Michelle, what did you make of the game?
I thought Melbourne were really clean and we were certainly outclassed today. They were very accurate as well with 10 goals to zero early in the game. Full credit to them, I thought they played one of the best games AFLW has seen this season. They were very good.
Missing Kara Donnellan in the middle obviously didn’t help?
We’ve got a number of outs in our team and there were a few holes to plug, but it was a good opportunity for some other girls to play today. We certainly missed Kara’s leadership out there as well as her intensity and tackling on the footy.
Speaking of marquee players, how much did Kiara Bowers’ injury hurt over the season?
I think we can see the impact that marquee players across the competition have had in the game, so it does (hurt) but we just need to get this competition further developed and keep increasing the skills of all of the other girls so they can be as elite as those players.
What do you say to the players after a defeat of that sort of style?
I guess it’s about the bigger picture and what they have been a part of as well which has been really amazing over the past five months. They’ve worked really hard to get to this point and they should be really proud of their effort over those five months, and they’ve learnt a lot. Some have transitioned easier into the elite football ranks and others have found it more challenging in regards to having a balance between work, life, family and playing semi-professional football, and others who have just relished in it and put their hand up saying they want to be a part of this move forward.
What did you make of Dana Hooker today and over the season?
She’s been so consistent and consistently been in all-Australian form which is fantastic for her. She’s taken her football to a whole new level and credit to her as she works really hard for it and she’s a young mum, she’s got an eight month old at home and she does it really well so it’s fantastic for her.
How have you found your experience of the first AFLW season?
I’ve really enjoyed it. Obviously we’ve had a challenging experience. It’s been challenging at times, but personally I’ve grown as well, and more so in the last four or five weeks. There have been some incredible people at the footy club who have supported us throughout and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Are you contracted for next year?
Yes, I am.
How do you go about building a squad for next year?
I’m looking forward to reviewing our entire program. We’ll get straight into that come Monday and review our pre-season program and review our in competition phase and our list a bit down the track. We’ll do a thorough review and prepare and plan for 2018.
You’ve got an all-WA team, is there scope to recruit from interstate?
There always is. We’ll have list management on Monday next week and take it from there.
What’s your overarching view of the season?
Incredible. It took over 100 years to get to this point. On reflection, the AFLW season has been a huge success and it’s fantastic now that there is this option and complete pathway for the future of young girls wanting to play footy. Overall, it’s been an incredible success and it’s exciting because it’s only going to get bigger and better as we move forward.
Did the high pre-season expectations have an affect on the club?
Not at all. They were external expectations that weren’t within our four walls. We knew what we wanted to do. We’ve seen consistent improvement and development within our group round by round. We didn’t buy into any of that.
Did the interest in the competition surprise you and was the team ready for that?
I knew it had been received by the community really well and it hasn’t surprised me. I knew that the girls were ready for this level of competition, which is exciting. I think we can continue to have the eight teams and build it so it can get bigger down the track.
What do you think of having eight teams in the AFL Women’s competition?
I think eight was a good option. I think the AFL got it absolutely right. We invested in this and as the talent pool grows, we all know that the skills and the development of skills need to improve in the competition. I think if we can continue to have the eight teams, it won't dilute the talent and it will continue to build and grow and it will become stronger.
In terms of the finals system, what do you think is best?
It has been a great competition this season. I think having four teams playing off and getting the reward for their effort would be great. A top four play off in my opinion.
What were Melbourne’s strengths?
I think they used the ball exceptionally well. Their efficiency by foot and their foot skills stood out to me as being really classy. They are the team to beat by the way they played today. It was exceptional team football.
What is the role you and the other coaches will have now in terms of developing women’s footy?
I’ll pay a really active role in the WA Women’s Football League and our coaches will as well. We’ll actively get out to all of those games, we want to see the next talent that is coming through. We’re involved with the Talent Academy and will be more so now with having a bit more time available. We will also invest our time in to the under 18s championships, have a look at what talent is there and assist with providing some resources to those clubs too.