Brisbane AFLW coach Craig Starcevich has praised the “special” footy nous of forward Jessica Wuetschner after her decisive three-goal haul in the Lions’ two-point victory over Greater Western Sydney.
The Giants pushed the Lions in Sunday’s first half in front of 2850 fans at the Moreton Bay Sports Complex, but Wuetschner’s two goals in the third quarter swung the match for Brisbane to win 4.5 (29) to 4.3 (27).
The double gave the Lions a decisive six-point lead at three-quarter time, a margin the Giants couldn’t run down despite keeping Brisbane goalless in the final quarter.
Starcevich praised his team’s ability to come back after a flat first half to overcome a side who would “be there when the whips are cracking” at the end of the season.
“We were down and out a bit at half-time and fought back to put ourselves right back in the contest in the third quarter, which is really pleasing. They ran the game out really strongly,” he said.
Earlier on Sunday, Fremantle prevailed in a shootout against Melbourne at Casey Fields.
The Dockers kicked the last three goals of a see-sawing contest to run out 9.5 (59) to 8.7 (55) winners in a match that was just two points shy of the AFLW record total of 116.
“It was free flowing. There was a lot of good one-on-one contests and the forwards probably at both ends got on top at different stages,” Fremantle coach Trent Cooper said post-match.
“I’m not sure it was enjoyable to coach like that when the fluctuations are so vivid, but it’s a good brand of football and that’s what we want to do this year and hopefully we kick more than the opposition.”
North Melbourne started its AFLW journey with a comprehensive 7.10 (52) to 2.4 (16) victory at North Hobart Oval.
While the play was often more end to end across the country, the league’s rule tweaks designed to boost scoring achieved mixed results.
Average points per match in Round 1 were up from 60.5 last year to 64.
In other results, Geelong got the ball rolling on Saturday night. Its No.1 draft pick Nina Morrison starred with 22 possessions in a 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23) win over Collingwood in their AFLW debut in front of 18,429 fans at GMHBA Stadium.
Wasteful Adelaide could manage just one goal at Norwood Oval on Saturday night and the Western Bulldogs made them pay in a 2.6 (18) to 1.11 (17) thriller.