ICYMI, R10: A familiar demon haunts the Dees, new Cat sharpens Geelong's claws

THE TOP eight is set and finals are mere days away, but round 10 didn't make it a simple equation. For the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide it was some individual brilliance that was required to get them over the line, while it was more percentage heartbreak for the Demons. 

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

Ellie Blackburn is a match-winner

The Bulldogs just needed to win to confirm their place in finals, but Carlton was out to cause some chaos on Friday night. Enter Ellie Blackburn. In the second quarter as the Blues got out to a 13-point lead it was a remarkable Blackburn goal from 45 metres out that swung momentum back the Bulldogs' way. And in almost a repeat of that second quarter goal, late in the game with the Dogs down by three points and less than two minutes left on the clock Blackburn snapped the match winner to save the day. All of this coming after what coach Nathan Burke explained was a tough week for the captain, whose availability for the game was up in the air in the preceding days.  

Blackburn's outrageous match-winner oozes class

00:42 Oct 28. 2022. 7:59 PM

Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn sends her side into the finals with this mesmerising goal

Brisbane's midfield runs deep 

Ally Anderson, Emily Bates, Belle Dawes, Cathy Svarc, the list goes on. Brisbane's glut of elite midfield weapons is close to unbeatable. On Friday night, Svarc's power out of stoppage was a huge problem for Collingwood as the Lion gathered 18 disposals, 316 metres gained and laid nine tackles as her side tore the Pies to ribbons. The unique value of Svarc, especially coming into finals, is her transition between both defensive and attacking intent which makes her a perpetual threat. 

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AFLW S7 Highlights: Brisbane v Collingwood

04:28 Oct 28. 2022. 10:01 PM

The Lions and Pies clash in round 10 of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

Percentage once again haunts the Demons

In the first two seasons of AFLW Melbourne missed the finals - at the time just a Grand Final - due to percentage. That percentage demon came to haunt the side once again on Saturday as the Demons fell just one point short of snatching the minor premiership from Brisbane. In the wet and windy Casey Fields conditions, it seemed far from likely that Melbourne would get anywhere close to challenging for top spot before the game began, but with a relentless attacking intent, the Demons piled on the scores, albeit with an inaccurate 11.13 (79) to make plenty of Lions fans and players alike nervous. 

AFLW S7 Highlights: Melbourne v West Coast

05:50 Oct 29. 2022. 3:16 PM

The Demons and Eagles clash in round 10 of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

Danielle Ponter saves the day - again

Two weeks in a row it has been Danielle Ponter who has pulled Adelaide out of the mire to ultimately take the win. Just as the Crows were up against it on Saturday, with St Kilda's pressure keeping Adelaide goalless in the first half for just the third time since AFLW began, Ponter's spark appeared. The star kicked two goals in the second quarter to swing the momentum back Adelaide's way, ultimately leading to its 16-point victory to secure third place on the ladder. 

AFLW S7 Highlights: St Kilda v Adelaide

04:37 Oct 29. 2022. 5:03 PM

The Saints and Crows clash in round 10 of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

Shelley Scott changed the game for Geelong 

In round five, Geelong broke its own scoring record with a huge 50-point win over St Kilda, and it was no coincidence that it came with Shelley Scott's move into attack. Scott's shift has made Geelong's forward line far more difficult for opposition defences to contain and has allowed both Jackie Parry and Chloe Scheer more freedom. Before the change the Cats were averaging just 17.3 points per game, and since they have averaged 52.5, including Saturday's score of 102 against Sydney. In the process Geelong has become just the second side to kick a three-digit score and did so through nine different players.  

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AFLW S7 Highlights: Geelong v Sydney

05:31 Oct 29. 2022. 7:50 PM

The Cats and Swans clash in round 10 of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

Aine Tighe stole the show 

In a game that was all about retiring champions Kara Antonio and Jess Duffin, it was Aine Tighe who stole the show. In a forward line that has been starved of continuity and opportunity throughout the season, Tighe has worked hard to be Fremantle's primary avenue to goal, capping it off with a career-high four goals against Hawthorn to close out the Dockers' season. Added to that, Tighe took six marks, laid three tackles and looked dangerous every time Fremantle went forward. 

Tighe saves best for last with brilliant bag of tricks

02:38 Oct 29. 2022. 9:20 PM

Aine Tighe puts on a show in a special victory for Fremantle

An exciting midfield duo 

In conditions that were tough, young Port Adelaide pair Abbey Dowrick and Hannah Ewings finished their first AFLW season with a bang. Against Essendon on Sunday, they combined for eight clearances, 35 disposals and 11 tackles. With the potential to become Port Adelaide's version of Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard, the young duo looked clean in the wet and showed off the chemistry they have developed over the past 10 weeks. The Power has the makings of a talented long term engine room. 

AFLW S7 Highlights: Port Adelaide v Essendon

04:22 Oct 30. 2022. 3:41 PM

The Power and Bombers clash in round 10 of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

A draw means top four

In its first season Richmond went winless and became the first ever AFLW team to be held goalless in a game. Three years on and a boatload of list changes, Richmond has not just qualified for its first ever finals series but done so from the top four after a dramatic draw with North Melbourne. The Tigers have had to do it without key players nearly every week, and on Sunday got the job done - just - without Sarah Hosking and Maddie Shevlin. They have shown the rest of the top eight just how relentless they are. 

Last two mins: Tigers grab fourth after draw with Kangas

03:30 Oct 30. 2022. 4:58 PM

Enjoy the nail-biting final moments at Arden St as Richmond secured a late rushed behind to draw level with North Melbourne and move into the top four

The Giants know how to rise to an occasion 

Greater Western Sydney has been a bit of a flaky side in recent seasons, but one thing the Giants reliably do is rise to an occasion. Against Gold Coast on Sunday they had two reasons to celebrate. Irish champion Cora Staunton was playing in game number 50, while defensive stalwart Tanya Hetherington was playing her 46th and final game. As a result, the Giants came out with a real intent, immediately catching the Suns on the back foot and kicking their second highest score of the season to celebrate their veterans in style. 

Tanya Hetherington is held aloft by her teammates during round 10, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos