The second edition of the AFLW began last weekend with much expectation on an improved standard following the competitions first season.
After a four month lay-off from all form of the game, fans are excited to see the return of the women’s format prior to the men’s competition set to begin in March. It gives both the fans of the game, and more importantly, the female players a chance to showcase their skills at a professional level.
The first season of the competition saw an incredibly low scoring rate with an average of just 8.5 goals per game. Understandably, it was the first season and many of the players had not played at such a high level before, nor endured the training intensity prior to the competition.
However, entering the second season there was hope that the scoring rate would increase and a more free flowing game would present itself.
Former Richmond coach and three-time premiership player with Hawthorn, Terry Wallace, has spoken out against the “flooding” tactics used by the AFLW coaches. Half of the teams failed to score in a half of football whilst Adelaide was goalless for three out of the four quarters they played against Brisbane.
The opening match of the season played between Carlton and Collingwood was described as “the poorest of the games quite comfortably”, by Wallace who has encouraged the coaches to be more attacking with their game styles.
Wallace said the “flooding” tactic and the use of a “plus-one” behind the ball was not necessary at this level, especially given the consistency with which low scores are being posted.
Given the youthfulness of the competition and the developing skill level across all players, it is understandable that the scores are low. However, in the best interests of the aesthetics of the game something needs to be done about the defensive tactics being employed by the coaches.
“If I was the AFLW, I’d be getting on the phone to the coaches and say ‘can we play this as pure as what we possibly can?’” Mr Wallace said of improving the scoring rate.
There have been reports of the AFL talking to coaches this week regarding their tactic and encouraging them to place more emphasis on the offensive side of the game. Nothing concrete has come out of the AFL regarding this, however.
For the fans, let’s hope that the coaches are willing to listen to the public, and indeed the AFL, in an attempt to create a more free-flowing and higher scoring event.
The second round of the 2018 AFLW season begins on Friday night at 7:05pm with GWS facing Carlton at Drummoyne Oval.