AFLW Round 6 – GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs: No barrier gets in the way of these Giants!

Greater Western Sydney v Western Bulldogs

UNSW Canberra Oval (Formerly Manuka Oval)

Saturday, 10 March 2018, 7.05pm


On International Women’s Day on Thursday we had further reason to consider the important role the AFLW players have in advancing their teams, their league, their sport and, as a result, their gender.


Watching a video on the GWS Giants Facebook page about the occasion gave me cause to reflect that these women are creating a pathway that they never had as children, or if they had it, it was soon blocked at a certain age, and in turn ensuring those pathways exist for women in the future.


This is particularly true of the Giants’ team, who are forging ahead in a sport that their home state hasn’t traditionally embraced when played by the men, let alone when played by the women. This journey to spread the word of Australian Rules footy means the Giants’ home games are spread out throughout  Sydney and extend into Canberra, a place with a slightly more solid AFL history than other parts of NSW, but that means that the concept of a Giants’ home game is one in name only – another barrier to be conquered.


The thing with this team is that they have been conquering many challenges. Finish last in your first season? That’s ok, bounce back and almost knock off the premiership favourites in Round One.


Defeated on a difficult wet night in your opening home game? That’s ok, travel to Melbourne and beat the ‘Pies after being down at three quarter time.


Up against a resurgent reigning premier? Fight back from losing the lead and recover for a draw.


6 day break and flying to the other side of the country? Knock off the Dockers in style.


This determination had launched the Giants into the top four (a position which in future years will hopefully qualify them for a finals spot).  But in this era of the AFLW, the top two spots are what matters, one of which is held by tonight’s opponent, the Western Bulldogs.


I’m watching this game from a bar in Melbourne, and things don’t get off to a good start as the Dogs score a goal off the ground through McLeod before we’ve even got time to purchase a drink. The Bulldogs have gone on goal sprees in previous games, but fortunately things settled a bit – then Barclay found Aimee Schmidt all on her own for a goal to make things a bit closer. However, before the break, Conti continued the streak of Bulldog goals from the ground. That didn’t seem right – the Giants were the team which had a W-League player (Brush) playing for them so we should be the ones scoring Sam Kerr strikes!


Speaking of ripping goals, McLeod’s goal to open the second half was a stunner – from an angle in the pocket – taking the Dogs out to a two goal lead. But as I keep saying, no obstacle has yet managed to get in the way of these Giants and it wasn’t going to change now. Smart play by Beeson found Hicks, and her kick just carried the goal line – putting the Giants were back in it. Cora Staunton set up a Dal Pos goal to put the Giants in front, then Dal Pos handed off to Staunton who went on a run – then with that around the corner kicking style scored a goal of her own to give the Giants a solid half time lead.


In the 3rd it was tense – there was only one goal, to the Bulldogs, and despite the Bulldogs having a good run of play somehow the Giants still held the lead. Could they hold on?


Not only did they hold on, they smashed the ladder leaders and put themselves right into grand final contention. Courtney Gum was everywhere and added a goal of her own. A missed set shot at goal was kept alive leading to Alicia Eva nailing a great goal from the boundary. Farrugia added a goal of her own – and the celebrations began.


Our small group of Giants fans got strange looks from the rest of the bar as we clapped the final siren,  but they had better get used to hearing more about the GWS women. The Giants of 2018 are far from the spoon winners of 2017. The new additions – Eva from Collingwood, 36 year old Gum who had been overlooked by all clubs previously, and Staunton from Ireland – have complemented the existing list and given the side a level of toughness and determination that puts them amongst the contenders.


As role models go, I’d be happy for anyone – male or female – to look up to them because they don’t seem to let any barrier hold them back. One last challenge lies in the way of a Giants grand final berth – a Lions team that will be hurting after a bad loss to the Pies. But these girls have overcome every barrier and knocked off every other challenge they have faced this year, why not one more?


GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY    1.2    4.4    4.4   7.4 (46)

WESTERN BULLDOGS                2.2    3.2    4.3   4.4 (28)



Greater Western Sydney: Hicks, Staunton, Dal Pos, Farrugia, Gum, Eva, Schmidt

Western Bulldogs: McLeod 2, Conti, Bruton



Greater Western Sydney: Gum, Eva, Staunton, Barr, Hetherington, Farrugia

Western Bulldogs: Kearney, Blackburn, Lamb, Conti, Lochland, Scott



Greater Western Sydney: Nil

Western Bulldogs: Nil


Reports: Nil

Crowd: 4,146 at UNSW Canberra Oval


About Joseph Ryan

Lawyer, amateur sportsman, and full-time sports-watcher. Follows Melbourne Demons and Melbourne Storm and is trying to be better at golf.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi Joseph,
    why not indeed! I look forward to plonking down in front of the TV Friday night and seeing how this game plays out. Some desperate footy is my guess. The only game without any bite will be the one between Freo and Blues. Every other match has something huge riding on it.
    Thanks for your report.

  2. The thought of a group of Giants fans cheering in a bar in Melbourne made me smile. Nice work!

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