The Allies and Victoria do battle tonight in what many are talking up as potentially the greatest game of women’s footy ever and given how much talent is out there, it’s hard to argue. The game will feature 44 of the best players in the game and here is five from each team that could decide the result.
Hickey will undoubtedly get the big job on one of the Allies’ tall forwards. All three are mobile, but Hickey will probably get the job on Katie Brennan. Given the Allies’ tall timber up forward, Hickey stopping Brennan will go a long way towards Victoria picking up the win.
When it comes to scoring power, the Allies have Victoria covered up forward, which means they’re going to be relying on midfielders kicking goals and Blackburn is elite in that area. During the AFLW season, she kicked 6.12 for the season and could’ve been the competition’s leading goal kicker had she kicked straight. The Vics will need a couple out of her tonight.
Speaking of just that, Perkins will need to hit the scoreboard tonight. With Darcy Vescio pulling out and Moana Hope’s recent struggles at the top level, a lot is going to fall to Perkins. The Adelaide star is more than up to the challenge, but she really could be the difference between Victoria winning and losing this match.
Brianna Davey might just be the best player in the competition and Victoria will have the luxury of using her wherever they see fit tonight given their midfield depth. Whether it’s across half back, as a key defender or up forward, Davey will undoubtedly be among the best on ground for her side. Keeping her a kick behind the play to intercept in front of Tayla Harris and Sabrina Frederick-Traub might be the best course of action.
The Fremantle captain is every bit as effective as Daisy Pearce through the midfield and the fact that we get to see the duo in the coalface together tonight is an absolute treat. Given Victoria should have midfield dominance tonight, Donnellan getting on top and feeding the ball out to the likes of Emma Kearney and Kaitlyn Ashmore will be a big part of Victoria getting over the line tonight.
Brennan might just be the in-form forward in Australia at the moment. She’s averaging 3.2 goals per game in the VFL and sits equal first on the goal kicking ladder despite missing four games. We didn’t get to see the best of the Bulldogs’ skipper during the AFLW season due to injury and there’s every chance she could dominate tonight.
As already mentioned, the Allies are outgunned through the midfield which means a lot of work is going to fall into the hands of Ebony Marinoff. The inaugural AFL Women’s Rising Star finished the AFLW season with 76 tackles, 27 more than the next best player, while also averaging 16 disposals. She is as good a clearance player as any as well and will need to be at her best tonight.
A more outside midfielder, O’Dea will also need to dominate tonight for the Allies. O’Dea provides plenty of drive and will be suited to the conditions of Etihad Stadium. She’ll probably match up against her Melbourne teammate Karen Paxman and the Allies will need plenty of drive from her tonight through the middle. Victoria putting a tag on O’Dea would go a long way to them winning tonight.
Leah Kaslar was the most effective lockdown defender in the competition during the AFL Women’s season and will probably get the Perkins match-up tonight. Considering Victoria’s lack of tall forwards, Kaslar shutting her down could be the difference.
Victoria may have the star power through the midfield, but the Allies boast the best ruck in the competition. Emma King will need to give her midfielders first use and give them every advantage they can get. She’ll be up against Carlton’s Alison Downie though who broke even with King in the AFLW season.