Less than 24 hours remain until we get another AFLW season underway in Melbourne!
Before we get rolling for our fifth campaign, we’ve crunched some numbers from our seasons gone by.
SUNS through and through
Both Lauren Bella and Lauren Ahrens have been through it all for the SUNS having played in every single AFLW match for the club. The pair will run out together once again at Ikon Park tomorrow for their 37th match as Gold Coast teammates.
Cameron Joyce will be on deck for his 21st match at the club tomorrow, as will two of his first recruits Head Coach. Captain Tara Bohanna and Season Seven Club Champion Charlie Rowbottom haven’t missed a second of the action since being two of the first names ticked off Joyce’s wish list in 2021.
It’s been a long and windy road with plenty of bumps along the way for Jamie Stanton who will tomorrow run out for her 49th AFLW match since debuting for the Brisbane Lions on the competition’s opening weekend in 2017. She’s one of a number of SUNS players nearing the half-century.
The club will now celebrate a player’s 25th game as their first major milestone with ever-reliable duo Bess Keaney (28 games) and Daisy D’Arcy (29 games) two players who passed that milestone late in Season Seven. Since joining the club, D’Arcy has featured in every match with Keaney only missing Round 1 in Season Seven with her own wedding – both comfortably sit inside the top 10 for most games played in the red and gold.
Captain Tara Bohanna has led the way in front of goals, taking out two leading goalkicker awards in as many seasons. She finds herself one goal ahead of livewire Kalinda Howarth (20 goals for the SUNS) who, alongside the likes of Jac Dupuyand off-season recruit Jordan Membrey, are sure to provide plenty of firepower inside forward 50 in 2023.
Only three rucks managed more hitouts per game in Season Seven than Lauren Bella (22.3 per game) and that aerial dominance was music to the ears of Charlie Rowbottom and Claudia Whitfort. Rowbottom averaged the third most clearances in the league last season (6.2 per game) while Whitfort averaged four inside 50s each week, only bettered by four opponents.
SUNS in Round 1
Saturday’s clash against the Blues provides the SUNS with an opportunity to get its season off to the perfect start. The SUNS have previously faced tough opposition to open its campaign including North Melbourne in Season 7 and Melbourne back in 2021, with a one-point defeat in the club’s maiden game in 2020 as close it’s come in Round 1 clashes.
If you’re looking to pick a smoky in your AFLW Fantasy team, Niamh McLaughlin, Darcie Davies, Alana Gee, Meara Girvan, Georgia Clayden and the experienced Maddy Brancatisano can all be scooped up at near-base price and all have been selected for Round 1.