A convincing loss to Richmond in a pre-season clash at Rushton Park has given Fremantle plenty to work on as they prepare for round one against Brisbane later this month, according to Senior Coach Trent Cooper.
Fremantle were held to one Megan Kauffman goal in their 1.2 (8) to 10.11 (71) loss as Richmond’s Monique Conti and Ellie McKenzie dominated through the midfield while key forward Courtney Wakefield kicked four goals.
While it wouldn’t account for the large margin, Fremantle had limited time from their A grade players in the clash with the likes of Hayley Miller, Kiara Bowers and Sarah Verrier on the sidelines while Ebony Antonio, Janelle Cuthbertson, Ange Stannett and Gabby O’Sullivan played just one half of footy.
It allowed new faces Nikki Gore, recruited from Adelaide in the off-season, and draftees Kauffman, Tara Stribley, Tahlia Read and Amy Mulholland to play a full game while top pick Madi Scanlon played the second half.
Freo are set have Bowers and Verrier return from the health and safety protocols when they take on West Coast at Fremantle Oval next Saturday, while Cooper said Miller was at least another week away.
“It was pleasing that we got through with no injuries, which is always a highlight for a pre-season game, but the performance was disappointing in a lot of aspects and that gives us a lot of things we need to work on going forward,” Cooper said.
“Our backline has usually been our strength for the past couple of years but they themselves were really disappointed with their contest work in the air.
“The good thing about that is we know that they can do it. With a little bit of work and a more proactive mindset, they can change that really quickly. That will be the main thing for the backs.
“We had quite a few out of the midfield, so we had a lot of inexperienced players going through there today. They showed some good signs at times.
“Our forward line as well, we didn’t get our best forward line together at any stages today and there were glimpses but we need a more consistent line-up, which we’re looking to get out on the park next week.”
Cooper said 2021 draftee Jess Low was Fremantle’s best as the no.52 pick continues an impressive start to her AFLW career.
Used primarily as a defender, Low was also given midfield minutes in the final term.
“Jess Low was great all day with what she did as a defender and then we threw her through the middle late in the game as well, I through she was the standout performer across four quarters,” Cooper said.
“Ebony Antonio was influential when she came on in the second half.
“Meg Kauffman tried really hard all day and finished with a goal. She had to take on a really big load in the midfield and I think she was very good today. She’ll be even better when she has some more experienced players around her.”
Saturday’s clash with West Coast is Fremantle’s final hitout before round one when they take on Brisbane on Sunday 28 August at the Gabba.
Their first home game will be in round two against Geelong at Fremantle Oval on Saturday 3 September.