After a very successful week for the AFLW in which over 50,000 spectactors flocked to at least one of the four games last weekend, the Western Bulldogs' women's team are back at the Whitten Oval for a rare Friday night game in Footscray as they host fellow round one winners in the Adelaide Crows.
Both teams have had resounding wins last weekend, but the Dogs arguably had the more surprising result, defeating fellow premiership aspirants Fremantle by 32 points after a dominant, yet inaccurate second half saw the Dogs home comfortably.
As for the Crows, they disposed of the GWS Giants at Thebarton Oval last weekend, and whilst it was to be expected, given that the Giants' team was reasonably weak, the way the Crows went about it for the most part of four quarters last week, showed that they should not be taken lightly at all this year.
Tonight is a big game for both teams as a win will further cement their spot at the top-end of the ladder and continue to press claims for that maiden AFLW Grand Final. Lose tonight and you will find yourself at 1-1 and in amongst the midfield pack, expect another physical encounter between two teams who've had quite a bit of history in the men's leagues.
IN: Courtney Clarkson, Romy Timmins
OUT: Jaimee Lambert (Injury), Kirsty Lamb (Suspended)
B: Jess Gardner, Bailey Hunt, Lisa Williams
HB: Hayley Wildes, Aasta O'Connor, Kate Tyndall
C: Nicole Callinan
HF: Libby Birch, Katie Brennan, Hannah Scott
F: Kirsten McLeod, Tiana Ernst, Angelica Gogos
FOL: Ellyse Gamble, Emma Kearney, Ellie Blackburn
INT: Courtney Clarkson, Brooke Lochland, Romy Timmins, Rebecca Neaves, Laura Bailey, Lauren Spark
EMG: Meghan McDonald, Lauren Morecroft
The Bulldogs have been forced to make two changes for tonight, with Courtney Clarkson in the side tonight, after being incredibly stiff not to be selected last week, and rookie-listed midfielder Romy Timmins come into the team for their first-ever games in the AFLW.
The pair will replace talented midfielder Jaimee Lambert who pulled up sore, and Kirsty Lamb, who was given a one-week suspension by the match-review panel for head-high hit on Fremantle's Akec Makur Chuot last Saturday night.
IN: Jenna McCormick, Rachael Killian, Sophie Armistead
OUT: Sarah Allan, Justine Mules, Monique Hollick
B: Dayna Cox, Rachael Killian, Stevie-Lee Thompson
HB: Sally Riley, Talia Radan, Kellie Gibson
C: Sophie Armistead
HF: Georgia Bevan, Sarah Perkins, Erin Phillips
F: Deni Varnhagen, Anne Hatchard, Courtney Cramey
FOL: Rhiannon Metcalfe, Ebony Marinoff, Jenna McCormick
INT: Chelsea Randall, Abbey Holmes, Jessica Sedunary, Angela Foley, Tayla Thorn, Heather Anderson
EMG: Justine Mules, Monique Hollick
Adelaide have named three players that will make their AFLW debut tonight. The most notable out of the bunch is 22 year-old dual-sport athlete Jenna McCormick who missed last week's win over the Giants due to commitments towards W-League outfit Canberra United.
Also in for the Crows tonight is talented utility Rachael Killian and midfielder Sophie Armistead, a talented prospect from the Northern Territory who took out the NTFL Women's Rising Star award last year, whilst coming out of the team will be midfielders Justine Mules and Monique Hollick, both of whom are named as the emergencies for tonight, along with as young forward Sarah Allan.
Players To Watch
Once just an all-rounder for the Melbourne Stars in the Women's Big Bash Competition, Emma Kearney has proven to the nation last week that she is just as effective on the footy field as she is on the cricket pitch, having the Football on a string with 23 disposals to be one of the best on the ground in the Dogs' win over Fremantle. I would love to see her square off against Adelaide Rising Star Ebony Marinoff at the centre bounce.
One that I must admit, flew under the radar a little bit for me last week, but for Bailey Hunt, despite only the nine touches last week, was a integral part of the Dogs' defence that kept fellow flag fancies Fremantle to only just one goal last week and was rewarded by the AFL by naming her one of two AFLW Rising Star nominees of Round one. She'll have a big job ahead of her tonight, with Erin Phillips fresh off of a three-goal haul against the Giants, and forwards like Sarah Perkins, Deni Varnhagen and Abbey Holmes looming as potential threats.
I was a big fan of this young midfielder before the start of the AFLW season, and last Saturday's performance against the Giants showed why. She was in the thick of it for most of the game, recording 20 disposals and six tackles in the Crows' big win. One of a few players the Dogs should consider putting the clamps on if they are to win this game this evening.
Not much may have been spoken about McCormick down here in Melbourne, but the Crows highly rate young Jenna McCormick - a soccer player for Canberra United, who were unlucky not to play-off in the Grand Final, but the Crows will welcome her back into this team with open arms. She has the ability to play any position on the ground and has got very good athleticism. One to watch out for tonight, Adelaide fans will be hoping she makes an impact.
Both sides love to play a fast-paced, attacking brand of footy, it may be a surprise to some to see this match becoming a high-scoring affair, given the lack of scoring in the first round, both men's sides have been able to produce high-scoring matches over the last couple of years, so it really shouldn't come as a surprise if that's what eventuates tonight.
Whilst I was impressed with how Adelaide conducted themselves last week against GWS, I'm not exactly sure if they can travel to Footscray and bring the Bulldogs' women down on their home turf. I'm tipping the Dogs to have a good win in what might be a very exciting, high-scoring game.
Western Bulldogs by 17 points