Our AFLW experts tackle some of the burning questions ahead of semifinal weekend, including the Saturday scheduling saga, who impressed in week one of finals, and plenty more.
When and where would you play the Richmond vs. North game?
Marissa Lordanic: 'Move It To Marvel 2.0' would have been my choice. The bigger venue not only allows for more people but does not have time constraints on it meaning a twilight or night game would have been feasible thanks to the broadcast quality lighting. Saturday night footy would have been great in terms of attendance, great for TV viewership, and probably would have captured some residual audience from the other big sporting event in town.
Sarah Burt: Marvel Stadium, Saturday midday. When you look at the scheduling so far this season, there have been games that begin at 11.40am on a Saturday/Sunday and 5pm games on a Friday to accommodate venue demand. AFLW fans are used to attending games at non-traditional footy times and would attend the game at midday. It would appear that Marvel is free in the middle of the day on Saturday so to host the game at a larger venue, which the AFL owns, to accommodate all fans and friends and family members and avoid the clash with the Matildas friendly with Sweden which is only just down the road.
Jesse Robinson: I'd play it under lights at 7:25 at Marvel Stadium, and do the same for all Victorian finals. More realistically? I'd put the Adelaide game on Friday night and play the Tigers game at 7:10 at Ikon Park on Saturday, it probably wouldn't sell out but everyone that wanted to would get the chance to go!
Did Trent Cooper deserve to be let go?
ML: Based on the available information, no. It appears incredibly harsh that he has been let go based on seemingly one bad season. While the Dockers season was undeniably poor, and both Cooper and the playing group have said as much, there were a lot of reasonable explanations as to the poorness. While you cannot rest on your laurels, to not take into account Cooper's history and success with the club seems bizarre.
SB: No. we need to look at factors other than coaching. He has been coach for five years and has taken them to finals every year. This is the first time they didn't make qualifying finals, finishing at 12th after only three wins and a draw but they were absolutely annihilated by injuries this year Ebony and Kara Antonio missed most of the season, captain Hayley Miller barely had a pre-season, and Kiara Bowers was slow to start. To fire coaches after one lacklustre season can be short sighted if you don't take other extraneous factors into account.
JR: Without more detail on the situation, it seems like he was very harshly treated. One poor season without a number of key players would've been enough for another go round if I was in charge at Fremantle. If four finals appearances in five seasons isn't enough to keep your job then there should be some very nervy coaches in Victoria.
Who was the player of week one of finals?
ML: It was a good week for goalkickers with Eliza James' four, Katie Brennan's three, and Alyssa Bannan's two all contributing to their respective teams. But down the other end, the work of North Melbourne's entire defensive structure deserves some credit for their huge effort in containing wave after wave of Geelong attack for three quarters. We've got to give defenders some love!
SB: Eliza James of the Magpies made history as the first ever AFLW player to kick four goals in a final. She got the four goals from just 13 disposals in her 20th AFLW game -- fair effort!
JR: She's been flying a little under the radar all season but Olivia Purcell put in another stellar performance against one of the league's best midfield groups on Friday night. Her 26 disposals and eight tackles were a key part of the Melbourne resurgence after a flat first quarter all the while keeping the ball out of the hands of dangerous duo Marinoff and Hatchard.
Who was the biggest omission from the initial All-Australian squad?
ML: Libby Birch down back was a big omission for mine. Her ability to be in the right place at the right time, a combination of her own ability to read the game well and Melbourne's wider structure, means she's been an indispensable defender this season.
SB: Kirsty Lamb, after averaging 15.6 disposals and 6.9 contested possessions, 4.3 tackles and 2.3 score involvements. I'm shocked there wasn't more value placed on her asset to the Western Bulldogs, purely for consistency.
JR: It feels unusual to not have last season's best and fairest or leading goalkicker in the squad but I think the selectors have done really well on the whole. There are so many good midfielders in the comp it's hard to make a case for and against the cream of the crop but Abbie McKay has probably paid the losers tax for Carlton's poor record after she had a pretty impressive season.