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AFLW fixture uncertainty lingers as pre-season matches start

The Blues’ performance occurred as the competition awaits to see what adjustments will need to be made to the fixture next week as a result of border restrictions now in place due to recent COVID-19 outbreaks.

Bella Lewis in action for the Eagles on Saturday.

Bella Lewis in action for the Eagles on Saturday. Credit:Getty Images

Despite the Western Australian government move to ease the regulations relating to Victorians travelling to Perth late Friday night, clubs expect changes although the Carlton v Collingwood fixture on Thursday, January 28 is locked in.

Against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, Melbourne veteran Karen Paxman suffered a corked quad in the second quarter, after starring early, while defender Meg Downie sent a scare through the Demons camp when she went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter. However, the damage was minor with a sprained ankle diagnosed.

In the fast-paced encounter Melbourne, who lost Elise O’Dea and Maddy Guerin in the off-season, overcame a promising start from Geelong to charge away in the second and third quarters, eventually winning by 21 points kicking 8.7 (55) to 5.4 (34).

The Cats made the most of their inside 50s but remain a work in progress as they attempt to create more forward-half entries with direct use of the ball by their midfield.

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At Punt Road, No.1 draft pick Ellie McKenzie came on after half-time for her first run with the Tigers, which held an eight-point lead after going through last year winless in what was their first AFLW season.

The lead, however, was not enough, with the Western Bulldogs keeping the theme of the day going with a come-from-behind win against the Tigers. The No.2 pick in the AFLW national draft, Jess Fitzgerald, stood out for the Bulldogs in an impressive start to her career, while skipper Ellie Blackburn scored two crucial goals.

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