Melbourne Demons try to lift AFL Women’s scoring rates

Melbourne Demons try to lift AFL Women’s scoring rates
Melbourne Demons AFLW squad. Photo: DustyNail, Wikimedia Commons

Round two of the AFLW kicks off tomorrow night, and hopefully there’ll be a few less games won ugly, with accuracy in short supply in round one. In the first round the highest scoring game was Fremantle’s win over Melbourne 59-55, while North Melbourne (52) were the only other team to crack 30 points in a demolition of Carlton (16).

Despite the ugly looking score lines, however, even the low scoring games still had an exciting finish. Two games were decided by a single point (Geelong 24 – Collingwood 23 and Western Bulldogs 18 – Adelaide 17) and another by two points (Brisbane 29 – GWS 27). Counting the Melbourne-Freo game, four out of the five matches had less than a goal between winning and losing.

Accuracy was rewarded in the first round, with the Magpies, Crows and Melbourne all losing despite having more scoring shots than their opponents. The Crows were particularly horrendous, finishing with 1.11 – that’s 12 shots between the posts, but only one getting the 6 points. Collingwood were nearly as bad, kicking 2.11.

With the short length of the season it is clear that most coaches are prioritising defence as a way to win matches, with the players not getting enough match practice to learn how to avoid congestion in attack. This also partially explains the low accuracy, with players being forced to take long shots as they can’t get close enough to reliably take the 6 points.

This round it will be interesting to see if the Demons, Kangaroos and Dockers can keep up their scoring habit. They play Collingwood, GWS and Brisbane respectively, and running up some big scores may prompt the coaches of the other seven teams rethink their defensive focus. On the other hand, if the big scorers can be dragged back to the pack by a strong defence then we will be in for a long, low scoring season!