AFLW - round 1 vs Hawks @ Frankston Oval, 7:15pm Sat 2 September 2023

The Hawks’ home ground Frankston Oval is not quite Docklands, but I’m in for the traditional beating of the Hawks in round one.

The Hawks finished bottom of the ladder in this pre-season with a percentage of 34% – we scored more in both games than they did in total. Admittedly one of those games was versus the $1.01 premiership favourites Melbourne, which ended up 6-64.


Game will also have radio coverage in Melbourne’s Inner East on 94.1FM 3WBC.

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Our women outscored our men in the past fortnight (in a third less game time), and conceded 62% less than them too.

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All I know of Hawthorn’s off-season is they gained Bodey and Bates. Those are two extremely handy acquisitions.

Good work, Marnie.


Hawthorn and Essendon coaches are hoping their rivalry clash will become a permanent opening-round fixture in the AFLW calendar after a successful inaugural meeting last year.

Hawks coach Bec Goddard said she wants the women’s teams to harness the rivalry she grew up understanding.

Essendon’s Steph Cain is chased by Hawthorn’s Tahlia Fellows in last year’s opener.
Essendon’s Steph Cain is chased by Hawthorn’s Tahlia Fellows in last year’s opener.CREDIT: AFL PHOTOS

“I grew up a Hawthorn supporter. I remember some of those really fierce moments … I just grew up knowing that rivalry,” said Goddard.

“So I look forward to popping back to Bunnings on Saturday morning, getting another bag of sand for the front of the change rooms [referencing the infamous ‘line in the sand’ match between Hawthorn and Essendon in 2004] and hopefully get the girls into that theatre of the sport of the rivalry.”

Last year, their meeting was moved to Marvel after a push from both coaches, with over 12,000 fans turning out. This Saturday, their first-round clash will be played at Kinetic Stadium in Frankston.

Goddard said while it was great to play at Marvel, they are hoping to build a home-ground advantage and “fortress” down in Frankston.

“Women’s sport is measured by the metric of people coming through the gates, and so I know the Hawks fans are going to come out in big numbers this weekend,” said Goddard.

“And hopefully we fill that stadium because it’s going to be a really great contest, and a great opportunity to see women doing their best.”

Hawthorn coach Bec Goddard addresses players at Marvel Stadium in round one last year.
Hawthorn coach Bec Goddard addresses players at Marvel Stadium in round one last year.CREDIT: AFL PHOTOS

This season is the first each side, which came in as an expansion side last year, had a full pre-season leading into the season.

While Bombers coach Natalie Wood said this helps build connection with players, it also means the battle with Hawthorn will not only feature heat this time, but also more of each’s brand of footy going head-to-head.

“Both teams really stepped up to that mark [last year],” said Wood.

“For two teams playing their first game, I thought it was a game of a lot of high skill, high intensity work … They really stepped straight into that, that mode of wanting to have an arch rival.”

The season is to start without a new signed collective bargaining agreement. Players and the players’ association wanting a longer season, building to each team playing each other once, continues to be a sticky point in negotiations.

Goddard said while she appreciates the AFL and the union are working hard to get that deal done, she will approach the current season as a “mini World Cup”.

“You drop the first couple, then you’re going to be out. So, we certainly prepare and approach it almost like it’s sort of a longer final series,” said Goddard.

Hawthorn host Essendon in round one of the AFLW 2023 season at Kinetic Stadium on Saturday, September 2 at 7.15pm.


Will be there Saturday, guarantee every player will be giving their all for the club. Some could learn in the men’s program


Please do so in the first quarter, as well as the others.


Great for folks in the south east or on the peninsula but an annoying time and venue for inner city toffs like me.

I’ll be claiming early Father’s Day and forcing my children to sit on the couch and watch with me :wink:

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Damn it. MORCS played in the first practice match vs Norf, but not versus WCE.

van Dyke and LilyRose were known long-term injuries. It’s bloody easy to miss a whole micro-season.

Essendon will be without defender Alex Morcom for round one of the AFLW season against Hawthorn.

Morcom suffered an ankle injury in the lead-up to the start of the season but is progressing well for a return in the coming weeks.

Mia Van Dyke and Lily-Rose Williamson will also miss the start of the season.

Van Dyke is recovering from a stress fracture but is increasing her running volume following her first run last week.

Williamson damaged ankle ligaments during the pre-season and is starting to ease into impact training.

Head of Medical Services Megan Smith said the overall health of the list was very pleasing.

“To start round one with only three on the injury list is a really pleasing sign for our program,” Smith said.

“Unfortunately, we will be without Alex Morcom for round one, however, her rehab is progressing well and hopefully she will be in line for selection for round two.

“Mia and Lily are more long-term injuries, so we will continue to work through their rehabilitation plans to see them towards the back end of the season.”

Essendon round one injury list

Name Injury Weeks
Alex Morcom Ankle 1-2
Mia Van Dyke Hip 4-5
Lily-Rose Williamson Foot 7-8
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Morcom is a point of difference (I’m not yet convinced Jacques can cover all of their faster/smaller forwards). If you remember the first round of last year, the Hawk smalls were the only thing that worked forward for them.

I absolutely rate van Loon, and she had clearly stepped up in the VFLW this year, but she doesn’t fill that gap.

Yep. Morcs helps with opposition small forwards. Mia Busch has been playing forward but she can be pushed back. Maybe Van de Heuvel can help out down back too. Georgia Gee could run off the back flank, but she’s too good around the middle.

The WCE small forwards torched us in the practice game.

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Stratospheric view of both teams at:

Of all four first-year clubs to debut last season, the Bombers finished the highest (10th). Having superstar Maddi Prespakis, an Essendon supporter since birth, certainly helped as she earned All-Australian honours. This is an emerging side with veteran talent in clearance specialist Steph Cain, goalkicking forwards Bonnie Toogood and Daria Bannister, and American one-percenter maven Danielle Marshall. If the Bombers get off to a flyer and build confidence, making the top eight isn’t too far-fetched.

Even with a 3-4 win loss record with three home-and-away matches left, the Hawks were a slight chance to sneak into the top eight, but dropped two of those matches by a combined total of six points to miss out. Hawks supporters, though, must be encouraged by management plucking All-Australians Bodey and Bates from Brisbane, then drafting athletic Northern Territory utility Mattea Breed. Tilly Lucas-Rodd shone brightly last season in the brown and gold and Bodey and Bates bring talent and leadership to the young Hawks, who’ll hope to improve on their bottom-four finish in season seven.

Cain, the “clearance specialist”, averaged 2.7 clearances in 2022. The other Steph (Wales) averaged 3.0 and Prespakis was way out in front with 4.8.

The article’s statement is therefore closer to reality than I thought it would be: in 2022 Cain had very slightly less (50%) than the team average percent (51%) of her disposals being contested.

(Steph Wales had the actual highest proportion of contested disposals amongst the regular 2022 players, at 66%. But the actual top contested player was Meg “The Beast” Ryan, at 80%.)

Mostly puff piece. A few words on the inclusion of Bates and Bodey, and soccer convert Dumont.

Our puff piece, with just quotes from the coach at the few-days-ago video, is here:

That’s what I try to tell people. If you want a Bombers team that doesn’t stop giving 100% this is the team!


Are we expected to win this? Are we a legit finals threat this year? Or, like the men’s side we will tease, beat a few, lose a few we shouldn’t lose and finish 11th?!

Looking at our run, I have us as mid-table, aiming for 8th spot (so a finals appearance), but it will be a log-jam and could come down to percentage.

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Round One team is in…

B: 17. Clarke 36. Brown
HB: 9. Walker 14. Gamble 26. Van Loon
C: 2. Gee 4. Prespakis 27. Van De Heuvel
HF: 33. Clarke 24. Alexander 3. Bannister
F: 8. Toogood 21. Wuetschner
Foll: 30. Wales 20. Cain 32. Scott
Int: 28. Busch 7. Jacques 5. Nanscawen 22. Radford
10. Vogt
Emg: 18. Cutting 6. Marshall 11. Barba