Clubs chasing history
A PLACE in history is on the line when East Fremantle and Swan Districts meet in the inaugural WAFLW grand final at Lathlain Park this weekend.
Both sides are in good form ahead of the culmination of the revitalised competition that replaced the Australian Women’s Football League format.
The two teams had the perfect preparation, both beating minor premiers Claremont to seal their spot in the showpiece event.
East Fremantle are the reigning premiers from the old format, while the Swans were crowned premiers in 2013-14 and 2016-17.
Sharks coach Nikki Harwood said winning the title in the first year of the revamped competition would be a special achievement.
“With only five teams competing and all the talent condensed into these teams, the results were unpredictable and surprising, week in, week out,” she said.
“To win in this environment, where you will be crowned ‘best of the best’, would be a major achievement and something to be really proud of.”
Harwood said they were wary of the Swans, having lost their last encounter with them.
Swans coach and former premiership captain Kara Donnellan said the experienced players had brought out the best of the younger players and vice versa this season, which created a “nice balance” in the team.
“To play in the last game of the season is why you play footy, so as a group and club we are excited and looking forward to our final challenge,” she said.
“For us, it’s business as usual and nothing changes; we have done all the hard work over the last nine months and are ready to go.”
Having finished second, the Sharks may enter the game as favourites and Harwood said defensive pressure and being ruthless in front of goal would be key to success.
“Our pressure around the ball has been our trademark recently, so that needs to be a feature of our game on Saturday,” she said.
Donnellan said the Sharks had been the team to beat this season, but backed her players to get the job done.
The game is at Mineral Resources Park on Saturday; bouncedown 2.35pm.
Swan Districts captain Ebony Antonio and East Fremantle captain Evie Gooch.