AFLW keeps getting better as young guns, veterans impressing at 2021 mid-season mark
5 min read
The first half of this year's AFLW season is marked by the breakout of young players matching it with their more experienced peers — and the game is getting better because of it, writes Kate O'Halloran.
At the mid-way point of the fifth season of AFLW, contenders for the best game in the competition's history keep accumulating.

Judging by social media, the standard of each round appears to eclipse the last.


In round three there was near-universal agreement that the best game of AFLW was the crowd-less epic between Melbourne and the Kangaroos at Casey Fields.

In round four, the winless Tigers had fans on the edge of their seats as they pushed the Blues to the death at Princes Park.

Just a day later, that contest was rivalled by the Lions and Crows, with an Erin Phillips masterclass (four goals and 21 disposals) the only difference in a game played at finals-like intensity.


Such top quality football follows the highest-scoring opening round since the competition began, which was endorsed by a 15 per cent increase in TV viewership on the previous season, and a number of sold-out games.

Year on year, the difference in the standard of the competition is palpable, a fact that can be attributed in part to the emergence of a group of young players who are matching it with their much more experienced peers in the space of just a few games.


As just one example, Tyanna Smith finished her fourth game for St Kilda with 16 disposals, including eight contested possessions, eight score involvements and 13 tackles.

But it wasn't just the stat sheet that impressed: her one-handed pick-up and hit-up of teammate Jacqui Vogt on the lead had Kelli Underwood calling her "the future of the St Kilda football club".

"What about the pick up?" cried Underwood, before…
Kate O'Halloran
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