Micro Noises 193: The return of AFLW
There'll be highs and lows — but will the highs and lows be beaten?
This week marks the return of AFL Women's for a second season, and it will begin as the first one did, with a Carlton v Collingwood clash at Princes Park on a Friday night. The chances of last year's record crowd of 24,568 being beaten are probably quite slim (although the fine weather will provide ideal conditions), but the second AFLW season will undoubtedly provide chances for many other records to be broken.
In preparation for the new season, here's a look at some of the records that will be up for grabs:
HIGHEST SCORE: By definition, the opening match of the inaugural AFLW season saw the highest score established. It was 46, kicked by Carlton against Collingwood. Adelaide pipped it the following day against GWS, scoring 48, and then matched that in round 2 against the Western Bulldogs. That remained the record until round 5, when the Bulldogs themselves matched it of 48, but they were beaten by Carlton, the Blues kicking 54 to set a new benchmark.
Collingwood then pinched the record in round 6, scoring 55, but the final home-and-away round saw the record smashed, with Melbourne scoring 11.4.70 against Fremantle on March 18, and Adelaide then matching that with 10.10.70 against Collingwood the next day.
The target to beat in 2018 is therefore 70, and with new rules, including free kicks for 'last touch out of bounds', and an adjustment to time-on calculations, there's a good chance a new high score will be set.
LOWEST SCORE: At the other end of the scale, four of the season's lowest five scores actually came in round 1. Collingwood's low of 1.5.11 in the season opener was 'beaten' by Melbourne's 1.4.10 two days later, but GWS established a new low, kicking only 1.3.9 against Brisbane in round 4. That remains the lowest AFLW score, and may do so for some time.
BIGGEST WINNING MARGIN: The season's biggest win came in the last home-and-away round, with Melbourne thrashing Fremantle by 54 points. The next biggest winning margin was 36 points, recorded by Collingwood and Adelaide, in both cases against GWS.
HIGHEST AND LOWEST MATCH AGGREGATES: Reflecting an increase in scoring as the season unfolded, the lowest match aggregate came early in the season, and the highest came in the final round. Adelaide and Carlton kicked just 4.7 between them in round 3, for an aggregate of 31, while the Crows and Collingwood combined for a record high aggregate of 17.14.116 in round 7.
BIGGEST CROWD: Last year's Carlton-Collingwood season-opener at Princes Park saw crowds turn away as 24,568 fans crammed into the venue to witness the historic first match. While that figure is not expected to be matched at tomorrow's corresponding figure, the record AFLW attendance figure is certain to be broken in round 2 this year, when Fremantle hosts Collingwood at the new Perth Stadium. 38,000 tickets have already been sold, and as many as 50,000 are expected to show up.
MOST GOALS IN A SEASON: Carlton's Darcy Vescio topped the goalkicking table last year, with a total of 14, ahead of two Adelaide players, Sarah Perkins (11) and Erin Phillips (10). We'll be very surprised if this year's leading total isn't quite a bit higher.
MOST GOALS IN A MATCH: Vescio kicked four goals in very AFLW first match, setting a benchmark that was matched by Sarah Perkins in round 7, but has not yet been beaten.
MOST INDIVIDUAL GAMES: While Brent 'Boomer' Harvey stands alone among men in this department (his 432 matches six clear of Michael Tuck), there are — unsurprisingly — a host of AFLW players in the equal lead for most games played. In fact there are 19, so we won't name them all. Suffice to say that the game total is 8, and the 19 players all play for either Adelaide or Brisbane, last season's Grand Final opponents.
MOST POSSESSIONS IN A MATCH: Bulldog Emma Kearney holds this record, with 30 possessions in the Dogs' round 6 loss to Brisbane last March. The record might be a tough one to break, given that the average length of AFLW matches in the inaugural season was little more than half of equivalent men's matches, thus equating the total to something in the high 50s in an AFL match.
TWO-CLUB PLAYERS: Carlton's Tayla Harris and Nicola Stevens, along with Collingwood's Jaimee Lambert, will set a record in tonight's season opener, becoming the first players to appear for two AFLW clubs. Stevens' first match for the Blues will be against her old club. Harris played with the Brisbane Lions last year while Lambert played six matches for the Western Bulldogs.
Postcode of the week
Is it fair that Carlton and Collingwood get to kick off the season for a second consecutive year? There are probably arguments for or against them doing so, but in any case, we remain adamant that the Blues, at least, deserve to be playing tonight. Why? Well, a quick look at the date reveals it to be 2.2.18 and 2218 is the postcode of a place in New South Wales known as... Carlton.
Ridiculous footy anagram of the week
If new Carlton recruit NICOLA STEVENS is part of a win over Collingwood tonight, you can expect her to sing her new club song loudly and proudly — not just because she'll have become to first AFLW player to have a win over her old side, but also because she's an anagram of INTENSE VOCALS.
Micro Noises is Andrew Gigacz's regular, quirky look at all things footy. The name Micro Noises is an anagram of Enrico Misso, who played one game for St Kilda in 1985. He remains the only Enrico and the only Misso to have played footy at the highest level.
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