Full AFLW R3 preview: Fresh face-off for two teams, tough task for struggling Saints

MORE fixture changes have hit the AFLW in round three, with Pride Round now extending to Tuesday evening. 

The annual Pride match between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton Blues has been postponed as the Dogs are still stretched for player availability, and the third QClash has been put on hold while the Suns deal with another period of interruption. Meanwhile Brisbane and Carlton will now face off on Tuesday evening at Metricon Stadium. 

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Friday, January 21

Geelong v Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium, 7.10pm AEDT 

  • Geelong will be looking to break its losing streak at home. Winless in their last nine matches at home, the Cats will be taking on the side that they beat at the venue in their very first AFLW match. It will be imperative that they have someone playing an accountable role on Britt Bonnici, not necessarily a strict tagging role, but someone with the fitness to run with her as she looks to find space. Last week they were found out when Carlton chose to switch to the open side of the ground, so Bonnici's work rate across the field is a dangerous asset for the Pies. 
  • Collingwood's strong defensive group will make life very hard for a Cats side that already finds it difficult to score. Geelong has kicked more than two goals just once in its last five matches, while the Pies have conceded the third-fewest points in the competition so far this season. Collingwood will apply pressure high up the field and suck the Cats into kicking long, high balls to the advantage of the Pies defence.  
  • Tip: Geelong will struggle to score, and Collingwood will rely on this to get the win. Pies by 20 points. 

WATCH IT LIVE Cats v Pies

Collingwood's Sarah Rowe tackles Geelong's Maddy McMahon during round two, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Saturday, January 22

West Coast v Adelaide at the Swinburne Centre, 12.40pm AEDT

  • Last week the Eagles had the game in hand, but then struggled to slow the momentum once it was with the opposition, ultimately losing by conceding the last five goals of the game. This looms as worrying given Adelaide's ability to control possession and use elite disposal to maintain uncontested possession. West Coast needs to force a contested, stoppage game and prevent Adelaide from using their run and spread. 
  • In their first trip outside of South Australia for the season, the Crows will look to maintain their undefeated start to 2022. They have held their opponents goalless in half of their quarters played so far this year, while the Eagles have been goalless in five of their eight quarters. With Sarah Allan, Najwa Allen, Marijana Rajcic and Montana McKinnon reading the ball brilliantly across the backline, it will be a tough ask for the Eagles to break through to score. 
  • Tip: The Crows' ability to control the ball and defend quite high up the field will serve them well. Adelaide by 40 points. 

WATCH IT LIVE Eagles v Crows

West Coast's Parris Laurie and Adelaide's Rhiannon Metcalfe contest in the ruck during round one, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Melbourne v St Kilda at Casey Fields, 3.10pm AEDT

  • For the first time this year, Melbourne returns home to Casey Fields where the side is on an eight game winning streak. Last time these two sides met in round six, 2021, the Demons had faltered after a strong start to the season, and a big win over the Saints got their year back on track. This year, the Dees will look to continue their undefeated run by using their smart decision-making and direct attacking style. 
  • St Kilda cannot be accused of not working hard enough, but that hard work simply hasn't translated to the scoreboard. Succumbing to pressure, the Saints tend to make costly errors in the last disposal at half forward, often resulting in turnovers that they then have to desperately defend. The Demons' strength around stoppages, that they are then able to feed to the outside will make life tough for the Saints as they look to get their first win for 2022. 
  • Tip: In close, the Saints will battle it out, but once the ball moves to the outside the Demons will be too strong. Melbourne by 25 points. 

WATCH IT LIVE Demons v Saints

St Kilda's Kate Shierlaw is tackled by Melbourne's Brenna Tarrant during round six, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Richmond v Fremantle at the Swinburne Centre, 5.10pm AEDT

  • For the first time in club history, Richmond will come up against the Dockers. In each of their opening two games, the Tigers have won three of their four quarters, for a big win and a modest loss. Fremantle, meanwhile, has kicked more than half of its score each week in just one quarter. The momentum swings in this game will be telling, and while Richmond will likely get the upper hand for much of the game, it will need to be able to stop the Dockers' surge when it does come. 
  • While their one quarter surge has served them well so far this year, the Dockers will no doubt be looking for a most consistent four quarter performance this weekend. Clean hands around the midfield, and the bonus of having Kiara Bowers with the endurance and defensive pressure to go with Monique Conti suggests the Dockers will be able to slow Richmond's use out of stoppages and starve their forward half of the ball. 
  • Tip: Richmond will not make life easy for Fremantle, but the visitors' fitness will see the Dockers win out. Fremantle by eight points. 

WATCH IT LIVE Tigers v Dockers

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Sunday, January 23

North Melbourne v Greater Western Sydney at Arden Street Oval, 1.10pm AEDT

  • North Melbourne has made itself at home at Arden Street, and it will be looking to retain its streak at home to get their season back on track. The Kangaroos haven't yet found the unrelenting, heavy scoring form of last year. Kicking 26 and 24 points respectively over the first two rounds, the side failed to kick 30 points just twice in their ten games last year. This is something they will be looking to rectify against the Giants on Sunday. 
  • The Giants have scoring problems of their own. GWS has won just two games since 2018 when Cora Staunton hasn't kicked a goal, and the forward has been responsible for a quarter of its goals in that time. Last week, once Staunton's supply was closed off, the Giants' scoring dried up. Injuries to key players have made it hard for the side to get much run and carry going, but a wider contribution in the forward half is vital if GWS is to really challenge the competition. 
  • Tip: North Melbourne will be looking to make up for last week's loss. Kangaroos by five points.

WATCH IT LIVE Kangaroos v Giants

North Melbourne's Aileen Gilroy kicks the ball during round two, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Tuesday, January 25

Brisbane Lions v Carlton at Metricon Stadium, 6.10pm AEST

  • Brisbane's interrupted start to its premiership defence continues, now set to face Carlton on Tuesday. While they will have most players back from the health and safety protocols which caused last week's match to be called off, Kate Lutkins and Dakota Davidson are still key outs for the Lions, and both are players around whom Brisbane's back and forward lines are structured. How well the Lions are able to fill those gaps will have the most say in how the team bounces back.   
  • Carlton found real comfort in its backline last week, winning the ball and effortlessly hitting up teammates in space down the field. The Lions need to apply forward pressure to prevent the ball from rebounding out too easily and can't let Carlton find as much space as it was allowed last week. 
  • Tip: Carlton has enjoyed a more stable start to the season, but it's unlikely that Brisbane will falter in consecutive games. Brisbane by two points. 

WATCH IT LIVE Lions v Blues

Carlton's Georgia Gee celebrates a goal during the semi-final against Brisbane in March, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

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