1   2.2   (14)



Carlton: Shierlaw, Harris, Downie

Collingwood: Garner, Barden



Carlton: Harris, Davey, Hardiman, J. Hosking, S. Hoskin

Collingwood: Molloy, Chiocci, Lambert, McIntosh, Garner


Crowd: 19,852


About Gill

As a youngster, Gill thought that frequent Richmond premierships were assured, but in the many years since 1980 she realised her folly and distracted herself by crunching numbers at a university. The magnificence of the Tigers’ 2017 season has restored her faith in Richmond and all of humanity.


  1. John Butler says

    Gill, it occurs to me that the AFLW live experience is currently as much about the crowd and the community feel as it is about the play. That’s not something that would translate to TV.

    It’s fun to watch the competition grow.


  2. Hi John

    We’ve been lucky with beautiful summer nights two years in a row and I love that the crowd is so diverse. The AFL must be doing something right to get me to a Carlton v. Collingwood game.

  3. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Gillian,
    great night and interesting game. Loved watching newbies like Molloy and of course, Brianna, Brittany Bonnici and Jasmine. It was intense the whole game, and we were totally engaged. It was a fabulous night.

    Catch up with you next time??

  4. See you at a game soon Yvette. I have quite a few players who i want to see live, so will be following them rather than a single team.

  5. A knee expert has urged parents not to shield their daughters from footy, after the injury-marred start to the AFLW season. Daria Bannister (Western Bulldogs), Brianna Davey (Carlton) and Isabel Huntington (Western Bulldogs) have been sidelined for months after rupturing their anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL). The Bulldogs confirmed on Monday Huntington — the number one draft pick in last year’s AFLW draft — would miss the rest of the season after going down in Sunday’s game against the Brisbane Lions.

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