We can all live together: Why league has nothing to fear from the GWS Giants

This article was first written for and published by the Sydney Morning Herald

Saturday night was one of mixed emotions. It started with pure joy when my AFL team (the GWS Giants) beat the Collingwood Magpies to claim a spot in the club’s first ever AFL Grand Final. A mere two hours later, joy turned to devastation when the Melbourne Storm comprehensively beat my rugby league team, the Parramatta Eels, ending their 2019 season.

No loyalty in the AFLW? What sport are you watching?

This article was first written and published for The Roar.

Two weeks ago the Adelaide Crows were crowned AFLW Premiers for 2019, defeating Carlton 10.3 (63) to 2.6 (18).

There were many talking points from the game including the injury sustained by Crows co-captain Erin Phillips which saw her stretchered from the field in the third quarter, but there was no bigger talking point than the crowd.

Tayla Harris: 1, trolls: 0

This week’s award for ‘television network that has consistently missed the mark’ goes to Channel Seven.

Their week began with a Sunday Night exposé into NRL culture.

Many would have tuned in interested in details about the most recent off-field scandals, however Sunday Night instead focused on claims made against former player Bodene Thompson.

What do you mean AFLW starts this weekend?

This article was first written for and published by The Roar

Season three of AFLW commences this weekend, with an opening round fixture between the Geelong Cats and Collingwood.

Two additional teams have joined the competition – North Melbourne and Geelong – expanding the total number of teams to ten.

Plenty of fan favourites return, including the likes of Amanda Farrugia, Sarah Perkins, Lauren Arnell, Emma Zielke, Brianna Davey, Darcy Vescio, Steph Chiocci, Gemma Houghton and Mel Hickey.

AFTER THE SIREN: Grassy Country Roots – Ashlyne McInnes

This article was written by Morgan Harding.

Ashlyne McInnes grew up in a small town in regional Victoria where footy is the life force, the blood sweat and tears, and women’s players are growing astronomically.

Ashlyne’s journey started when her local footy team, the Carrisbrook Lady Redbacks, were struggling to find players. A few of her mates played and on a fateful rainy day, a few more players pulled out and Ashlyne decided, “I’ll just give it a crack and see what happens.” She ran out in “my little brother’s football boots. I had nothing”, she laughed.

“I had borrowed shorts, socks, everything.”

AFTER THE SIREN: From the beach to the field – Sophia Danielle

This article was written by Morgan Harding.

Sophia Danielle migrated to Australia from Davao in the Philippines when she was six years old. She already had family in the country who were mad Western Bulldogs supporters and soon, Sophia followed suit, “I watched my first game when I was seven and since then, I just fell in love with it [footy] and have been into it ever since”.

Mary’s Wonder Women: Where are the female AFLW coaches?

This article was first written for and published for The Roar.

If the AFL started AFLW simply to give women the opportunity to play football at a professional level, then that purpose has been achieved. But what if it was about something more?

What if it was also about the AFL indicating to its fan-base that it was passionate about diversity and inclusion, and also demonstrating a commitment to adequate female pathways – for not only players, but also those who wanted to be administrators, coaches or involved more broadly in the physical aspect of preparing a team for game day?

Mary’s Wonder Women: Free Katie Brennan

This story was first written and published for The Roar

This weekend the second season of the AFLW will come to an end when the Western Bulldogs play the Brisbane Lions in the grand final on Saturday afternoon.

For the Western Bulldogs, with their win over the Melbourne Demons at the Whitten Oval last weekend they secured the minor premiership and a spot in their first ever AFLW grand final. It is also the first time a Victorian team has featured and is quite the turnaround from last year, where the Dogs finished with only two wins out of their seven matches.

Mary’s Wonder Women: A Giant game for GWS

This article was first written and published for The Roar

“There’s a big, big sound from the west of the town. It’s the sound of the mighty Giants” – and when it comes to AFLW, that big, big sound has never been louder.

Tonight could be one of the most significant nights in Giants history, when they play the Brisbane Lions at Blacktown International Sports Park in the last round of the season.

Mary’s Wonder Women: Leaked memos and the cost of a competition

This article was first written for and published by The Roar.

At 7pm tonight, AFLW returns to Sydney when the Giants take on Carlton at Drummoyne Oval.

After last year’s scheduling debacle, which saw Greater Western Sydney play a game played at Blacktown International Sports Park at 5pm on a Friday night (who can get to Blacktown at 5pm on a Friday?), I welcome this time slot and hope to see plenty of people at the game.

There has been some criticism of the standard of play for AFLW this week, particularly following the allegedly ‘leaked’ memo which went to all the AFLW coaches earlier, asking them to rethink strategy to produce higher-scoring games.

Two areas were particularly highlighted: congestion around stoppages and defensive flooding.

My gut feel is that this memo was crafted following the opening game of the season between Carlton and Collingwood – a low-scoring affair that ended with Carlton victorious 3.4.22 to 2.2.14.