Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana Thursday, April 01 2021 @ 04:05 pm ACDT
Round nine was a great round of footy to bring an end to the 2021 home and away season.
It was a round filled with finals intensity matches from start to finish.
In the top of the table clash to determine which team finished top, the Adelaide Crows flexed their muscles and showed Collingwood why they have been the premier team in the AFLW competition since the AFLW started in 2017.
The Crows are the minor premiers in 2021.
Image Source: @aflwomens
In the 2021 AFLW finals series, the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions, Collingwood, Melbourne, Fremantle and North Melbourne will all feature.
The Crows and Lions will both have a week off, as they advance straight through to the preliminary finals week.
What a home and away season, the 2021 AFLW season was.
Collingwood, Melbourne, Fremantle and North will all play in do or die finals in week one of the finals series.
Western Bulldogs vs Richmond:
Western Bulldogs end their season on a high with a 13-point win over Richmond at VU Whitten Oval.
The Dogs went into the main break with a three-goal lead and it was like the Dogs against their former skipper Katie Brennan, as she nailed through two of the Tigers three goals to get her side within four points of the Dogs in the third quarter.
Brennan inspired the Tigers in the third term and at three quarter time the Tigers were within seven points of the Dogs.
After three quarter time, the Dogs put on the afterburners kicking two goals to the Tigers one and to run out 13-point winners.
The Dogs have finished the season in eighth position and the Tigers in 10th spot.
North Melbourne vs Fremantle:
In a mouthwatering finals intensity clash, North Melbourne pulled off a great one-point victory over the Fremantle Dockers at Arden Street Oval on Saturday afternoon.
North came out firing as they had plenty on the line, win and they play finals, lose and they were out.
North led for most of the match, but the Dockers came hard all match and threatened to take the game away from North with less than a minute left, but North were able to hold on by one point in a Saturday afternoon thriller.
The best for North were Jasmine Garner (25 disposals, 14 kicks, three tackles and a goal) and Ash Riddell (33 disposals, 21 kicks and three tackles).
In the first week of the finals, North Melbourne will play Collingwood at Victoria Park on Saturday at 3:10pm and the Fremantle Dockers will travel Casey Fields to play Melbourne on Saturday at 1:05pm in two cut-throat finals.
Melbourne vs Brisbane Lions:
Melbourne pulled off a cracking two-point win over the Brisbane Lions at Casey Fields to lock in a home qualifying final.
The win for the Dees was bittersweet with captain Daisy Pearce injuring her knee.
Pearce came off second best after she was tackled trying to kick a goal within the first two minutes of the match.
Her right leg was caught underneath when she was tackled.
Pearce was ruled out of the rest of the match and was seen on the bench wearing a leg brace, as she watched on to see her sides incredible comeback to record a 6.2 (38) to 6.0 (36) victory,
After the opening quarter, the Dees had a slight lead of a point at quarter time, but after quarter time it was all the Lions.
The Lions put four goals on the board in a superb second term from the visitors and kept the Dees to two goals.
In the third quarter, the match tightened up a bit as the Dees stopped the Lions from scoring heavily restricting the Lions to a goal and the Dees put through a goal too,
The final term was remarkable to watch, as the Dees turned the match on its head.
The Dees did all of the scoring in the last with two goals and the Lions were left shellshocked.
Shelley Scott (15 disposals, five tackles and three goals) was powerful in the forward line for the Dees, while Eden Zanker (25 disposals) and Lily Mithen (23 disposals) were solid all afternoon.
It was an incredible achievement from Catherine Svarc, as she applied a whopping 21 tackles.
Meanwhile, Ally Anderson accumulated 22 disposals, 13 kicks and six tackles.
Both teams when into the match knowing they would feature in the 2021 AFLW finals series, it was just a matter of where they would finish on the ladder.
The Lions completed the home and away season in second spot and have advanced through to the preliminary finals week with a home final.
Meanwhile, the Dees finished fourth and have secured a home elimination final against the Dockers on Saturday at 1:05pm at Casey Fields.
Gold Coast Suns vs Geelong:
It took Geelong to their last match of the home and away season to break through with their first victory in a year by 17-points over the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium.
With the loss, the Suns became the 2021 AFLW wooden spooners and it is the first time in its AFLW history.
Rochelle Cranston was the Cats only multiple goalkicker with two.
The Cats came out firing in the opening quarter with three goals and kept the Suns goalless and to a solitary behind.
In the second term, the Suns managed to kick their first goal and keep the Cats to just a behind.
But, after half time it was all the Cats kicking three of the last two goals to hold on for their first win of the season.
When the final siren sounded it was a feeling of elation for the Cats women and it was a fitting way to send out retiring veteran Aasta O'Connor.
For the Cats, 18-year-old Laura Gardiner was her side's best with 18 disposals, 10 kicks and seven tackles, while Amy McDonald had 17 disposals and eight tackles.
It marked a dissapointing season for the Suns, as they failed to register a win for the whole season and became only the second team in AFLW history to not win a game from an entire season.
Although, the Suns were unable to record the win, Alison Drennan (23 disposals) and Kalinda Howarth (two goals) were integral all match.
The Cats avoided the wooden spoon with the victory, so they came second last.
Adelaide Crows vs Collingwood:
Please find link to feature match report - http://www.worldfootynews.com/article.php/2021032813301288[*1]
GWS Giants vs Carlton:
With pride on the line, as both teams were out of final contention Carlton led by Darcy Vescio won by a point in a nail-biter at Blacktown International Sportspark.
Vescio contributed two goals in the Blues win and finished the season as the leading AFLW goalkicker with 14 goals.
She became the first player in AFLW history to score 16 goals in a single season and it was also Vescio's second goalkicking title.
Also, Vescio is the first player to score 100 points in a single AFLW season with 16 goals and four behinds.
Vescio inspired the Blues to the edge of your seat 4.8 (32) to 4.7 (31) victory in the west of Sydney.
Meanwhile, in the midfield Maddi Prespakis tried to will the Blues over the line with 27 disposals (65 percent efficiency), 16 handballs, 11 kicks and three tackles.
The final minutes of the match were thrilling to watch with both teams giving it their all.
For the Giants, Pepa Randall took two saving marks on the last line of defence to help her side to hang in the contest with a slim chance of winning the match after an impressive comeback where they slotted through two of the last three goals of the match.
Irishwoman Cora Staunton could have had a big day out up forward for the Giants if she kicked accurately, as she registered two goals and four behinds from 13 disposals.
Also, for the Giants Alyce Parker finished her strong season with 26 disposals (60 percent efficiency), 18 kicks and six tackles.
At the end of the 2021 home and away season, the Blues missed out on playing finals by one win and finished seventh, whereas it was a ninth spot ladder finish for the Giants.
West Coast Eagles vs St Kilda:
St Kilda ended their season on a high with a 56-point demolition of the West Coast Eagles at Mineral Resources Park.
The stars of the show for the Saints were Georgia Patrikios and Tyanna Smith.
Patrikios accumulated game-high 30 disposals and to top her performance off she kicked a final-quarter goal.
Smith racked up 24 disposals and nailed through a third-quarter major to cap off her impressive game.
For the Eagles, Irishwoman Grace Kelly was the standout up forward.
Kelly scored two goals and her sister Niamh set her up to put through the opening goal of the match.
The Eagles came out strong in the opening term and held the quarter time lead of four points after kicking two goals to the Saint one.
In the second quarter, the Saints quickly put the Eagles on the back foot kicking three goals and keeping the Eagles scoreless.
It was all the Saints after quarter time, with the Saints scoring 10 of the last 11 goals of the match.
The Saints leapfrogged the Eagles and finished 11th on the ladder and Eagles dropped to 12th.