Round 4 of the AFLW saw some tight games, a couple of thrashings and highlighted the importance of accuracy in kicking, combined with defence. Conference B closed the gap on conference A slightly as the Brisbane Lions gave the Western Bulldogs a spanking, while North Melbourne won a crucial local derby and Adelaide marked themselves as a serious contender.
The conference system has been maligned this season, with a clear quality gap between the two groupings. Up until the weekend conference A teams had won every match against conference B, however only the top two teams from each group will make the finals. This weekend saw the first win by conference B, with Brisbane demolishing the Bulldogs (in Melbourne) 49-17.
North Melbourne and Melbourne played off in a local derby that has almost certainly knocked the Demons out of finals contention. Despite the match being very closely contested, with the Kangaroos winning 38-34, Melbourne has been knocked back from the pack chasing the second conference A semi final spot (North Melbourne are undefeated and likely to make the finals).
Adelaide and Fremantle are chasing North Melbourne, with Adelaide announcing themselves as a serious contender by handing Freo their first defeat of the season in a 65-23 flogging. Next week the Crows and the Kangaroos will face off, with the winner likely to take out top spot in the conference, while the loser will be vulnerable to a surge from Fremantle.
The matches on the weekend also highlighted the importance of accuracy. In the Melbourne vs North Melbourne match the Demons actually had one more scoring shot than the Kangaroos, but lower accuracy meant that North were able to take the four-point win. In the clash between Geelong, who have made a habit of winning ugly, and Carlton the two sides had 9 scoring shots each, but the Cats were more accurate and won the match.
This weekend there are two matches to keep a special eye on, with the Cats and Lions facing off in a game that will likely decide the winner of conference B and North Melbourne taking on Adelaide. These will be the two games that can either seal up the finals race or blow the competition wide open, so the round will be an exciting one.