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Large Freo presence in WAWFL prelim

Tom Fee  August 11, 2017 4:41 PM

Ashley Sharp is one of 10 Freo players who could feature in Sunday's WAWFL preliminary final between Swan Districts and East Fremantle.

Ashley Sharp is one of 10 Freo players who could feature in Sunday's WAWFL preliminary final between Swan Districts and East Fremantle.

Up to 10 players from Fremantle’s AFLW list will feature when Swan Districts take on East Fremantle in the WAWFL preliminary final, played on Sunday at Steel Blue Oval.

The game is a 2016 grand final rematch, which was won by Swan Districts.

Freo captain Kara Donnellan will lead the Black Ducks alongside teammates Ebony Antonio, Ashley Sharp and Kellie Gibson.

East Fremantle could have up to six Fremantle players in their starting 22, including Brianna Green, Gabby O’Sullivan, Cassie Davidson, Belinda Smith, Mel Caulfield and Alex Williams.

The winner will take on the Coastal Titans in next week’s grand final, with the Titans boasting Freo players Dana Hooker and Hayley Miller.

Freo senior coach Michelle Cowan was pleased to see the Freo-listed players impressing in last week’s major semi final thriller between the Coastal Titans and Swan Districts, with the Titans prevailing by five points.

“It was really good to see Dana Hooker and Hayley Miller having an impact in that result and then to see Swan Districts come back, led by Kara Donnellan and Ebony Antonio,” Cowan said.

“Ashley Sharp kicked the goal to actually get the Swans within range to win the game but, unfortunately for them, they were beaten by the siren.”

While Swan Districts have home ground advantage, it’s East Fremantle who could have the upper hand after defeating the Black Ducks by two points in their previous meeting.

Cowan says the Sharks strong Freo presence could be vital to their hopes to make a second-straight grand final.

“Alex Williams has been standing up really tall for East Fremantle in the backline and her leadership as captain has been exceptional to get them this far and this deep in the season,” Cowan said.

“It’s been great to see Cassie Davidson back after a minor knee injury, playing through the wing and kicking a couple of goals in last week’s minor semi-final, adding to her versatility which is good.

“Gabby O’Sullivan as always is going well through their midfield and working hard on her contested ball. 

“Mel Caulfield is hitting the score board and is really dangerous against any team.

“Belinda Smith was also very impressive, playing off the wing and running hard to drive the ball forward on numerous occasions.”

Cowan says the wet weather forecasted could help the Sharks, but expects to see Swan Districts hungry to start the game on the front foot.

Last week against the Titans, Swan Districts trailed by 28 points at half time but fought back bring the game within a straight kick. 

“The conditions could really suit East Fremantle in the way that they play thier football,” Cowan said.

“But if Swan Districts can play the way they played in the second half against the Coastal Titans they will be hard to beat. 

“The way they rallied and lead by the front. They had impressive ball movement and their team defence was exceptional.

“They’ll just have to bring that right from the start and to play for four quarters.”