You weren’t as happy last week with the defensive effort, was that a big focus coming into this game?
Absolutely, we did leak a bit last week and it was to Richmond’s credit because they did play some really good footy. We did definitely make a focus this week and we knew that Collingwood are a really strong defensive side, so we knew that we weren’t going to kick a lot of goals, so we challenged our backline to keep Collingwood to three because we thought we might only be able to get four ourselves. The backs did a really good job in that regard.

Where was the game won?
I think in the midfield, we didn’t win that many inside 50’s and our pressure was outstanding. Our tackling, I don’t know how many holding the ball’s we got but the tackling technique meant that as soon as a player looks to take you on their going to get caught holding the ball if you get at them correctly and it’s been something that we’ve worked on over the time. We’ve got a reasonably good role model in Kiara Bowers for the others to learn off and you just saw that across the board today, their tackling was elite.

Do you base that off a finals style game?
You’d like to think it will stand up in finals. We don’t base it off that it’s just one of our strengths, we’re fast, we’re fit and we’re pretty fierce as well. The tackling just comes with that, it wasn’t something that when I came in I had a plan in mind to be a tackling team but you deal with what you’ve got and I’m pretty lucky with what I’ve got from the players. That is a big part of our game. 

09:12 Mins
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Trent Cooper post-match | Collingwood

HEar what Trent Cooper had to say following Fremantle's 31-point win over the Pies in round four.

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Aine Tighe in defence, what did you think of that, and did you know she could play defence like that?
We thought last week that when we had an inkling the fixture was going to change, which meant that Janelle Cuthbertson wasn’t going to be available, we actually threw Aine back in the last quarter last week just to give her a bit of practice because she hadn’t had any. She’s an extremely smart human being Aine. She’s been out here studying the game for two years and she just takes everything in. She’s always got her notepad and pen and we just talk to her during the week about what playing on Sabrina Frederick would be like. She’s a good player to play on because she’s a smart player herself so she took Aine to the ball and then with her height and athleticism she could go from there and she was outstanding today.

With the condense fixture do you almost switch into a tournament mode?
Yes, it’s exactly like that, we’re lucky we’ve got Kate Starre who’s our high-performance manager and won two Olympic medals and been to about six Olympics also in the S&C role. That’s what it’s a bit like at the moment, it will be a squad rotation, we’ve said to the players we’ll make a minimum of two changes each week to keep things going. We’ve got a good healthy list at the moment, and we think the players playing outside that list will be able to contribute as well. We don’t train a lot, so the girls are just lapping that up with just one session a week and so far so good and we’ve got some good challenges ahead.

What about the mental side of it?
That’s been the challenge. They’ve been great at compartmentalising so when the news came through at 10.30pm at night it sort of rocked the group and we had a day where it was a bit shaky and then when we hit the main training session we focused and delivered. Even after that game last week against Richmond it sort of hit again and we didn’t know what was happening so we’ve got to work with the girls and their employers and families back home who are missing them for different reasons. You go through those emotions but when you hit that main training session we really focused and came out today. I was confident we were focused but I was worried about the mental drain through the week and if that would affect us today but we’ve got a really resilient group as you can see who didn’t let that show at all.

What’s next for the team? There is the game on Tuesday. What’s after that?
The North Melbourne game is on the radar and then we are still waiting on exactly what the border situations look like and what we can do back in Perth and if anyone can get in to play us, it’s likely but that is still up in the air at this stage and we will play it by hear as it comes, hopefully we have a five-day break but we will wait and see, that’s all we can do.

Are the short turnarounds between rounds sustainable?
I think they are; I don’t know if you could do it for a whole year. The difference for the girls is it is a shorten game time, they only play 16 mins quarters. I know it is hotter but we have been playing on hard surfaces rather than the muddy ones, which would really drain the legs but so far our girls have been handling it. It’s not an ideal situation but we are here and it’s pretty good. You go back to your hotel room and you have a game of footy to watch each night, it helps me pass the time, so I am all for it. It’s COVID times, it’s not perfect and we just have to do whatever we can to smash out the season. The men have done it at different stages, and I think we just have to do the best we can.

Quick one on Hayley Miller?
She is phenomenal, isn’t she? She ended up kicking a couple of goals and has hit the scoreboard, she is playing really well, and we have gone from one genuine A-Grade midfielder to having two now, which is good as it releases some of the pressure from Kiara. Hayley’s form has been ultra-consistent, and she is spending more time up forward as well, which is helping us be less predictable and it is working so far.

00:43 Mins
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Miller magic breaks the game open

Hayley Miller imposes herself on the contest again with this dagger in the last

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How have the girls been handling being over here?
We have to be really careful now. When we got over here the girls were on to me all the time and then we sensed, ‘is there a bit too much?’ We have to make sure they have time away, so we did that. I sent out a group message the other day to say I’ll be in the meeting room for an hour for anyone who wants to come down for a one on one and I was there for two and half hours, it was like a line to the dentist. So, they are loving lapping up footy but we have to be careful and not give them too much and go over the top because it can go stale but so far they are really enjoying that.

What does a normal day in the life of and AFLW player look like?
A normal day consists of either training or recovery in the morning, we do it in the morning because of the time difference with Perth, so we can smash those sessions out by 11am or 12pm, so the girls who work get back and start work at 12pm, which is 9am Perth time. So we’ve got about 10 who do work for their full-time job while we are here and the rest have free time. The free time has been great because of the weather, we’ve been really lucky they can drive and go to the beach or we can walk to the botanical gardens and stay safe there, but we are not going just anywhere and there is a lot of time in the rooms and we have been really careful. The girls are in separate rooms and we don’t eat together, so when the meals come, you can eat by yourself or with someone else, so we are just mitigating the risk. So if one gets it, then two max might get it. It’s not easy but to have a game every five days helps because you have the euphoria for two days and then you start looking towards the next one. So that is the day of an AFLW footballer at the moment.

It has been a hot and humid weather and obviously you would be use to that, how do you think that was going to go in today’s game?
It’s a massive advantage for us to come over here in the heat, it was really hot when we played Richmond. For us we are training in hot conditions. We had six days of 40 degrees in a row, so for us it is not too bad. The coaches without any air-conditioning in the box is a bit uncomfortable but I can’t complain when they are running 8kms out on the ground. I think hopefully it continues because I feel that is an advantage for us.

No injuries?
I think we got through good. So, selection will be good, we will have to rest a few. I don’t know the terminology of rest, rotated or managed but it looked like we got through well.

00:19 Mins
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AFLW Team Song: Fremantle

Watch the Dockers celebrate their round four win

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