AFL, AFLW grind to a halt for Benalla exports

By Meg Saultry

Benalla’s AFL and AFL Women’s exports can expect an extended period of time away from the game after the league announced it would postpone the men’s season and abandon the women’s competition following tighter national coronavirus precautions.

With the AFL halting its season at the conclusion of round one until at least June, the league has expressed hopes of playing out the remaining 16 rounds of a limited season.

But for the AFL Women’s competition, the decision wipes out the rest of their season, with the competition abandoned ahead of the preliminary final stage.

For Benalla’s Becky Webster, her second season at AFLW level came to an abrupt halt mid-last week ahead of round seven, after the league choose to end its regular season two weeks prior to the finals series.

The AFLW later announced it would schedule the first games of a three-week finals series between the top eight sides that weekend, but with Webster’s Geelong outfit sitting among the bottom six teams, Webster was not be able to pull on the boots again.

In six games, Webster increased her disposal average from seven in 2019 to 13 this season, with her best performance coming in round one against Fremantle with 21 disposals.

The AFLW was then subsequently abandoned following the first week of finals, with no premiership awarded.

In the AFL men’s competition, the league abruptly halted its season at the conclusion of round one on Sunday afternoon.

Among local exports to play on the weekend was Tom Rockliff, who was named among Port Adelaide’s best in its 47-point win over Gold Coast Suns on Saturday.

Rockliff starred in the midfield, amassing 26 disposals, six clearances and seven inside 50 entries.

Caleb Marchbank missed Carlton’s season opener against Richmond on Thursday night after sustaining bone bruising in his knee in the final Marsh Community Series game, while Hawthorn’s Harry Morrison helped his side get over the line against Brisbane on Sunday – Morrison picking up 10 disposals, 16 pressure acts and five inside 50 entries in the 28-point win.