AFLW 2018 Season Preview

The Wolf is gearing up for a massive season of footy and we get to dip our toes in the water with the AFLW. The inaugural season was a huge success and 2018 looks set to be bigger and better! The Wolf shares his thoughts with us.

AFLW Winner

Adelaide ($3.75)
The Crows were long odds to win the inaugural premiership last year, but led by ‘rookie’ Erin Phillips and co-captain, Chelsea Randall, the Crows dominated every facet of the game; and most importantly comfortably led the competition for points per game (42). Their depth, and quality, has only increased despite the loss of 2017 marquee Kellie Gibson, and their contested game style will be hard to pick apart. So long as they don’t go backwards, the Crows will be very hard to beat again.

Brisbane ($7.50)
Last year the side appeared to have the strongest execution of their match plan in the league; with a distinct playing style based on an ability to absorb huge amounts of pressure and slingshot from the backline. Thanks to that, the injury yo All-Australian defender Sam Virgo is a bigger loss than that of marquee forward, Tayla Harris. While they will be hungrier to go one better this season, they will certainly be up against it, you’d be a brave punter to write them off again, though.

Carlton ($5.00)
The punters are all over the Navy Blues this season after the recruitment of Magpies Best and Fairest, Nicola Stevens and Lions marquee forward, Tayla Harris. They fell agonisingly short against both Adelaide and Melbourne, which destroyed their final hopes despite a strong season. While they appear primed to climb a few rungs on the ladder, they seem short of genuine speed in both attack and defence.

Collingwood ($8.00)
An unimaginative game style and poor recruitment strategy snuffed out the initial hype about the Pies last season quite quickly. Despite possessing the most dominant ruck in the competition (Emma King) and three classy and adaptable key forwards in Jess Duffin, Sarah D’arcy and Jasmine Garner, the lack of a genuine A-grade midfielder left them very exposed, and they have since lost their best midfielder to the Giants. Plenty of inside 50 firepower but no one to get it there. Hard to see them making a splash.

Fremantle ($10.00)
Losing a total of six marquee players (and many others in the draft) to Eastern states was a killer blow to the pre-season favourites, and the Dockers were further handicapped after several serious injuries to key players. Injury has once again reared its ugly head, with Kiara Bowers and Kellie Gibson expected to miss a big chunk of the season and Indigenous star Kirby Bentley out for the season after a knee injury suffered in the All-Stars game. Plenty of class up top, but they desperately need a change of luck to challenge the top sides so their lack of depth is not exposed.

GWS ($10.00)
The Giants suffered a cruel blow before the season, losing WA marquee recruit, Renee Forth, for the year after an ACL injury in her final WAWFL game. Her inclusion, and that of five already AFLW proven Victorians, is a huge plus for a club that struggled to compete with the competition’s best last season. Their shrewd recruiting may very well see them surprise a few sides this season and they are not to be taken lightly.

Melbourne ($5.00)
Falling short of a spot in the inaugural AFLW Final by just a small percentage, a five-point loss to wooden spooners, GWS, effectively cost the Dees their season. They are in a much better spot this season, and would appear to be the strongest challengers to the reigning premiers. With elite talent all over the park, tremendous depth and a long history already, they are in with a massive shot at a tasty $5.

Western Bulldogs ($6.50)
The Doggies were heavily backed going into last season, but could only manage a disappointing 6th; with their only wins coming against the two sides below them on the ladder. Their horrid inaccuracy in front of goal was well documented, but it was the injury to the competition’s best forward (and their captain), Katie Brennan, that ripped the heart out of the side. Her return, and some smart decisions in the trade and draft periods place them right back in contention.

Recommended Bets

Best: Melbourne ($5.00)
Value: Western Bulldogs ($6.50)

AFLW Best and Fairest Preview

The Favourite

Erin Phillips ($3.00)
Former Opal and WNBA player Erin Phillips was comfortably the most influential player in the AFLW last season, with three 3-vote games, and a Best-on-Ground performance in the Crows Grand Final win. Always under the nose of the umpires, Phillips averaged 20 disposals (13.8 contested), 4.6 inside 50’s, 5.5 score involvements while also kicking 10 goals- which saw her ranked fifth on the Leading Goalkicker charts.

The Proven Performers

Daisy Pearce ($4.50)
Previously the undisputed queen of women’s footy, Pearce was dethroned last year despite being the leading possession getter in the competition. The classy midfielder has always been an umpires favourite, however, and looks hungrier than ever before.

Ellie Blackburn ($11.00)
The nuggety inside midfielder is a wonderful accumulator (averaged 19.4 disposals per game in 2017) and very dangerous in the forward 50, where she averaged double the amount of shots per game than any other midfielder.

Brianna Davey ($13.00)
Newly installed as Carlton’s captain, Davey is one of the most destructive players in the competition. The recruitment of key defender Nic Stevens will allow Davey to play more through the midfield where she will flourish, free of the back complaint that hampered her input last season.

The Outsiders

Emily Bates ($41)
While Bates was often out-voted by dashing teammates Ashmore and Tayla Harris last season, the tough young Queenslander is now one of the premier midfielders in the competition and will be firmly in the sights of umpires after a stellar season.

Jessica Dal Pos ($51)
The silky left-footed Victorian made the move up to Sydney prior to the first AFLW and it only enhanced her reputation, accumulating seven votes to finish inside the top 10. Always in the thick of the action.

The Roughie

Mel Hickey $101 into ($67)
Previously a lockdown key defender, Hickey, an imposing physical presence, has completely transformed her game over the VFLW season to become an uncompromising inside midfielder with an elite disposal efficiency (80% in 2017). Enormous value for an A-class midfielder.

Recommended Bets

Best: Daisy Pearce ($4.50)
Value: Brianna Davey ($13.00)