We’re proud to sup­port women’s league

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

with Josh Kennedy WEST Coast sup­port­ers were no doubt pretty happy to rock up to work this week and hover around the cof­fee ma­chine to talk footy.

It was a lot dif­fer­ent a week ear­lier, but they would have been pretty happy with the game af­ter we man­aged to get over the line against Fre­man­tle in Western Derby 43 on Satur­day night.

Af­ter the dis­ap­point­ing ef­fort against Hawthorn in round two, we had a strong fo­cus on an im­proved ef­fort and we know our army of mem­bers and fans would have en­joyed the game.

The win against Freo was sat­is­fy­ing be­cause it was a bit of a grind but in the end, we found a way to get over the line.

It wasn’t pretty, but the main thing from our per­spec­tive was that we got the job done and it gave us two wins from the first three games. You al­ways like to be ahead of the count in the win­loss ra­tio, so that was im­por­tant.

Der­bies are al­ways tough and un­com­pro­mis­ing and although we treat it as another game and try to pre­pare ex­actly the same ev­ery week, we know it means more to the West Coast faith­ful.

You don’t look for ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion be­cause you need to be con­sis­tent in ev­ery­thing you do from week to week, but it was great to cel­e­brate the 200th game of cham­pion mid­fielder Matt Prid­dis.

He de­served to have a win in his big game and a bonus for him was win­ning the Ross Glendin­ning Medal as best on ground.

It was thor­oughly de­served and we were all thrilled for him. THE West Coast Ea­gles are pre­par­ing to be one of the clubs in­volved in the Na­tional Women’s League next year.

Like a num­ber of AFL clubs, West Coast is look­ing to secure one of up to eight in­au­gu­ral li­cences in the start-up phase, recog­nis­ing that the league will de­velop and grow over time.

Fe­male foot­ball has un­der­gone sig­nif­i­cant growth for the AFL dur­ing the past five years, with par­tic­i­pa­tion in pro­grams and com­pe­ti­tions in­creas­ing from 95,000 in 2011 to 318,000 in 2015.

Those num­bers are re­flected lo­cally.

On Satur­day, when a women’s derby was played as a cur­tain-raiser to the Ea­gles’ Western Derby clash with cross-town ri­vals Fre­man­tle, it was broad­cast on Fox.

In the lead-up to the women’s derby, West Coast Ea­gles coach Mar­tine Pear­man and cap­tain Kara Don­nel­lan were in­tro­duced to club staff and did a pre-game me­dia con­fer­ence, han­dling the spot­light with elo­quence and aplomb.

A clear love for the game was ev­i­dent as they spruiked the virtues of the women’s game.

Pear­man is an ac­com­plished coach, lead­ing the Coastal Ti­tans to four con­sec­u­tive grand fi­nals and two pre­mier­ships in the lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion.

She has also been an as­sis­tant coach at Mel­bourne for the highly suc­cess­ful exhibition matches against the Western Bull­dogs in re­cent years.

The spot­light those games have cast on the rapidly grow­ing women’s foot­ball move­ment has been the ge­n­e­sis of this loom­ing na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Don­nel­lan has an un­bri­dled pas­sion for the game she has played since she was nine.

She is also in­volved in the game full-time as part of the V-Swans com­mu­nity pro­gram run through Swan Dis­tricts Foot­ball Club.

The West Coast Ea­gles are com­mit­ted to di­ver­sity and gen­der equity, and the vi­sion is to field a sus­tain­able, pro­fes­sional and pre­mier­ship­win­ning women’s team that grows new mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties and helps grow fe­male foot­ball in WA.

Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group is an af­fil­i­ated part­ner of the West Coast Ea­gles.

West Coast's women's cap­tain Kara Don­nel­lan with in­jured de­fender Mitch Brown prior to Satur­day's derby games.

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