They may be 10 years apart and at opposite ends of their AFLW careers, but Dana East and Kiara Bowers have continued to build a strong connection on and off the field in 2023.

The inside midfield pairing starred for Fremantle in their final match of the season, despite a disappointing 22-point loss to Sydney at Fremantle Oval.

The duo topped Fremantle’s disposal and clearance count against Sydney, adding yet another chapter in their growing relationship on the field.

East tallied her career-high disposal count against the Swans with 24 (17 contested) and had a game-high eight clearances, while Bowers recorded 22 possessions, 18 tackles and seven clearances in a dominant display.

Speaking post-game, defender Laura Pugh praised their ability to push each other to high standards on the training track - which has translated to their on-field performances this season.

“'Beasty' we call her, she has absolutely gone to work and especially in the last few weeks her clearances and attack on the footy has been exceptional,” Pugh said.

“After Easty’s first year we knew she was going to be really great, watching her and Turbo go at it each training session I think Turbo has really set the standard for Easty.

“They absolutely love but hate each other too!

“They work really well together and I think Easty has really been able to push Turbo also.”

Pugh commended the leadership role Bowers plays for the wider team, highlighting her drive and passion.

“I get goosebumps when I stop to think about the fact I get to play with Turbo,” Pugh said.

“She is elite and really sets the standard, she fights for everything and fights for the team.”


Pugh also highlighted the incredible season of young ruck Mim Strom, who also recorded a career-high feat against Sydney with 41 hitouts.

 “Mim is elite and I think today and in other games she kind of can be that ruck rover as well because she is so agile and steps a few people,” Pugh said.

“The work she has put in with Beau McDonald and the other rucks has been great and you can see she is reaping the benefits of that.”