Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW Season 1 Episodes

Find out where to watch Season 1 of Fearless: The Inside Story of the AFLW tonight

Season 1 Episode Guide

Episode 1 - Above All Else

An unfiltered look at life inside four AFLW clubs, The Collingwood Magpies, Western Bulldogs, Greater Western Sydney Giants and Adelaide Crows, in the lead up to round one of the AFLW Season 6. Heavyweights of the AFLW, the Adelaide Crows are in a class of their own, with bragging rights to two flags and three Grand Final appearances in just six seasons. After a bitterly disappointing loss in the 2021 Grand Final against Brisbane, this powerful and determined team are ready for revenge and redemption. Can they climb the mountain yet again, or will this season see the beginning of their demise? The Western Bulldogs just missed out on finals last season and now have their sights set on finals this year, along with two premierships by 2025. Lead by Coach Nathan ‘Burkey’ Burke and Captain Ellie Blackburn this fierce young squad is made up of fifteen players under twenty-one, including teenage rookie Amanda Ling. The 19 year old recruit of Malaysian descent, who broke down cultural barriers to play AFLW, is hoping to debut in round one. The underdogs of the competition, GWS Giants, are hoping they’ve finally found the right chemistry to push themselves into the finals. One of their Irish recruits Bríd Stack is also putting everything on the line this season. Stack won eleven national Gaelic football championships and was convinced to change codes to try out for the AFLW in 2021. With her husband and young son watching on, Stack broke her neck in a pre-season practice match and was told by doctors she would never play sport again. Twelve months later, this champion is back in Sydney with her family, determined to beat the odds and achieve the most courageous comeback. After so much hard work and sacrifice, will Stack be named in the team for round one? The Collingwood Magpies is a powerhouse club, under pressure to win their first premiership. Last year they failed to make a grand final by just four points and now they have a point to prove, having recruited aggressively in the off season. Lauded as the best player in the competition, Co-Captain, Bri Davey was part of the AFLW’s inaugural game in 2017. To play footy at the elite level is not something she takes for granted. Davey will never forget that historic first game. The capacity crowd and the women in the stands, emotional at finally being represented on the big stage. Davey is committed to the growth of the AFLW and giving future generations of women a full-time career path. But for now, Bri’s mission is to get Collingwood into the finals. It’s a promising first game for the Magpies but with just a few minutes left in the game, it’s devastation for Davey as she collapses with a suspected ACL injury. Collingwood’s win against Carlton is bittersweet as the team confronts the reality of losing their superstar for the entire season. Could their premiership dream be over after just one game?

  

Episode 2 - In the Balance

Collingwood’s Co-Captain, Bri Davey anxiously awaits scan results after collapsing in round one. Davey and her team mates are gutted when her worst fear of an ACL injury is confirmed. While she processes the news, the big question now hangs over Collingwood. Can they be premiership contenders without their best player? Soon after, more injury worries as the Magpies other Co-Captain Steph Chiocci succumbs to a mystery Achilles injury. It’s a massive double blow for senior coach, Steve Symonds, who’s well aware how tough it will be without their leaders. Leadership is handed over to Brit Bonnici, Ruby Schleicher and Stacey Livingstone, but it’s Brit who becomes the biggest voice within the team and the Pies score their second victory with both captains on the sideline. Adelaide's first pick in the inaugural AFLW Draft, Ebony Marinoff is a ball of energy and one of the Crow’s most enthusiastic players. Nicknamed “Noffy”, this warrior is proud of playing for the AFLW’s most successful team and has her sights set on becoming the best player in the league. Fierce at the contest, she even causes carnage amongst her own teammates. Full forward, Ash Woodland, is her latest victim when Noffy knocks out her teeth during a full contact session. The Crows laid some demons to rest in round one, defeating the Brisbane side that proved too good for them in last season’s Grand Final. In round two, their winning streak continues, sending a strong message to the competition that the Crows are back to their invincible best. The Giants suffered a major setback in 2020 when one of their players, Jacinda Barclay tragically passed away. Her passing deeply affected senior coach Al McConnell, and has left an indelible mark on this tight knit group, bonding them through adversity. Jacinda’s legacy is at the heart of the Giants getting better this year. Al feels a great responsibility coaching the women’s team and understands the challenges they face on their journey in a fledgling league. Al has spent a lifetime chasing premiership glory but winning with this team is his ultimate dream. Although it’s personal for him, he knows the impact winning would have on these women’s lives and promoting the sport in the rugby league stronghold of Western Sydney. The Giants are looking for their second consecutive win in round two. It doesn’t take long for COVID to create carnage and the Western Bulldogs are the first victims, leaving them with just twelve fit players after round one. This is the first time in AFL history that a team has been wiped out due to health reasons. After extensive discussions, the Bulldogs game in round two is cancelled. As players slowly return to the club, it soon becomes obvious that they’re still physically struggling. Barely lasting the distance at training, the players are fatigued and the club isn’t prepared to roll the dice on anyone’s health. Round three is cancelled and the Bulldogs are facing a season that’s very quickly falling apart.

  

Episode 3 - Pride

Celebrating diversity and inclusivity, AFLW’s Pride round kicks off this week. Proud of her sexuality, Collingwood’s Sabrina Frederick hopes future generations will live in a world of equality and acceptance. She looks to a time when girls are born believing that playing sport is their birthright, made more significant when she reveals to the team that she and her wife Lili are expecting their first baby girl together. Having felt like part of a minority group for much of her life, it’s extremely special for Sabrina to see her teammates run out in their Pride jumpers this weekend as they take on Geelong. Meanwhile, interstate at the Giants, a controversy is looming over the Pride jumper. GWS’s Haneen Zreika, of Lebanese descent, is the first Muslim woman to play in the AFL. This twenty two year old pioneer is committed to being a role model and encouraging more Muslim women to break with tradition and play sport. In previous seasons, she had not been asked to wear the rainbow colours. This time it’s different. Zreika is faced with an ultimatum. Wear the Pride jumper or don’t play. It’s an impossible situation and while Zreika doesn’t want to disrespect or alienate the rainbow community, she is respectful of her faith and community. After much soul searching and support from her teammates, Zreika is forced to watch the game from the grandstand. The Giants go on to have a morale lifting victory against the Bulldogs, and in a show of unity and acceptance, they FaceTime Zreika so she can be part of the celebration and team song. Adelaide’s Abbie Ballard takes us to her family pig farm in her home town of Coomandook, South Australia. With exhausting four hour round trips from the country to the Crow’s training sessions three times a week, Abbie’s family are hoping the sacrifice will finally pay off. This nineteen year old has been pushing for selection, and her dream finally comes true with an emotional phone call from senior coach, Matthew “Doc” Clarke. Forcing her way into the indomitable Adelaide Crows outfit is a victory in itself, but Abbie is hoping her debut game against West Coast will end in another memorable win. Legendary AFL champion and devoted father of three daughters, Bulldogs coach Nathan ‘Burkey’ Burke treats his young team like his own daughters and shares a special bond with Captain, Ellie Blackburn. He is not only fiercely protective of his players, but win or lose he maintains a positive attitude, brings fun to the club, and has the utmost respect for every member of his much-loved team. Having played only one game in the last three weeks after COVID wreaked havoc in the club, the Bulldogs are well behind on the ladder and in match fitness. Head of women’s football Debbie Lee and Burkey are concerned about how vulnerable the women are, and are not prepared to put their long term health at risk. Will the baby Bulldogs find the strength and resilience to be competitive and get their season back on track?

  

Episode 4 - The Thriller

After six years, the AFL is still semi-professional and the women are expected to perform like full time athletes, while holding down a career outside football. Collingwood Co-Captain, Steph Chiocci is a teacher and although she feels privileged to play the sport she loves, balancing the two is tough. The thirty-three-year-old veteran is hopeful the players will soon be paid enough to solely focus on football, so they can take the league to the next level. It’s a tough fourth round for Collingwood when they panic under pressure and are demolished by the Fremantle Dockers. It’s the first time Senior Coach, Steve Symonds has seen his team lose belief, and he asks some hard questions after their defeat. The Magpies next test is in Queensland against the reigning premiers, the Brisbane Lions. Steph implores them to find their inner “mongrel” but for the second week in a row, the Pies are savaged by a brutal opposition. The bold pursuit of a first premiership is not going to plan, but can they come up with any answers? Defender, Pepa Randall works as a carpenter when she’s not playing for the Giants. It was a struggle initially for her to find a boss who was prepared to be flexible about combining a full time job with the constant demands of the AFLW. On the field, she’s a vibrant disruptor. Pepa knows she’s not the most popular player in the competition but is happy to go to work on her opposition both mentally and physically. While her teammates love the cheeky banter, Randall can get under the skin of the opposition. In the next round, it’s a new low for the Giants when they don’t score until the last quarter against the Demons, but hope returns with a strong comeback against St Kilda for their second win of the season. Adelaide’s Anne Hatchard was drafted to the Crows in 2017, but a lacklustre work ethic resulted in the midfielder getting repeatedly dropped. It was the wakeup call Hatchard needed, and she committed to a complete physical transformation that turned her into one of the leagues’ most damaging players. With another win over flag contenders Melbourne, the Adelaide Crows are undefeated, sitting in second place on the ladder by percentage only. It's Burkey’s birthday and his young Western Bulldogs team want to give their coach something to celebrate. Still recovering from the effects of COVID, the Dogs are winless after three games. But there have been promising signs and they’re hoping to get their first victory in a pivotal battle with Richmond. After a shocking run of luck, the footy gods are finally on their side and the Bulldogs cut loose with their unique flamboyant victory celebrations for the much needed first win of the season. One week later, no one is expecting the Bulldogs to come close to winning against Adelaide in round six, but their heroic efforts against the top team stun the competition, and a thrilling one-point victory means finals are back on the Bulldogs' radar.

  

Episode 5 - Standing Tall

The Magpies are desperate for a confidence boost after two consecutive losses. Vice-captain Ruby Schleicher knows she needs to step up while her co-captains are still sidelined. Known for her big personality, Schleicher has matured from the joker of the team to an elite All Australian defender. Recruited from Perth, it’s an emotional week as the team fly to her hometown for a pivotal game against the Eagles. A proud Mum and Dad will be there to watch their daughter, but strict COVID protocols dictate they can’t hug. Despite the disappointment, Schleicher helps Collingwood win over the Eagles, keeping them hanging on to sixth spot on the ladder and a place in the finals. After doing the impossible and defeating the Crows, the Bulldogs are still in the chase for finals. Confidence is high but an unexpected nail biting draw against Gold Coast now means the Bulldogs need to beat Collingwood in round eight to make their fairy tale happen. With huge pressure on both sides it’s a tough contest. Heartbroken Collingwood fans watch on as vice-captain Brit Bonnici goes down with a knee injury, holding back tears to tell her teammates to go out and win. Galvanised by Bonnici’s bravery, the Magpies record their highest score ever in the AFLW. Collingwood will now have to lose both their last two games to open the door for the Bulldogs. It’s still not over for the Giants but they need to win their last four games to keep their finals hopes alive. It’s a tough assignment and their hopes come to a grinding halt when Carlton outplay them in front of a disappointed home crowd. Despite their ambitious predictions for the season, GWS have once again failed to deliver. Coach Alan McConnell is a lonely figure as he ponders another wasted season and what needs to be done to make GWS successful. Pride is the only thing left to play for now. Adelaide is fired up about their surprise loss. This week they will take on another flag favourite, Fremantle, and are determined to get back to the winner’s circle and their pursuit of a third premiership. Captain Chelsea Randall exhorts them to chase greatness. Meanwhile, their leader is fighting her own injury demons. A true competitor, Chelsea is desperate to push through her hamstring pain and hopes to play this week, but a setback during training causes an emotional meltdown for the frustrated skipper. Chelsea is now terrified she may not recover in time to play finals. Following in the footsteps of a long line of Indigenous AFL players, footy is in Danielle Ponter’s blood. Indigenous round is more than a football game for Ponter, it represents her culture. Growing up in the Tiwi Islands, Ponter later learnt her grandparents were part of the Stolen Generation. The Crows have created a safe family environment for her and she’s grateful they’ve wanted to learn and continue building connections between Indigenous and non-indigenous people. Ponter’s dream is to inspire more Indigenous girls to follow her onto AFLW’s big stage.

  

Episode 6 - Make It Happen

After an incredible mid-season surge, the Bulldogs' chances of making finals now depends on Collingwood losing to Richmond in the final game of the season. A part time commentator, Ellie Blackburn is forced to watch the game on her phone before she begins her on air duties. Watching the Bulldogs' chances extinguished makes it a tough day at the office. Despite a challenging season, the Bulldogs remain confident about the future at their Best and Fairest dinner. The year ends on a high for Ellie Blackburn when she’s crowned joint winner with fellow midfield gun, Kirsty Lamb. Burkey tells the faithful they’ll be vying for finals next season and still backs in two premierships by 2025. After securing their spot in the top six, Collingwood’s Senior Coach, Steve Symonds is stunned by news that eleven of his players have tested positive with COVID. The knockout final against Brisbane is postponed, but even after isolation, the squad is struggling. The Magpies try to remain positive but know it will take a sporting miracle to defeat the reigning premiers on their home deck. After losing two of their best midfielders to knee injuries and ultimately being crippled by COVID, this final test defeats them. At half time, a desperate coach implores them to keep fighting and salvage respect. There is palpable desolation in the rooms after the game as the girls try to console each other. Irish recruit Sarah Rowe delivers a stirring and inspiring speech to the team. GWS Giants play their last game against Geelong and win by eighteen points, but it’s a bittersweet end to their unsuccessful season. Coach Alan McConnell feels the weight of his team’s disappointment. He’s proud of his team and appreciates the hurdles they’ve faced throughout the season, but is aware significant changes are needed. Not long after the season’s end, Alan McConnell announces he will no longer coach the Giants women’s team. The Crows are on the brink of achieving a dynasty if they can win a third flag. Captain Chelsea Randall is grateful that she’s overcome chronic hamstring injuries to lead her team in this crucial finals series. It’s an epic battle against Fremantle in the preliminary final but this extraordinary unit prevail and prepare to make their ultimate dream come true. The Demons are the only obstacle standing between the Crows and three premierships. With a vocal home crowd’s support, Adelaide knows this is a moment they will never replicate. While the ebullient Ebony Marinoff urges her team to leave everything out on the field, coach “Doc” Clarke reaffirms process over emotion; ‘Fierce, focused and first to the ball.’ The Crows follow his instructions but the Demons refuse to give in and are still in the game at three quarter time. Will Adelaide exact revenge for last year’s heartbreaking loss, or will Melbourne finally overcome years of disappointment and bring home the premiership cup? Chelsea takes a quiet moment to reflect on her journey and how far the AFLW has come.

  


Seasons

Season 1



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