The curtains have officially been drawn on Round 2 of season seven, with plenty of storylines continuing to emerge in the opening weeks.
St Kilda have shaken off memories of their lacklustre season six performance to climb to a top two spot on the ladder, one of six teams to remain undefeated heading into Round 3.
Big scores have been kicked and expansion teams have floundered, but the race for premiership glory remains very open.
Expansion scoring woes
Round 2 of the AFLW competition saw several blowout scores across the weekend, more often than not at the expense of the competition's four expansion teams. While Essendon fell by just one point in a nail-biting encounter against Carlton, the three other new teams in Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney didn't fare as well.
The three teams combined scored three goals across their Round 2 matchups, losing by a combined 103 points. There were multiple other blowouts across the weekend, with Fremantle and the Giants struggling, giving credit to the argument that the league's rapid expansion to eighteen teams would cause less competitive matches between the best and the rest.
We all knew that the expansion teams, perhaps with the exemption of Essendon, wouldn't exactly set the world alight in their inaugural seasons, but the last thing the competition needs is blowout score lines week after week.
Brisbane's forward line is a premiership force
The Lions have won their opening two matches against Fremantle and GWS by a combined 96 points, with their forward line looking like the most dangerous in the competition. Finishing the day with eight individual goalkickers, it's clear the Lions have plenty of avenues to score goals. Emily Bates, who is backing up her season six best and fairest form, kicked two goals in an electric performance, while Greta Bodey also kicked two majors.
Despite conceding two early goals, the Lions managed to pile on an unanswered 35 points in response, winning the inside 50 count 39-14 by the time the final siren sounded. In Round 1, the Lions' tally was just as skewed, beating Fremantle 44-17 in the inside 50 count.
The Saints go marching up
After a 13th-placed finish last season, winning just two matches and finishing the season with a lowly percentage of 53.1%, there were little few large expectations of the Saints heading into season seven.
In a complete 180 to the team we saw earlier in the year, the team from Moorabbin have dominated their opening two matches, winning by 29 points against the Swans in their opening match and 53 points against Hawthorn in Round 2.
On an otherwise dismal day for the Hawks though, former Saint Tilly Lucas-Rodd shined, finishing the day with 20 disposals and 14 tackles.
The Saints have claimed a 2-0 start to the season for the first time in their history, and while both have come against new expansion teams, their form can't be completely discredited.
If the club can maintain this momentum and sustain their winning ways remains to be seen, but Round 3's match-up against the dominant Demons will be a perfect assessment of where the Saints truly sit.
One goal conceded in an entire game of footy 😳
Our girls came to play. pic.twitter.com/X7qSsYRgNy
— St Kilda FCW (@stkildafcw) September 5, 2022
Horror weekend of injuries raises more questions
Despite some nail-biting games and big scores, injuries seemed to dominate the news once again. It was a horror weekend on the injury front, with the Bulldogs' win over Port Adelaide stopped for more than 30 minutes after a sickening leg injury to Britney Gutknecht. The young Dog was taken away in an ambulance in the second term, now confirmed to have broken both her tibia and fibula in the Saturday afternoon clash.
Hawthorn's loss to St Kilda was also hit by injury, with three players ending the 53-point Saints win on crutches. Hawthorn's Tamara Luke and Louise Stephenson suffered respective knee and ankle injuries early on in the clash, while the Saints lost Jayde Van Dyk in the second term to a knee injury.
Scans have since confirmed that Luke and Van Dyk have suffered ACL injuries, while Stephenson will be required to undergo surgery on her fractured ankle.
With the expansion of the competition to now include eighteen teams, the frequent occurrence of season-ending injuries continues to raise questions about the conditions of grounds hosting the ten-round competition, and if a medi-sub should be introduced to aid injury hit teams.
Bringing you some unfortunate news on the injury front with scans confirming a ruptured ACL for Tam Luke and a fractured ankle for Lou Stephenson. 😔
Full update below. 👇https://t.co/1ShGvzWjF9
— Hawthorn FC AFLW (@hawthornaflw) September 6, 2022