Clubs chas­ing his­tory

Canning Gazette - - SPORT -

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.

Pic­ture: Michael Bain

Swan Districts cap­tain Ebony An­to­nio and East Fre­man­tle cap­tain Evie Gooch.

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