AFLW star clipped for ugly cheap shot
RICHMOND AFLW star Katie Brennan has come under fire for targeting an injured opponent during Gold Coast's win over the Tigers on Saturday.
Suns player Jamie Stanton was crunched in a bone-jarring hit when running back with the flight of the ball to contest a mark at Metricon Stadium on the glitter strip.
She stayed down and trainers rushed out as Stanton was forced off the ground with what looked like a serious right shoulder injury, fashioning her guernsey into a sling as she left the field.
Stanton showed plenty of courage to come back on after half-time but she wasn't receiving any sympathy from Brennan, who was a high-profile recruit to Richmond after moving from the Western Bulldogs.
The Tigers star targeted Stanton's injured shoulder, which was heavily strapped, going to her at the centre bounce and bumping and pushing the Gold Coast Sun where it hurt most.
Speaking about the incident on ABC's Offsiders, AFL journalist Caroline Wilson wasn't impressed as she referred to what umpires did last season, when they often warned players to stay away from deliberately paying extra attention to a rival's injury.
"I don't like it. I don't like it in the men's (game)," Wilson said.
"I don't know why everyone carried on last year when … umpires are warning players not to do it. There should have been a warning.
"Not a good look for the game."
ABC Grandstand commentator Alister Nicholson was also put off by Brennan's tactics.
"I don't have a problem with the defender or the forward bumping one another but when it's deliberately targeting that area that they have clearly injured earlier in the game (it's not good)," Nicholson said.
"The opposite side of the coin is they've proven themselves fit to come back out on the ground, you're fair game, but it's a poor look to deliberately target an injury."
Targeting injured players is nothing new in footy. Former St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt's injured collarbone was famously hammered by Brisbane players and in 2016 Western Bulldog Lin Jong, who broke the right side of his collarbone, came back to play for Footscray in the VFL grand final but taped up the other side of his body to trick opponents into targeting the good side of his collarbone rather than the injured side.
Katie Brennan testing out Stanton's shoulder off the ball— leesa catto (@leesacatto) February 15, 2020
Why? Just play footy.
Gold Coast became the first AFLW expansion team to register a win for the season, defeating fellow newcomer Richmond by 11 points. The Suns impressed with a strong running game and precision kicking, treating their home crowd to a 5.3 (33) to 2.10 (22) win.
After playing last week in dismal, wet conditions, the quick Gold Coast team relished the opportunity to play attacking football.
Stanton (20 disposals and a goal) and Lauren Ahrens (16 disposals) stood out in the engine room, while Kate Surman's two goals were critical to their first home win.
Richmond kept pace early thanks to first-quarter goals to Tayla Stahl and Christina Bernardi, but the Tigers could not score a goal for the rest of the game.
They dominated forward territory in the second half, particularly in the final quarter, but poor conversion cost them any chance of a comeback.
Suns coach David Lake praised his team's midfielders and forwards' ability to create good scoring opportunities.
"Obviously, the conditions were a little bit more conducive to playing good footy. I also thought we learnt a little bit from last week," Lake said.
While happy with their attack, Lake praised the team's defensive efforts when the Tigers came home strongly in the last quarter.
"I was happy with the defenders, but probably just as happy with the forwards. The forwards pushed up; the mids got down; we made sure we played even number in that area once they started to get a bit of momentum," he said.
Richmond created plenty of opportunities, mainly thanks to strong games from Pheobe Monahan (21 disposals), Monique Conti and Sarah Sansonetti (20 disposals each), but it wasn't enough to lift their team to victory.
Tigers coach Tom Hunter lamented his team's inability to convert their forward entries.
"I think we attacked the game really well. We just couldn't quite capitalise inside forward 50m," he said.
"I think we grew a lot over the course of the week. We're going to continue to get better.
"We just got to make sure that once the ball goes in there, we're either kicking a goal or we're creating another stoppage to give us more opportunities to score."
Richmond faces a tough prospect next week when it faces North Melbourne at Ikon Park, while Gold Coast will look to build on its win when it plays Brisbane next.