In case you missed it: Tactics, trends and tales from R1

SEASON seven has started with a bang, with nine matches for the first time. There were enthralling matchups right across the weekend and encouraging introductions for four new teams. 

Each week Gemma Bastiani will look at a key talking point from each game, just in case you missed it. 

Collingwood's forward pressure is to be feared 

Against Carlton in the season opener, the Pies controlled the territory through forward pressure and a well set-up defensive line. While the Blues won the tackle count 66-60, Collingwood laid a whopping 20 tackles inside 50, led by Eliza James and Chloe Molloy who each registered six. This forced poor ball use from the typically elite Kerryn Peterson, who went at 55.6 per cent disposal efficiency for the game, well below her career average of 75.3 per cent.

Collingwood players sing the team song after a win during round one, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

West is best 

In a team of stars, Eliza West is the midfielder that stood tallest for Melbourne in its win over Adelaide on Friday. Protected at the contest by fellow midfielder Olivia Purcell, West's clean gather of the ground ball, and then neat, quick handballs to outside runners repeatedly set the Demons up for attacking drives. West finished the evening with a game-high 25 disposals, six tackles, four clearances and seven intercepts in a standout performance. 

AFLW S7 Highlights: Adelaide v Melbourne

04:50 Aug 26. 2022. 9:51 PM

The Crows and Demons clash in round one of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

The Suns are vulnerable to marking forwards 

Without Jade Pregelj in the side, Viven Saad and Lauren Ahrens were under the pump against North Melbourne's tall marking trio of Tahlia Randall, Emma King, and Sophia McCarthy. The smart forward play of the Kangaroos saw them playing in front and protecting the space to mark the ball and generate plenty of opportunities to score, and the Suns' backs just couldn't go with them. It's vital Gold Coast finds ways to slow opposition ball movement coming into its defensive 50 or this could become a weekly occurrence. 

AFLW FIXTURE Who does your team play in season seven?

Kalinda Howarth looks dejected after a loss during round one, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

West Coast's new forward line is firing 

During the off season the Eagles almost completely rebuilt their attacking line, adding the likes of Kate Bartlett, Mikayla Western, and Emma Humphries, and it paid off against Port Adelaide. Down by 11 points at three-quarter-time, the Eagles showed a newfound grit and desperation to attack, kicking four final-quarter goals through Aisling McCarthy, Western, Aimee Schmidt and Bartlett to run over the top of the Power

McCarthy opens candy shop and drills an outrageous goal

00:47 Aug 27. 2022. 4:45 PM

Aisling McCarthy kicks an incredible major from the boundary

The Saints' intercept game is a match-winner 

Against expansion side Sydney, St Kilda's defensive structure and discipline set the side up for its 29-point win. With Clara Fitzgerald back in the side, and Bianca Jakobsson's development, the Saints were able to intercept the Swans' forays forward at will. Often double-teaming key forward Bec Privitelli, the duo broke even in the air, and then followed up expertly at ground level and played will a really attacking intent – something rarely seen from St Kilda in its three years in the competition.

YOUR CLUB’S LIST Every team locked in for AFLW season seven

AFLW S7 Highlights: Sydney v St Kilda

05:48 Aug 27. 2022. 7:26 PM

The Swans and Saints clash in round one of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

Paige Scott can win the Rising Star 

A surprise top-ten selection at the draft, Paige Scott showed on debut why the Bombers rated her so highly. A marking key forward, she kicked Essendon's second ever goal 10 minutes into the first quarter and then spent much of the game higher up the field winning the ball and distributing to teammates. Scott finished the game with 16 disposals - the third most on the field - and used the ball at 75 per cent efficiency. 

AFLW S7 Highlights: Essendon v Hawthorn

05:41 Aug 27. 2022. 10:18 PM

The Bombers and Hawks clash in round one

There's a new No.1 draft pick leading the Dogs' attack 

All the talk about the Bulldogs during the offseason was about how they would replace Izzy Huntington and Bonnie Toogood in attack, but against the Giants on Sunday the answer was evident: 2019 No.1 draft pick Gabby Newton. Returning from dual shoulder reconstructions, Newton presented as the main target in attack and set her side up with their first two goals of the game - the first goals of her career. Her aerial game was good, but her ground level pressure was great. 

Newton's special debut goal worth the wait

00:42 Aug 28. 2022. 12:55 PM

Gabby Newton earns her first ever major in the AFLW after a couple of injury-riddled years on the sidelines

Fremantle cannot afford any more injuries

Already tested for player availability, the Dockers copped another huge blow with a head clash between Jess Low and Janelle Cuthbertson ruling the pair out of the game during the second quarter. With Fremantle stretched for defensive options, Brisbane piled on 49 points in the second half, which ended up being the difference in the game. The outlook isn't ideal for Fremantle, either, with only Laura Pugh on track to return next week to face Geelong from round one's unavailable players. 

AFLW INJURY LIST How healthy is your team?

AFLW S7 Highlights: Brisbane v Fremantle

04:52 Aug 28. 2022. 4:29 PM

The Lions and Dockers clash in round one of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

Geelong has found some grit 

In the past, Geelong struggled to change the way games have been played. Trapped in defence, it would often concede control of the game and allow opponents to dictate the remainder of the game. Against Richmond, however, the Cats went into the half time break bereft of control and came out in the third quarter with a fresh perspective and game style. It was that ability to shift the play in the second half that saw them snatch a last gasp victory to open their season with a win for just the second time. 

Prespakis rises to the occasion with clutch late goal

00:54 Aug 28. 2022. 5:54 PM

Geogie Preskapis proves to be the difference after kicking the go-ahead goal in the dying stages of the match