AFLW Stocks Rising: Hatchard dominates, Cats purr without Chloe

In week two of the 2023 AFLW finals series Anne Hatchard dazzled for the Crows, a litter of Cats stepped up in Chloe Scheer's absence, and Eden Zanker almost salvaged the Demons' season off her own boot. Here's whose stocks are rising as we head into preliminary final week.

Our footy experts cast their eye over the weekend's action to find out whose stocks are up in the AFLW.

Anne Hatchard, take a bow!

Cometh the hour, cometh the champion. Anne Hatchard was simply unstoppable during Adelaide's dismantling of Sydney in Saturday night's semifinal, gathering 36 disposals (18 contested), 10 intercepts, 10 marks, and two goals in one of the greatest single efforts ever seen at the pointy end of the season. In fact, Hatchard became the first player in AFLW history to register at least 30 disposals and two majors in a final.

And if that's the sort of showing she's set to produce next week (and maybe beyond), then the league is on notice, despite the Crows' qualifying final defeat at the hands of Brisbane.

Adelaide's two losses this season? Both against the Lions, both games ending up as Hatchard's worst two in terms of fantasy output for Season 8.

There's no other way to really put it, she's an absolute gun. If she stars, Adelaide tends to win. The equation is simple.

Sydney's prospects for 2024

While the Swans will be feeling plenty of disappointment now, the team has already announced themselves as a contender for 2024.

The scariest and most exciting thing about this is that the Swans success was driven by smart recruitment and a talented young list -- most of whom are expected to stick around. Chloe Molloy was the big name recruit and was worth her weight in gold for the Swans. At 24-years-old, there is still plenty more to come from this superstar.

The emergence of Laura Gardiner (20) as a possession beast, Lucy McEvoy's (22) leadership, Montana Ham (19) continuing to grow, and Ally Morphett (20) dominating in the ruck, the future is exceptionally bright

No Scheer, no worries

Chloe Scheer's impact on Geelong is undeniable which naturally made her untimely collarbone injury in the first week of finals a huge hurdle with the potential to derail the Cats' entire finals campaign.

But her teammates more than stepped up in her absence, initially blowing the Demons -- the reigning premier Demons -- out of the water before a nervy last quarter. The load was shared with Amy McDonald scoring two and Shelley Scott, Jac Parry, and Aisling Moloney all bobbing up with a major each.

Scott and McDonald had six inside 50s each while Parry had seven marks and three goal assists. Throw in the endless hard work of the midfield machines in Georgie Prespakis and Nina Morrison and the Cats were able to post a competitive score without Scheer who had booted 19 goals for the season. Can they back it up against the Lions?

Zanker's massive fourth term nearly forced a miraculous comeback

Some teams trailing in a cut-throat final by 30 points at three-quarter time might be struggling to find motivation to perform in the fourth term, but not the Dees.

Despite being wildly inaccurate to three-quarter time (1.7), Melbourne began making a miraculous comeback. First it was Tyla Hanks who kicked the first of the term, and then Eden Zanker went to work.

The tireless Zanker kicked her side's next three majors, including the first two in quick succession to breathe life into the match, and have fans from both sides holding their chests as the heart rates rose.

Unfortunately for the Demons, it was too little, too late, as Geelong held on for a heart-stopping five-point win.