28/02/2024

Fremantle Dockers have started the AFLW hot, winning their opening two ganes. (Photos: AFL Photos)

The Fremantle Dockers have started strong out of the blocks in 2022, finishing Round 2 as the ladder leaders.

The Fremantle Dockers finished Round 2 as the AFLW ladder leaders, having backed up their season opener with another strong victory, a four-goal second quarter against Greater Western Sydney setting up a 32-point victory.

Starting slow out of the gates, trailing by three points at quarter-time, the Dockers would kick five goals to none thereafter, with a four-goal blitz in the second term setting up the five-goal victory at Whitten Oval.

The Giants would finish the game with more of the ball, registering 29 more disposals collectively for the game, but it was the Dockers who were more clinical going forward, with 12 more clearances and eight more inside 50s to cruise to the 52-20 win.

Dockers coach Trent Cooper felt the breeze had a major impact on the game, saying the conditions were influential in how his side played in the first and third terms.

“Our first and third [quarters] I was pretty happy with, there was a strong breeze out there, I thought three of our quarters very were good, our worst was probably the last quarter,” he said post-game.

“We controlled the game, went really hard at different stages then took the advantage with the wind in that second quarter.

“I was happy to go in two goals apiece at quarter time, that breeze was quite strong so it was always going to be hard to score on that right-hand side [of the ground].

“I thought our backs held up well in both the first and the third, and our forwards put some good pressure on in those quarters as well.”

Having been the standouts in their season opener against the Eagles last week, Hayley Miller and Kiara Bowers were once again among the best Dockers players with damaging performances in the side’s win.

Miller finished the game as the Dockers’ leading disposal winner, with 19 disposals and seven tackles, also kicking an important goal in the second quarter to firm Fremantle’s hold on the game.

Bowers too played an influential role in the second term, one of the goalkickers in the side’s dominant quarter. She would finish the game with 15 disposals and played well defensively with a game high 12 disposals.

After going goalless in round one, Gemma Houghton was pivotal up forward for Fremantle, finishing the game with two goals. Ann McMahon also kicked her first AFLW goal – having spent the past two years recovering from a serious workplace injury, her goal in the final term was one of the feel good moments of Round 2.

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First-year Docker Dana East was again impressive, with the basketball convert having an enjoyable day in the midfield with 11 disposals and would push forward late in the second quarter to score her first AFLW goal nearing half time.

Pleased with East’s start to the season, Cooper was complimentary of the 19-year-old, after the game saying that she stepped up when called up.

“I think at half time Hayley might’ve had six [disposals] and Bowers had four possessions, and at half time it was Dana East that led the way [with nine possessions],” he said.

“We love what she does, she jumps onto Kiara’s tail at every training session and just follows her around, today we needed to really step up early and she did…she was really clean as well, he were rapt with her game and then the footy gods smiled on her and gave her a goal at half time.”

Reflecting on the opening two rounds, Cooper is pleased with his new look side’s start to the season, saying it was great to see players getting their opportunities and playing well.

“It’s really exciting when we’ve got the likes of [Makaela] Tuhakaraina buzzing around forward, she hasn’t had her lick of the ice cream yet, but she’s putting on some good forward pressure and she will get it at stages, Aine Tighe is just feeling her way but is going well,” he said.

“But we’re really excited about [the development of our newer players], Gabby O’Sullivan is doing really well through the middle for us and mixing it up.

“We’ve got some bigger tasks ahead of us no doubt, but so far it’s been a pleasing start.”

Fremantle will play Richmond at the Swinburne Centre in Melbourne in their AFLW Round 3 fixture.

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