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AFLW: Cooper post-match Q & A - Rd 2 v Lions

AFLW Post-Match: Dockers Watch Fremantle's press conference after their round 2 match against Brisbane

Were you pleased with the forwards pressure in today’s win?

Our forwards have been fantastic, we’ve had seven goal kickers in both weeks. We think we can be a hard forward line to match up on because we’ve got so many options and the girls are working really well together. We knew at the end of last year that we took a loss, we had our three key forwards delisted and we didn’t pick any forwards up in the draft. So, we had to invent a couple, the girls have taken on their new roles really well. At the other end of the ground, Sabrina Frederick-Traub, is the leading contested marked player in the competition, over the three years and we had no one with that height to go with her. Ebony Antonio was our obvious match up but we tried to play her forward. We had Alex Williams line-up on Sabrina but she was going to need a hand from her teammates and I thought they did that really well. 

Do you feel you got rewarded for some brave coaching by leaving Ebony forward and backing the girls to get the job done on Frederick-Traub?
The scoreboard would say yes today but if it doesn’t work, if Frederick-Traub kicks three then it wouldn’t look that way. It’s got to be a week-by-week and even quarter-by- quarter decision, depending on the wind and different things. Today, we thought our forward line was looking dangerous enough, we were happy with the shoot out and it proved to work.
 

Gabby O’Sullivan was a standout for you in the forward line today, what did you make of her game?

She’s our most honest player down there, you know exactly what you’re going to get from Gabby. Her pressure, her lead up, she’s more than happy to do something to bring others into the game so she’s a good mix to have with our other forwards down there 

There were some special goals during the game, in particular Ashley Sharp’s goal in the second quarter.

Yes and her left footer at the end too. I forgot to ask her if she meant that but there were some special goals. There’s always an element of luck but the girls train that way, they really do a lot of work on their goal kicking and work through different scenarios so when it comes to fruition they get the reward for the hard work they’ve done.

You’ve flown under the radar in the beginning of this season, do you feel like you’re a genuine threat this year?

We thought that before round one but that was only internal and not many other people would have given us a chance which is fair enough based on what we’ve done in the previous two years. I think there was more pressure on the group today than last week. Last week we obviously did play well and got the result, but playing a really good side in Brisbane, who are known for their defensive style, there was pressure on the girls today. We stood up and now there is going to be a lot of pressure on the sides that come after us. As long as they’re coming after us then that’s means we’ve been going okay so we’re happy with that. 

Steph Cain looked like she came off in the second quarter with heat stroke?

No, she just got a bit of a knock to the head but she was fine. She was super courageous, jumped in front of Frederick-Traub in that contest and then got another little knock after that but she is fine.

Any injuires?
No, I’m pretty sure we got through totally unscathed.

Did you step up the pressure in the second quarter?
In first quarter we weren’t so good in that area, I thought that Brisbane definitely outplayed us. Our pressure wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but in the second quarter I thought we really lifted in that area. The forwards did a good job in keeping the ball in there. Our forwards were putting pressure on and making it hard to get the ball out of there.

Will you change anything heading into next Saturday’s game?

It’s a fine line because the girls are really happy and up and about and there is no reason to knock that out of them. We’ve already started our recovery and preparing for next week as it’s a six-day break. It’s a lot of fun at training, everyone’s up and about and happy so we have to make sure complacently doesn’t slip in, but while the girls are having fun and are up and about there’s no reason to temper that at this stage.

What are Sabreena Duffy’s outstanding characteristics? She seems like a really clean player?

That’s something that she’s really worked on, clean ground balls. Sabreena can play anywhere. I coached her in the WA State 18’s last year, she was captain and played at half-back and a bit through the middle. At the moment she’s settled into that forward role really well. She’s a really smart footballer. She’s been playing for a long time and has grown to be a really smart, so as a young kid coming in, that’s something she doesn’t need to work on as much as other things. She’s always going to be learning but she’s probably more of a natural footballer than a lot of the girls in the AFLW already.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs